Braves pitcher Andrew McKirahan suspended 80 games for using banned substance

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Andrew McKirahan has been suspended for 80 games following a positive test for the banned substance Ipamorelin under Major League Baseball's drug program. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

NEW YORK — Atlanta Braves reliever Andrew McKirahan was suspended for 80 games Monday following a positive test for a banned substance under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

McKirahan is the fifth big league pitcher in 25 days disciplined for using performance-enhancing drugs. He was cited for Ipamorelin, which releases growth hormone.

“I am extremely sorry for letting down the Atlanta Braves organization, my coaches, teammates and the Braves fans,” he said in a statement released by the players’ association. “This is in no way a reflection of my character or morals. I will work hard during my suspension and pray that everyone will find it in their hearts to forgive me.”

The 25-year-old left-hander has a 4.15 ERA in three appearances this season. He was selected by the Chicago Cubs on the 21st round of the 2011 amateur draft, taken by Miami in the winter meeting draft of unprotected players, then claimed by Atlanta off waivers on April 1.

McKirahan will be eligible to return to the Braves in late July. He loses $221,858 of his $507,500 salary, the major league minimum.

Minnesota’s Ervin Santana, the New York Mets’ Jenrry Mejia, Seattle’s David Rollins and Atlanta’s Arodys Vizcaino were suspended for positive tests for Stanozolol, which is sold under the name Winstrol and is popular with body builders.