Logan Webb’s quest to reach the Major League Baseball grand stage with his boyhood favorite team has taken a significant hit.
A power pitcher with Rocklin High School roots and one of the Giants’ top minor-league prospects, Webb on Wednesday was suspended 80 games for testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a steroid about as mysterious as it is difficult to spell.
Michael Chavis of Boston, Chris Colabello of Toronto and Alec Asher and Daniel Stumpf of Philadelphia also were suspended in recent years for using Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid.
Webb, 22, said in a prepared statement he did not knowingly take the drug and has “tried endlessly to find the answer” as to how it wound up in his system. Webb also apologized, saying, in part, “I love this game and respect it too much to ever cheat it.”
Webb’s positive urine test came while enjoying his best minor-league season, with Double-A Richmond, where he showed promise through five starts with a 2.00 ERA. The drug result is a violation of baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, warranting the suspension without pay and, for the moment, derailing a career path that seemed likely to have him pitch for the Sacramento River Cats this summer, if not the Giants.
The MLB Commissioner’s office announced the suspension, which was backed by the Giants, who said in a statement, “The San Francisco Giants are disappointed that Logan Webb has violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program resulting in his suspension. The Giants organization fully supports the MLB program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”
Webb was a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2014 after earning Bee All-Metro and Cal-Hi Sports All-State honors after posting a 0.49 ERA and striking out 73 in 57 2/3 innings.
Webb received a $600,000 signing bonus, telling The Bee then it was a “dream come true. I wanted to be a ball player since I was 2.”
Webb weighed 180 pounds as a 17-year-old at Rocklin and grew to 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds through training, including diet, adding velocity to his fastball. His fastball in the last year topped at 98 mph with a sitting 93-96 mph showing.
Webb endured Tommy John elbow surgery in 2016, returning to action in 2017, when he had a 2.89 ERA in 15 relief outings with Class-A Salem-Keizer in Oregon. In 2018, Webb had 26 starts combined with Advanced-A San Jose and Richmond. Webb was placed on the Giants’ 40-man roster after last season and was in spring training.
Said Webb in the statement, “For the past month and a half, I have tried endlessly to find the answer to why the M4 metabolite was found in my urine sample.
“I have done research, I have talked to people who know a lot more about it than I do, and I have sent in an endless amount of supplements and products for testing that I have used over the past couple years. Unfortunately, none of those things have helped me find that answer, and the time for me to find the reason that this has happened has run out.”
He also said, “I know in my heart that something someday will be put into the world to prove my innocence. That being said, I do not disagree with MLB’s policy, and respect the drug testing system that has been put in place.
“I love this game and respect it too much to ever cheat it. I am heartbroken over this and I am not sure why this is happening to me, but in life some things happen for a reason and it is my job now to find that reason.”
In his apology, Webb wrote, “I would like to apologize to my family, friends, teammates & the San Francisco Giants organization for the negative attention this has brought to them.
“Over the next couple of months and the rest of my career, I will continue to work on regaining the trust and respect I’ve earned over the past few years with my teammates and the Giants organization. I will be back and better than ever.”