Today, the Houston Chronicle's Jose de Jesus Ortiz, who writes for a living, dropped a bomb on Twitter:
Three Astros minor leagues have been suspended for violating baseball's drug program. Neither is considered a prospect.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) August 30, 2013
It's not as bad as it sounds, though. Despite Mr. Ortiz's suggestion that three entire leagues were suspended, it turned out to just be three different Astros minor leaguers.
When neither is a pronoun, it refers only to two things or people. For three or more things or people, use none. But when it is a conjunction, it is perfectly acceptable to use it for three or more things or people: The prisoners were allowed neither food, sleep nor washing facilities for 48 hours.
He goes on to identify the three individuals, all of whom have spent either part of the season or the entire season with Tri-City:
Jose Fernandez, Michael Martinez, D'Andre Toney are the suspended minor leaguers.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) August 30, 2013
Jose Fernandez, a 20-year-old shortstop signed out of the Dominican Republic, has played for the GCL Astros and Tri-City ValleyCats this season. Combined, he's hit .236/.299/.360 with one home run and four stolen bases.
Martinez, a 36th-round draft pick out of Florida International University in 2012, has hit .225/.291/.413 as a 23-year-old first baseman/designated hitter for the ValleyCats in the New York-Penn League this season.
Toney - who plays all three outfield positions - was drafted by the Royals in the 14th round in 2011 out of Gulf Coast Community College, and was sent to Houston as the Player To Be Named in the Jason Bourgeois/Humberto Quintero trade last year. So far, he's been a classic example of a guy whose tools have not necessarily translated to baseball skills, as he's hit just .219/.290/.352 for Tri-City.
The three players tested positive for an amphetamine.
General Manager Jeff Luhnow released the following statement in reaction to the suspensions:
"We were disappointed to hear the news of these suspensions. The Astros fully support the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Our minor league players undergo extensive drug prevention training, so it is very unfortunate when something like this occurs.
"Moving forward, we will continue to review our entire drug education and prevention program to identify opportunities to enhance it in order to prevent future violations."