The Pittsburgh Pirates have released infielder Kevin Ross. He is currently under suspension for 50 games due to failing a drug test(drug of abuse) for the second time. Ross won’t be able to serve his suspension until he signs with another team. He is the second minor league player the Pirates have released recently after a failed drug test. Pitcher Michael Clemens, who was a 2014 draft pick, was also released after he failed a test at the end of last season while he was with the Bristol Pirates.
Ross was the Pirates eighth round draft pick in 2012 out of high school and they signed him to a $130,000 bonus. He spent most of the 2013 season on the Minor League restricted list for an unspecified reason. In three seasons, the 21-year-old played a total of 70 games, hitting .241/.275/.352 in 249 at-bats. He excelled at putting the ball in play, as evident by his total of seven walks and 27 strikeouts in his career. Ross was an All-Star in 2014 while with Jamestown.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
Hey John, why do you suspect it took this long for the team to make the decision to release Ross? Does the 50 game suspension preclude any and all activity with the organization, including any spring activity of any kind?
He was on the original minor league roster sheets we received early this month, but once they split up into squads a few days ago, he was gone. It could just be that they already have about 20 players that will be cut before the regular season starts and figuring in that he can’t play this year, they saw no reason to keep him around for an entire year. He really hasn’t shown much up to this point and a lost season wouldn’t help his case.
Players on the suspended list can’t play actual games, but they can stay with the team down in Pirate City and do baseball activities.
I’m not sure why they waited, but there is no salary involved during the off-season, so keeping him didn’t cost any extra.