NEW YORK -- Washington Nationals left-hander Zechry Zinicola is the first player suspended this year under baseball's minor league drug program and will miss the first 50 games of the season.
Zinicola was penalized Thursday after a second violation for a drug of abuse.
The 26-year-old, who attended Arizona State, was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 21 relief appearances for Triple-A Syracuse last season and 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 11 games at Double-A Harrisburg. He was selected by Toronto in the 2009 winter meeting draft, then returned to the Nationals the following spring.
There were 71 suspensions last year under the minor league drug program and two under the big league plan. In addition, Manny Ramirez plans to serve a suspension this year for a 2011 violation.