While Opening Day only just passed, the Tampa Bay Rays have received the first steroid suspension of the 2023 season. The Rays minor league system is poised to look a bit weaker for the foreseeable future.

Pitcher Israel Mateo has received a performance enhancing drug suspension, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Mateo will now be forced to miss the next 55 games. Mateo was caught using Boldenone, an illegal PED. The Rays have yet to comment on the situation.

Mateo has 25 games of professional experience under his belt. He has pitched to a 1-7 record with a 5.26 ERA and a 49/35 K/BB ratio. The right-hander appeared in just 12.2 innings this past season. However, he lowered his ERA from 6.08 to 2.84. Furthermore, Tampa Bay moved Mateo into a strict reliever role in 2022. After he made seven starts his first season of professional ball, all 10 of Mateo's appearances this past season came in a relief role.

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Israel Mateo is just 20-years-old. He has a long road ahead of him to reach the big leagues. His road has now gotten much harder with a 55-game performance enhancing drug suspension. Furthermore, Mateo has yet to breach the Rays' top 30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline. If Mateo wanted to make an impression on Tampa Bay, his suspension certainly won't do him any favors.

Mateo will not sit out for the majority of the first-half of the season. He'll have time to think about his decision. If Tampa Bay keeps him in the organization, Mateo will be looking to turn his career around. But before he even leaves rookie ball, Mateo has a pretty ugly mark on his record.