Why Phillies’ Daniel Stumpf and Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello may have tested positive for the same drug

Phillies reliever Daniel Stumpf stretches prior to a Phillies Spring Training game at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. (Frank Klose/Philliedelphia)

Word broke on Friday afternoon that Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.  Earlier this month, Phillies pitcher Daniel Stumpf was suspended the same 80 games, also for a failed test.   According to multiple reports, including this one from Evan Webeck of MLB.com, both tested positive for the drug dehydrochlormethyltestosterone.  There could be a reason that both players went for the same drug.

The drug, known often by its brand name Turinabol, made headlines in East Germany.  The reason for infamy was that the drug, developed within East Germany, was used by Olympic athletes in the country from 1968 until 1989, leading to their stellar record over that period of time.  The reason German athletes never tested positive could be why the drug is turning up in Major League Baseball today.

According to the website ISARMS.com, the drug is not easy to detect:

Compared to the majority of anabolic steroids, turinabol has one huge advantage – this compound is very hard to detect. It is made possible by the incredible speed of tbol’s excretion from the body, which, according to anecdotal evidence, takes just 5 days.

Couple that with the ease of the drug – it is taken in the form of an oral capsule instead of needles – could be why athletes are willing to take the risk.

While Stumpf never commented on the matter, Colabello issued the following statement:

The drug is readily available online at a rather low price.

What we are seeing is comparable to the blow-up that occurred from the Biogenesis scandal: people are willing to take risks and drug testing in Major League Baseball is getting better and better.    With a five-day expiration from one's system, a player may just take the risk that he will not be caught.  Since testing is random and not frequently enough to to make a player worry, they might give it a shot.  In the case of Stumpf and Colabello, they could have been sloppy and took oral supplements without paying attention to what they were.  But, for players on the fringe, maybe a five-day wait for it to be out of your system was a risk worth taking.

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