(Reuters) - Reigning National League batting champion Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins was suspended 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, Major League Baseball said on Friday.
The speedy second baseman, who led the majors in stolen bases last season, tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol, MLB said in a statement.
The suspension will force Gordon to miss nearly half of the 162-game regular season and make him ineligible for post season play should the Marlins reach the playoffs for the first time since winning the World Series in 2003.
Gordon admitted to making a mistake and accepts the penalty but added that he did not knowingly take a banned substance even though test results showed he ingested something that contained prohibited substances.
"The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization, and the fans," Gordon said in a statement released by the MLB Players Association.
"I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20-plus tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences."
Gordon, an All-Star the past two seasons, won the NL batting title in 2015, when he posted a .333 average with a league-best 205 hits and 58 steals.
He is the second notable player in less than a week hit with a hefty doping suspension following Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello who was banned last Friday without pay, but denied any wrongdoing.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Steve Keating)