Prospect Littrell suspended 50 games

Lefty invited to Cards' camp as non-roster player

Prospect Littrell suspended 50 games

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though he received his first invite to Major League camp, left-hander Corey Littrell will not be making an appearance in the Cardinals' clubhouse this spring.

Littrell incurred a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by submitting a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

"It's disappointing," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I think from just a pure baseball projection, he was trending in the right direction. This isn't a death sentence. It's a setback. Hopefully he understands the mistake he made and can resume his career in 50 games."

Littrell, who split 2016 between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, had been invited to big league Spring Training as a non-roster player. Ranked the Cards' No. 30 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, he was considered part of the organization's left-handed pitching depth and had represented the Cardinals in the Arizona Fall League last season.

In nine AFL appearances, Littrell allowed seven earned runs on 11 hits and four walks over 14 1/3 innings. He struck out 18. Before that, Littrell posted a 3.90 ERA and 1.328 WHIP over 53 Minor League games.

Littrell's suspension will begin April 6, when the Triple-A club begins its regular season. The Cardinals have told Littrell not to report to their Florida complex until after Minor League Spring Training has ended. Littrell will then utilize time in extended Spring Training to prepare for the season. He will be eligible to return May 28.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.