Outfielder Abraham Almonte, who is currently serving an 80-game suspension for PED use, has been assigned to the Columbus Clippers to begin his rehab assignment. Almonte is eligible to return to the major-league team by July 3 when the Cleveland Indians will be in Toronto.
Almonte's suspension was handed down on February 26 after he tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing drug that violates Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
At the time of his suspension, it looked like it put the Indians in a tough spot -- the Indians outfield was already thin with Michael Brantley expected to miss a good chunk of the season. What we did not know at the time was that Rajai Davis would be out-hitting Jason Kipnis, and Tyler Naquin is apparently the power-hitting outfield equivalent of Jim Thome.
After the Indians acquired Almonte for reliever Marc Rzepczynski last season, the 26-year-old center fielder way outperformed his past seasons, slashing .250/.310/.409 with a career-high five home runs in 82 games. He was worth 1.1 FanGraphs WAR on the season.