The Cincinnati Reds said they are “putting baseball on the backburner” for pitching prospect Ian Kahaloa after he was suspended 50 games Tuesday for failing a second drug test.
Reds player development director Jeff Graupe said the team is worried about the 19-year-old righty after an “alarming” series of videos was made public last month and appeared to show Kahaloa using drugs.
One of four Snapchat videos, which were recorded by someone else’s phone, appear to show Kahaloa snorting a white substance while wearing a Reds T-shirt, along with the caption “Party time lets go.” Other video clips captured what appeared to be marijauna and a bong.
“We’re obviously really concerned,” Graupe told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’re working to get Ian the help and assistance that we believe he needs to get his long-term future to a more stable place.”
Kahaloa’s agent said the pitcher is currently in a drug treatment program, according to the report.
Kahaloa, the Reds’ fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft, previously tested positive for a “drug of abuse,” or recreational drugs as defined by Major League Baseball. His second positive test, which he had submitted before the videos were posted, automatically triggered a 50-game ban under MLB’s minor-league drug program.
Graupe said the team had been aware of Kahaloa’s drug issues before the videos were made public, and decided to hold him out of minor-league spring training.
“Any time you have a situation like this, or really anything with a negative connotation, the first thing you address is the situation itself,” Graupe said. “This isn’t necessarily a social media problem. It’s let’s address the lifestyle and not put ourselves in those positions. Then from there, there is the message of that in the modern day, there’s fewer closed doors.”
Kahaloa, a Hawaiian native, was playing for the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League, but will now miss the majority of the team’s 75-game season.