McALLEN — Tres Barrera, a catcher for the Washington Nationals and former star on the diamond for the Hidalgo Pirates, Sharyland High Rattlers and Texas Longhorns, is suing Major League Baseball.

Barrera was handed an 80-game suspension Saturday after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, which MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program considers a banned substance.

The class-action lawsuit, which was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in McAllen, seeks to overturn Barrera’s lengthy PED suspension, which would likely cause him to miss the entirety of the shortened 2020 MLB season.

The court filings ask for a court injunction with regards to Barrera’s 80-game suspension and, if granted, would effectively put it on hold until pending legal litigation is resolved one way or the other.

The court documents allege that MLB, Laboratorie de Conrtole du Dopage and Sports Medicine & Research Laboratory Testing — a pair of anti-doping labs working with MLB in Montreal, Quebec, and South Jordan, Utah, respectively — as well as Dr. Daniel Eichner, SMRLT’s lab director, caused Barrera and other professional baseball players to suffer monetary damages through “junk science” and unreliable testing methods.

The crux of Barrera and attorney Alfonso Kennard’s case is their “junk science” stance, claiming that MLB should not have the authority to suspend players without pay for testing positive for banned substances which the league itself cannot test for adequately and universally accurately.

“Use of the phrase ‘junk science’ throughout this complaint refers to the difficulty in test determining where the M3 metabolite is sequestered in the body because it is unethical and illegal to do an excretion study for the Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (“DHCMT”), commonly known as Oral Turinabol on humans,” the court filing reads.

“As a result, there are no controlled studies involving humans that address where the M3 metabolite is sequestered in the body or how long it can stay in a person’s body.”

The filing goes on to argue that Barrera’s exposure to Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone “was so minimally low that it did not — and could not — have provided him with any performance enhancing benefit whatsoever.”

The motion also seeks to vacate the July 24 arbitration ruling handed down by Mark L. Irvings, chair of MLB’s Arbitration Panel, that denied Barrera’s appeal on the basis of unreliable testing procedures for DHCMT and at times confusing testimony from Dr. Eichner, which was cited in the arbitrator’s reasoning.

Barrera’s arbitration and ongoing court hearings will continue to be heard via Zoom in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas in McAllen.

Barrera, a Rio Grande Valley product, played a year of varsity baseball at Hidalgo High School and three seasons at Sharyland High School, where he won district MVP honors as a freshman Pirate and senior Rattler.

He played three years at the University of Texas and helped the Longhorns advance to the College World Series before being drafted in the sixth round (184th overall) to the Washington Nationals in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Barrera was called up to Washington’s major league club on Sept. 8, 2019. He tallied two at-bats with no hits as the Nationals went on to win the World Series in a seven-game series over the Houston Astros.


Twitter: @ByAndyMcCulloch