Surprise, surprise. According to Ed Eagle of MLB.com,
during an injury-riddled 2001 season, David Wells said that White Sox
teammate Jose Canseco advised him to use human growth hormone. Wells,
who was 38 at the time, passed on the advice.
“I didn’t need to do that and I wasn’t going to do that. That stuff is not good for the game and it is not good for your body.”
Wells instead opted for back surgery, quit drinking and underwent an
intense offseason workout program that had him lose 30 pounds by Spring
Training in 2002. Wells enjoyed one of his best seasons with the
Yankees in 2002, going 19-7 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Wells
retired in 2007 with 239 wins, tied with Hall of Famer Mordecai Brown
for 56th on the all-time list.
Appearing at Yankee Stadium last month for the 11th anniversary of his perfect game, Wells suggested that baseball should give harsher penalties or even lifetime bans to those who test postive for PEDs.
“Just ban them right out of the
get-go; I think that would be great. No 50-game suspension. Ban them
right away, that would stop it in a heartbeat — especially with the
money they are giving out today. It would be incredible if they did
that. You wouldn’t have to worry about steroids or HGH.”
As he told reporters at Yankee Stadium last month, Wells believes that
any player who tests positive or admitted to steroid use should not be
admitted to the Hall of Fame. It’s almost comical, really, but Wells
just might be the perfect leader for an anti-performance enhancing drug
movement, proof-positive that a player can have a long-lasting and
decorated career without looking like an Adonis.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.