Quote of the Day: 'My urine, my blood, my stool'

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Raul Ibanez, responding to a blogger’s speculation that his career-best numbers may be due to performance-enhancing drugs:

I’ll come after people who defame or slander me. It’s pathetic and
disgusting. There should be some accountability for people who put that
out there. Unfortunately, I understand the environment we’re in and the
events that have led us to this era of speculation. At the same time,
you can’t just walk down the street and accuse somebody of being a
thief because they didn’t have a nice car yesterday and they do today.
You can’t say that guy is a thief.

You can have my urine, my hair, my blood, my stool … anything you
can test. I’ll give you back every dime I’ve ever made [if the test is
positive]. I’ll put that up against the jobs of anyone who writes this
stuff. Make them accountable. There should be more credibility than
some 42-year-old blogger typing in his mother’s basement. It demeans
everything you’ve done with one stroke of the pen.

I’m in complete agreement with Ibanez when it comes to the
increasing number of people willing to just toss out steroid
accusations like it’s nothing. However, why in the world is he
responding to some random article written by someone who goes by “JRod” on a blog that seemingly has a minimal readership?

“Ibanez
rips blogger” makes for a juicy headline and the mainstream media loves
nothing more than a good blog-bashing story, but why is this even on
Ibanez’s radar? Or perhaps more accurately, why did someone in
Philadelphia put it on his radar? There are thousands of blogs, just as
there are thousands of radio shows and newspaper columns and fans
talking at bars. Throw a rock and you’ll hit someone accusing a player
of steroid use.

Why does this particular unsubstantiated
accusation matter compared to all the rest? Credibility shouldn’t be
about the platform you’re on, it should be about whether or not the
things you say and do are, you know, credible.
There are plenty of mainstream media members with huge audiences who’re
miles from credible and there are plenty of little-read bloggers who’re
extremely credible, and there’s everything in between. I’m not sure why
Ibanez would pick this battle to fight or why there’s even a battle at
all.

With all of that said, I do appreciate Ibanez’s efforts to
keep the “blogger typing in his mother’s basement” meme alive, because
I was worried that it was falling too far into the parody realm to live
on at this point. Also, as long as he’s getting into the “responding to
bloggers” business, someone ought to tell Ibanez that there’s no
“stroke of the pen” involved. We use keyboards in our mothers’
basements now.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.