Soto admits to positive marijuana test

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Sometime around 3½ months after the fact, it was revealed Thursday
that Geovany Soto tested positive for marijuana while playing for
Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.

Of course, it was a one-time thing, nothing he had ever tried before.

“While I full acknowledge my inappropriate behavior, I want to
assure my fans and my family that this was an isolated incident,” he
said in a statement.

The Cubs have no punishment planned for the catcher.

“Geovany assured the organization this was an isolated incident and
a misstep in judgment that will not be repeated,” the statement said.
“Though surprised and disappointed, the club supports Geovany as he
takes responsibility for his actions and accepts the consequences.”

Umm, yeah. He admitted his actions because he was outed 15 weeks
later. And as far as consequences, well, there’s the two-year ban in
international play, which would only be a problem if he intended to try
out for the Puerto Rican speed skating team this winter. He’ll be
eligible to play next time the WBC comes around.

Soto will not be punished by MLB as a result of the positive test.
Major leaguers are not tested for drugs of abuse except when there is
reasonable cause. The league would now seem to have reason to test him
regularly if it so chooses. Major leaguers who test positive for
marijuana and other drugs of abuse are not immediately suspended and do
not have their names released, but are instead put into a treatment
program. The failure to comply with the terms of the treatment program
can lead to a suspension.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

 

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.