Fans won't turn on tainted Ortiz, writers will

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As the blog’s resident Red Sox fan, this sucks.

As someone who hates writing about steroids, this really sucks.

The latest leak accusing both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz of being
among the 104 major leaguers testing positive for PEDs in 2003 didn’t
come as a huge surprise. I sort of made a case
for Ramirez starting in early 2008 in this space when he was suspended
in May, but there was always at least as much reason to believe he was
a long-term cheater. The suspicions about Ortiz always made a lot of
sense. If Ortiz wasn’t such a personable guy, they probably would have
been louder.

The outing of Ortiz is just another step on the road to, if not
respectability, then at least tolerance for steroids. Dodger fans still
love Ramirez. Yankees fans have played forgive and forget with every
homer from Jason Giambi and now Alex Rodriguez. The Red Sox had been
remarkably unstained by steroid talk, even to the point of having fewer
minor leaguers suspended than any other franchise. But it was always a
given that cheaters played a role in the 2004 championship and likely
the one in 2007 as well. Red Sox fans have loved Ortiz too long to
start hating him now. They’ll cheer every homer just like they always
have.

At this point, it certainly seems as though the writers are the ones
with the biggest grudge against steroid users. In most cases, it’s the
same writers who were in better position than anyone to expose steroid
use in the 1990s and failed miserably. The fans are largely sick of the
topic and want to move on. MLB itself would certainly like to move on.

However, one thing that’s going to have to happen before we can
truly move on is the release of the 2003 list. It’s disgusting that
unethical lawyers are letting a name or two slip at a time. The whole
list is going to eventually come out and the sooner the better.

Billy Butler on altercation with Danny Valencia: “We had equal faults in this.”

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to regain the lead against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on July 24, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
Don Feria/Getty Images
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On Friday, Athletics teammates Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse altercation that started when Butler told an equipment representative that Valencia was wearing off-brand spikes during games. Valencia didn’t like Butler’s interference, potentially costing him an endorsement deal, so he punched Butler in the temple, causing a concussion.

Neither player had said much to the media about the incident, but Butler finally addressed the issue on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Mark Chiarelli reported Butler’s comments:

“This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal faults in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”

[…]

“By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion,” Butler said. “This is me addressing my faults and what I took away from the team.”

[…]

“To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler said. “To blame this all on one side is not right either.”

Butler also apologized to his teammates. “I would like to apologize for putting [my teammates] through this because they didn’t deserve this. This was an issue between me and Danny. To be fair for them, they didn’t deserve this. The coaching staff didn’t deserve this. The organization didn’t deserve this,” he said.

Butler is making progress in his recovery from his concussion. He’ll travel with the team to St. Louis to open up a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday. If he passes his concussion protocol test, the Athletics will put him back on the active roster from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Report: Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehab

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery in early May. Weight has been the top subject of conversation regarding Sandoval ever since he showed up to spring training and an unflattering photograph was published by the Boston Globe.

Sandoval had a miserable spring training, batting .204 in 49 at-bats and lost out on the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. He went hitless in seven regular season plate appearances before landing on the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, which ultimately required reconstructive surgery.

Sandoval is still under contract through at least 2019, earning $17 million next season, and $18 million in ’18 and ’19. His controlling club has a $17 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2020 as well. It’s hard to see Sandoval fitting into his current club’s future plans, but it will be tough for the Red Sox to get rid of him without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract.