Ortiz did whatever it took

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I want to make one thing pretty clear. I’ve just about had it with this
whole steroid controversy, what with it’s secret lists and tainted
records and bloody syringes. I’m having a hard time even caring about
it, because as Craig pointed out below, absolutely nothing surprises us
anymore. We’ve become desensitized to it all.

As baseball fans, we’ve forced ourselves to look the other way just
to move on and enjoy the game we love. Take a look at Mannywood, for
example. Baseball in the late-90s and early 2000s are like a troubled
uncle. Yeah, the dude was pretty messed up for a while, but he keeps
saying he has cleaned himself up. Let’s just give him the benefit of
the doubt, okay? He’ll turn himself around. Really, he will.

That said, it’s quite different when news like this concerns the
team you root for. Even though I’m not a Red Sox fan, seeing David
Ortiz hit that home run against Paul Quantrill in Game Four of the 2004
ALCS was one of my favorite memories as a baseball fan. It was
positively thrilling. But I can’t help but look at Ortiz differently
now. I’ve grown quite tired of reconsidering all the moments I have
enjoyed.

I’m mad at these players, but cognizant that performance enhancing
drugs aren’t so cut and dry. Thus, it’s not so easy to just pass
judgement on them. Even Bob Gibson has said that he might have
considered using PEDs if they had been around during his time. We have
to accept that we are watching and rooting for some very competitive
individuals. Not just against the other team, but in even keeping a
roster spot. This do-whatever-it-takes attitude is what made David
Ortiz from a mere nice player in Minnesota to a prolific slugger in
Boston. As long as there are advantages to be had, players will seek
them out. Period.

Watch: Ryan Goins tags Todd Frazier with the hidden ball trick

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The Yankees are facing a convoluted path to the postseason, and they didn’t do themselves any favors after Todd Frazier fell for Ryan Goins‘ hidden ball trick in the third inning of Friday’s series opener. With one out and Frazier on second base, Jacoby Ellsbury skied a deep fly ball to right field, where it was caught by Jose Bautista just shy of the warning track and tossed back to Goins at second. Goins faked the throw to Marco Estrada, then sneakily (or not so sneakily, depending on your vantage point) gloved the ball and caught Frazier off the bag for the third out.

Of course, it helped that Frazier’s back was turned during the throw, so Goins’ fake-out may not have been as obvious as it was when the Yankees reviewed the tape several minutes later.

Goins earned another spot on the highlight reel in the sixth inning, mashing his second grand slam of the season while Frazier — and the rest of the Yankees’ offense, sans one home-run-record-slaying Aaron Judge — scrambled to catch up. The Yankees currently trail the Blue Jays 8-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and will need to pull off a comeback (and hope the Astros and Athletics clinch their respective games) before they can lay claim to a playoff spot.

Blue Jays shut down Steve Pearce for the rest of 2017

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The Blue Jays have shut down left fielder Steve Pearce for the remainder of the season following a lingering case of lower back stiffness. Pearce has not appeared in a game since September 8, when he was forced to exit in the first inning after experiencing back pain during his at-bat. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, he’s scheduled to return to Florida next week, where he’ll receive epidural injections to address the pain.

Pearce, 34, impressed in his first season with Toronto. He battled through a calf injury during the first half of the season and finished the year with a modest .252/.319/.438 batting line, 13 home runs and a .757 OPS through 348 PA. By September, the Blue Jays started testing the waters with outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez, who shouldered the bulk of the starts in left field after Pearce was sidelined with back issues.

With the Blue Jays all but eliminated from playoff contention, however, there’s no rush to get Pearce back to the outfield. He should be in fine shape to compete for another starting role in spring, and could face stiff competition from Hernandez if the rookie continues building on his .278 average and three home runs this month. The veteran outfielder is slated to receive the remaining $6.25 million on his contract in 2018 and will be eligible for free agency in 2019.