Ortiz apologizes, MLB confuses

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As expected, this afternoon’s press
conference with David Ortiz was a big ol’ dud
. If anything, it was an
orchestrated performance by incoming union head Michael
Weiner, propped up by a statement released by Major League Baseball
this morning
urging “the press and the public to use caution in
reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources
whose identities are not revealed.” As Weiner stated during the press
conference, just because someone is included on the list doesn’t
necessarily mean that the player used a banned substance. Wha wha?




Big
Papi was legally bound from saying much, but he took the the
opportunity to predictably deny his use of steroids while apologizing
to the fans, his teammates and his manager:




“I
definitely was a little bit careless. I was buying supplements and
vitamins over the counter … but I never buy steroids or use steroids.”




“I’m
not here to make excuses or anything. I want to apologize to the fans
for the distraction, my teammates, my manager. We go into a situation
now, it was a nightmare to me.”




Meanwhile, Weiner — who looked like he fell out of bed and ran to the proceedings like Ferris Bueller — sounded all lawyery and unioney:



“Substantial
scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003
test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab
that administers the current drug agreement were not utilized by the
lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The
collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers
regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were
unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.”




Weiner named Androstenedione — the supplement made famous by Mark
McGwire — as an example, pointing out that while it is a banned
substance now, it wasn’t in 2003. He also reiterated MLB’s contention
that eight players, and possibly more, of the 104 siezed by the
government in 2004 did not test positive for PEDs. And of those 96
remaining names, 13 were inconclusive and possibly include multiple
tests on the same player.

Well, if MLB’s intention was to make the whole controversy even more vague
and confusing — which I believe it was — mission frickin’ accomplished, guys. Isn’t there a game on or
something?

Mets trade Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers

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The Mets traded centerfielder Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later, the teams announced late Friday night. Granderson was rumored to be drawing interest from teams earlier in the week, and found a landing place after slashing .256/.360/.721 since the start of the month. In a corresponding move, the Dodgers designated right-hander Dylan Floro for assignment to clear roster space for the outfielder.

As a whole, the 36-year-old’s 2017 campaign has been a tad underwhelming. Granderson entered Saturday batting .228/.334/.481 with 19 home runs and an .815 OPS through 395 PA, and accrued 1.7 fWAR to the 5.1 fWAR he produced during his pennant-winning, MVP-contending season in 2015. Still, with under $4 million remaining on his contract, another 20+ homer season around the corner and the defensive chops to man center field, it looks like a prudent deal for the Dodgers as they continue to bulldoze their way to the playoffs this fall.

The club has yet to outline their plans for Granderson, but his addition to a crowded outfield could displace centerfielder Joc Pederson, who turned in a meager .214/.329/.415 batting line through 292 PA in 2017. It could also have ramifications for fellow veteran Andre Ethier, assuming he’s healthy enough to compete for a starting role when he comes off the 60-day disabled list in September. The Mets, meanwhile, are expected to lean more heavily on rookie outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who’s made just five starts this season after struggling to get consistent playing time on the field.

Corey Kluber exits game with right ankle sprain

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Indians’ right-hander Corey Kluber was removed from the sixth inning of his start on Friday night, bringing a streak of 14 starts with 8+ strikeouts to an unfortunate end after he sprained his right ankle. Kluber stumbled off the mound while trying to field a base hit from Eric Hosmer and was seen visibly limping as he moved to cover first base. He was allowed to stay in the game for one more batter, but quickly yielded a three-pitch single to Melky Cabrera and left the mound with head athletic trainer James Quinlan.

It was a poor ending to another strong outing by the right-hander, who delivered 5 1/3 innings of one-run, four-strikeout ball and took his 12th win of the season after the Indians amassed a nine-run lead. Postgame comments by Cleveland skipper Terry Francona suggest that Kluber isn’t facing a serious setback after sustaining the sprain, however, and might even be good to go by the time his next start comes around on Wednesday.

While the Royals escaped Friday’s loss without injury, the 10-1 drubbing pushed them 6.5 games back of the division lead and half a game behind the Twins and Angels for the second AL wild card berth. They’ll host a rematch on Saturday at 7:15 ET, with left-hander Jason Vargas set to face off against Indians’ righty Trevor Bauer.