Jack Cust calls the Mitchell Report "a joke"

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I guess it took a couple of years for the reporters to get to him for a quote:

Jack Cust still wonders why his name appeared in the Mitchell Report.

I think it’s because he did a whole bunch of steroids.  Oh, there’s more?

“With all the other stuff going on, with a lot of the guys coming out recently — big-name guys — to me it’s kind of funny they spent all that money on the Mitchell Report and a bunch of hearsay and the guy who made all the money off it happened to work for the Red Sox. Were there any Red Sox on the report? To me, that’s kind of a joke. How does that happen? It’s coming out now with guys on that team. The guy worked for the Red Sox — they spent all kinds of millions of dollars — and then no one there had their name brought up.”

Many have offered a similar criticism of George Mitchell — who sits on the Red Sox board — for allegedly overlooking Red Sox players.  Taking such an oversight seriously, however, is to give way too much credit to George Mitchell and Major League Baseball for cunning.

Simply by reading the Mitchell Report, it becomes obvious that it only sought to report on the low-hanging fruit. Specifically, to parrot the names that were turned up in the course of ongoing criminal investigations such as BALCO, the McNamee business and the Radomski business.  George Mitchell didn’t whitewash Red Sox names — he simply never bothered to look.

The Mitchell Report was a very thin slice of pie.  The fact that the big names that were missed — including Red Sox like Big Papi and Manny — was a function of Mitchell’s failure to look into or even really comment upon international sources of drugs.  To give the Mitchell Report any weight is to believe that a couple of lowlife personal trainers and a mad scientist in the Bay Area were the alpha and omega of baseball’s PED problem. Such an assumption is foolish.

There was a big story at the end of June that almost everyone ignored, and that was about the feds probing Miami physician Pedro Publio Bosch, who allegedly has tons of ties to Latin American ballplayers and allegedly has been a source of hCG, which is the drug for which Manny Ramirez was suspended. Word on the street is that Bosch is talking. You can bet that, if he is talking, he’s going to give up a ton of names, none of which appeared in the Mitchell Report.

So hold tight, Jack Cust.  Others will join you eventually.

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.

Masahiro Tanaka throws off mound for first time since October elbow surgery

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According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.

The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.

Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.

The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.

Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.