Daily Dose: One Last Dose

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After six months and 130 columns, this is the final “Daily Dose” of the 2009 season, although Rotoworld’s baseball coverage is far from over. Our player news page has constant updates 365 days per year, so whether you want to keep up to speed on all the playoff action this month or get the latest rumors and transaction analysis during the offseason Rotoworld will have everything you need.
We’ll also be churning out all kinds of good content here at Circling the Bases, where Matthew Pouliot, Craig Calcaterra, Bob Harkins, D.J. Short, and Yours Truly blog all day every day. And if for some crazy reason Rotoworld and CTB aren’t enough to satiate the daily Gleeman fix that you’ve developed over the past six months, check out my personal blog at AaronGleeman.com and my Twitter updates.
Annoying plugs aside, I’d like to thank everyone who read this column throughout the season and offer a special thank you to those of you who sent e-mails and notes via Twitter. Writing a daily column for six months is a grind, so feedback is always nice, positive or negative. Hopefully the Daily Dose has aided your fantasy teams in some small way. And if your leagues are going down to the wire, good luck this weekend!
While writing 100,000 words in this space since April seems like a lot when you put it that way, here are some notes from around baseball …


* Picking up a win with shutout ball is nothing out of the ordinary for Chris Carpenter, but Thursday’s victory was unique for what he did at the plate. Carpenter came into the game as a lifetime .105 hitter with zero homers in 326 plate appearances, which was good for a .252 OPS that ranked fifth-worst among all active players with more than 300 trips to the plate. So naturally he hit a grand slam and a two-run double.
“I think the only other home run I hit had to be in high school,” Carpenter said. “I was a really good hitter, I guess, but I grew up in New Hampshire and we didn’t see many 90-mph fastballs.” In other words, at this point in his career Reds starter Kip Wells is more or less equivalent to a New England teenager. On the mound Carpenter threw five shutout innings, improving to 17-4 while capturing the ERA title with a 2.24 mark.
* Not to be totally outdone, Tim Lincecum completed his Cy Young case with seven innings of two-run ball, improving to 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and league-leading 261 strikeouts. While he trails Carpenter by two wins and 0.24 points of ERA, Lincecum logged 32.2 more innings. Carpenter’s rotation-mate Adam Wainwright is one of just two pitchers with more innings than Lincecum, and he’s also 19-8 with a 2.58 ERA.
* Mike Scioscia announced Thursday that Ervin Santana will not be part of the ALDS rotation, as the Angels will instead go with Joe Saunders in Game 4 at Fenway Park. Santana is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 11 starts since August 1, but his overall numbers certainly don’t warrant a playoff start and Saunders is 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA over eight career outings against Boston. Either way, the Angels’ rotation depth is remarkable.
AL Quick Hits: Scott Baker picked up his 15th win Thursday as the Twins staved off elimination … Jon Lester showed that his knee was healthy with 6.1 shutout innings Thursday and will be ready for Game 1 of the ALDS … John Lackey was limited to two innings Thursday in a tune-up for Game 1 matchup with Lester … J.D. Drew sat out Thursday’s game with a shoulder injury that’s not considered serious, but may be benched until the playoffs just to be safe … Kevin Millwood tied his season-high with 10 strikeouts in a complete-game victory Thursday … Impending free agent Russell Branyan returned from the disabled list Thursday … Chris Davis went 3-for-5 with a homer Thursday after hitting .306 with five long balls in September … Matt Garza got another tough-luck loss Thursday in a Quality Start, dropping to 8-12 despite a 3.95 ERA and .233 opponents’ batting average … Carlos Carrasco left Thursday’s start after taking a Jacoby Ellsbury liner off his leg and then fell to 0-4 with an 8.87 ERA.
NL Quick Hits: Tommy Hanson tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision Thursday, finishing his impressive rookie campaign at 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA … Jose Reyes will require surgery after tearing his hamstring earlier this week, but should be ready for spring training … Dan Haren struggled in his final outing Thursday, but still leads the majors with a 1.00 WHIP … Randy Johnson indicated Thursday that he’s uncertain about pitching in 2010 … Aaron Cook tossed eight innings of one-run ball Thursday as the Rockies clinched a playoff spot … Derrek Lee was scratched from Thursday’s lineup for personal reason … Chan Ho Park will likely be unavailable for the playoffs after aggravating his hamstring injury Thursday … Manny Parra gave up five runs over 2.2 innings Thursday, finishing with a 6.36 ERA … Cliff Lee took a loss Thursday, falling to 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA for the Phillies … San Francisco reportedly will bring back general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy in 2010.

David Ortiz thinks the Yankees leaked his 2003 drug test results

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David Ortiz was one of the hundred or so ballplayers who tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing which was designed to determine whether or not baseball’s drug problem was significant enough to warrant full-blown testing the following year.  His and everyone else’s name was supposed to remain confidential — indeed, the test results were supposed to be destroyed — but the government illegally seized them and, eventually, his, Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa’s names were leaked.

While most people have long moved on from those survey test results — and while Rob Manfred himself recently said that those results may not, in fact, establish that Ortiz took banned substances  — the story still sticks in Ortiz’s craw. So much so that he’s still out speculating about how his results were made public. His theory? The Yankees did it. From an interview on WEEI:

“What was the reason for them to come out with something like that?” he said. “The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston. This was just something that leaked out of New York, and they had zero explanation about it.”

I’m gonna call B.S. on that.

At the time names were surfacing in connection with those test results, in the summer of 2009, I was given a list of players by an anonymous source. This person claimed it was a list of all 100+ players who tested positive in 2003. Given the nature in which they were provided to me and given that, at the time, there were a lot of people circulating hoax lists, I was dubious to say the least. I had a separate source at the time who knew people who had access to the actual list of players. The source would not tell me who was on the actual list — it was and continues to be confidential — but the knowledgable source did confirm for me that, as I suspected, my list was bunk. I obviously didn’t write anything about it and moved on.

Some added value from that conversation, however, was learning just how few people actually had access to the real list. A small handful of top officials at the union and the league office did, I was told, and obviously the government had it given that they seized it in their idiotic and illegal raid, but that was it. Clubs, I was specifically told, did not have the list.

We’ll never know for sure, but I strongly, strongly suspect that the source of the leak was either IRS/FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, who spearheaded the government’s investigation into PEDs or someone close to him, such as the prosecutors with whom he worked. Novitzky spent close to a decade outing and prosecuting athletes for PED use and, in my view and the view of many others who followed the story at the time, he saw his work as an almost holy crusade. As the above-linked story about the federal court smacking down his seizure of the 2003 test results as illegal, he was often overzealous.

The reporter who broke the story of David Ortiz’s positive test result was Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. Schmidt almost always had the first stories about players being outed as PED users during that period and his reporting on steroids in baseball in general almost always carried with it a pro-government slant. As I said, we’ll never know for sure, but it seems obvious to me that federal investigators and prosecutors were his sources. I suspect they were his sources for the name-naming articles as well. When Ortiz’s name leaked, Novitzky’s investigation was on the brink of being smacked down hard by a federal court and, I suspect, he leaked Ortiz’s name to the New York Times as a means of putting a face on the story and getting public sentiment on the side of those who would name names.

Like I said, though, that’s all ancient history at this point. At least to most people. It’s not to David Ortiz, which is understandable given that the whole incident affected him personally. But I think he’s wrong on the Yankees being the ones to out him. I don’t think anyone with the Yankees knew who was actually on the list. And even if they did, they had no incentive to get into some sort of P.R. war about PED users given that they already at least one prominent superstar getting killed for PED use and a lot of other ones who could possibly have been on the list as well.

But the feds had the list. And a desire to have the bad guys they were trying to prosecute shamed in the public arena. I’d bet a decent sum of money that they’re the ones who leaked your name, Big Papi. I’d aim your rhetorical guns at them if I were you.

 

Buster Posey and Brandon Belt had an on-field tiff Saturday night

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The Giants beat the Cardinals on Saturday night, but there was some grumpiness between a couple of Giants players all the same.

As Hank Shulman reports, late in the 13-inning game Fox TV cameras caught catcher Buster Posey yelling at first baseman Belt after Stephen Piscotty of the Cardinals stole second base. Then, after the final out, there was a brief, cold stare down between the teammates. The issue would appear to be Posey being upset with Belt for not holding Piscotty close at first base and then Belt being upset with Posey for calling him out in front of God and the fans and the TV cameras and everyone.

Neither Posey nor Belt would talk about it to reporters afterwards or on Sunday, saying the matter was between them and that they’d deal with it privately. Which is a smart move.

Of course, if Posey heeded that advice beforehand and took up his dissatisfaction with Belt in private, the reporters wouldn’t have even known about it in the first place.