Legal stimulant use in baseball increases slightly

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A couple of years ago Congress started making Major League Baseball turn over figures showing how many drug exemptions it gave out in light of concern that players were falsely claiming to have ADHD or related disorders in order to get their hands on banned stimulants.  The numbers are in for this year, and they show a slight increase in the number of exemptions, with 108 players getting exemptions last season, after 106 got them in 2008 and 103 did in 2007.

As Rob Neyer points out, this is not an alarming number. In 2009, 1,156 players appeared in at least one major league game. That means that around nine percent. According to the National Institutes of Health, ADHD occurs in 3-10% of the general population.  If there was some major effort to scam the system for uppers, you’d figure the number would be higher.  Also of interest in the report:

Twelve players tested positive for stimulants: 11 for Adderall and one
for clobenzorex. Two players received exemptions to use
performance-enhancing drugs because of hypertension, two for low levels
of testosterone, one for narcolepsy, one for obsessive compulsive
disorder and one for postconcussion syndrome.

Not to make light of the disorder or anything, but I bet we could figure out who the OCD ballplayer is: just look for the guy who constantly adjusts his batting gloves and makes a point not to step on the white line going on and off the field.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.