Steroids to one day be considered quaint

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You think the Hall of Fame debates about Mark McGwire are thorny? Wait until my son strikes out 500 dudes in 2030 with the help of a bionic elbow:

As advances make robots act more like us, titanium parts and
artificial aids can give humans bionic capabilities. “I think this will
be the decade when we cross over from people who consider having
implants to tackle disabilities to people who consider surgery for
their healthy bodies to improve performance,” says Mr Saffo.

Sports
people are already exploring the possibilities – for example, baseball
pitchers have been seeking surgery to replace a tendon in their
throwing arm in a procedure that can make them pitch faster.

Bill James, as he usually is, was right when he wrote this past summer that, in the future, everybody is going to be using steroids or their pharmaceutical — or in this case mechanical — descendants.  Rather than freak out about this, we’ll be better served to actually think about it a bit.

The key issues here are (a) risks and (b) disclosure. Once the risks of any performance-enhancing measure are limited or eliminated, and once everyone knows what everyone else is doing, we’re going to be in a totally different world, PED-wise.

And then, just like we’ve done with every other technological advancement,  we’re going to have to figure out, as a society, how to think about it all in the grand scheme of things.

Mark Melancon is considering surgery

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Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.

Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.

Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.