Mozeliak: McGwire had to address questions about PEDs

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McGwire oath.jpgEverybody already assumed as much, but Cardinals general manager John
Mozeliak finally confirmed it on Saturday when he said his willingness
to hire Mark McGwire as the team’s new hitting coach was contingent upon him addressing his past use of performance enhancing drugs:

“He needed to be honest,” Mozeliak told the media during a press
conference at the 14th annual Winter Warm-Up. “He needed to say more
than just that statement, ‘I’m not here to talk about the past.’ … He
needed to not have a line or a sentence that he was going to stand
behind.”

This isn’t much of a revelation, of course, but in a surprising moment
of candor, Mozeliak said that he was ready to develop an “exit
strategy” if McGwire did not agree to an appearance to answer questions:

“My concern was early on in this process that we would never get
there,” Mozeliak said. “I had a lot of concerns. How it would be said,
and what would be said. … We had to have more than we had in 2005.”

While “coming clean” has found McGwire new employment, it probably won’t make a difference as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
The New York Times surveyed 35 Hall of Fame voters, and found that his
confession won’t make a difference with those who have voted against
him in the past. If anything, writes David Waldstein, “McGwire might
have
lost a vote or two.”

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.