Bill Buckner: I definitely would have been tempted to take steroids

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Hey Howard Bryant, does Bill Buckner count as someone “around the game”? Because if he does, you’re going to have to update your toxicity scoreboard:

“I tried a million different things to combat the injury. I had to stay on the field. I was a little bit aware of the extraordinary physical gains some
guys were making, but I don’t really look at it like
some former players do, that it’s cheating. It’s a very tempting
thing to do whatever you can to get healthy because the game puts such
demands on you physically. I didn’t have the opportunity to use those
things, and I’m glad I didn’t because I definitely would have been
tempted. The direction is always better and stronger, better and faster, better and better. Anybody would have been tempted.”

There’s more than just the steroids stuff in the article — Buckner is the “day games hurt the Cubs” camp and he’s not in the “players were better in my day” camp — so it’s definitely worth a read.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.