Is it time for Human Growth Hormone testing?

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HGH.jpgA U.K. rugby player tested positive for HGH recently and that fact has the New York Daily News and Buster Olney both arguing that it’s high time for baseball to implement a test of their own. If they do not, Olney says, “10
years from now they and the sport will be at risk for another round of
PED hand-wringing.”

Of course, almost 100% of the HGH hand-wringing we’ve seen to date steadfastly ignores the fact that there is virtually no evidence showing that HGH enhances athletic performance, so we should only take the hand-wringing only so seriously.

Not that I’m against testing for it. Indeed, I’m fine with this if, as Buster says, the implementation of testing is
accompanied by getting every bit of information in the hands of the
players, the union and MLB and allowing them to thoroughly and
thoughtfully consider everything. Even if there is no evidence that HGH improves performance, there is some evidence that off-label use of HGH is dangerous. And really, if the players and the league all get together and decide — after some deliberation and consensus-building — that blue socks are bad for the game, I’m fine with them banning those too. It’s their industry and their workplace rules and hey can do what they want with it.

My prediction, however, is that opposed to implementing something considered and reasonable, everyone will bow to media pressure and implement some
half-assed, P.R.-driven plan that addresses virtually none of the legitimate concerns regarding HGH while blowing its dangers and effects out of any reasonable proportion.

ALDS, Game 1: Rangers vs. Blue Jays lineups

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher David Price works against the Baltimore Orioles during first inning of a baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:

CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos

SP Yovani Gallardo

With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.

LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar

SP David Price

After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.

Astros leave Chad Qualls off playoff roster, add Preston Tucker

Chad Qualls Getty
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Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.

Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.

Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.