MLB to begin testing minor leaguers for HGH

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One day after I pondered whether baseball would react in an ignorant, knee-jerk fashion to that positive HGH test by that British rugby player,  the New York Times reports that baseball plans react in an ignorant, knee-jerk fashion to that positive HGH test by that British rugby player:

Major League Baseball, which had long been skeptical about a viable
test for human growth hormone, now plans to implement blood testing for
the substance in the minor leagues later this year, according to an
official in baseball with direct knowledge of the matter . . .

. . . The decision to move ahead with blood testing comes one day after a British rugby player was suspended for testing positive for H.G.H. It was the first time
that an athlete had been publicly identified for testing positive for
the substance and was seen as overdue proof that the blood test, which
has been in limited use for six years, actually works.  In a statement in response to questions from The New York Times, Major
League Baseball said it was “well aware of the important news with
respect to” the positive drug test of the British athlete.

As the professor quoted at the end of the article notes, this test has been around for several years, and they’ve caught one dude with it. Does that not suggest to baseball — and anyone else with half a brain — that the test is prone to giving false negatives? I mean, it’s not like it’s reasonable to think that one random British prop is the only guy on the stuff. But hey, if the Daily News is pumping up a single positive, why shouldn’t Major League Baseball and everyone else go all-in?  Sheesh.

But hey, every other thing baseball has done with respect to PED testing has been PR, as opposed to science-driven, so why change now?

(thanks to reader Jeffrey S. for the heads up)

Diamondbacks hire Mike Fitzgerald to head Research and Development department

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Mike Hazen, new Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox, addresses the media during a press conference to announce his promotion before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on September 24, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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According to an official announcement, the Diamondbacks have acquired former Pirates quantitative analyst Mike Fitzgerald as their new Director of Research and Development.

Fitzgerald joined the Pirates’ front office in 2012, where he frequently accompanied the team on the road to help breach the divide between analytics and the clubhouse. According to a profile written by Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh in 2014, Fitzgerald’s multifaceted approach brought balance and perspective to the organization, whether he was assisting coaches in making statistically sound decisions, optimizing the batting order, weighing in on scouting and personnel decisions, developing more effective defensive positioning, or keeping players and personnel appraised of the latest developments in sabermetrics.

In the wake of Fitzgerald’s departure, Pirates’ GM Neal Huntington praised the Diamondbacks for a smart acquisition and said that the club has every intention of finding a replacement analyst, albeit one who will have some big shoes to fill.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.