Grapefruit Wrap: Mets' Davis hits long grand slam

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2008 first-round pick Ike Davis hit a long grand slam in the bottom of the eighth Thursday as the Mets beat the Cardinals 17-11 in early Grapefruit League action.
The bomb made up for an error the previous half-inning that helped the Cardinals score four times and get within one run of the Mets in 11-10.
It was already the second error for Davis this spring, as he failed to get in front of a grounder today. On Tuesday, he let a throw get by him at first base. Davis, though, has gone 4-for-6 with two walks at the dish as he attempts to give the Mets something to think about at first base. Daniel Murphy is currently penciled in at the position.
The game also featured homers from David Wright and the Cards’ Ryan Ludwick. It was a sloppy contest, with Omir Santos at one point getting credit for a two-run single after a 35-foot popup down the first-base line. Of the 10 pitchers used by the teams, just one, the Mets’ Sean Green, is slated to begin the season in the majors, and he was actually charged with four runs — two earned — in two-thirds of an inning.
Other notes:
– Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia turned in two scoreless innings apiece as the Phillies and Yankees faced off in a much-hyped World Series rematch.
OK, that’s probably stretching it. The Phillies won 3-2 after both teams scored two runs in the ninth. Wilson Valdez had the infield single in the bottom of the ninth that ended it.


– The Astros beat a Nationals split-squad 15-5 behind a pair of homers from Hunter Pence. He also doubled, and he finished with four RBI.
– The Marlins topped the Nats’ other split-squad 10-4, with a couple of prospects playing key roles. Bryan Peterson homered and scored three times, while first-base hopeful Logan Morrison tripled in three runs.
– The Rays, avenging a 12-2 loss on Wednesday, edged the Orioles 6-5, with Sean Rodriguez hitting his second homer in as many days. Orioles starter Brian Matusz fanned four, but those were the only outs he recorded as his pitch count caused him to be lifted in the second. He allowed two runs, one of which was earned.
– Young catcher J.P. Arencibia hit a tiebreaking homer in the top of the ninth as the Jays prevailed over the Tigers 9-7. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, because it would have been really nice to see how Tigers pitchers Rick Porcello (perfect for 2 IP), Max Scherzer (3 ER, 6 H in 2 IP), Dontrelle Willis (0 R, 2 K in 2 IP) and Armando Galarraga (4 ER in 1 IP) looked in their spring debuts.
Also notable is that Austin Jackson, who is slated to lead off for the Tigers, had a very nice game, with a single and two walks in three plate appearances.
– The Braves defeated the Pirates 4-2, even though Jason Heyward went 0-for-2 with a HBP to send his average plummeting from .667 to .400. Then again, he still outshined fellow top prospect Pedro Alvarez, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the Pirates.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.