More on Jose Canseco's subpoena

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Canseco testifying.jpgThe New York Times has an article on the grand jury subpoena Jose Canseco tweeted about yesterday.  Three takeaways:

A lawyer for Canseco said Tuesday that he had been contacted three weeks
ago by a federal prosecutor in Washington who was seeking to serve
Canseco with a subpoena. The prosecutor wanted Canseco to testify before
a grand jury that is investigating whether Clemens committed perjury
when he testified before Congress in February 2008 and denied using
steroids and human growth hormone, the lawyer Greg Emerson said.

Since Canseco knew what this was about beforehand, it means that the shock and surprise in his tweets yesterday was phony, and no doubt calculated for publicity purposes. Should have known better given that he’s the kind of guy who likes to call press conferences every time another player is outed as a steroid user.  Someone remind of this the next time I play up Canseco’s tweets, OK?  Also:

Canseco has repeatedly spoken and written of his own drug use and has
linked several ballplayers to performance-enhancing drugs in two books.
However, he has not directly tied Clemens to the use of illegal
substances. In the book “Vindicated,” which was published in 2008, Canseco said that
he had concluded that Clemens did not use steroids or H.G.H.

I had forgotten that Canseco largely defended — or at least did not directly implicate — Roger Clemens with respect to steroid use in his book and in an affidavit connected to the Clemens congressional testimony. In the comments yesterday a lot of you referenced Canseco’s track record for apparent honesty when it comes to PED allegations.  But couldn’t Canseco’s grand jury testimony end up challenging what most of you think of Clemens and/or Canseco?

After all, if Jose sticks to what he said previously, Clemens’ story is bolstered somewhat, no? I mean, Jose has the goods on everyone, it seems, and given that Roger and Jose were closer that Jose and most of the other people he named, if Canseco says Clemens didn’t do PEDs, doesn’t that mean something?  At the same time, if Canseco ends up implicating Clemens before the grand jury — contradicting what he’s said on numerous occasions — does it not throw into question all of the other non-confirmed claims in the books he wrote and the interviews he gave?  Finally:

Emerson was present when Canseco met with federal agents in April 2008,
two months after the Congressional committee asked the Department of
Justice to investigate Clemens for perjury. At the meeting, Canseco was asked about Clemens’s use of
performance-enhancing drugs and reiterated that he had no knowledge,
Emerson said. Canseco was also asked about Alex Rodriguez’s ties to performance-enhancing drugs and that of other
high-profile baseball players, the lawyer said.

For those keeping score at home, Alex Rodriguez will be questioned by federal agents on Friday. Less than two weeks later, Jose Canseco will be in front of a grand jury where, presumably, he will once again be asked questions about Alex Rodriguez, just as he was in 2008 (and believe me, if a grand jury witness has ever been questioned about something by federal agents before, the prosecutor will ask him about it again).

Hey Mike Lupica! Still want to take shots at A-Rod for “lawyering up? Because from where I’m sitting, A-Rod’s decision to consult with counsel before heading up to Buffalo the day after tomorrow seems like a pretty savvy move if you ask me.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.