Major League Baseball institutes pre-signing drug testing in the D.R.

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Thumbnail image for dominican republic flag.jpgAn announcement of two new initiatives from Sandy Alderson’s Office of Major League Baseball in the Dominican Republic:

First, in cooperation with independent trainers, MLB has launched
workshops that will educate unsigned young players about the dangers of
performance-enhancing substances.

Second, beginning today, MLB will institute a comprehensive
registration and drug testing program for unsigned prospects who will
become eligible to sign professional contracts after July 1, 2010.

This is a good move. Baseball invests far too much in international signing to mess around with players who juice up while being scouted, give teams an inflated sense of their
strength and speed and then go off the stuff and reveal themselves to be
lesser players once minor league testing kicks in.

Which has been happening quite a bit lately. You’ll recall that back in March the Indians announced that they were going to do this on their own.  My concern at the time was that this would simply work to make players avoid the Indians and whatever handful of teams adopted such a policy.

Good for Major League Baseball for taking a comprehensive approach to this.

Watch: Javier Baez snares a 106-MPH ground ball

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What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.

Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.