Bud Selig wins a big anti-PED Award

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Commissioner Bud Selig has been named the first recipient of Taylor’s Award,
presented by the Taylor Hooton Foundation to “an individual who has made a
major impact on efforts to educate and protect American youth from the
dangers of using performance-enhancing drugs.”

Couple thoughts:

1. Great for Bud! You’ve come a long way, baby!  Ten years ago he didn’t even know what a steroid was, and now he’s the bestest steroid fighter in all the land!

2. Major League Baseball is listed first under the “corporate sponsors” page on The Taylor Hooton Foundation website. In fact, MLB is a founding sponsor of the foundation, having given it a million bucks to get off the ground back in 2005. You know, back when baseball was freaking out over the fact that everyone realized that it didnt’ care about PEDs. Baseball continues to be a major funding source, of course.  I’m sure this is totally unrelated to the bestowing of the award, however.

3.  The Chairman of the Board of the Taylor Hooton foundation is Dr. Gary Wadler. You know Dr. Gary Wadler. He’s the World Anti-Doping Ageny chief who likes to kick baseball’s butt all over the place every time a new PED test comes out or some new testing procedure is announced.

There’s something circular about all of this, isn’t there?  WADA and the Taylor Hooton Foundation need baseball as a funding source and/or a target and Baseball needs the Taylor Hooton Foundation as a means of validation of its steroids policies.  Of course they’re going to give Selig an award to cement the relationship. If they didn’t, people might start to actually wonder what each party really does for the other, and that would be awful.

Not that this is unique to the sports/steroids world. I can’t tell you the number of boards, non-profits and charities to which I’ve been privy that have similarly symbiotic relationships with the corporations or governments they purport to bird-dog. They often exchange awards like this, usually in the course of banquets in which donors are shown what their money is getting them and the recipients are given a nice experience about which they can write in their next newsletter or annual report under headings like “accomplishments” or “community involvement.”

The only bad thing about it all — aside from the banquet chicken, which is always rubbery and cold — is if someone actually takes it seriously. Which I’m not, not should you. Because tomorrow baseball is going to go back to the same PED policies it has had for a few years now, tomorrow Gary Wadler and his people are going to go back to talking about how horrible those policies are, and all anyone will have gained out of this experience is a little P.R. and a dinner that tastes almost, but not entirely, unlike chicken.

Sonny Gray was denied insurance coverage for the World Baseball Classic

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait during photo day at HoHoKam Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.

According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.

Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.

While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.

Report: Josh Hamilton likely to undergo another knee surgery

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.

More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.

Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.