Sammy Sosa will not be prosecuted for perjury. Not that this is news.

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The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt reports that the Congressional committee that Sammy Sosa testified before in 2005 — famously speaking in Spanish, rather than English — has decided not to charge Sammy Sosa with perjury despite the fact that he was later revealed to have tested positive for PEDs prior to his testimony.

A couple of things here:

1. I’m not quite sure how this is news. The hearing took place in March 2005. It is now May 2010. The statute of limitations for perjury is five years, so I’m struggling to see how charges could be filed even if they tried. I guess Schmidt is just trying to get back in steroids-writing practice in anticipating of the Roger Clemens business coming soon.

2. Even if the statute hadn’t run, it seems very clear to me that Sosa didn’t lie to the committee despite the fact that he apparently took PEDs of some kind before 2005.

As I wrote last year, it’s not true that Sosa denied taking steroids before Congress. He said
“To be clear, I have never taken illegal
performance-enhancing drugs.” He said “I have not broken the laws of
the United States or the laws of the Dominican Republic.” He said “I
have been
tested as recently as 2004, and I am clean.” Those statements all allow for the possibility
that he used substances that were legal in the Dominican Republic that
would have been illegal to use in the United States, such as steroids or HGH.

We don’t know for sure, though, because neither the members of that Congressional committee nor the multiple lawyers they had on staff, sitting there in the room bothered to ask the basic sorts of
followup questions when faced with obvious qualifications like Sosa was offering. If they had pressed them on it — say, asked him whether he took PEDs, whether legally or illegally, in the United States or at home in the D.R. — he could have been in a serious jam.

But they didn’t. My theory as to why? They didn’t really care.  As is the case with every other bit of congressional involvement in steroids, the 2005 hearings were designed for P.R. purposes and to show voters that Congressman Whoever knew how to stick it to those cheating ballplayers who defied God, mugged Hank Aaron and pooped in Mom’s apple pie or whatever. It wasn’t a serious legal proceeding and never was meant to be.

Still, Roger Clemens could get charged with perjury sometime soon. But then again, he’s always done things more audaciously than anyone. Including, we may find out, lying.

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.