Michael S. Schmidt has a report in the New York Times today that last year — after Manny Ramirez came back from his drug suspension — he explored seeking an exemption from Major League Baseball in order to allow him to take drugs that would boost testosterone levels. Which, by the way, is what the drug he tested positive for last spring was designed to do.
According to Schmidt, “high-ranking Dodgers personnel, including General Manager Ned Colletti,” were involved in the discussions, and talked about whether he had enough of a
medical problem to obtain an exemption for a testosterone-boosting drug. Ultimately, however, Ramirez never sought an exemption.
Hard to say what to make of this story. If it’s true, it seems like evidence that Ramirez or those around him felt that he needed something to pick him up as he struggled in the second half last year. And if what Schmidt says is true, the Dodgers were among those thinking it.
The team denies that it took part in such discussions. I would hope their denial is truthful, because I don’t think it would be good for anyone if team brass was actually taking part in a “how can we get Manny Ramirez back on PEDs?” conversation.
(link via Dodger Thoughts)
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.