Roger McDowell “all but certain” to be suspended by MLB

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The Braves placed pitching coach Roger McDowell on administrative leave yesterday while they investigate allegations that he made homophobic comments, crude gestures and threatened a fan with a baseball bat at AT&T Park in San Francisco last Sunday.

McDowell apologized Wednesday in a statement released by the Braves, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com writes this morning that he is “almost certain” to be suspended by major league baseball. While veteran pitching coach Dave Wallace has taken over for McDowell on an interim basis, Rosenthal hears that he is unlikely to be fired by the Braves.

Though McDowell is not a current player, there is at least some precedent for a potential punishment from MLB. Former Braves reliever John Rocker was suspended for the first 28 games of the 2000 season after making his infamous comments about New York in Sports Illustrated. The suspension was reduced to 14 games following an appeal.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.