Cardinals sign Rangers castoff Arthur Rhodes

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UPDATE: They got their man, as Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have signed Rhodes and he’ll join the bullpen tomorrow.

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals “were among the teams to instantly make overtures” to Arthur Rhodes after the veteran reliever was released by the Rangers.

Rhodes and his $3.9 million contract cleared waivers, so he’s a free agent and can be signed for as little as a prorated share of the minimum salary, with his agent telling Goold that multiple teams have expressed interest.

His velocity has slipped this season and right-handed hitters clobbered Rhodes in Texas, but the 41-year-old southpaw remained effective versus left-handed hitters and posted a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past three seasons.

And if ever there was a good home for a declining but still decent veteran left-handed specialist it’s probably in the National League and a Tony La Russa-managed bullpen.

Five minor leaguers suspended for drug violations

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NEW YORK (AP) Five minor league pitchers have been suspended for drug violations.

The commissioner’s office announced the penalties Tuesday.

Three of the players are part of the Toronto system. Right-hander Juan Jimenez and left-hander Naswell Paulino were each suspended for 72 games, and righty Jol Concepcion was banned for 60 games. Jimenez, Paulino and Concepcion tested for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Jimenez and Paulino are on the roster for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League Blue Jays, and Concepcion is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Blue Jays.

Kansas City minor leaguer Travis Eckert and free-agent lefty Kevin Duchene each tested positive for a drug of abuse. Eckert was suspended for 50 games following a second positive test, and Duchene received a 100-game penalty following a third positive test.

Eckert is on the roster for Single-A Lexington of the South Atlantic League.

There have been 79 suspensions under the minor league drug program this year and five under the major league program.