Fans try to stay dry during the game's second rain delay in the fifth inning in Game 1 between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers in their MLB American League Championship Series baseball playoffs in Arlington

ALCS Game 1 halted in fifth inning by two rain delays

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A fairly sizable rain storm is now making its way through the Dallas-Fort Worth area, so the Rangers’ groundscrew has rolled out the tarp and put a temporary halt to Game 1 of the ALCS. There’s been no estimate as to when the action might resume.

The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a David Murphy RBI triple and an Ian Kinsler RBI single. Rejuvenated slugger Nelson Cruz then pushed the lead to 3-0 with a towering solo shot to left field in the fourth.

Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson has scattered five hits and fanned six batters over four scoreless innings, but his night will be ended prematurely if the rain sticks around for more than a couple of minutes. Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who has surrendered three earned runs in four innings of work, might also be finished.

UPDATE, 9:53pm: Joe Torre told the FOX broadcast that the delay will probably last between 25-30 minutes.

UPDATE, 10:02pm: The tarp has been rolled off. Game 1 of the ALCS should be back underway shortly.

UPDATE, 10:23pm: The game has resumed. Wilson will remain on the mound for the Rangers, but it looks like Verlander is coming out. Rick Porcello, scheduled to start Game 4, is warming in the visitors ‘pen.

UPDATE, 10:37pm: The tarp is being rolled back out, with the rain falling harder than ever. Wilson seemed to lose his command while waiting out the first delay and has now allowed two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Tigers, down 3-2, have the bases loaded and will be looking to pour on more when play resumes.

UPDATE, 11:19pm: The tarp is coming off. Game 1 of the ALCS is expected to resume around 11:45 p.m. ET. Mike Gonzalez will replace Wilson and Porcello will take the mound for the Tigers.

UPDATE, 11:44pm: Play has finally resumed. Gonzalez will face Tigers catcher Alex Avila in the fifth.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.