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Are future awards out of the question for Ryan Braun?

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Buster Olney posed an interesting question on Twitter and then in his column this morning:

If Ryan Braun is suspended for his positive drug test, will writers never again consider Braun for any award during his playing career? In other words, if he’s suspended 50 games this year, then passes all subsequent tests and hits 60 homers in 2015, would they leave him off their MVP ballot because of what transpired in 2011/2012?

To be clear: Olney has come out staunchly against the BBWAA reconsidering Braun’s award and is on record opposed to Hall of Fame voters turning themselves into the morality police. So in this I take that Olney would be decidedly against anyone treating Braun differently in the future for awards purposes.

But would they do such a thing?

My gut on this is no, Braun would not face some sort of defacto discipline from awards voters as a result of what looks like it will be a 50-game drug suspension in 2012.  The biggest reason: the different voting pools for the Hall of Fame and the postseason awards.

Awards voters are active, working baseball writers. Primarily beat reporters who skew younger, smarter and more open-minded than the Hall of Fame electorate as a whole. As I’ve said before, I wish these men and women had the Hall of Fame vote to themselves too, but alas they don’t.  Maybe I’m wrong about that. The awards electorate does not strike me as a body that would mete out some sort of moralistic justice against Braun. If he put up another MVP-worthy season I presume, absent any future PED questions, he’d get his plaque just like he did this year.

Bonus Braun stuff:  There have been rumors floating around about what may have caused Braun’s positive test. It has been said by some that got a false-positive caused by a treatment he’s receiving for a “private medical issue.”  A rumor has started to spread about what the private medical issue is.  I don’t like to get into fanning the flames on such rumors, but if there is some scientific or medical fact that we can throw into the mix to at least make such rumors more informed, that can’t be a bad thing.

To that end, I direct you to a blog post by long, long long-time reader Paul Sax — who is a doctor and who is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — in which he talks about what could have led to Braun’s positive test and what it means for those rumors that are floating around.  Upshot: if the rumors are right, Braun has a right to be pretty mad at his doctor.

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.