Jose Bautista’s drug testing seems something less than random

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Interesting story brought to my attention from reader Troy.  It’s from the Dominican newspaper Hoy. And because I forgot all that Spanish I knew 20 years ago, I’m using Google translate to read it.

But the upshot: Bautista spoke at a banquet the other night and noted that in the past two years — the two years which coincided with his tremendous uptick in homers — he has been given sixteen drug tests. In the two years before that he had three total. So I would guess that it’s safe to say that the random drug testing thing has been something less than random in his case.

Now, the real test: given how often Bautista has been tested, if he has 19 homers in late May, can random columnists resist the urge to write that “it’s impossible not to be suspicious” column once again? Or is there nothing that will stop that?

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.