Last week Jose Bautista noted at a banquet that he has been given a ton more drug tests since he became a super duper power hitter. He said yesterday, however, that he doesn’t want to be taken as complaining about it. Quite the contrary:
“It has increased in the last two years compared to before but I’m not complaining whatsoever. It’s a question that I was asked so I gave an honest answer. It’s not in my interest to make it seem like I’m getting picked on … I don’t mind it; it’s something that is not going to affect my focus and I’m not going to allow it to affect how I play my game … They are entitled to do whatever they want and test you as many times as they want. If I get picked to be tested a million times, that’s fine with me.”
That sort of stance basically ensured that Frank Thomas will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I wonder if it will do enough to get people to stop writing articles questioning the legitimacy of Bautista’s accomplishments if he, once again, hits a boatload of homers.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.