In the wake of the alleged Jose Valverde spitball thing, the first question many people asked me was whether MLB can or would do anything about it. My guess, based on recent history, is that they probably can do something but probably won’t either, for a couple of reasons.
The history: in game 3 of the 2009 ALCS, there was video that kinda maybe sorta showed Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. After that began to circulate, MLB reviewed it and issued a statement calling the video “inconclusive” and letting the matter rest. While MLB discipline is nothing if not inconsistent, that implies that, had the video been more conclusive, they could have and would have done something about it.
I can’t find the video of the Rivera incident, but I do remember it and my memory of it was that it was far more ambiguous than Valverde’s thing, so perhaps baseball will review this one too and do something about it. It’s possible, however, that even if they do think it’s conclusive that they do nothing to Valverde for fear of wading into — shock! — more replay and second-guessing of umpires and all of that. As it stands, I can’t remember an incident that did not get noted on the field in some way during the game that later led to discipline based on video alone.
In any event, that’s the context. Baseball should probably look into it based on their looking into the Rivera thing from 2009. But it’s doubtful that anything — except maybe a memo to the umpires to watch Valverde more closely going forward — will happen as a result.
There have been a couple of notable instances of players who have dealt with Addrerall addiction in recent years. A few months back we learned that Aubrey Huff suffered from it. Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who has ADD, once had a therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, let it lapse to go off of the drug, but then “in a moment of weakness” returned to it, resulting in a suspension back in 2014.
The latest: White Sox rookie slugger Nicky Delmonico, who has made a splash since his callup, hitting six homers and posting a line of .329/.434/.614 in 20 games. His road here, however, was a difficult one. When he was with the Brewers organization he was suspended for “amphetamine” use. Turns out it was Adderall. And, according to today’s story in the Tribune, it turns out that the circumstances were similar to Davis’:
Delmonico feared the label of drug cheat would impede his path to the majors, his goal since he was a bat boy for the University of Tennessee, where his dad, Rod, coached from 1990-2007. He figured nobody would care to learn the real story; that he became conditioned to taking Adderall, which MLB had approved for medical purposes, but decided to come off the drug before the 2014 season so not to become overly dependent.
“But then I couldn’t not take it,” Delmonico said.
Withdrawal symptoms changed the young man with the infectious personality. His moods swung. Suddenly, Delmonico craved the way he used to feel.
Delmonico was released by the Brewers when he came off suspension and signed by the Sox. They told him to take his time coming back, and as he did, he went to rehab. The rest is history. And just the beginning of history, if his fast start is any indication of how he’ll do in the bigs going forward.
Well done, Delmonico. It’s rare to come back from such adversity, but here’s hoping for your continued success as you enter the prime of your career.
David Wright started at DH and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his rehab debut with High-A St. Lucie last night.
The results are not all that important compared to the fact that Wright actually played in a game. Wright acknowledged as much afterward, saying “There’s still quite a bit to go to where I want to be, but it was a good first step.” Wright said he “felt pretty good,” and that while he’d like to see better results as soon as possible, he’s happy just being out there right now.
Wright is shooting to join the Mets for the final few weeks of the 2017 regular season after being out of action since May of 2016 with back and neck ailments. It’s hard not to root for the guy.