Today’s hot, fresh drug suspensions, right out of the oven!


On a slow news day, I hit “refresh” on my gmail inbox every ten seconds, waiting for the near-daily MLB drug suspension press release to come in. And today we have a troika:

Free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Frank Diaz has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol.  The suspension of Diaz will be effective immediately upon his signing with another Major League organization.

Cincinnati Reds Minor League third baseman Ernest Vasquez and right-handed pitcher James Walczak have each been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine.  The suspensions of Vasquez and Walczak, who are currently on the roster of the Single-A Dayton Dragons of the Midwest League, will be effective at the start of next season.

Frank Diaz — assuming it’s the same Frank Diaz — has been in the Mexican League since 2009, so I’m not sure when he’s been testing. But he was once an Expos minor leaguer, and that’s retro-cool!

I had trouble tracking down Ernest Vazquez. has a Niko Vasquez with an a/k/a of Ernest in the Reds organization. Let’s assume that’s him, even though he didn’t play for Dayton this season. If not, apologies to Niko.

James Walczak — listed as Jamie — is a 15th rounder whose pitching lines suggest that the Painesville, Ohio product may not see much beyond the bright lights of Dayton, so I suppose his using was understandable.

Anyway, who’s calculating their WAR to determine how many wins to deduct from the Dayton Dragons, Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz and whatever the hell team Vazquez played for this year?

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.