Melky Cabrera’s agents cleared of wrongdoing by MLBPA

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Melky Cabrera’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the attempted coverup of Melky Cabrera’s positive test for testosterone following an investigation by the MLB players’ association. In other words, the union has apparently agreed with the notion that former ACES consultant Juan Nunez acted alone in the fake website/supplement scam. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the scoop.

Upon Cabrera’s 50-game suspension, the union launched an investigation into ACES, which provided more than 1,000 pages of emails, phone records, personnel records and other documents, according to the memo. The union also spoke with the Levinsons and other ACES employees, a contractor who handles information technology for ACES and two co-conspirators of Nunez. All current employees were cleared of wrongdoing in the Cabrera case.

ACES’ cooperation into the investigation, as well as its previous compliance with Agent Regulations, worked in the agency’s favor, the sources said.

Also of note, the union will not investigate past allegations from the Mitchell Report or former ACES client Paul Lo Duca which link the Levinsons to performance-enhancing drugs. The union is expected to discipline the agency for how they handled the Nunez situation, but it’s not clear how they will be punished. However, Passan obtained a memo that was distributed to ACES clients which said any sanctions “will not compromise ACES’ ability to represent you in contract negotiations.”

This is a big win for an agency which has lost clients like Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Nyjer Morgan and Everth Cabrera over the past couple of months. While none of their exits were believed to be related to the Cabrera fallout, the Levinsons’ reputation has really been through the wringer from a public relations perspective.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.