Minor league free agent suspended for refusal to take a drug test

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Random press release:

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that free agent Minor League right-handed pitcher Rafael W. Martinez has received a 50-game suspension for his refusal to test, a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

That’s one you don’t see very often.

This is the Rafael Martinez who was in the Giants organization.  But he apparently didn’t play anywhere in 2012. Before that he had some rookie league experience and then spent four years in the Dominican Summer League. You have to think that he simply gave up on baseball and didn’t take the test because, heck, why should he?

I’m sure someone, however, will spin this as further evidence that baseball needs tougher suspensions, drug use is rampant, etc. etc. froth, foam and growl.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.