It gets better: For one voter, PED use was akin to murder in 2010; now busted down to burglary

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Two years ago Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat wrote this when talking about Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro for the Hall of Fame:

I compare PED users to murderers — of course, it’s not the same thing. But please follow my reasoning.

He’s toned it down in the past two years. This is the PED-user analogy from his latest Hall of Fame column:

It’s like saying some people who commit burglary get away with it, so we can’t arrest and convict this burglar right here we caught red-handed.

So maybe Ann Killion was right and time does make things better!  In a few more years these guys will have gone from capital crimes to misdemeanors!

Not that Cohn is softening.  He may not consider these guys murderers anymore, but his latest Hall of Fame column tries to make up for the blunted rhetoric with sheer volume.

I am looking at three names on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot … those three names fill me with varying degrees of disgust. I will not vote for any of them.

I don’t know what Alan Trammell, Julio Franco and Reggie Sanders did to poor Lowell, but I hope it was worth it.

There are moral criteria for players to enter the Hall. Don’t tell me Ty Cobb wasn’t a nice man. You know what I’m talking about.

What?

Cooperstown is not a statistics Hall of Fame. It is a Hall of Fame with certain standards of behavior.

If Ty Cobb makes your cut, no, it doesn’t have standards of behavior.

Clemens was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report. Excuse me, but that’s a lot of times.

That’s the kind of analysis that should make the BBWAA happy that they let anyone who has ever held a credential continue to vote for the Hall of Fame for the rest of their life.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.