Braves prospect Billy Bullock suspended 50 games

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Braves pitching prospect Billy Bullock has been suspended 50 games following a second violation of the minor league drug prevention and treatment program for a “drug of abuse.”

Bullock was Minnesota’s second-round pick in 2009 out of the University of Florida, but the Twins traded him to the Braves for the ability to keep Rule 5 pick Scott Diamond in the minors instead of the big-league roster in 2011.

Bullock throws in the mid-90s and has impressive strikeout totals at every level, totaling 283 in 218 career innings, but he’s also walked 6.0 batters per nine frames and was a mess between Double-A and Triple-A this year.

Diamond, meanwhile, has developed into a middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Twins with a 3.82 ERA in 212 career innings in the majors.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.