Melky Cabrera was included on the provisional roster for the Dominican Republic when it was announced last month, but he has apparently had a change of heart about participating in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. According to Dionisio Soldevila, a Spanish language reporter for the Associated Press and ESPN Deportes, Cabrera has withdrawn his name from the tournament.
It’s certainly interesting timing, as earlier this week the Miami New Times identified Cabrera as one of the players who allegedly purchased performance-enhancing drugs from the Biogensis clinic in Miami, but it’s not known whether the situation had an impact on his decision. Soldevila’s report merely says that Cabrera wants to spend spring training with the Blue Jays.
Cabrera served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with Toronto over the winter and is expected to serve as the club’s starting left fielder this season.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said on Tuesday that starter Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS against the Dodgers, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports. Strasburg hasn’t pitched since September 7 due to a strained flexor mass.
Strasburg was pitching well before a few poor starts prior to being shut down in August. He currently holds a 3.60 ERA with a 183/44 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings.
The Nationals signed Strasburg to a seven-year, $175 million contract extension in May. This was obviously not how they invisioned his 2016 campaign going.
Nationals starter A.J. Cole has been fined an undisclosed amount and suspended five games by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang on Sunday, Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reports. Cole is appealing his suspension.
Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, who was coming into third base on a triple. The fake-out caused Harper to slide awkwardly, injuring his left thumb. The Nationals took exception to this and Cole threw a fastball that ended sailing behind Kang’s back during his next at-bat. Cole was ejected and both benches emptied. There was some yelling and some light pushing and shoving, but nothing beyond that.
Cole will remain active until his appeal is heard, which may allow him to make one more start before the end of the regular season. He’s carrying a 5.09 ERA with a 37/14 K/BB ratio in 35 1/3 innings over seven starts this season.