UPDATE II: Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the person who suggested that Schilling take PEDs was investigated by MLB and cleared. It seems that the individual was eventually fired by the Red Sox, but not for that specific incident.
UPDATE: Pete Abraham has more. And, yes, apparently there was an investigation back in 2008. Which, OK, we’ll take baseball’s word for that. Funny, though, that a few short hours ago baseball, when asked, said that it would look into Schilling’s comments and made no mention of an investigation occurring back in 2008.
5:30 PM: Micheal S. Schmidt is hearing so:
Schilling did say that the person was no longer employed by the Red Sox, so that would match. At the same time, given that Schilling was talking about this person in the context of PEDs in baseball and the league’s response to it, you’d think Schilling would mention that as a means of noting MLB being proactive about such things.
And when he said on Twitter earlier today that he wouldn’t name the person, you’d think that a logical response would be to say “there’s no point in doing so; the person was already fired for it.” Instead Schilling made it sound like it should all remain hush-hush.
Still, this should be easy to check. Someone with the Red Sox or Major League Baseball should be able to say — and should be willing to say — what Schmidt is saying here. Indeed, since “#thesystemworked” you’d think they’d be proud to say so.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.