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Suspensions likely in Biogenesis probe

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Jon Heyman talks to some MLB insiders and reports that, yes Virginia, suspensions are looming in the Biogenesis scandal:

Major League Baseball has started interviewing big leaguers linked to the Miami PED investigation, and people who have spoken to MLB investigators are convinced there will be at least some suspensions handed down in the explosive case.

This is just speculation on my part, but given that Heyman tends to be more plugged-in on the player/agent side, those “people who have spoken to MLB investigators” could very well be the lawyers and/or agents for players interviewed. Worth noting that, in my experience, when your client is interviewed by authorities of any type, they tend have a good sense of how much trouble they’re in.

So if suspensions are coming, that leads one to ask (a) when?; and (b) will it be public?  For as Heyman also notes, one of the more interesting issues is whether or not MLB is obligated to keep the names of suspended players confidential pending their appeal.  MLB believes that they don’t have to if the names have already been made public, many of which have here. The union believes, however, that per the Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions can only be announced after appeals have run their course.

My reading of the JDA supports the union side. But practicality suggests that keeping it confidential will be close to impossible due to the fact that the appeals here will involve multi-day and possibly multi-week hearings with players and lawyers going back and forth and into and out of office buildings on offdays or, quite possibly, game days. It’s gonna be known.

Anyway: brace yourselves. A circus is coming.

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.

Cubs are seeking a court order against unlicensed vendors

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If you’re looking to rep the red and royal blue this October, you best get your gear inside the ballpark. According to Lauren Zumbach of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have sought a court order that would allow them to seize unauthorized merchandise being hawked outside of Wrigley Field. That includes shirts with taglines like “Just One Before I Die” and apparel depicting a blue flag with a white “W.”

[The Cubs] received a trademark for “W” flags, but a trademark for use on apparel is pending. Deeming a letter of the alphabet worthy of a trademark might seem like a stretch, but around Wrigley, everyone knows what that particular W in that particular color combination means, [intellectual property attorney Douglas Masters] said.

While seven vendors have been named in the suit, the Cubs have a list of 30 more whom they suspect of trademark infringement, including retailers who primarily operate online.

Back in 2013, the Cubs ran into a similar issue when a fan dressed as alternative mascot Billy the Cub and made multiple appearances on game days outside the park. After six years in the role, Billy the Cub was ordered to cease and desist his ballpark activities by the team.

This time, however, Billy’s tip jar pales in comparison to the revenue unauthorized sellers stand to reap over the next two months. With the playoffs just around the corner and playoff merchandise sales in full swing, quashing the competition (both on the field and off) will be top priority in weeks to come.

The club’s full complaint can be found here.