Lots of Biogenesis news has come out in the past few minutes. We have news of three new names in the Biogenesis scandal, a couple being cleared as well as more news of players agreeing not to appeal and to serve their suspensions.
The new names: The Mets’ Jordany Valdespin, the Phillies’ Antonio Bastardo and the Astros’ Sergio Escalona are all going to receive 50-game suspensions.
According to multiple reports, in addition to Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Fautino De Los Santos, Fernando Martinez and Jordan Norberto have all accepted 50-game suspensions. That’s 12 players plus Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez.
Cleared, either completely or in terms of new discipline: Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera, all who will get no additional discipline over what they have already served (each received 50-game suspensions last season). Finally, there have been no violations found for Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals or Danny Valencia of the Orioles. Each were named in the original Miami New Times report about Biogenesis, but there was not much in the way of evidence against them in the actual Biogenesis documents.
Barring any new surprises, this should be the extent of the suspended players. And barring any last minute settlement between A-Rod and Major League Baseball, Rodriguez now stands alone as the sole player mounting an appeal.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.