UPDATE: Albert Pujols’ trainer has denied Clark’s allegations to NBC Sports.com.
10:00 AM: Jack Clark, who once accused the Cardinals of being “quitters” and having “poopy in their pants” — yes, he actually said that — has a new accusation: Albert Pujols: PED user:
He was known as “Jack the Ripper” during his playing days because of his power hitting, and Jack Clark has come out swinging hard in his new sports-radio position. He has accused former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols of using a performance enhancing drug.
Go read Dan Caesar’s column for the details, but the upshot is Clark saying “I know for a fact” that Pujols took PEDs because the trainer who used to work out with Pujols in Kansas City during the offseason “basically told me that’s what he did.”
The trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, was in the news several years ago when it was erroneously reported that he and Pujols appeared in an affidavit with information supplied by Jason Grimsley, who had been busted for PEDs. That turned out to not be the case.
As for these allegations? On the one hand they are, by definition, hearsay. And Clark’s later swipes at Justin Verlander and Shawn Green are pure b.s. which undermine him (he says Green had back acne and erroneously states that Verlander used to throw much harder than he does now). That said, hearsay gets a bad rap, but it isn’t nothing. And if we have learned anything in the past few years it’s that not all credible accusations of PED use are made by reputable and noble sources. Clark could be full of it. He also could be right.
Either way, Clark works in talk radio now and between this and his past comments doing broadcast work it is clear that he is one who likes to drop bombs and get attention. I presume he will be getting a lot more now.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.