There was a report over the weekend that Ryan Bruan would soon be “coming clean” about his PED use, lies and all the rest. Tom Haudricourt reports, however, that he may not be answering any questions:
Word has circulated that Braun was preparing to make a public apology and admission of guilt in using PEDs any day now. But the indication was that it might be in the form of a prepared statement instead of a media session.
This will be way less satisfying for many than seeing Braun get grilled in a Q&A session, but I think we also need to ask ourselves whether anything would satisfy people at this point. Mark McGwire sat for a Q&A and people talked about all of the things left unsaid and unanswered. In any situation involving a figure in a scandal you can be 100% positive that people will say they dodged hard questions or showed no remorse. I defy anyone to find a press conference or interview involving an infamous person where, after it was over, people said “Well, good. He finally talked. We’re all satisfied and should now move on.” It never, ever happens.
Right or wrong, Braun can’t rehabilitate himself in any way no matter what he says. The small number of people who still support him always will. Everyone who thinks poorly of him will always think poorly about him. People who truly hate him and who demand answers from him have already decided that no answers he gives will ever be enough. They will complain loudly that Braun is ducking questions but the questions and his answers wouldn’t matter to them. That is the nature of these things.
In other news: Yahoo! reports that a couple of the players who it reported Braun spoke to and to whom he smeared sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. — Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki — denied that he ever spoke to them. Yahoo! and ESPN both stand by their overall report — that Braun did smear Laurenzi — but the breadth of the smear job may be smaller than first suggested.
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.