Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox

Scott Diamond beats White Sox, pulls off an interesting feat

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Scott Diamond defeated the White Sox on Wednesday without recording a single strikeout in 6 1/3 innings.

And that’s fairly unusual, if hardly unique. He’s the sixth starter this year to win a game without striking out a batter, joining Jeff Locke, Jeremy Guthrie, Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse and Joe Kelly.

What is far more remarkable is that it was Diamond’s seventh straight start with one or no strikeouts. The left-hander, who spent most of August and the beginning of September in the minors, hasn’t fanned more than one batter since July 1 against the Yankees.

According to the Baseball-reference Play Index, the last starter to have such a streak was the Orioles’ Dave Schmidt in 1989. He actually did it in nine straight starts, going 1-7 with a 7.51 ERA and five strikeouts in the span. Before that, Ricky Horton went seven straight in 1988 and Tommy John had eight in a row in 1985.

Since 2000, two pitchers had gone six starts in a row. If you guessed Kirk Rueter was one of them, you were right. He did it between 2002-03 and actually went 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA in the span. If you guessed Aaron Cook was the other, well, you were close (he got to five in a row twice). The other was John Rheinecker, and he wasn’t quite so successful. He went 0-3 with an 11.28 ERA in the six starts for the Rangers from 2006-07.

Diamond is 1-4 with a 6.37 ERA during his streak.

Diamond was one of the AL’s best rookie starters last year, going 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA, but some figured his low strikeout rate would catch up with him. He fanned 90 batters in 173 innings last year. This year, he has just 46 strikeouts in 118 2/3 innings, and he’s gone 6-11 with a 5.54 ERA. Half of those wins gave come against the White Sox.

Johnny Monell signs with KBO’s KT Wiz

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 06:  Johnny Monell #19 of the New York Mets runs back to the dugout after he scored in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on July 6, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.

Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.

The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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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.