Minor leaguers from the Cubs and White Sox suspended

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Great. Now, ten years from now, when these two lead the White Sox and Cubs to the World Series, they’ll have to answer all kinds of questions from the media:

Chicago White Sox Minor League right-handed pitcher Nicholas Blount has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine.  The suspension of Blount, who is currently on the roster of the rookie-level Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer League, will be effective at the start of next season.

I once spent a week trying a case in Federal Court in Great Falls, Montana. It was January 2004. It was around 20 degrees below zero before the wind chill. When I got my rental car at the airport the guy handed me an engine block heater. My hotel didn’t have any internet service so I went to an internet cafe in a strip mall full of old men looking at pornography.

I’m not saying such conditions excuse drug use. I’m just saying that I understand. Also:

Chicago Cubs Minor League shortstop Elliot Soto has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second violation for a drug of abuse.  The suspension of Soto, who is currently on the roster of the Single-A Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League, will be effective at the start of next season.

Soto was a 13th round draft pick, decided not to sign, then came back and was a 15th round draft pick. His stock has not exactly rebounded.

 

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.