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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.

 

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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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.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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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.