PED-derangement Watch: Bill Madden edition

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If you are incapable of talking about Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta as free agents without couching almost the entire discussion in the Biogenesis stuff, you may be suffering from PED Derangement Syndrome. Sadly, Bill Madden of the Daily News is exhibiting all of the symptoms.

Today he has a column about how Cruz and Peralta might be good targets for the Mets to pursue in free agency. And they may be. But we can’t really assess that from Madden’s column which spends very little time on their baseball merits and how they might fit into the Mets’ roster and payroll structure and almost all of its time on clever little jabs about how Cruz and Peralta were suspended for the Biogenesis stuff this past season:

But if he doesn’t get Granderson, where might Alderson go for the bats he needs? I say he should think Biogenesis.

After all, Alderson has never seemed to have a problem with drug-tainted players, going all the way back to his days in Oakland when, whether he knew it or not, the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, were alleged to have been shooting up steroids in the bathroom stalls of the A’s clubhouse … There is one other added advantage in signing Cruz or Peralta. Both of them have demonstrated they know how to beat a drug test.

There are a few lines about them being power threats. But a lot more about the drug history of Sandy Alderson-signed players. Which would be fine if it were used to make an argument about the risk of these guys due to their suspensions presented a possible financial inefficiency or something, but I’m not seeing that argument in Madden’s piece. It’s just a facile “look at the druggie players and the drug-friendly general manager! They should get together!” And the sense you get is that they should get together because of the story it would create just as much as they should for baseball purposes.

I dunno, Maybe the most interesting thing about Cruz, Peralta and Alderson is their associations with PEDs. I just sorta feel that Mets fans are more interested in them as baseball players and their team’s GM than they are as subjects of Bill Madden’s and the Daily News’ PED obsession.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.