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A bunch of players were claimed off waivers today

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Today we saw an unusual amount of players claimed off waivers. They can probably best be described as 40-man roster stocking stuffers. Here’s a quick look at the busy day of transactions:

The Blue Jays claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the White Sox

Morel hit 10 homers in 126 games with the White Sox in 2011, but he has only appeared in 47 games at the major league level since. The 26-year-old hit .266/.349/.403 with six home runs and 54 RBI over 106 games with Triple-A Charlotte this past year.

The White Sox claimed left-hander Eric Surkamp off waivers from the Giants

Surkamp was hit hard in his lone start with the Giants this season, but he had a 2.80 ERA and 71/23 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings over 16 starts between High-A San Jose and Triple-A Fresno. This was his first year back from Tommy John surgery. He’s not a hard-thrower, usually sitting in the 85-89 mph range, but has averaged 10.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in the minors.

The Rays claimed first baseman Jerry Sands off waivers from the Pirates

Acquired from the Red Sox last winter in the Joel Hanrahan deal, Sands really struggled at the Triple-A level this year, hitting just .207/.311/.329 with seven home runs and 34 RBI over 106 games. A right-handed batter, the 26-year-old struck out in 24 percent of his plate appearances with the Dodgers from 2011-2012.

The Orioles claimed right-hander Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Cubs

Hendriks was just claimed off waivers from the Twins last week, but he’s on the move again. The 24-year-old Aussie has enjoyed great success in the minors thanks to his pinpoint control, but he owns an ugly 6.06 ERA over 28 starts and two relief appearances at the major league level.

The Cubs claimed right-hander Brett Marshall off waivers from the Yankees

Marshall posted a 5.13 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and 120/68 K/BB ratio in 25 starts with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2013 and didn’t make much of an impression in two brief stints with the big club. Still, he doesn’t turn 24 until March and isn’t too far removed from being one of the Yankees’ better pitching prospects.

The Mets claimed right-hander Ryan Reid off waivers from the Pirates

Reid allowed two earned runs in 11 innings during his first taste of the big leagues this past season and owns a 3.87 ERA and 9.0 K/9 over parts of eight seasons in the minors, almost exclusively as a reliever. He turns 29 in April.

The Rangers claimed outfielder Alex Castellanos off waivers from the Red Sox

Castellanos was acquired from the Dodgers in October in exchange for outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, but he was designated for assignment earlier this month to clear a spot for Mike Napoli on the 40-man roster. While the 27-year-old owns an impressive .288/.362/.502 batting line with 85 homers and 109 stolen bases over 615 minor league games, he has only appeared in 24 games at the major league level.

Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles.

Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

Today Chooch left a message for his now former teammates:

A far-fetched sounding drug test scam

NES TSIONA, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22:  A laboratory technician checks human blood samples before placing the glass tubes on an automated testing line at the Maccabi Health Services HMO central laboratory January 22, 2006 in Nes Tsiona which is located in central Israel. The laboratory, which operates a fully automated system complete with advanced robotics, can test more than 50,000 blood samples a day. The lab is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the western world.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
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Kevin Draper at Deadspin is passing along a story — and that’s not me editorializing; he’s admitting that it’s unconfirmed gossip at the moment — about a major league player paying a teammate $2.5 million to take the fall for him on a drug test. The story came via a tip from someone who, apparently, had a conversation about the drug test scam with a college baseball player who knew the players allegedly involved in the scam.

Here is how the conversation was recounted:

College Baseball Player: [MLB player’s star teammate] paid him to take his blood test. $2.5 million dollars.

Bar Patron: How does that even work?

College Baseball Player: [MLB player] and [MLB player’s star teammate] were getting tested the same day. They traded samples.

Deadspin says that the story is “probably bulls**t” but that some preliminary investigating they’ve done doesn’t disprove it and, to some extent corroborates it. How it’s been supported or not is left unclear and Deadspin couches all of this in a request for more information if anyone has any. Which, OK, fine.

I’ll offer that, on the surface, this seems like a bit more than mere “bulls**t.” It sounds structurally impossible. If it’s a blood test for HGH as the excerpt suggests, the samples are tested back in the lab to make sure they match up with previous samples. Meaning: the lab processing the sample knows if it’s your blood or not. If it’s a urine test, as Deadspin thinks it may have been, I’m not sure how samples could be switched given that urine tests are directly observed by testing officials. Yes, they watch you pee. They’d likely prevent you from peeing right next to your bro teammate, but even if you did, they’d see you exchange little plastic containers of urine with him.

I’m not going to say that this is 100% bull because we can’t really know for sure, but the scenario as described sounds highly unlikely, approaching the impossible. If someone had a story about bribing a sample taker with $2.5 million well, hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere, because that would get you over some procedural hurdles. For now, though, this all sounds like someone passing along a tall tale.

If it is true? Hoo boy, that’d be fun. At least for people like me who write about this stuff.