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The Red Sox are still steamed that a PED guy played against them in the playoffs last year

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And not just that: they’re not particularly happy that Nelson Cruz played against them just last week.

This comes from Ken Rosenthal’s story about how several Red Sox players, led by Jonny Gomes, it seems, were at the forefront of the movement to get the changes made to the Joint Drug Agreement we first heard about a couple of weeks ago. Specifically, the stiffer penalties for first and second time offenders and the ban on a player who tests positive for drugs appearing in the playoffs with his team that year, even if his suspension has been served.

Based on the quotes, though, it seems like anything short of lifetime bans for first offenses won’t satisfy these guys. Their take on Jhonny Peralta coming off his suspension to play against Boston in the ALCS last year:

How much conversation was there among the Red Sox?

“A lot,” Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes said.

What was the tone of those conversations?

“Not positive . . .”

“Every time he got a hit, you were just mad,” Ross said. “It wasn’t like something we dwelled upon. But there were remarks made here and there. It’s only natural to not like a guy you feel like is cheating, is on a different level than you are, whether he still is or not.”

And they have an issue with Nelson Cruz too:

“It still makes guys mad,” Ross said. “Nelson Cruz beat us with a home run on Opening Day (this year). You just have that sense of getting beat by a cheater. It hurts a little more than normally when you would just give a guy credit for doing something good. That’s on them, too. That’s something they’ll carry the rest of their playing career, and probably the rest of their lives.”

If it’s more about them “feeling like” guys are cheating, I’m not sure what anyone is supposed to do about it. Even under the new penalties, Ross and Gomes are going to “feel like” someone is cheating after their time is served. And for a lot of people, time goes in both directions. Manny Ramirez didn’t test positive for drugs until after he left Boston, but a lot of people “feel like” he was probably cheating in 2004 and 2007. David Ortiz tested positive for drugs during a trial testing period in 2003, but a lot of people “feel like” he’s still tainted in some way. Just go look at any comment section regarding any post involving David Ortiz ever.

At least Ross is honest, though. When asked if he’d feel differently if one of his teammates was using PEDs he said:

“As human beings, we have a funny way of looking at it,” Ross said. “If it happens to our family, we’ll console ’em. If it happens to an outsider’s family, we’ll condemn him.”

Applause for the players for making the changes to the Joint Drug Agreement that they wanted. But like anything in baseball — everything else in baseball, it seems — people’s ethics on almost every matter of consequence is at least partially dependent upon the jersey worn by the person being considered. Fans do this, the players do this and the media does it too.

I just wish that the acknowledgment of people being “human beings” and thus somewhat understandably possessing situational ethics and a sliding scale of morality was extended to the guys who use PEDs too. Not to excuse them or forgive them, but maybe to demonize them less and understand them a bit more rather than cast them as villains.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.