The Mariners made a handful of roster moves on Saturday afternoon, per Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com. The club has outrighted pitcher Blake Beavan from the 40-man roster after he cleared waivers and placed DH Corey Hart on the disabled list with a right knee contusion. With the extra roster space, the Mariners activated pitcher James Paxton from the 60-day disabled list.
Paxton, 25, has been on the disabled list since April 9 with a strained lat in his left shoulder. The lefty made only two starts prior to the injury, allowing three runs over 12 innings with a 13/2 K/BB ratio.
Hart, 32, missed 42 games with a stint on the DL between May 19 and July 3 with a strained left hamstring. It is no surprise that the oft-injured veteran is back on the DL. He has slashed a disappointing .203/.278/.314 with five home runs and 20 RBI in his first season with the Mariners after signing a one-year, $6 million deal back in December.
Beavan, 25, has missed most of the season with an impingement in his right shoulder. He made one start for the Mariners in the big leagues, allowing two runs over four innings against the Rangers on April 15. In 21 non-rehab innings in the minors, Beavan has a 2.14 ERA with a 14/9 K/BB ratio.
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.