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Tony Bosch to surrender to authorities today, will plead guilty to drug distribution conspiracy

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Tony Bosch, the founder and honcho of Biogenesis and the man who was the star witness in the enforcement action which led to Alex Rodriguez’s year-long suspension, surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Agency this morning. He will eventually plead guilty to a conspiracy to distribute steroids.T.J. Quinn of ESPN was the first to report on the matter.

Eight others, including Yuri Sucart, the cousin of Alex Rodriguez and former supplier of performance enhancing drugs to Rodriguez, were arrested as well. A full report on the arrests can be read here.

Quinn reports that the charges against Bosch and the others will not be limited to their interaction with major league baseball players. Rather, they will include charges that steroids were distributed to minors as well, both in this country and in the Dominican Republic. However, baseball’s involvement will not end here, as it was reported later in the day that at least two and possibly more baseball players have been identified as Biogenesis clients to the DEA and that their names will, eventually, be released. That should lead to more suspensions by Major League Baseball.

As was widely reported last year, Major League Baseball got Bosch to cooperate with its investigation of Rodriguez by striking a deal with him. That deal, detailed in the recently-released book about the Biogenesis case, “Blood Sport,” was reached over drinks at a Miami dive bar. It includes a promise from Major League Baseball that it would vouch for Bosch to any law enforcement agency which might threaten him with arrest. The agreement reads as follows:

“MLB will inform such agencies of the value and importance of Bosch’s cooperation in its efforts to achieve the important public policy goal of eradicating performance enhancing substances from professional baseball, and request that such agencies consider his cooperation with baseball.”

So someone at MLB now gets to send a letter or make a phone call to the DEA, I suppose, explaining that they should go easier on Bosch on charges that he sold drugs to kids because he helped nail Alex Rodriguez.

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.