Day: August 18, 2014

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UPDATE: Pirates minor leaguer suspended 68 games for HGH


UPDATE: Shaikin adds that Clemens was suspended based on a “non-analytical” violation, which is the same situation we saw with the 14 suspensions from the Biogenesis scandal last year. The evidence could include things like documents, clinic records and shipping information.

8:01 p.m. ET: According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Pirates minor league right-hander Michael Clemens has been suspended 68 games for “possession and use” of human growth hormone.

Clemens, 21, was selected in the 16th round out of a McNeese State University back in June. He had a 1.00 ERA and 20/5 K/BB ratio over his first 18 professional innings as a reliever with the Pirates’ rookie ball team in Bristol, Virginia.

Why 68 games? Danny Wild of provides the explanation:

Under the rules of the new Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program for Rookie and Short-Season leagues, a first violation receives a discipline of 80 games or the total number of regular-season games in the league, whichever is shorter.

And so, Clemens’ first pro season ends on a sour note and the suspension will roll over into 2015.

Report: Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo is “moving quickly” toward signing with a team

Rusney Castillo Getty

28 teams reportedly attended a showcase for Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo late last month and now Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that he’s “moving quickly” toward a decision on where to sign.

George A. King III of the New Yost Post hears from several teams with interest in Castillo that the Phillies are viewed as the favorite. However, there’s no consensus on a front-runner and Jim Salisbury of was told by industry sources that they are not considered a top candidate to sign him. The 27-year-old has had a private workout with Philadelphia, as well as the Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers, and Cubs.

Listed at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, Castillo is known for his plus-speed. Most view him as an outfielder, but he also worked out at shortstop during his recent showcase. While he’s not expected to have the upside of Yasiel Puig, there’s speculation that he could receive a contract that rivals the seven-year, $42 million deal that Puig signed with the Dodgers after coming over from Cuba.

Pedro Alvarez making first career start at first base Monday night

Pedro Alvarez
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After 584 games in the majors, Pedro Alvarez is going to try something new. According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he’ll make his first career start at first base this evening against the Braves.

Alvarez recently lost his starting third base job after committing 25 errors, most of them from his throwing. He began taking grounders at first base last weekend in preparation for a move across the diamond and will now get his first test in game action.

Gaby Sanchez still figures to get most of the at-bats against southpaws at first base, but Alvarez’s move to first will likely cut into Ike Davis’ playing time, though one could argue that it’s not deserved. While he hasn’t shown as much power, Davis has a higher OPS (.726) than Alvarez (.706) this season and has outproduced him against right-handers, as well.

Josh Hamilton sits again

Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton, who got the day off yesterday at his own request, and whose manager called him out for his recent lack of production, is getting another day off today.

It’s unclear if this is a benching, a self-benching or if he’s banged up, but Howie Kendrick is batting cleanup and Brennan Boesch is playing left field. Hamilton will have had five of eight days off total after today. So if he is hurt, you have to figure it’s close to time that he hits the DL, as he’s had enough time to figure out if he can play through whatever it is.

And really, Angels fans are probably hoping its physical as opposed to anything else.

Judge grants preliminary injunction in the MASN-Nationals-Orioles dispute

Peter Angelos

Two weeks ago MASN and the Orioles went to court to (a) get out from under an MLB arbitration ruling requiring them to pay the Nationals a dramatically greater amount of money; and (b) get an injunction preventing the Nationals from dropping out of their broadcast deal with MASN and seek other broadcast arrangements while the dispute is hammered out. They just won on part of that.

There was an oral argument on the matter today and the judge hearing the case has entered a preliminary injunction which freezes the status quo pending the outcome of the case. That means the Nats are still going to be subject to their MASN deal and the dispute between them on one said and MASN/the Orioles on the other, will proceed in court. Or in negotiations, but those haven’t worked out too well so far.

Worth noting that part of the standard to obtain a preliminary injunction is to demonstrate that you have a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of the dispute. So, at the very least, the Orioles and MASN convinced the judge that, yes, they could win a trial in the future which seeks to throw out the arbitration ruling entered under MLB’s auspices which favored the Nats.

There will likely be a long time to go before this is all resolved, but in the meantime, nothing will change with the way we as fans see Nationals games.