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 MiLB.com 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.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.