Major League Baseball suspends four minor leaguers for using drugs

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Update: There was a fifth player suspended: Royals minor league pitcher Arnaldo Hernandez will sit 50 games after testing positive for methamphetamines, per Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Major League Baseball suspended four minor league players on Thursday for positive drug tests. The players are:

  • Free agent pitcher Mario Alcantara, suspended 50 games for amphetamines (via Evan Drellich)
  • Red Sox catcher Jake Romanski, suspended 50 games for amphetamines (via Drellich)
  • Astros pitcher Brendan McCurry, suspended 50 games for methamphetamines (via Jake Kaplan)
  • Indians pitcher Dakody Clemmer, suspended 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse (via Paul Hoynes)

The suspensions will be effective at the start of the 2017 regular season.

Alcantara, 23, spent last season with High-A Salem, putting up a 3.16 ERA with a 68/48 K/BB ratio in 79 2/3 innings. He made one start and 31 relief appearances. The Red Sox signed Alcantara out of the Dominican Republic in 2009.

Romanski, who turned 26 years old today, spent the 2016 season with Double-A Portland, batting .308/.338/.410 with 26 extra-base hits, 38 RBI, and 34 runs scored in 357 plate appearances. He was selected by the Red Sox in the 14th round of the 2013 draft.

McCurry, 24, split the season between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno, putting up an aggregate 3.07 ERA with a 94/21 K/BB ratio in 82 innings over 55 relief appearances and one start. The Athletics picked him in the 22nd round of the 2014 draft.

Clemmer, 20, pitched his first season of professional baseball last year in rookie ball. He made 17 relief appearances spanning 18 2/3 innings, posting a 7.71 ERA and a 21/13 K/BB ratio. He was selected in the 19th round of the 2016 draft by the Indians.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.