Tigers ace Justin Verlander has never been shy about sharing his feelings concerning players using performance-enhancing drugs. Last year, he spoke up in favor of more severe punishments for those caught using, even going as far as to suggest a permanent ban for first-time users. “It’s too easy for guys to serve a suspension and come back and still get paid,” he said.
Verlander is now suggesting something even more draconian: drug testing upon entering the clubhouse every day, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. “Test me every day,” Verlander said. “I’m passionate about it. This is a great game. I love the challenge of it. But you like to know it’s fair.”
Verlander continued, “If you come in every day knowing you’ll be peeing into a cup, that should deter people.”
I can think of at least one group that would fight against any such effort: the players’ union. And though Verlander would argue otherwise, PED use is not really a problem in the game anymore. Dee Gordon and Jenrry Mejia are really the only major league regulars to end up testing positive and Mejia is permanently banned, having tested positive three times. Almost every other player that has been caught in recent years is a minor leaguer or a fringe major leaguer, the type of players Verlander would dominate even if they were legally allowed to use steroids.
Verlander’s proposition is a solution in search of a problem. But as Craig points out, this is just par for the course:
The Mets announced on Wednesday that catcher Travis d'Arnaud has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and pitcher Tommy Milone has been placed on the 10-day DL.
d’Arnaud, 28, was placed on the DL on May 5 (retroactive to May 3) with a bone bruise on his right wrist. The Mets’ backstop appeared to have suffered the injury in mid-April when he accidentally hit his hand on the bat of the opposing hitter when he was making a throw. d’Arnaud resumes with a .203/.288/.475 triple-slash line with four home runs and 16 RBI in 66 plate appearances.
Milone, 30, made three mostly forgettable starts for the Mets, yielding 15 runs (14 earned) on 19 hits and seven walks with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. Newsday’s Marc Carig says that, with Milone out, either Rafael Montero or Josh Smoker will start on Saturday with Smoker being more likely to get the nod.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.