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Pudge Rodriguez thinks baseball needs to put steroids in the past

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Hall of Famer-elect Ivan Rodriguez was in Rangers camp over the weekend. While there, he made a plea for baseball — specifically, the Hall of Fame and its voters — to bury the old PEDs hatchet:

“I think these are things baseball needs to put in the past,” Rodriguez said when asked about players from the Steroid Era. “It’s time to think about the game of baseball. There are others who should be in the Hall of Fame, as well. They had great careers. Why not?”

I can’t decide if Pudge is a poor messenger here or, maybe, the most effective messenger for this sentiment possible.

On the one hand, he is widely thought to have used PEDs. There has never been any substantiation of him using PEDs and the only accusation of it came from Jose Canseco, but I’d guess more than half of the baseball fans who followed his career and the Steroid Era believed he used for a couple of reasons. Primarily, changes in his physique and production once drug-testing was implemented. As such, many people may scoff at him asking for the PED guys to be let into the Hall of Fame.

On the other hand . . . he’s going into the Hall of Fame. If you were to grant the assumptions of those fans who suspect him of using, it means a PED guy is heading into Cooperstown. He wouldn’t be the first if he does, indeed, fit that bill, but he may be the most conspicuous. And, somehow, the Heavens aren’t falling. A lot of fans love it, in fact, and we’ve all been able to think back about a career that was pretty damn remarkable and fun to watch.

So, even if you think Pudge is a user, does he not have a point? What is his induction costing anyone? What would Barry Bonds’ induction? Or anyone else’s?

 

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”