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USA Today ranks the 100 most powerful people in baseball

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USA Today has complied a list of who, based on their assessment, are the 100 most powerful people in baseball. Unlike a lot of lists like these, it’s well-reasoned and not played for laughs. Each entry has a good thumbnail of what role the person in question plays in baseball and why they appear where they do on the list. It’s hard to argue with too much of it, actually.

You will not be surprised that Rob Manfred is at the top of the list. You may be surprised that Sean Forman, the founder and owner of Baseball-Reference.com makes the list at #49. I guess I’m a bit surprised but I’m happy for him. That’s the best site on the Internet. David Appleman, head honcho of FanGraphs is at 62. Viva stat geeks.

The top player: Bryce Harper, at number 11, whose marketability and impending free agency give him a more prominent position than some better players. Derek Jeter isn’t even in baseball at the moment and he makes number 22 on the list. Same with David Ortiz at 32. Shohei Otani comes in at 47 and he’s on the NPB disabled list. Most of the active MLB’ers on the list are in the second 50.

There are a ton of executives, from the league, from clubs, and from media companies, obviously. The top pure-media guy, however, is Ken Rosenthal at number 51. The next time you get too caught up worrying about what this or that baseball writer or talking head says, remember, they’re not as powerful as a couple of dudes who run stats websites and several retired guys.

The thing I find most notable about the list: Tony Clark, the Executive Director of the MLB Players Association, is only at number seven. He’s behind his counterpart in Manfred, Dan Halem, MLB’s top labor negotiator, Tony Petitti, the man in charge of pace-of-play initiatives, Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, agent Scott Boras and Bob Bowman, the man who runs MLBAM.

Put differently: there are six people who are directly involved with decisions regarding the rules and conditions under which players work and who manage and benefit from income streams which players are most responsible for creating that, in at least USA Today’s judgment, are more powerful than the union rep. That’s . . . not ideal. And it’s telling.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

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Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.

Phillies place Aaron Nola on the disabled list

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The Phillies announced on Monday that starter Aaron Nola has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a lower back strain.

Nola, 23, compiled a 4.50 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio over his first three starts spanning 16 innings. He felt some back soreness during his last start on Thursday against the Mets, and it lingered when he had a side session on Sunday.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hears that the Phillies are likely to call up Nick Pivetta from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Nola’s place in the rotation. Nola was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Pivetta, 24, was acquired from the Nationals in the Jonathan Papelbon trade in July 2015. At Triple-A so far, Pivetta has given up only two earned runs on 12 hits and two walks with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.