Juan Duran, a minor-league outfielder in the Reds’ farm system, has been suspended 80 games following positive tests for the performance-enhancing drugs Drostanolone, Stanozolol, and Nandrolone.
Duran is 6-foot-7 with big-time power, averaging 23 homers per 150 games since 2011, but he also strikes out a ton and struggles to control the strike zone. He spent last season at Double-A, missing a lot of time with injuries and hitting .256 with six homers and a .728 OPS in 59 games as a 23-year-old.
Duran is on the 40-man roster and is considered a quasi-prospect, but he’ll be ineligible to play until July and figures to head back to Double-A once reinstated.
Last week the Rockies parted ways with left-hander Christian Friedrich, designating the former first-round draft pick for assignment, and today the Angels claimed him off waivers.
Friedrich was the 25th overall pick in the 2008 draft and twice cracked Baseball America’s annual top-100 prospects list, but now he’s 28 years old with a 5.81 ERA in 167 innings as a big leaguer after back problems halted his development.
At this point Friedrich’s best bet to stick in the majors seems to be as a reliever, where his fastball-slider combination could work well in shorter stints.
To make room for Friedrich on the roster the Angels dropped 26-year-old infielder Taylor Featherston, who was originally drafted by the Rockies in 2011.
Right-hander J.J. Hoover and the Reds went through with an arbitration hearing over a difference of just $175,000 and the three-person panel ruled in favor of Hoover.
That means he’ll get a $1.4 million salary in 2016 rather than the Reds’ offer of $1.225 million.
Aroldis Chapman‘s departure leaves the closer role open in Cincinnati and Hoover is considered the favorite to claim the job. Last season as a setup man for Chapman he logged 64 innings with a 2.94 ERA and 52/31 K/BB ratio and Hoover has a 3.34 career ERA in 224 innings through age 27.
Arbitration eligible for the first time, he’s under team control through 2018.
Looking to add some veteran bullpen depth, the Blue Jays have signed right-hander David Aardsma to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Aardsma saved 30-plus games in back-to-back seasons for the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, but his career has been repeatedly derailed by injuries since then. He’s bounced around a ton and missed all of 2014, but put together a solid 31-inning stretch for the Braves last season.
At age 34 and with a grand total of 71 innings in the majors since 2011 it’s tough to expect much from Aardsma, but if healthy he could be a good middle relief or setup man option for the Blue Jays.
Red Sox left-hander David Price, who grew up in Tennessee and starred at Vanderbilt before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Rays in 2007, has donated $300,000 to build a baseball field for special-needs children in the city where he grew up playing baseball.
Here’s more from the Nashville Tennessean:
Price said he first participated with a Miracle Field league on Saturday mornings in Tampa and enjoyed seeing how excited the children and their parents were and “how much it makes their week.”
“One day of a couple of hours of baseball doesn’t raise a lot of eyebrows for myself or a lot of other people, but for these kids it’s something they look forward to every day of the week leading up till Saturday,” Price said. “Just to be a part of that and help put one here in our hometown is very special.”
The Miracle Field will include lights, scoreboard, covered bleachers and dugouts, a concession building, bathrooms with showers and a “boundless playground” with a rubberized surface that children with and without disabilities can share, according to an event video.
Pretty cool. Good for Price, who has always had a reputation as being a good person on and off the field. The field–which you can see pictures of by clicking here–is scheduled to open in 2017.