Author: Aaron Gleeman

Banned

Reds prospect Juan Duran suspended 80 games

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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.

Angels claim Christian Friedrich off waivers from Rockies

Christian Friedrich Getty
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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.

J.J. Hoover beat the Reds in an arbitration hearing

J.J. Hoover Reds
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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.

Blue Jays sign veteran reliever David Aardsma

David Aardsma
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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.

David Price donates $300,000 to build baseball field for special-needs children

David Price
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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.