What better way to close out the work week than with MLB’s end-of-the-afternoon steroid suspensions.
Today’s unlucky losers were both playing in the Dominican Summer League. Angels outfielder Angel Montilla was busted for Nandrolone, while White Sox right-hander Pedro Rodriguez got nabbed for Stanozolol.
Montilla, 20, was hitting .234/.321/.248 with 16 steals in 145 at-bats in his third year in the DSL. Rodriguez, 22, had allowed seven runs — three earned — in six innings. He was also in his third year in the league. Given their ages, both players may well have been on their way to getting released at season’s end even if not for the positive tests.
Undoing a trade made a year ago, the A’s have acquired Kurt Suzuki from the Nationals for pitching prospect Dakota Bacus.
Amanda Comak of the Washington Times was the first with the news Thursday night.
With Oakland’s No. 1 (John Jaso), No. 2 (Derek Norris) and No. 4 (Luke Montz) catchers all on the shelf, the A’s needed to find someone to share time with Stephen Vogt. Suzuki makes perfect sense as a stopgap, even though he’s hit just .223/.284/.311 in 251 at-bats for the Nationals this year. He spent six years with the A’s until being dealt last August, and he’s familiar with several of their pitchers.
When the A’s traded Suzuki a year ago, it was primarily a salary dump, and the Nationals wanted him because Wilson Ramos was out with a torn ACL. Ramos had since displaced Suzuki, rendering him expendable once again. Suzuki will be a free agent at season’s end. His $8.5 million club option is sure to be declined, leaving him with a $650,000 buyout.
The ironic twist in this is that the Suzuki acquisition will cost David Freitas his chance to join the A’s, at least for now. Freitas was the prospect the A’s got from the Nationals for Suzuki last year, and he was in line for the callup should Norris go on the DL with his fractured toe.
Bacus, 22, was Oakland’s ninth-round pick in the 2012 draft. He was 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA and a 90/38 K/BB ratio in 121 1/3 innings for low Single-A Beloit this season. He wasn’t considered one of Oakland’s top 8-10 pitching prospects.
As if the Braves hadn’t gotten enough bad news in the last day, Brandon Beachy, who returned from Tommy John surgery last month, will see Dr. James Andrews next week after experiencing a setback.
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Beachy underwent an MRI on Wednesday, the results of which the Braves haven’t revealed.
Beachy was lit up in his first outing back for the Braves, but he had turned in four straight quality starts since and was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA overall. Fortunately, the Braves are getting Paul Maholm back, so they still have five starters with Beachy absent. They were believed to be weighing sending Kris Medlen to the pen to make room for Maholm.
Beachy underwent Tommy John surgery on June 21, 2012. He started working in extended spring training games in mid-May and made his first minor league rehab start on May 24 this year before suffering a minor setback in June that got him shut down for a couple of weeks. That pushed back his timetable about a month before he was officially activated on July 29.
The standard recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months, but these days, everyone seems to be aiming for 12, if not a little less. Diamondbacks right-hander Daniel Hudson underwent surgery on July 9, 2012, resumed pitching in the minors in mid-May of this year and then blew out his elbow again on June 5. He was trying to make it back in about 11 months. Beachy and the Braves were aiming for 12 months before his first setback. Perhaps pitchers and teams are getting too aggressive, especially given what’s at stake if there’s a setback.