Jason Giambi replaces Todd Helton in Game 3

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When the Rockies re-signed Jason Giambi in January they talked about wanting to work him into the lineup by giving 36-year-old Todd Helton more frequent days off and sure enough he’s already getting a rest in Game 3 this afternoon.
It seems kind of silly that someone would need a day off less than a week into the season, but my guess is that manager Jim Tracy decided to sit Helton so in early in large part because he wants to get Giambi and everyone else involved in at least one game right away.
In other words, while Helton will no doubt be on the bench more often this season don’t expect Giambi to replace him every few games. Particularly once the Rockies get a lengthy look at his defense at first base after using him almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter last season. Another issue that is Helton and Giambi are both left-handed hitters, so they don’t form a natural platoon.
This afternoon Giambi is batting cleanup against left-hander Doug Davis.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.