Mike Gonzalez blows save in O's home opener

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Mike Gonzalez pulled.jpgMike Gonzalez isn’t doing much to endear himself to Baltimore right now. After blowing a save on Opening Night against the Rays, he proceeded to cough up the lead in Friday’s home opener against the Blue Jays, as well.

Handed a one-run lead in the ninth, Gonzalez didn’t waste any time, walking Edwin Encarnacion, throwing a wild pitch, then surrendering a game-tying double to Travis Snider. John McDonald then pushed Snider to third base with a bunt, setting up Jose Bautista to deliver a sacrifice fly for the game’s decisive run.

The new Baltimore stopper has allowed four runs on five hits over his first two innings of work this season while walking four and striking out three. Regardless, he tells Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he’s confident he can shake the early struggles.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that i can get the
job done. I need to turn this around and i need to do it quick.”

Gonzalez has said all the right things thus far and there’s no reason to believe he’s not healthy, but remember that he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2007 and is coming off a season in which he made a career-high 80 appearances. Even tossing the inherent health risk aside, it’s one of the offseason’s biggest head-scratchers why the Orioles decided to give a two-year, $12 million commitment to a closer when they aren’t
even expected to legitimately contend this season.

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.