Alan Embree will opt out of Red Sox deal if not called up this week

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When he signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox during spring training Alan Embree had the right to opt out of the deal if he wasn’t on the major-league roster by April 15. Once that date arrived and the Red Sox had no plans to promote him Embree extended the deadline to April 30, saying that he needed a bit more time to get ready anyway.
However, yesterday the 40-year-old reliever told Dan Barbarisi of the Providence Journal that he will not extend the opt-out deadline again and plans to become a free agent if not called up to Boston by Friday.

There’s not going to be any extending of the deadline anymore. I’ve been a good soldier, I did whatever’s asked, and I did what it took to get ready. If something hasn’t happened by the 30th, I think they know that I’m not going to consider staying. So it’s pretty much cut-and-dried. If I don’t hear anything, I get on a plane and head home until I have a new job.

I feel like I’m ready, I feel like I can help the team, but ultimately that’s not my decision. I can respect that. I’m a player, they’re in charge. The way I look at it is that they either take me, or I go somewhere else, or I go home. At this point in my career, I’m pretty comfortable with it. I’m sure there’ll be work out there for me, and I’m sure it’ll be good work. But that’s not what was intended when I signed over here. I wanted to be a Red Sox and retire a Red Sox.

Tim Wakefield getting bumped from the rotation makes the Red Sox’s bullpen even more crowded, but realistically Embree is simply competing with fellow southpaw Scott Schoeneweis for the situational left-hander role anyway. Hideki Okajimi clearly isn’t going anywhere as the left-handed setup man and it seems unlikely that the Red Sox would keep three lefties in the bullpen right now.
In other words, unless Boston feels like dumping Schoeneweis my guess is that Embree will indeed be getting on a plane and heading home at the end of this week.

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.