Adam Wainwright getting second opinion on injured elbow

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It’s a near certainty at this point that Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright is going to require Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his injured right elbow, but an official decision might not come for at least another 24 hours.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Wainwright has requested that MRI results taken Wednesday in St. Louis be shipped out to Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles for a second opinion. Yocum will review those results on Thursday and then recommend a course of action.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday evening that his initial read on Wainwright’s injury has not changed. Mozeliak was the first to break the news to the media on Wednesday morning and also the first to mention the words “Tommy John.”

“Ninety-nine times out of 100 a player would seek a second opinion on this,” Mozeliak said Wednesday night. “At this point, Adam would like to seek a second opinion, so before we make any conclusions on what was found we’re going to do that at this time.”

Wainwright finished second in last year’s National League Cy Young Award vote after posting a 20-11 record, 2.42 ERA and 213 strikeouts across 230.1 innings. He meant 6.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to the Cardinals and will be sorely missed no matter who steps in to take his place.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.