From Adam Rubin of ESPN New York comes word that Mets catcher Ronny Paulino has still not arrived at spring training due to visa issues.
Paulino was handed a 50-game suspension from MLB near the end of the 2010 season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. New Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is telling reporters that the current delay has at least something to do with that positive test.
It’s not known when the 29-year-old catcher might be cleared to travel to Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Paulino inked a one-year, $1.3 million contract this winter and is expected to serve as a backup to Josh Thole this year. A career .273/.328/.383 hitter, Paulino posted a .665 OPS, four home runs and 37 RBI across 344 plate appearances last season for the Marlins. He still has eight games left on his suspension.
It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.
If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.
Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.
Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.