Mike Moustakas benched so that he can work on swing

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The Royals said Wednesday that Mike Moustakas will get the next two days off so that he can work on an adjustment to a swing that’s produced a .194 average to date.

Moustakas, who was called up nearly two months to replace Wilson Betemit as the Royals’ starting third baseman, has just one homer — that coming in his second big-league game — six doubles and 10 RBI in 155 at-bats.  His .505 OPS ranks seventh worst of everyone with at least 170 plate appearances this season:

1. Reid Brignac (SS Rays): .453
2. Brandon Inge (3B Tigers): .483
3. Chone Figgins (3B Mariners): .484
4. Franklin Gutierrez (OF Mariners): .487
5. Tsuyoshi Nishioka (INF Twins): .492
6. Jeff Mathis (C Angels): .494
7. Moustakas: .505
8. Alberto Gonzalez (INF Padres): .520
9. Brandon Crawford (SS Giants): .536
10. Alex Rios (OF White Sox): .540

Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, still has a very promising future, but it looks like the Royals misjudged his readiness for the majors.  His .284/.347/.498 line for Triple-A Omaha wasn’t really all that impressive all things considered.  Of the 15 players to have at least 100 plate appearances for Omaha this season, seven have posted better OPSs than Moustakas’ .845 mark.  Eric Hosmer, in comparison, hit .439/.525/.582 prior to his callup.

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.