Drew Cumberland forced back into retirement

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Sad news to pass along from Padres’ camp.

Padres’ vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith told Corey Brock of MLB.com that prospect infielder Drew Cumberland has ended his comeback attempt.

Cumberland retired for the first time last summer after being diagnosed with bilateral vestibulopathy, a rare inner-ear condition which can cause blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. The 23-year-old has a history of concussions dating back to before he was a supplemental first-round pick of the Padres back in 2007. He was cleared to resume his career after visiting with concussion specialists in November, but his symptoms resurfaced this spring.

“I talked to Cumby [Sunday] and he said that his symptoms had returned and he just wasn’t going to be able to continue,” said Randy Smith, the Padres’ vice president of player development and international scouting.

“I told him to take as much time as he needs … but I don’t think that the outcome is going to change.”

Cumberland was ranked as the organization’s No. 9 prospect by Baseball America last offseason after batting .316/.380/.430 over his first four professional seasons. It’s a shame his career is over at such a young age, but hopefully his condition eventually improves to the point where he can have some quality of life again.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.