Don’t slam baseball over drugs: an MLB investigation is what led to all of this

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As has been the case with every single positive PED test involving a notable player over the past several years, I have no doubt that in the coming days we’ll see some variation of the following from a baseball writer:

Baseball wants you to think its drug problems are gone, but they’re not. With this latest story we now know that it’s as if it were 1998 all over again. Everyone is cheating and juicing and if you think that what you’re seeing on the field is genuine, think again.  Don’t let Bud Selig and Michael Weiner tell you that they have faith in the drug testing program. It’s all p.r. and it’s all bunk. We’re still in the Steroid Era.

I embellish, but only a little. We’ve all seen that sort of thing before and I assure you we’ll see it again.

But before you buy into that, go read Michael S. Schmidt’s report of this Miami business in the New York Times.  In addition to the things we already know, Schmidt reports that the reason this all came to light in the first place was because of an MLB investigation into an employee of Melky Cabrera’s agents in the wake of his positive test last year.

The upshot: MLB caught a cheating player with testing. Its investigations arm got involved and sniffed out the baloney in his story.  They dug deeper and made connections to past information they had on PED use but which was unactionable at the time. They brought in law enforcement to assist in the investigation.  The heat from that investigation led to this information coming out, and now they’re pledging to investigate further, with possible discipline to follow.

Some people may look at all of this as evidence of some epidemic and Major League Baseball being asleep at the switch.  I look at it as a pretty damn proactive and robust testing and investigative program doing the job it was set up to do.  Maybe that doesn’t make baseball 100% clean, but nothing in society is.  Heck, not even all sports is.  When was the last time the NFL, NBA or NHL was seen as being on top of things with respect to performance enhancing drugs as Major League Baseball is?  The most famous player in the Super Bowl just got linked to a banned PED today. We’ll hear little of this compared to the A-Rod business over the next week, I assure you.

Yet I expect people will still take their shots at MLB over all of this.  They’re so used to doing it, it’s hard to stop.

 

Nick Burdi exits game after suffering apparent arm injury

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Pirates pitcher Nick Burdi left Monday night’s game agaisnt the Diamondbacks after appearing to seriously injure his arm. Burdi threw a 1-0 fastball to Jarrod Dyson in the top of the eighth inning and immediately grabbed at his right elbow before crumbling to the dirt on the mound. Burdi was visibly in tears on the mound. Just a heartbreaking moment. Don’t watch it if you can avoid it.

Burdi, 26, was once a top prospect in the Twins’ system. The Phillies acquired him in December 2017 in the Rule 5 draft and traded him to the Pirates that same day for international bonus slot money. Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 as well. He made his 2018 debut in mid-July after fully rehabilitating.

Burdi allowed five runs on four hits and a walk, recording just one out in Monday’s appearance. He now has a 9.35 ERA with 17 strikeouts and three walks in 8 2/3 innings on the season. It looks like he could be going on the injured list for a while, unfortunately. Hopefully, the injury isn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked. The Pirates should pass along an update on Burdi’s status by tomorrow afternoon.