Major League Baseball will not look into the Angels’ conduct in the Josh Hamilton case

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Someone improperly leaked confidential information regarding Josh Hamilton’s recent relapse and the subsequent investigation into it. That’s a violation of the Joint Drug Agreement and, if it can be established that a given party leaked such info, that party is subject to discipline.

The information was leaked to L.A.-based reporters, one of whom covers the Angels for a living. As I’ve argued in the past, Josh Hamilton certainly didn’t have a big reason to do it. And, after MLB’s decision not to discipline him came out, Angels officials sure were vocal with their displeasure and made a point to let the world know that they think he’s a bad guy with big problems. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Angels did the leaking, but it’s not at all unreasonable to do the math and see that they’re the prime suspects.

But suspects are the worst they’ll ever be with respect to this business, because MLB is not going to look into the matter:

Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that he will not investigate whether the Angels released confidential information about outfielder Josh Hamilton.

“I have no reason to believe the Angels did anything inappropriate,” Manfred said during a visit to Safeco Field for Wednesday night’s game between the Angels and Seattle Mariners . . . “Confidentiality is an important component of the drug program,” Manfred said. “Unfortunately, the more people that know about something, the less likely it is that it’s going to stay confidential.

The people who knew about this were Manfred’s own folks in the commissioner’s office, the Angels, Josh Hamilton and his agents and/or lawyers. Which is the same general universe of people who will know about any problem that arises with respect to any player under the JDA. So, in effect, it seems Manfred is saying that he’ll never, ever investigate leaks of this information because a lot of people “know about something” and, well, I guess stuff happens.

So, congratulations Major League Baseball, you just wrote out a key section of the JDA. One which runs seven full sections over seven pages in a 58-page document and which is considered to be, by its own terms, “essential to the Program’s success.” And you did it because you are unwilling to even investigate — not just punish, but even investigate — a clear violation of the JDA when it means that you may have to make a club uncomfortable.

 

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.