Mariners may manage Felix Hernandez more carefully in 2018

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During his end-of-season press conference on Tuesday, Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto mentioned that ace Felix Hernandez may be managed differently next season in order to get him to 30 starts. That may include utilizing pitch counts or skipping a start every now and then, Shannon Drayer of MyNorthwest.com reports.

Hernandez, 31, made 16 starts this season and finished with a disappointing 4.36 ERA and a 78/26 K/BB ratio in 86 2/3 innings. The right-hander battled bursitis in his throwing shoulder for most of the season, missing two months between late April and late June and another month and a half between the start of August and mid-September.

Hernandez is under contract for two more years, earning $26 million in 2018 and $27 million in 2019. He also has a conditional club option in 2020 that the Mariners may exercise depending on his health.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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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.