Report: Indians unlikely to deal Jason Kipnis

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The Indians officially inked first baseman Yonder Alonso to a two-year, $16 million contract on Saturday, a move that may have some ramifications for infielder/outfielder Jason Kipnis. While Kipnis has drawn some attention from the Mets this offseason, Indians president Chris Antonetti threw cold water on the idea of a trade, telling reporters that he was considering Kipnis as a contingency plan for injured left fielder Michael Brantley.

It’s the closest Antonetti has come to defining Kipnis’ role for the 2018 season. The 30-year-old second baseman/center fielder has been in limbo this winter as the club figures out how best to use Brantley, who is currently working his way back from major ankle surgery and was being considered for first base prior to Alonso’s addition. Should Brantley be unable to start by Opening Day, Kipnis could step in and assume another hybrid infield/outfield role, though Antonetti clarified that he has yet to formally discuss that possibility.

Assuming the Indians continue to add outfield depth and Brantley makes a full recovery by spring, a trade for Kipnis may not be entirely off the table. Talks between the Indians and Mets seem to have cooled considerably, however, especially in light of Carlos Santana‘s three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports that the Indians were in the mix for Santana “until the end,” but without his sizable contract on the books, the financial incentive to move Kipnis is no longer driving trade talks. To that end, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post adds that the Mets are unlikely to be willing or able to meet the Indians’ reported high asking price for the veteran infielder.

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.