The Rays are going to blow out “TBD’s” arm

Rays
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As we’ve noted several times recently, the Tampa Bay Rays are going with a four man + a bullpen day rotation this year. I have my reservations about that. I think it’ll work for a while but, eventually, when the off days come farther apart and the battle plan experiences more actual contact with the enemy, it’ll start to break down. Possibly because their relievers get tired, possibly because pitchers start to bristle at not having strictly-defined roles. Maybe some combination of those factors sinks it, but either way, I don’t think it’ll be successful in the long term.

An early test will come this weekend. Thanks to today’s snow postponement in New York, Opening Day starter Chris Archer can go on full rest tomorrow and Blake Snell on Wednesday. That’s good for the Yankees games, but it means that today’s original plan — a bullpen day — is now moved into this weekend’s series against the Red Sox. Which makes for two bullpen and/or TBD days in the same series:

Seems to me that if there is any chance of the bullpen days thing working, it’d be better for them to not have to use the scheme twice in the same series. Not that “TBD” necessarily means a bullpen day consisting of the same arms. They could call an actual starter up, of course. Or, perhaps, they can shuffle different relievers up and down during the Red Sox series to make sure they’re not overtaxed. Still, seems rather dicey going with three starting pitches and bailing wire at the moment.

Oh well. At least it gives a chance to break out the poetry:

First we throw Archer, then we throw Snell
Then Jacob Faria and it’s snowy as hell.
Then again with Chris Archer and once more with Snell
Then Jacob Faria and on the rest we won’t dwell.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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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.