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MLB Regular Season Thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Wed May 4th, 2016 10:41 pm
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lobo316



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Major League Baseball is reportedly processing several cases of positive PED tests, with at least one suspension expected to be announced in the next few days, according to ESPN's T.J. Quinn.

Sources tell "Outside the Lines" that the unidentified player has tested positive for Turinabol, which is the same steroid found in recently suspended players Dee Gordon, Chris Colabello, and Daniel Stumpf. Quinn reports the positive test is "one of a handful" currently being processed, and more announcements are expected to follow.

None of the players are believed to be "big names," Quinn said.

MLB officials are reportedly searching for a connection between the players and the drug Turinabol, which was used by East German athletes during the 1970s. Sources tell Quinn more sophisticated testing could be behind the recent spike in positive tests, with newer technology said to be more adept at finding traces of related metabolites in the body, even if the parent drug is no longer present.

Because players typically anticipate drug testing during spring training, when several of these positives were triggered, officials are wondering whether users who might have been taking Turinabol undetected for years may now be falling victim to more advanced testing.

"That's what makes the most sense. There really isn't another theory right now," a source told "OTL."

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 Posted: Wed May 4th, 2016 10:59 pm
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The Atlanta Braves are in the midst of a rebuilding year, and after getting off to a major-league worst 7-19 start, they may start fresh at manager, too.

Atlanta is discussing internally whether it should fire skipper Fredi Gonzalez, a high-ranking Braves official told Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black is considered the favorite to replace Gonzalez if he's relieved of his duties, Nightengale writes, although an interim candidate such as Eddie Perez, Terry Pendleton, or Bo Porter could take over for the remainder of the season.

The Braves aren't directing all the blame for their poor start toward Gonzalez, whom they considered firing last season, but they expected better results, notes Nightengale.

Black, who spent four years working under current Braves president John Hart with the Cleveland Indians, is a former National League Manager of the Year who has 649 career wins under his belt.

The Braves are 425-385 under Gonzalez, but have a 31-72 record since last July, so the talks of the firing don't come as a surprise.

Gonzalez has been Atlanta's skipper since taking over for retired Braves legend Bobby Cox in October 2010.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 12:22 am
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Just when it seemed like Alex Rodriguez had finally found a groove, the struggling New York Yankees will be without his services for the foreseeable future.

The Yankees announced Wednesday they've placed the veteran slugger on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

After leaving Tuesday's contest against the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth inning, the veteran slugger underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed the injury.

Rodriguez, who already missed a couple games last week due to oblique discomfort, appeared to tweak his hamstring running to first base and was replaced in New York's order by Dustin Ackley.

After missing action with the oblique issue, Rodriguez returned to the Yankees' lineup last Wednesday and went 6-for-14 with three home runs and two doubles over his last four games.

The 40-year-old three-time MVP was hitting .194/.275/.444 with five home runs and 12 RBIs prior to the hamstring injury.

In a corresponding move, the Yankees recalled left-handed pitcher James Pazos.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 12:23 am
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have suspended minor-league shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena for the remainder of the season, according to Barry Lewis of the Tulsa World.

Arruebarrena, who signed a five-year, $25-million deal out of Cuba in 2014, was issued a year-long ban last May for repeatedly violating terms of his contract. According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, the club cited the same language for Monday's suspension, stating that Arruebarrena failed to comply with the terms of his contract.

The Dodgers haven't disclosed the specific violations for either suspension, though the previous ban was eventually reduced to 30 days.

Arruebarrena, 26, hasn't appeared in a major-league game since 2014, when he slashed .195/.244/.220 over 45 plate appearances. Through 17 games at Tulsa Double-A this year, Arruebarrena hit four homers and posted a .624 OPS.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 12:24 am
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Major League Baseball has slapped Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Ravin with an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for a banned substance.

Ravin's ban makes him the sixth big leaguer this season to be suspended under MLB's substance abuse policy. He released a statement shortly after the ruling, saying he took a supplement after getting the flu/strep throat this spring.

"Unfortunately, I was not as careful as I should have been and one of the supplements contained a banned substance," he said.

The news comes on the heels of 80-game bans for reigning National League batting champion Dee Gordon and Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello.

After 10 years in the minors, Ravin made his major-league debut last season, posting a 6.75 ERA in nine appearances. He has yet to play this season after breaking his non-throwing arm in a car accident during spring training.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 02:48 am
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Things are going pretty good on the North Side right now.

Propelled by another strong outing from Jon Lester and a three-run blast from Ben Zobrist, the Chicago Cubs capped off a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday afternoon with a 6-2 victory at PNC Park to become the first team to 20 wins this year. Sitting comfortably in first place in the National League Central, now boasting a six-game lead over the second-place Pirates, the Cubs' scorching 20-6 start is the club's best since 1907, when Chicago opened up the campaign 22-4.

That team, by the way, ended up pummeling the Detroit Tigers in the World Series for their first of two successive championships.

Through their first 26 games, the Cubs own a +93 run differential, too, giving them a one-run edge in differential over the 1939 New York Yankees - the team with the best single-season run differential (+411) of all time - at the same point in the season. The only team with a better run differential through 26 games, the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, ended up grabbing the National League pennant, but didn't get a chance for a World Series title due to a dispute between the two leagues over player contracts (the same issue that led to the cancellation of the previous year's Fall Classic).

While their offense has been superb, especially of late - the Cubs lead the NL in runs scored, and boast the league's top wRC+ (124) over the last two weeks - their pitching staff has been certifiably nuts since Opening Day, limiting opponents to three runs or fewer in all but five games this year.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 02:58 am
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So much for hometown scoring.
Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen had strong words for the official scorer of Wednesday's loss against the Chicago Cubs - Pittsburgh's fourth straight defeat - after the All-Star center fielder was given an error on a hard line drive by slugger Anthony Rizzo.
"He smoked it," McCutchen said of Rizzo's third-inning at-bat. "It was a knuckleball. Whoever scored that an error should be fired. That's unbelievable. I did everything I could to catch it."
Anthony Rizzo with one of the funkiest line drives I've ever seen https://t.co/jrWd9x2RLr
— Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) May 4, 2016
McCutchen's frustrations appeared to be indicative of Pittsburgh's struggles as a whole. The second-place Pirates scored just five runs during the Cubs' three-game sweep at PNC Park to fall six games behind division-leading Chicago.








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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 06:40 pm
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Miguel Sano is not having a good year when it comes to umpires, and on Wednesday he had something to say about his recent experiences.

After the Minnesota Twins slugger was called out on strikes Tuesday after checking his swing against the Houston Astros, Sano complained umpires have been acting differently compared to the season prior.

"The umpire is supposed to check, but he never checked," Sano told Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "That’s why they have umpires on both sides. I didn’t swing.

"Last year they checked a lot," Sano added. "I don’t know what’s going to happen with umpires. Umpires are crazy this year."

Perhaps Sano, who got into a heated argument with John Hirschbeck for arguing balls and strikes April 10, is in the bad books of baseball's rules enforcers, but his manger Paul Molitor has a different opinion.

"I think young players are probably not going to get the benefit (on check swings), whether they go down to the corner umpire or not," Molitor explained. "Maybe it looks different from behind on a guy like that. I can’t tell you why, but he doesn’t get many breaks in that regard.

"I still think he got banged on borderline pitches as a young guy, but I think he’s gotten some respect in terms of being able to lay off tough pitches," the skipper continued. "It could change from umpire to umpire too. He has a tendency once in a while to not have the best body language when things don’t go his way."

The 22-year-old Sano sits second in the American League with 39 strikeouts, one behind leader Justin Upton.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 06:43 pm
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lobo316



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Somebody test this guy. He's a midget, shouldn't be hitting home runs.




Looks like the Minnesota Twins didn't get the memo about not pitching to Jose Altuve in the first inning.

On Wednesday evening, the Astros' diminutive second baseman smacked his fifth leadoff home run of the young season, taking right-hander Phil Hughes deep to the opposite field to give Houston an early 1-0 lead at Minute Maid Park.

Barely one month into the 2016 campaign, Altuve is already more than halfway to last year's home run total of 15, which, for now, remains a career high.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 08:00 pm
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All your bases are belonging to Joe Mauer.
The Minnesota Twins designated hitter continued his torrid start to 2016 with his single off Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers in the third inning Wednesday. He's now reached base in all 28 games to start the season, which surpasses Jacque Jones for the second-longest on-base streak to begin a season in Twins history.
Kent Hrbek holds the longest streak in team history when he got on base in 33 straight games to start the 1982 season.
The 33-year-old Mauer has looked a lot more like his old American League MVP self to begin 2016, a refreshing change for the Twins after dealing with concussions and being forced to move out from behind the plate. Mauer is currently leading his team in several offensive categories, and is pacing the AL in walks and on-base percentage.

Mauer's stats during 28-game on-base streak

    BA/OBP/SLG        H   R 2B TB  BB   K
.316/.445/.432        30 10 6  41  22  10

(Statistics entering Wednesday's game)

For comparison's sake, Mauer hit .287/.361/.370 through his first 28 games of 2015, and had more hits (31) than he does now, but he had already struck out 20 times through 28 games, on his way to a career-high 112 Ks. His season-opening on-base streak in 2015 was shorter too, lasting just four games.
A tough test awaits Mauer if he's to keep the streak going and move closer to catching Hrbek's mark, though, as his Twins are scheduled to face the red-hot Chicago White Sox mound trio of Mat LatosChris Sale, and Jose Quintana this weekend.

Last edited on Thu May 5th, 2016 08:05 pm by lobo316

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 08:30 pm
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Texas Rangers top prospect Joey Gallo will miss three-to-four weeks after an MRI on Tuesday showed a Grade 1 strain of his left groin, reports Alykhan Ravjiani from MLB.com.

Gallo suffered the injury April 30.

The 22-year-old, ranked the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, suffered a similar injury to the right side of his groin in 2013, which cost him more than a month of action.

A former first-round draft choice, Gallo has always seemed to have trouble keeping his strikeout totals down, although he's made serious strides in doing so this season, whiffing 21 times in 85 plate appearances, compared to 139 in 374 minor-league plate appearances last season.

He also struck out 57 times at the major-league level during 123 plate appearances.

Gallo, who made his MLB debut June 2, 2015, owns a .254/.400/.642 slash line with seven home runs and 16 RBIs at Triple-A Round Rock.

In his lone MLB stint with the Rangers, Gallo hit .204/.301/.417 with six home runs and 14 RBIs across 36 games.

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 Posted: Thu May 5th, 2016 08:31 pm
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The potential cancellation of a series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins set to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 30-31 due to concerns over the Zika virus has irked country officials, who aren't happy with the idea being proposed.

"It's an outrageous situation," head of the tourism commission for Puerto Rico's House of Representatives, Angel Matos, told Luis Fabgregas and Ben Schmitt from the Tribune-Review. "The reality is that this cancellation is unfair, disproportionate, and makes our country look bad. It's an act of touristic terrorism."

Players from both teams reportedly banded together to let MLB know they'd prefer the games be moved to Miami after learning of the virus' presence in Puerto Rico. MLB is not expected to oppose the players' requests.

The virus has already affected nearly 5,000 people in Brazil, and cancelling the series could potentially cost Puerto Rico close to $2 million, which has already been invested in the event, and another $5 million in estimated revenue generated from the series.

Puerto Rican representatives are also upset over the lack of respect a cancellation would show towards home-grown product and former Pirates outfielder Robert Clemente.

Zika, which may cause microcephaly, a birth defect that leads to smaller heads in babies, has also made its way to Miami, where 90 cases of the virus have been found.

"So they're not coming (to Puerto Rico), and they're going to play in Miami, where there's also Zika?" Matos said.

Cancelling the trip would be a blow to MLB's developing relationship with Puerto Rico, which was hoping for a boost from the league's presence in the country amid its debt crisis of almost $70 billion, and the Zika situation.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 05:50 pm
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As two of the best teams in baseball through the first month, there's a good chance that Chicago's White Sox and Cubs will both reach the playoffs.

And if both teams were to face off in the World Series, one White Sox executive believes the matchup would be more fierce than New York's own showdown in the 2000 Fall Classic.

"They experienced it in New York, but New York isn't like Chicago," Brooks Boyer, the White Sox's senior VP of sales and marketing, told MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "The Mets-Yankees is not White Sox-Cubs.

"None of those other rivalries are like this. This would be a true civil war," Boyer added. "It would really separate the city. It would be awesome."

The last time the Cubs and White Sox were in the playoffs together was in 2008, when both sides were quickly dispatched in the division series by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, respectively.

They'll get some potential World Series warmups against one another from July 25-28, when the White Sox host the Cubs for two games before the series moves to Wrigley Field.

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 05:52 pm
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Brett Cecil doesn't want the support of fair-weather fans.

The lefty reliever has been jeered by Toronto Blue Jays supporters in some of his recent outings, pushing him to respond to his critics.

"One thing I will say," Cecil told Postmedia Network's Steve Buffery on Thursday. "If you're going to boo me, don't cheer me when I'm pitching good."

Cecil's struggles this season are no secret, which has led to the harsh criticism from his own fans. Through 15 appearances this season, the left-hander owns a 5.59 ERA and is tied with Minnesota Twins starter Phil Hughes for the most losses in the majors with five.

It's a startling contrast to the 29-year-old's 2015 campaign, when, on June 24, he began a 37-game streak without surrendering a single earned run. Cecil posted a career-best 2.48 ERA for the Blue Jays last season, making the booing this year harder to stomach.

"I guess that's why it's so surprising, given what I've done in the past. And this is the only team I've been with, so it's a little surprising," he said, according to Buffery. "But like I said earlier, it gets bothersome, but it doesn't affect me on the mound."

"It's not like I'm whining about it. It's just surprising to me and it just bothers me in the sense that, you know, what I have done in the past and yet we've just finished the first month of baseball," he added. "So yeah, it makes me angry. But like I said, I'm not going to let if affect me on the mound. It can anger me before, it can anger me after, but it's not going to affect what I'm doing on the mound."

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 Posted: Fri May 6th, 2016 06:05 pm
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By his own admission, Carlos Gomez has struggled since arriving in Houston at last year's trade deadline, but that doesn't mean the 30-year-old will tolerate disrespect from the local media.

Gomez, responsible for a measly .571 OPS so far this year, was quoted about his struggles in a Wednesday article from Houston Chronicle reporter Brian T. Smith, who made no effort to clean up the native Dominican's English in a column entitled: "Carlos Gomez knows he's a disappointment to Astros fans."

To wit:

"For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed," said Gomez as he roamed center field against the team with which he spent 2008-09.

When Smith tweeted out a link to his story Thursday morning, he included Gomez's quote, too.

Gomez, the two-time All-Star with a decade of MLB service time, didn't appreciate it.

@ChronBrianSmith your intentions in your article were of real poor taste and had no affect on me. I am confident and proud of who I am.

— Carlos Gomez (@RealCarlosGomez) May 5, 2016
@ChronBrianSmith Thankfully I have a great support system and great teammates who are always there for me. God bless you!

— Carlos Gomez (@RealCarlosGomez) May 5, 2016
@ChronBrianSmith oh yeah next time you want an interview have Google translate on hand.. God bless #GetYourWritingSkillsUp #ZeroNegativity

— Carlos Gomez (@RealCarlosGomez) May 5, 2016

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