Open Thread: 2/23 Camp Notes


(REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

Here’s the latest from not-so-sunny Tampa…

  • Chad Jennings has your bullpen and hitting groups, as always. Nothing but minor leaguers and non-roster guys in the bullpen today, and the trio of David Adams, Andruw Jones, and Justin Maxwell continue to be the only non-catchers to hit.
  • David Phelps, Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, Chase Whitley, and Dan Burawa all threw live batting practice today. Cesar Cabral and Graham Stoneburner are scheduled to do the same tomorrow.
  • Russell Martin said Michael Pineda was “babying” his changeup in the bullpen the other day, but it looked good when he really let it go. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild showed the righty a new grip earlier in the week. [Jack Curry]
  • Austin Romine has a sore back and will probably be held out of workouts tomorrow. He missed some time with what was termed “inflammation in his discs” last summer, but this sounds precautionary more than anything. [Bryan Hoch]
  • “I wouldn’t say,” replied Brian Cashman when asked if Gary Sanchez reported to camp 12 lbs. overweight. Twelve pounds seems oddly specific. [George King]
  • Eric Chavez was at the team’s complex today, and confirmed that he still has to take his physical before his deal becomes official. He had other offers this offseason, but it was pretty much Yankees or retirement for him. “This was the spot, if I was going to come back, where I wanted to be,” he said. [David Waldstein, Dan Barbarisi & Erik Boland]
  • David Aardsma was apparently at the complex today after signing yesterday. He’s wearing #34. How dare they disrespect A.J. Burnett like that! [Mark Feinsand]

Here is your open thread for the evening. The Knicks are playing the Heat tonight, which is all you’ve got as far as local sports. Talk about whatever you like though, just don’t be an ass.


  1. Chrisis says:

    Andrus Jones?

  2. TCMiller30 says:

    Sooooooo Braun isn’t suspended? Anyone else think this is ridiculous?

    Selig protecting the Brewers sounds a lot like George Mitchell not listing any big Red Sox (Papi or Manny) on the Mitchell Report..

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Selig and MLB voted against Braun in the appeal then sent out a press release bashing the decision.

      • GardnergoesYardner says:

        I think it’s a low blow by Selig/MLB to do that. Even if they thought he should have been suspended, sending out a press release saying you “vehmently disagree with the desicion” makes you sound whiny, especially when the desicion is already made and done with. Apparently he didn’t get the neccesary votes because of his test, but because of a technicality in the voting, so we don’t know the full story. But still, MLB worked to formulate all of these rules. If there are any technicalities, it’s because they accidently wrote them in!

        If Selig finds a way to reverse the desicion, I’d be ticked off. Of course, they’re his former team, so he’s probably figuring out a way to help the Brewers while making himself look good.

        • Havok9120 says:

          And if they accidentally wrote them in, people should get by the rule because of it?

          I see nothing wrong with them making it clear that they think its silly Braun got off on a technicality. What’s more, I think its IMPORTANT that they make it clear considering Selig’s history with the team and the MLB’s recent no-tolerance policy.

          • GardnergoesYardner says:

            I think we’re observing this from a relatively limited position, as we have no idea what the rule/technicality was. It could have been something serious or something as stupid as “his socks were blue while he took the substance, so it was ok.”

            I wasn’t indicating that I think it was OK that Braun got off on whatever the technicality was. I honestly can’t decide until we know more. I think it was stupid for MLB to immediately come out and say “We strongly disagree.” It’s exactly the opposite of what Braun did back in Decemeber when they annouced his positive test result. He could have came out and said, “I’m innocent, they can’t get me, etc.” He did the right thing and remained quiet until necessary. MLB should give Braun the same respect that he gave them.

            • Havok9120 says:

              We know what the technicality was. The sample was 20 hours late in changing hands, so it technically left the chain of custody for just under a day. Because of that, anything could have happened to the sample and he was let off because of it.

              • GardnergoesYardner says:

                Ok my bad then. If that was truly the technicality, then it’s an issue. I still stand by what I said about MLB releasing the statement. Think that shows lack of class on their side.

                However, that is a major issue. For whatever reason the sample was 20 hours delayed, it should not have happened. Errors like that make MLB come across as incompetant. They should not have let that sample be delayed, and it’s totally on them. All Braun was trying to do was win his case, not be a bad person and in this case he was given a huge out and apparently ran with it.

                • Havok9120 says:

                  Oh heck yes. I agree with you completely there. He did what he needed to do for his case and his career and its on the MLB’s courier for dropping the ball. I have nothing against Ryan Braun for using that out.

                • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

                  It was late because the handler thought – incorrectly – that the Saturday evening FedEx drop time had passed. So he put it in his home fridge until sending it Monday morning.

                  What’s ridiculous in this case is that if he HAD taken it to FedEx Saturday night then it would’ve sat in a sorting facility in Memphis from late Saturday until Monday morning. More reliable and secure than the handler’s fridge? Presumably. However, there was no way to physically get the sample to the lab in the timeframe allotted to avoid this ‘technicality.’

                  Look this is all utter crap. If Braun explains what banned non-steroid substance was found and offers a plausible explanation as to why, he can clear his name. Otherwise, he’s a cheater like the rest.

                  • Mike Axisa says:

                    If Braun explains what banned non-steroid substance was found and offers a plausible explanation as to why, he can clear his name.

                    The burden of proof is not on Braun. If MLB wants him suspended, they have to prove he took something illegal, which they can’t do with a compromised test.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Moral of the story: MLB will go to great lengths to make sure fans know they don’t like PEDs, but won’t do shit about players and managers getting DUIs.

          • fin says:

            In all fairness they wouldnt have done shit about PEDs if the government didnt make them. I think, infact they pretty much condoned it before the govt went nuts.

          • TCMiller30 says:

            The DUI thing still amazes me. They don’t even get a slap on the wrist for DUIs.

            • BK2ATL says:

              And they shouldn’t. That’s the police and court’s decision, not MLB’s.

              I sincerely doubt whether you’d want your job in the middle of your own DUI case. As long as it wasn’t done on company grounds, nor whether work was affected because of this, I can’t see why it’s their business nor any need for your workplace to penalize you.

              Failing a drug test where there is an agreed-upon testing policy by both parties is a different situation. Circumventing that policy is another story and sets precedents.

          • radnom says:

            So not related, but only one of those two things is a direct and relevant violation of baseball rules. The other matter is an off the field.
            Should MLB go out of their way to shame all of their players who commit any crime? No – its bad PR. But public opinion made it very clear that the fans care about enforcement of the PED rule, and so of course MLB is going to want to come across as do so.

            There is a difference between a rule of the game and a crime. MLB is only responsible for policing one of the two.

            • Havok9120 says:

              I think part of it is the example set by the NFL. Fans have started expecting off-field and even moral issues to be policed by the league.

      • TCMiller30 says:

        He’s probably just spinning it that way to come off looking like the good guy.

        I’m just kidding obviously, and I don’t really think there’s some sort of conspiracy or anything going on, but they’ve got to be losing some credibility with the appeal being approved.

        • The Fallen Phoenix says:

          And the MLB should have lost a lot of credibility considering the test results should not have been leaked at all.

          This is not the first time confidential test leaks have been leaked against the players, and I am a lot more concerned about that.

          • Havok9120 says:

            Indeed, that’s the part where I really call BS on the MLB. These “confidential” screenings that leak have gotten pretty out of control, whether they’re recent screenings or from the past.

      • Cory Wade's emergence says:

        Did anyone else read braun’s statement as saying he will explain his side of the story at Fridays press conference?

    • G says:

      They didn’t release the reasoning yet, so we are really in no position to call it ridiculous yet.

      • TCMiller30 says:

        I don’t really think Selig was pulling any Brewer strings are anything, but what possible excuse could there be for failing an MLB drug test?

        An appeal shouldn’t even be an option

        • ColoYank says:

          Well, appeals will always be part of proceedings such as these. It’s a basic right in our system. Now, if you want to go live in China …

          • TCMiller30 says:

            I would, but the baseball’s not as good..

            I feel like this was the perfect time for baseball to show that it’s serious about it’s drug policy and it totally just dropped the ball. I have nothing against Ryan Braun, think he’s a great player, but I don’t know how you could possibly defend that.

            • The Fallen Phoenix says:

              By all reports it was a chain-of-custody issue, which is a huge deal. That is NOT a minor technicality; if Braun’s sample went unsecured for any length of time before being delivered to the testing lab (which is what a chain-of-custody issue implies), it becomes impossible to verify the integrity of the test’s results.

              But on a more fundamental level, you also want to make sure all parties are abiding by the rules that have been defined. MLB consistently has not – chain-of-custody violations, privacy violations, etc. This is not insignificant.

              • TCMiller30 says:

                My understanding is it was just delivered a day late. I’m pretty sure the rest was probably taken care of by that point, which means there probably should have been two separate samples, both of which would have been closed and sealed with something SIGNED by Ryan Braun saying it was his sample. If the seal isn’t broken, chances are it wasn’t tampered with. Sitting around isn’t going to increase the samples testosterone.

                Braun got let off on a technicality and it’s going to make MLB look stupid/incompetent (and probably rightfully so in this case)

                • The Fallen Phoenix says:

                  And the sample should never have left the chain-of-custody to begin with. That is perhaps the most fundamental rule when handling evidence of any kind, and when that gets broken, all bets are off.

                • RetroRob says:

                  Winning on a chain-of-custody dispute is not a technicality, although I understand why people are saying that. It highlights, however the real problem here, which is Ryan Braun’s reputation will be permanently damaged. MLB screwed up and it’s going to cost Braun a lot of money.

                  I wonder if he could sue MLB for setting up a process where his results were allowed to be leaked, and for setting up a system where there was a chain-of-custody issue.

                  • Coolerking101 says:

                    A chain of custody issue in this instance is, by definition, a “technicality.” Anyone saying otherwise does not know what the hell they are talking about.

                    From what I read, Braun didn’t contest the accuracy of the result nor did he suggest that the delay in getting the sample to the lab could cause a positive test result. He literally argued that MLB didn’t get the sample to FedEx fast enough and that’s why the suspension should be overturned.

                    Braun was flat out taking performance enhancing substances. For him to suggest he is “innocent” is akin to a criminal claiming he was innocent b/c the police lab lost the lab report and his case was dismissed as a result. The Commissioner has every right to shout from the roof tops that Braun is a cheater. I”m not saying MLB aren’t a bunch of scumbags in general…but they’re right in this instance.

                    • RetroRob says:

                      I’ll be direct: You have no idea what you’re talking about.

                    • Genghis says:

                      You are absolutely wrong. All tests have a percentage likelihood of false positives. That likelihood can stem from limitations of the test, or from mishandling. In this case, the samples were mishandled. They sat for 20 hours in some guys refrigerator next to the week-old Kung Pao Chicken.

                    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

                      Did you even read the specifics? If the handler had Mae the FedEx drop Saturday night (he thought he’d already missed the cut off) then it would’ve sat in a FedEx sorting facility for 24 hours. That would have been better?

                      Braun is a cheater until he plausibly explains what he tested positive for and why.

                  • TCMiller30 says:

                    I don’t really think the results were leaked at that point. He failed a drug test, those results should be released.

                    • Havok9120 says:


                      And especially, why before the appeal is finished?

                    • TCMiller30 says:

                      Because appeals always happen after there’s an accusation. Otherwise there’s nothing to appeal.

                      When a guy gets suspended for throwing at someone they don’t appeal it before they get punished. Same for drug testing. They don’t appeal before they get caught breaking the rule.

                    • Genghis says:

                      No, appeals don’t “happen after an accusation.” What legal system do you live under? Appeals happen after a conviction.

                      A failed drug test is a piece of evidence strongly indicating drug use. But it is not conclusive, as tests do have a chance of false positives.

                      MLB has a procedure which allows players to argue against the test results, one of the basis of argument being there was an increased chance of false positive outcome under the particular circumstance of the case.

        • Rainbow Connection says:

          I give up. Too many dummies here.

      • Rainbow Connection says:

        On ESPN, they said the courier was supposed to deliver the specimen on a Saturday night, thought the building was closed, so delivered it on Monday morning.

    • Rainbow Connection says:

      Have you read or heard ANYTHING about the case? At all?

      • TCMiller30 says:

        Someone’s grumpy.

        I’ve probably seen the same info that everyone else has seen. I don’t really think Selig is pulling strings to get him off.

        I do think that MLB is going to lose some of the credibility I thought they were starting to gain with regards to the drug testing policy in baseball. I don’t doubt for a second that Braun is guilty. I don’t doubt that the person who collected the sample made a really stupid mistake, and based on the guidelines they’ve set forth, the sample probably shouldn’t be accepted. It just makes MLB look stupid and it’s annoying.

  3. Johnny says:

    As this is an open thread, let me say this about this Ryan Braun mishegas: I didn’t dislike Braun before, but now I dislike him immensely. As soon as you get off disputing the procedure rather than the results I automatically assume you’re guilty of what you’ve been accused and the only way out for you was to pull that sly trick.

    I get the other side of the argument—who knows what happened to that sample during the twenty hour delay, anything could have happened to it causing it to it being tainted. I certainly appreciate that side. But all I’m saying is use science to prove that and don’t just get off on a technicality.

    Alright, that was it. I was peeved for about ten minutes there. Perhaps irrationally so, I’ll admit. Pineda sounds like he’s looking good.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      As soon as you get off disputing the procedure rather than the results I automatically assume you’re guilty of what you’ve been accused and the only way out for you was to pull that sly trick.

      That’s a you problem. MLB couldn’t follow it’s own rules, and Braun took the easiest path to win the case.

      • fin says:

        Sounds like he should have won, though I will always figure he did roids. Gota love a guy that bad mouthed arod for doing them, than gets caught himself.

      • Johnny says:

        I know.

      • BK2ATL says:

        Easiest path???

        I wonder how many other players who tested positive might now want to appeal.

        Fact is, there was a tainted sample attached with Ryan Braun of the Brewers name attached to it. His appeal was not to challenge the sample, but the procedure??? Innocence is certainly disputable in this.

        This kind of crap really stinks about. Makes you have to now question alllll (including David Ortiz) of the previous players who tested “positive” and vehemently denied it, esp. those who don’t or didn’t play for the Brewers. The media crucified them, esp. the ones who they weren’t in bed with.

        This reeks. Bottom-line.

        • Rainbow Connection says:

          Have you seen MLB’s response to what happened?

          • BK2ATL says:

            I have not and now probably will care what MLB will say even less. I’m disgusted with this completely, esp. since MLB was soooo adamant on cleaning up the game and coming down on players. And they did, zero tolerance-like.

            Then the NL MVP from the Milwaukee Brewers (the commissioner’s old and beloved team) and suddenly the technical circumvention of this policy is okay, yet the sample remained tainted???

            I’m going on the record and saying, Manny Ramirez should appeal his suspension right now. If he has already done so, he should do it again, demanding the same details of how his sample was handled. This is the precedent that has been set.

            • Havok9120 says:

              Guy, the sample was out of contact due to the mistake of a courier, not because the sample was “tainted” in some MLB mix-up or because some doctor screwed the pooch.

              Its a major deal, sure. But step away from the ledge, or at least off the soapbox.

              • BK2ATL says:

                How does the headline “Ryan Braun tests positive for PED (http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/st.....ncing-drug)” suddenly play into “the sample was out of contact due to the mistake of a courier, not because the sample was “tainted” in some MLB mix-up or because some doctor screwed the pooch”???

                Quotee from the above 12/12/11 article:

                “The positive result was triggered by elevated levels of testosterone in Braun’s system, the sources told “Outside the Lines.” A subsequent, more comprehensive test revealed the testosterone was synthetic — not produced by Braun’s body.”

                “To affirm the results and strengthen its case, MLB asked the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal, which conducts its testing, to perform a secondary test to determine whether the testosterone spike resulted from natural variations within Braun’s body or from an artificial source. The test indicated the testosterone was exogenous, meaning it came from outside his body.”

                No ledge required. No soapbox. Basically, you’re gonna believe that some FedEx or UPS courier KNEW that he was in possession of Ryan Braun’s MLB testing sample and willingly and knowingly added testosterone to it while in his possession???

                Let’s just leave it at that, because that is certainly where the finger has been shifted to, yet, I’m guessing no arrest warrant nor charges filed against said courier….

                • The Fallen Phoenix says:

                  The problem is that it was never that straight-forward, despite reporting that assumed it was. In order to take those tests at face value, you have to assume that there has been no mishandling of the evidence at all – that its handling has been documented at every step of the way.

                  No one questioned that before the appeal. But now that it has been called into question – and it has been demonstrated that, in fact, there was no certain documentation demonstrating where that sample was at every step of its journey, from the time it was collected until the time it was tested, and then re-rested – it absolutely changes the interpretation of the results.

                  One should never have to speak in terms of “chances” and “probabilities” when discussing the chain-of-custody.

                  As an aside, I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to assume that a courier isn’t going to know how to properly store a chemical sample, either. Is that going to affect the results of test? Maybe not, but again, this should not even have to be called into question.

                  Ultimately, you cannot divorce the results of an investigation from its process. If you could, then chain-of-custody would never be an issue in any investigation, forensic or otherwise.

        • The Fallen Phoenix says:

          I cannot repeat this enough: chain-of-custody is not actually the minor technicality that’s being reported. It is a huge deal when dealing with evidence of any kind, whether forensic or scientific.

          Never mind that this is an entire process that should not have been public anyway. MLB consistently cannot play by its own rules, and that’s seriously concerning from both a a positivist and a legal rights-perspective.

          • Genghis says:

            Absolutely agree, and you don’t have to postulate that the courier intentionally tampered with the sample for this point to be valid. All scientific tests have a finite likelihood of false positives. In some tests, it has been verified that this likelihood is small. However, the validity of the test would have only been verified under a narrow range of circumstances, which include proper handling of the sample. If the sample were, say, exposed to temperatures outside a certain range, or randomly exposed to an unknown contaminant, that could easily add an unknown variable that would violate the conditions under which the test has been ascertained to be highly reliable.

            • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

              Wake up guys. The alternative would’ve had the sample in a FedEx sorting facility for 24 hours. They don’t deliver on Sunday, remember? There was no way for the handler to get it to the lab directly from Saturday -> Sunday. It had to be “somewhere” until Monday morning.

              You really think FedEx sorting facilities are all that secure, guarantee proper temperature handling, etc etc etc? If so I have a bridge to sell you both. Come on.

      • CP says:

        That’s true.

        But he still used steroids.

    • Havok9120 says:

      His objective was to win his case to help his career. You don’t muck around with that. Use the technicality if its your best chance, trying to do that “with science” just takes longer and clouds the issue.

      That said, I don’t like that the rule was circumvented, I don’t like Braun for acting as he has, and I hope the MLB hounds him with blood tests for the rest of Selig’s tenure. Call me vindictive.

  4. Steve (different one) says:

    The DBacks offered Kuroda $13M according to Heyman.

    • GardnergoesYardner says:

      Love how he would release that right now. Trying to stir up an old rivalry. I wouldn’t put it past him.

      #Memory of 2001

      • Havok9120 says:

        Um. Maybe some bitterness, but no one (except maybe DBacks fans) can honestly see that as a real rivalry. I mean…they’re the DBacks. It’d be like having a rivalry with the Twins or the Marlins or the Blue Jays.

  5. Preston says:

    I don’t care that Braun beat the suspension. If MLB is going to take the testing so seriously than they need to make sure that their testing process is beyond reproach. It may not seem like a big deal to leave it in a fridge for a night but the fact is that when you’re talking about suspending a guy for 50 games and taking away all of those game checks, your process better be beyond reproach.
    That said I hate the pompous comments he made afterwards about his restored innocence. Come on Floyd Landis you know a shot of whiskey didn’t get synthetic testosterone into your system, the syringe you stuck in you ass did that. I know you can’t admit to it, but at least do the Jason Giambi apology for nothing strategy.

  6. Gonzo says:

    The Gary Sanchez news doesn’t sound good. Hopefully it’s just growing pains.

  7. KeithK says:

    Chavez says it was Yankees or retirement. To me that explains why the Yankees couldn’t offer him a minor league deal and have a competition in Tampa. Seems likely he would have walked away from a non-guaranteed contract.

  8. GardnergoesYardner says:

    MLB can’t let this stuff leak if they can’t even explain all of what happened. Like
    1. Why did the collector even have the sample in his possesion if he knew/thought the FedEx building would be closed?
    2. Why would he store it in his basement? Apparently there is precedent for that (if someone knows when, please tell me) but why did he feel the need to keep it? Couldn’t they have seen this problem coming?
    3. Don’t know where he got it from, but why couldn’t he just take it back there if the FedEx was closed?

    Seems like a failure on MLB’s part to realize something obvious. They should be angry at themselves, not the arbitrators.

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      And if he’d made it to fedex it would’ve sat in a sorting facility most of Sunday anyway. Meaning, there was no way to get it to the lab without running afoul of the time limit imposed. And bc it was Saturday he likely couldn’t have taken it back to the originating location.

  9. Mattchu12 says:

    Cole Hamels on potentially signing a home-town discount with the Padres: “Why would I want to go where fans only support you from the third inning through the sixth?”

    Lets be extra loud one-through-nine this year, guys.

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