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Xpert Eye: The Biogenesis Scandal May Not Be Over

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Alex Rodriguez "did not commit a crime" according to his attorney. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Biogenesis Scandal May Not be Over

Buried within a story on ESPN.com yesterday about the arrest of Tony Bosch and six other figures tied to the Biogenesis scandal was a little nugget that suggests there may be more misery ahead for baseball fans. According to authors Mike Fish and T.J. Quinn, “multiple law enforcement officials told “Outside the Lines” that the names of several professional baseball players not previously identified came up in the investigation. The names have not been released, but the sources said the names likely will be in discovery filings.”

There were some 25 players involved in the Biogenesis scandal with more than a dozen of them receiving lengthy suspensions from the game. There is no comment from Major League Baseball included in the story about the undisclosed ballplayers but it certainly seems as though there may be more to come if and when the names are revealed in court.

Another interesting tidbit from the same story involves an attorney for Alex Rodriguez, who is still serving his 162-game suspension. The attorney, Joe Tacopina, is quoted in the story as saying, “It sort of reinforces the notion that Alex committed no crime, number one,” Tacopina said. “And number two, quite frankly, this really signified the beginning of the end of the whole Biogenesis saga and allows Alex to focus on the future going forward.”

So, the end is nigh for Rodriguez, who will gain a sense of closure once all the criminals involved are in jail. But will the scandal every really end, especially with more ballplayers’ names set to be made public?

Injury Updates

The Pirates revealed that Andrew McCutchen’s injury is not a strained oblique but a fractured rib (11th). He’s been shut down for a few days, but the Pirates are going to try and avoid placing him on the DL. While this may be good news for Fantasy owners, who were looking at up to a month without their number one pick, there is still a danger that he won’t heal quickly enough to avoid the DL. So, not only are owners without McCutchen, but they can’t pick up a replacement either (not that one really exists).

Matt Garza was placed on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain. This is the first major injury to a Brewers starter all season, one reason why they’ve been such a surprise team this year. The team didn’t announce who will take Garza’s scheduled start on Saturday, but Marco Estrada, who was recently bumped to the bullpen, is one possibility. Manager Ron Roenicke mentioned to the press that Mike Fiers, who is 8-5 with a 2.55 ERA for Triple-A Nashville this season is another.

Padres’ manager Bud Black told reporters that Andrew Cashner, on the DL since June 21 with a sore shoulder, will begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Black stated that their current timetable has Cashner penciled in to rejoin the rotation by the end of August.

Those of you hanging on for Mike Cuddyer’s return to the Rockies may not have much longer to wait. Cuddyer is slated to begin a rehab assignment today that is expected to last a little over a week or until he’s gotten about 40 at bats. He’s been sidelined since June 5 with a broken shoulder that has affected him dating back to spring training. The 35-year-old was batting .317 with five HRs in 31 games prior to going on the DL for the second time this season.

Gerrit Cole’s second rehab start did not go as planned; he allowed five runs on 10 hits in a little over four innings. The poor outing prompted the Pirates to push back his next start from its original Saturday date, so it could be another two weeks before he’s back on the field in Pittsburgh.

Brett Lawrie’s return to the Blue Jays’ lineup lasted all of three innings last night, as he left the game early with tightness in his back. Lawrie pulled up awkwardly after hitting a single in his first at bat. He had just been activated off the DL yesterday after recovering from a fractured finger that occurred on June 21.

Coco Crisp returned to the lineup yesterday after spending 10 days on the sidelines with a neck injury.

After playing just one game for the Red Sox, Allen Craig has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactively to August 1, with a sprained left foot. Craig sustained the injury while running to first in his debut with Boston on Friday. The injury is not considered severe, so the Red Sox are expecting him back when eligible on August 15.

Trends

Zack Wheeler battled some early jitters last night in putting together yet another quality start. He went 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts, improving his record to 7-8 on the season with a 3.48 ERA. The outing made it seven straight quality starts in which he’s allowed two runs or less with an ERA of 1.80. At the beginning of this run his ERA was 4.45.

Lorenzo Cain stole another base in last night’s game to make it 16 total steals in 19 attempts. However, eight of those steals have come during his last 22 games (20 starts) without being caught stealing even once. During that period he’s posted a .293/.322/.366 line but for the season he’s maintained a .305/.340/.418 line despite a walk rate of just 4.5 percent. Cain has been hitting lefties and righties at nearly the same pace this season, so he plays nearly every day while rotating between center and right field with Norichika Aoki and Jarrod Dyson. There’s gold in them thar feet, folks. Cain could challenge the 30 steal plateau if he keeps up this pace. Given his lack of power, Cain may be available in a trade for a nominal price.

The Orioles keep winning so nobody seems to be noticing that Nelson Cruz has been tanking of late. He has just one home run since July 9. But worse than that, since June 5, a period of 54 games, he is slashing just .198/.268/.343 with eight HRs and 22 RBIs. In the 56 games prior to June 5, Cruz amassed a .319/.388/.676 line with 21 HRs and 55 RBIs. This is a perfect example of regression to the mean, as Cruz will likely end up with similar stats to previous seasons, albeit with a career best HR total.

Much has been written about Brandon Moss’ accomplishments over the last two seasons, but he too is in the midst of a summer swoon. Since June 5, Moss is batting just .216/.288/.378 but he’s continued to hit homers, with eight, to go along with 22 RBIs in 46 games. However, prior to June 5, a period of 50 starts, Moss batted .280/.369/.591 with 15 HRs and 49 RBIs.

The Mets’ Jacob deGrom is among baseball’s winningest pitchers over the last month or so. Over his last eight starts dating back to June 21, deGrom is 6-2 with an ERA of 1.52 and a 1.01 WHIP. He has a 56:14 K:BB ratio in 53.1 innings over that span with opponents batting just .212 against him. When he does get hit, though, opponents hit him hard, with a 25 percent line drive rate. However, he has not allowed a home run since June 5 and has only allowed five since his debut on May 15, three of them coming in his second start, against the Dodgers on May 21.

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