Notes: Baseball union head chastises media on drug reports
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Union head Michael Weiner said reporters should refrain from jumping to conclusions about media reports linking players to a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Starting his annual tour of the 30 spring training camps with a one-hour meeting with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Thursday, Weiner cautioned that Major League Baseball is still investigating Biogenesis of America, a defunct anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
‘‘The players understand that what’s happening in Miami at this point remains to be seen in terms of fairness and judging things on the evidence,’’ Weiner said. ‘‘But there is a lot of talk in the clubhouse about where we should be on the joint drug program, and that’s a good thing.’’
Weiner also discussed with media the agreement with management last month to extend blood testing for human growth hormone into the regular season. HGH testing began last year but was limited to spring training.
As part of the changes to the joint drug agreement, the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone.
‘‘They understand the blood testing is only postgame, so nobody can have their blood drawn pregame, and they also understand there are protections there in case there’s a health-related or a weather/heat-related reason why they can’t give blood,’’ Weiner said. ‘‘Players understand it’s important to have the strongest program possible, and given both the testosterone changes and the HGH changes, they’re very much for it.’’
Weiner succeeded Donald Fehr as union head in 2009.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was feeling better after being hit in the helmet Wednesday by a fastball from Jose Fernandez, the team’s top pitching prospect. X-rays were negative, there was no sign of a concussion, and Stanton said his vision returned to normal after a few hours. He expects to play in Miami’s first spring training game on Saturday.
Stanton said he felt ‘‘pretty loopy’’ after the beaning, and his peripheral vision was blurry for several hours.
Another Marlins outfielder also had a positive health update. Logan Morrison, who underwent knee surgery Sept. 5, received medical clearance this week to begin a running program. He remains uncertain when he'll begin hitting. Morrison and Stanton are the only returning players from the Marlins’ Opening Day lineup last year.
Cueto out of WBC
The Reds have blocked ace Johnny Cueto from pitching for the Dominican Republic in next month’s World Baseball Classic. Cueto strained his right oblique early in the playoffs in October, and because he finished the year with an injury, the Reds had the right to block him from playing in the WBC.
“It’s all right,’’ Cueto said from Reds camp in Goodyear, Ariz. ‘‘I am going to work to get ready for the season. I was ready to pitch. I'm 100 percent.
‘‘I will be watching the Classic and rooting for the Dominican.”
Yankees employ shift
Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner could be switching positions in the Yankees’ outfield. Granderson worked out in left field Thursday in Tampa and the speedy Gardner switched to center.
‘‘I think it has a chance to help us a little bit, but I'm not really sure,’’ manager Joe Girardi said. ‘‘See if we like it. If we do, we'll stay with it. If we don't, we won’t.’’
Young finds a home
The Nationals agreed to terms with former All-Star righthander Chris Young on a minor league contract, with an invitation to major league camp. Young, 33, went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts last season for the Mets . . . The Rangers announced the return of catching great Ivan Rodriguez to the organization. He will assist in international scouting, player instruction on the major and minor league levels, and talent evaluation.