MLB Expected To Hand Down Biogenesis Suspensions "En Masse" After All-Star Break
Any player suspensions as a result of their connection to the Florida-based Biogenesis clinic likely will be "handed down shortly after" the All-Star break with MLB's investigation "in its final stages," according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. MLB does not plan to "take away" from next week's All-Star Game at Citi Field by "suspending a large number of players beforehand, even if its investigation were complete by then." Reports have indicated there are 20 or more players "with ties to performance-enhancing drugs sold out of the now-shuttered clinic under former director Tony Bosch." The league plans to "announce the suspensions en masse," so several players will be "playing with suspensions hanging over their heads while appeals are put into motion" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/7). But USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale writes under that scenario, a "tainted player" could win the All-Star Game MVP Award again. Then-Giants LF Melky Cabrera last year "took home the trophy and a little more than a month later was suspended for 50 games" for violating MLB's drug policy. The odds are "actually greater this year, with four players on All-Star rosters whose names have been linked to MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis Clinic" -- Rangers RF Nelson Cruz, Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta, Padres SS Everth Cabrera and A's P Bartolo Colon. It would be "ideal if MLB could announce its findings before next Tuesday's All-Star Game ... preventing any dirty player from defacing the showcase, but that's not going to happen" (USA TODAY, 7/9). In S.F., Scott Ostler noted MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is "vowing to come down hard on players" tied to the clinic. But while he "prepares to bring down the hammer of Thor, Selig will be helping honor some of those antlerheads at the All-Star festivities." Ostler: "Awkward!" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/7).
IN OR OUT? The AP's Tim Dahlberg writes under the header, "Puig Might Make All-Star Game Fun Again." Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig is among the five players vying for the final spot on the NL roster and fans will "tune in just to watch him, and they may buy tickets to see him." Puig's presence is "not going to save the All-Star game because the game itself is such an anachronism," but he "just might make the game interesting enough to watch" (AP, 7/9). ESPN's Bomani Jones said if Puig loses the fan vote to get into the game, MLB should "figure out some sort of way" to add him to the roster. ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "We want to watch him … in the game. Figure out a way to put him in the game, even if you have to do so illegally" ("Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 7/8). CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco said Puig should not be in the All-Star Game, but "it's the All-Star Game, who really cares?" FoxSports.com's Peter Schrager argued Puig is "having an all-time season and he's fun to watch." Schrager: "It's the All-Star Game! Who cares?" ("Rome," CBS Sports Network, 7/8).