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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Melky Cabrera reportedly used fake website to try to cover positive drug test

In the span of about five days, Melky Cabrera has gone from one of the best all-around hitters in baseball to cheater and manipulator. As if the 50-game suspension Cabrera was given on Wednesday for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs wasn’t enough, the story has gotten even more out of control.

According to a report from the NY Daily News, Cabrera and his camp created a fictitious website during the appeals process in an attempt to prove that he inadvertently took the banned substance that resulted in his positive drug test.

Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.

“There was a product they said caused this positive,” one source familiar with the case said of Cabrera’s scheme. “Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly.”

An ugly situation for the 28-year-old just got much, much worse. Nunez told the NY Daily News on Saturday that he is “accepting responsibility” for the website and that Cabrera and his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, were not involved with its creation in any way.

You know what they say — the only thing worse than a cheater is a cheater who creates a fake website in an attempt to prove that he wasn’t cheating.

Fist pound to Big League Stew

D-Backs rookie Ryan Wheeler gets serious silent treatment after first homer (Video)

Diamondbacks rookie third baseman Ryan Wheeler experienced one of the most exciting moments of his career on Saturday night. In the seventh inning of a game against the Astros, Wheeler popped his first big league home run. His veteran teammates did exactly what they were supposed to do to make the milestone more memorable; they gave the rookie the silent treatment when he returned to the dugout after rounding the bases.

This is by no means an original prank, but give the Diamondbacks credit for holding out longer than teams typically do. Their job was to make Wheeler feel as uncomfortable as possible, and it appears they did just that. It may not have been nearly as funny as when Mark Reynolds left Buck Showalter hanging earlier this year, but it was certainly well executed.

Canadian Little Leaguer Thomas Neal makes incredible diving catch (Video)

Whether the Little League World Series interest you or not, you have to admit the fact that kids who are 12 and 13 years old can make plays like the one you see above is amazing. During Friday’s first-round game between Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, center fielder Thomas Neal made an incredible diving catch that would be a top play on Sportscenter even if a Major Leaguer had made it. Neal went completely horizontal to preserve a 10-8 lead in the third inning of a game where runs were not exactly a rare commodity.

Amazing catches like this one that Josh Reddick made or this one that Gregor Blanco came down with are rare in the MLB, let alone at the Little League Level. The difference is the big leaguers get paid to make incredible plays. Little Leaguers lay out for the love of the game and nothing more.

H/T Big League Stew

Ryan Dempster reportedly missed start in Toronto because of a passport problem

Roy Oswalt started for the Rangers against the Blue Jays on Saturday in place of Ryan Dempster, who did not make the trip to Toronto for what reportedly is an odd reason. The Rangers only said Dempster was missing the series because of “personal reasons,” but Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News may know what the problem was.

Grant reported on Twitter that Dempster “may have lost his passport or something along those lines.”

Dempster didn’t have to worry about a passport the last several seasons because he was playing for the Cubs in the National League and hadn’t pitched in Canada since 2002, per Grant.

What’s strange is that Dempster is from British Columbia, so one would figure that would make things easier. Guess not.

Oswalt went 4.2 innings allowing two hits, two walks and one run. The Rangers won 2-1 thanks to the pitching and Nelson Cruz’s two-run home run in the fifth. Dempster is scheduled to start on Tuesday at home against the Orioles. At least he can take solace in knowing he’s not the only athlete to encounter this problem recently.

H/T NESN

Kelly Shoppach reportedly sent text message to Red Sox owners from Adrian Gonzalez’s phone

Adrian Gonzalez denied the information in a Yahoo! Sports report that said he and other prominent Red Sox players blasted manager Bobby Valentine to the owners, and it looks like he was partially truthful.

Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan reported that some Red Sox players met with the owners on July 26 to complain about Bobby Valentine after Adrian Gonzalez sent a text message on behalf of the team. Gonzalez admitted a meeting took place, but he denied the information in the report.

“The source is inaccurate,” Gonzalez said on Wednesday. “It says that I was animated and one of the most vocal guys in the meeting, and that’s false. I had a discussion with Bobby about that today. He knows exactly what happened. He knows the truth. I don’t know why this all of a sudden becomes something because this happened a month ago. So it’s all been cleared, and now somebody decides to write it. It’s already old.”

Gonzalez may have been partially telling the truth when he said the source was inaccurate. A report from the New York Daily News says that though the text message came from his phone, he was not the one who composed it.

(more…)

Barry Zito pitches 30-foot curveball (Video)

Add this one to the blooper reel. Barry Zito reached back to throw a curveball to Carlos Quentin in the bottom of the second between the Giants and Padres on Saturday, but the southpaw lost his grip. The ball went flying into the air and only went about halfway to home.

Zito, who’s sporting a 4.42 ERA this season, didn’t seem at all amused. I’d say that pitch pretty well encapsulates his disappointing career with the Giants. For what it’s worth, Zito gave up 4 runs over 4 innings in the Giants’ 8-7 win.

Kevin Kolb responds to Tommy Kelly calling him ‘scared’

Kevin Kolb’s preseason struggles continued on Friday night against the Raiders, and the Cardinals quarterback even had to respond to accusations that he’s playing “scared.”

Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly ran off the field after tackling Kolb in the second quarter and said, “That boy’s scared,” according to Pro Football Talk.

Kelly elaborated after the game.

“He is skittish. He is scared back there,” Kelly told the Associated Press. “Anytime anybody gets close to him he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that. He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more. He is playing attention to us and you ain’t going to get nothing done like that.”

Kolb, who has gone 5/15 for 47 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and four sacks this preseason, didn’t appreciate being called scared.

“Scared? Scared of what?” Kolb said, according to the Cardinals website. “Taking a hit? I have never been afraid of anyone on the field and that will never change. That includes Number 93 (Kelly). There’s a fine line between holding in the pocket and trying to escape to make a play. Tommy Kelly is too clueless to know the difference. I don’t mind people criticizing my play. Don’t ever question my toughness.”

I don’t think Kelly was questioning Kolb’s toughness so much as he was saying the quarterback was too preoccupied with the Raiders defense to worry about anything else. That’s what happens when the pass rush overwhelms the offensive line — the quarterback becomes more focused on what’s coming after him rather than what passes he can complete. He’s probably right. Kolb has been a mess with Arizona and will likely lose the quarterback job to John Skelton. Arizona still needs a franchise QB.

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley throws up during preseason game

Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley let loose during Dallas’ preseason game against the Chargers on Saturday night. And by let loose, we mean he vomited all over as he was coming off the field in the fourth quarter.

Beasley had a monster game for the ‘Boys with 7 catches for 104 yards. He says he threw up after landing on a ball.

“I was tired,” he said, per ESPN Dallas. “But the reason I came off was because I landed on the ball and the ball knocked the wind out of me and made me have to throw up a little bit. Being tired had a little bit to do wit hit, but it was more the ball knocking the air out of me. You’ll probably see me throw up a lot more than just then. I throw up a lot before the games, too. I’m not ashamed of it at all. I just happened to land on the ball and it made some stuff come out of me.”

It was nice of Dez Bryant to offer him a helping hand, but we can’t blame him for backing away. Nobody wants a piece of that. And we’re surprised it wasn’t a comparison to Wes Welker that made him yack.

via Gifulmnination

Ozzie Guillen: Hanley Ramirez would pimp a home run down 30

Hanley Ramirez ticked off A.J. Burnett when he showboated after hitting a home run on Thursday, and Ozzie Guillen isn’t surprised by his former player’s antics.

“That’s Hanley,” Guillen said of Ramirez, according to The Miami Herald. “[If] Hanley hit a home run down by 30 runs, he would pimp it. That’s the way he is.

“There’s so much [garbage],” Guillen said. “Somebody hits a home run, they put on a show. Somebody strikes out, they put on a show. That’s the way the game is right now.”

Though Guillen isn’t a fan of the celebrations, he can’t really complain.

“I cannot say [anything] because my players do a stupid show,” Guillen said. “They’re a last-place team. They score one run and they [act] like we score 100.”

Though Hanley’s home run on Thursday was crucial because it gave the Dodgers the lead, we wouldn’t put it past him to celebrate up or down by 15. The guy has been guilty of plenty of stupid behavior in the past. This is only part of it.

Between the Marlins’ lo viste, the Brewers’ beast mode, and the Rangers’ antlers, many teams are participating in this trend of celebrating hits. I don’t mind it too much if it’s between teammates, but if you’re directing it at the pitcher the way Hanley did, then it’s disrespectful and a problem.

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg Santos after beating Sarah Kaufman in 54 seconds

Ronda Rousey submitted Sarah Kaufman in 54 seconds to retain her Strikeforce women’s bantamweight championship on Saturday, and she called Cyborg Santos after the win.

“First of all, I need to send out a challenge to miss Cy-roid out there,” said Rousey, who began ranting instead of answering a question about arm bars from Mauro Ranallo. “People want to see you have the first fair fight of your life. I’m the champion. The champion doesn’t go to you, you come to the champion. Come down to 135 (pounds) and let’s settle this!” Rousey demanded.

The arm bar specialist then challenged Santos to a parking lot fight.

“If you still want to go out in the parking lot, my friend brought my gloves and I’m going to be right there!”

Cyborg is the former Strikeforce featherweight champion (145 pounds), so Rousey wants her to drop weight 10 pounds for their match. I think a bout at 140 pounds would be the best solution, and I would love to see it. Even if Cyborg is still on steroids, Rousey could take her.

Rousey is the Mariano Rivera of women’s MMA. Instead of a cutter, she just beats everyone with an arm bar. And you know what? She’s so darn strong she just overpowers all her opponents to victory, and she would do the same with Cyborg. You know she certainly has the motivation to do so.

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