Selig wants tougher drug penalties
From our news services,
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig called for tougher penalties for major leaguers who violate the sport's drug agreement, a move the union is willing to consider but not for the 2013 season.
Speaking at a news conference Saturday at the Arizona Diamondbacks' spring training ballpark, Selig said last year's positive drug test for All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera and allegations players received banned substances from a now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic helped lead him to seek stiffer penalties as quickly as possible.
He declined to give specifics, saying MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred and players' union head Michael Weiner will meet.
Weiner said Monday that some players have expressed support for tougher penalties.
Selig said he was encouraged by Weiner's comments.
"The players have been discussing whether changes in the penalties are warranted since the offseason," Weiner said Saturday during a telephone interview. "As I've said throughout spring training, there's a variety of player views on this subject. In fact, during the offseason we suggested to the commissioner's office the possibility of differential penalties, namely advanced penalties for certain intentional violations but reduced penalties for negligent violations.
"That format was not of interest to MLB at that time. We look forward to ongoing negotiations over the drug program, but any change in the penalties would be a 2014 issue. It would be unfair to change the drug-testing rules now that the 2013 program has begun to be implemented."
Reyes, Toronto top Phils: R.A. Dickey and Cliff Lee struggled in the poor weather. Ryan Howard and Jose Reyes found the playing conditions to their liking.
Howard hit a two-run homer off Dickey and Reyes and the Toronto Blue Jays touched up Cliff Lee in an 11-6 victory over Philadelphia in cool, blustery conditions Saturday.
Both starters went three innings in their second exhibition appearances. Dickey allowed three runs in the first on four consecutive hits -- doubles by Kevin Frandsen and Michael Young, Howard's shot and a single by Domonic Brown.
"They were just aggressive early in the count and got some balls up in the air," the right-hander said. "Today, if you got a ball up in the air, it was probably going to go somewhere."
Despite his homer off Dickey, Howard is pleased the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was dealt from the NL East rival New York Mets to Toronto in a seven-player offseason trade.
"I'll let the AL East go ahead and deal with him over there," said Ryan, grinning.
The left-handed Lee, who won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award with the Cleveland Indians, gave up two first-inning runs on doubles by Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera and a single by Edwin Encarnacion. Emilio Bonifacio tied it at 3 in the second with a solo home run.
Reyes added a three-run homer off losing pitcher Tyler Cloyd in the fourth. Carlos Ruiz and Erik Kratz also had home runs for Philadelphia.
"I missed up in the zone a few times, obviously, with the wind," Lee said. "Physically, I feel great. It's just a matter of honing it in a little better."
Angels renew Trout's contract: The Los Angeles Angels renewed the contract of AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout for $510,000, prompting an angry response from the outfielder's agent.
Craig Landis said his client was disappointed with the decision announced Saturday. The salary is $20,000 above the major league minimum.
Trout has 1 year, 70 days of major league service and is likely to be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season and for free agency after the 2017 World Series. Teams can renew the contracts of unsigned players on their 40-man rosters from March 2 to 11.
Santana 'less likely' for opener: New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson says Johan Santana is becoming "less and less likely" to be ready for the team's opener against San Diego on April 1.
Santana was scheduled to throw batting practice Tuesday, but pitching coach Dan Warthen said Saturday that the session had been canceled. Santana remains on a long-toss program and likely will throw from 150 feet Sunday.
Alderson said it will be 10 more days before Santana builds up enough arm strength to pitch in an exhibition game. He also said Santana has no structural issues in his shoulder and that an MRI hasn't taken place or been planned.
"We haven't ruled out opening day, although given when he might get on the mound, it becomes less and less likely," Alderson said. "But we haven't given up on that notion yet and we'll see where that takes us."
The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn't pitch in the major leagues in 2011 following shoulder surgery, then went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts last year, when he pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history on June 1 against St. Louis.