Sergio Escalona (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
Earlier today Major League Baseball announced 13 suspensions related to the Biogenesis scandal. Twelve of those suspensions are for 50 games and appear to be beginning immediately. However, Rodriguez who in the past few years has been no stranger to controversy, will be appealing his suspension which is currently slated to last through the 2014 season. Instead, the third baseman was penciled into the New York Yankees lineup as their cleanup hitter tonight.
We can likely fill an entire website and then some debating, scrutinizing, and criticizing Rodriguez’s apparent guilt and how he has handled this situation. But without truly harping on the disgraced slugger, I will keep it brief.
There is clearly insurmountable evidence that Rodriguez has used PEDs at least for the last few seasons. That cannot be disputed. He needs to take his punishment, stop being a distraction to his team, and fade into the background.
Like Rodriguez, most of the 13 names that were announced today did not come as a surprise. Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, former Astro Fernando Martinez, and Cesar Puello had previously been mentioned as players who would likely be suspended. The other players who were also suspended today were Escalona, Jordan Norberto, Antonio Bastardo, and Fautino De Los Santos.
The loss of Cruz for a Texas Rangers team already struggling for offense will likely have the biggest impact, although Peralta, Cabrera, and Bastardo will also be missed by their teams.
To anybody that watched Martinez while he was an Astro, the fact that he was taking PEDs could very well have come as a surprise. The outfielder possessed clear talent which is why Jeff Luhnow claimed him off waivers from the New York Mets, but he was never able to put it together in Houston.
Last season the outfielder batted .237 in 41 games while hitting six home runs and 14 RBI’s. This year before Martinez was designated for assignment he appeared in 11 games for Houston hitting .182 with one home run and three RBI’s.
I’m sure before the suspensions were announced today many of you, myself included, had totally forgotten about Escalona.
The lefty reliever had some success in 2011 and the future was looking pretty good for him entering 2012. In 2011 Escalona had a 2.93 ERA while appearing in 49 games and pitching in 27.2 innings. He also struck out 8.13 batters per 9 innings as he was used predominantly as a lefty specialist.
Escalona had arm trouble in Spring Training last season, and ended up needing Tommy John surgery. Upon his recovery this season he has been pitching in AA where he appeared in 12 games and had a 1-2 record with a 6.60 ERA. This likely will end his time with the Astros.
Two of the thirteen players suspended today had ties to the Astros, but neither will have any lasting impact. What will continue however, is the constant news surrounding Rodriguez.