It was fun while it lasted.
No, not Marlins Park, and no, not John Axford’s hair.
Bartolo Colon. More specifically, the idea that a pudgy journeyman who once won a Cy Young with a 122 ERA+ had saved his career in his late 30s.
How much of Colon’s 2011-12 resurgence was the result of performance enhancing drugs — or other shady means — we’ll never know. Maybe all of it, maybe none of it, likely some of it.
What we do know is that the echoes of an era most of us would like to forget won't stop reverberating.
From a newly christened MVP to a feel-good comeback doubles machine to a fat mascot who seemed perfect for the Oakland A’s, players — good ones — keep testing positive for PEDs.
In a modern era with modern medicine and modern wages, the specter of steroids is unlikely to ever completely fade away. But neither will the damage they do to our favorite teams and players, no matter how used to it we’ve claimed to become.
As A’s fans and fantasy owners adjust to life without one of the last remaining Montreal Expos, here’s to hoping for the cleanest game testing and conscience can buy.
Down Goes Pujols
Albert Pujols has proven myriad things throughout his historic 12-year career, but chief among them is that “El Hombre” can play through pain.
From his freakishly fast recovery from a broken arm last season to his nine-year avoidance of Tommy John surgery, Pujols has never met an ailment he couldn’t divide and conquer.
That’s why his removal from Wednesday’s game with calf tightness — though disquieting — ultimately isn’t cause for concern. He’s highly unlikely to suit up for Thursday’s rubber match with the Red Sox, but is probably better than 50-50 for Friday’s tilt with the Tigers, and will almost certainly return before the weekend is through.
It’s bad timing if you’re fighting for a spot in the fantasy playoffs, but not a concern if you’ve already punched your postseason ticket.
Rocky Mountain Highs and Lows
Rockies fans (not to mention fantasy owners) received news they’ve been waiting for since May 30 Wednesday. Troy Tulowitzki (groin) is finally ready to begin a rehab assignment, and will do so on Friday with Double-A Tulsa.
Despite the nearly three-month absence, he’s expected to need only three or four games on the farm, and should be back no later than next weekend’s home series with the Padres. Questions about Tulo’s durability will be worth examining in earnest over the winter, but for now, just know that you can count on your first-round pick for the fantasy playoffs.
If you’re a Josh Rutledge owner, there’s little reason to fret, as the .333/.351/.611 hitting rookie should be installed at second base upon Tulo’s return.
Speaking of Rutledge (quad), he pinch hit in Wednesday’s win over the Mets, and could return to the starting lineup as early as this afternoon.
Which brings us to the bad Rockies news. In the midst of another big month, breakout 26-year-old outfielder Dexter Fowler suffered a serious looking ankle injury as he advanced to second base on an error.
X-rays came back negative, so it’s not a given Fowler will hit the disabled list. He’ll likely remain sidelined through at least Sunday, however. If you’re an owner in a weekly league, be sure to check his status before setting your lineup.
Good Night, Johan
83 days after throwing 134 pitches against the Cardinals in the first no-hitter in Mets history, Johan Santana was shut down for the season.
“Back inflammation” was the official culprit, but “general worry” might as well have been. Santana was never the same after his magical night against the Birds, getting lit up for a cosmically bad 8.27 ERA in 49 innings over 10 starts.
Santana was the worst pitcher in baseball following his entry into the history books, and well on the wrong side of 30 with an ever-expanding injury history, it’s fair to wonder how many bullets the two-time Cy Young award winner has left.
Game Notes: For the first time in his 18-year career, Derek Jeter homered for the third straight game. It couldn’t prevent the Yankees from getting swept, however. … The Bombers were swept in thanks in large part to the exploits of sensational 23-year-old lefty Chris Sale, who fanned 13 batters as he picked up his 15th victory. The double-digit strikeout effort was his fourth of the season. … While Jeter was homering for the third straight game, Adrian Beltre was homering three times in one game. All three bombs came before the fifth inning in Texas’ rout of the Orioles, with two of them coming in the fourth. Only 57 players in major-league history have homered twice in one inning. … Tyler Skaggs won his major-league debut. He out-dueled Jacob Turner, who was pretty solid in his Marlins debut. You can read more about both in yesterday’s Prospect Report. … Jered Weaver bounced back from his worst start of the season to notch his 16th win. … Kris Medlen was again sensational, tossing seven shutout innings against the Nationals. … Kyle Lohse kept rolling. … Colby Rasmus kept scuffling. … John Axford nailed down his first save opportunity since being reinstated as the Brewers closer. … Jay Bruce stayed hot. … Wade Miley kept dealing.
National League Short Hops: Both Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval are questionable for tonight’s game against the Braves with hamstring injuries, but each is tentatively expected to play. The Panda’s injury is a much bigger concern since he just came off the disabled list on Monday. … Emilio Bonifacio landed back on the D.L. with a sprained right knee. He’ll miss at least three weeks, and possibly the season. … Shaun Marcum (elbow) will make his first start since June 14 on Saturday against the Pirates. … Marcum’s teammate, lefty Randy Wolf, was handed his walking papers. He should latch on elsewhere in short order despite his awful numbers.
American League Short Hops: Ivan Nova will miss at least one outing after feeling a “grab” in his shoulder in Tuesday’s start. Thursday tests will determine the full extent of his injury. … Yu Darvish won’t make his scheduled start against the Twins after experiencing quad tightness in his most recent bullpen session. He’ll supposedly miss only one outing. Roy Oswalt is taking the ball in his place. … The owner of a 9.35 ERA and 4/4 K/BB ratio through 6 2/3 innings, Joba Chamberlain could be headed to Triple-A.