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After months of anticipation and speculation, MLB finally handed down discipline on Monday for the Biogenesis scandal. While Alex Rodriguez naturally received most of the attention with his 211-game suspension and appeal, 12 other players received and accepted 50-game bans.
Those who received 50-game suspensions included Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Mariners first baseman/ DH Jesus Montero, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Sergio Escalona, Mets minor league outfielder Cesar Puello, Padres minor league pitcher, Fautino De Los Santos, Yankees minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez, and free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto. Of the group, Valdespin, Bastardo, and Escalona were not known to be associated with the shuttered clinic until Monday.
Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal were all reportedly listed in the Biogenesis documents, but they have already served 50-game suspensions for positive PED tests and will therefore not face further punishment. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez and Danny Valencia have been formally cleared of any wrongdoing.
The big names here from a fantasy perspective are Cruz, Peralta, and Cabrera. While there was some speculation that Cruz would appeal and play out the rest of the season for the Rangers, the impending free agent understandably doesn't want the issue following him into 2014. Hopefully you have been planning ahead for quite some time now in fantasy leagues. The Ryan Braun situation should have functioned as a warning.
As for Rodriguez, he made his season debut Monday night against the White Sox in Chicago and went 1-for-4 with a bloop single, two fly outs and a strikeout. It may take him a little while to shake the rust following hip surgery, but he ran the bases well and handled his chances at third base without any issue. MLBPA union chief Michael Weiner estimated Monday that a verdict on an appeal likely won't be announced until November or December, which means Rodriguez is all but assured of getting a chance to finish out the season. I wouldn't go crazy to pick him up in shallow mixed leagues, but he's worth considering if you need to fill a CI (corner infielder) spot.
Jeter Headed Back to DL
While Alex Rodriguez is back with the Yankees, Derek Jeter is headed for another extended absence. In the latest development in a frustrating season, the 39-year-old shortstop landed back on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a right calf strain.
Jeter appeared to suffer the injury during Friday's game against the Padres and sat out the rest of the weekend as a result. An MRI revealed what was deemed as a "mild strain," but the Yankees clearly didn't want to risk making things worse by rushing him back to the field. Still, he told reporters after Monday's game that he expects to return sooner than three weeks.
Between a setback in his recovery from ankle surgery, a quad strain, and this latest injury, Jeter has been limited to just five games this season. It's getting to the point where it might not be worth waiting for him in standard mixed fantasy leagues. Eduardo Nunez figures to get most of the playing time at shortstop during his absence and should be worth using in AL-only leagues.
Mets Promote Flores
With David Wright sidelined for the next 3-5 weeks with a Grade 3 strain of his right hamstring, the Mets are calling up prospect Wilmer Flores to fill in at third base. That's a heck of a 22nd birthday present.
While it comes under unfortunate circumstances, Flores is plenty deserving of a long look with the big club, as he was hitting .321 with 15 home runs and a Pacific Coast League-leading 86 RBI through 107 games this season with Triple-A Las Vegas. As far as his defense is concerned, let's just say he's better known for his bat. Flores originally began his pro career at shortstop, but moved off the position last year and was mostly playing second base in Triple-A this season.
It's important to note that Flores has been playing in an extremely hitter-friendly environment, so take his production with a grain of salt, but he's capable of hitting for average and showing some modest pop. Just where he'll fit with the Mets in the long-term is anybody's guess, but he makes sense as temporary add in NL-only leagues and even some deeper mixed formats if you're desperate.
NL Quick Hits: The Rockies aren't planning to place Carlos Gonzalez (finger) on the disabled list … Justin Upton went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead homer in Monday's win over the Nationals, extending the Braves' winning streak to 11 games … Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) felt better Monday and did not require an MRI … Stephen Strasburg allowed two runs over seven innings Monday against the Braves and struck out nine batters, but was handed a no-decision … Zack Greinke allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings Monday in a win over the Cardinals … Jayson Werth was scratched from Monday's lineup due to a groin injury suffered on Saturday … Bobby Parnell received an injection in his neck Monday and could be placed on the disabled list … Yovani Gallardo (hamstring) expects to return from the disabled list when he's first eligible on August 16 … Ryan Vogelsong (hand) will be activated from the disabled list to start Friday against the Orioles … Brian Wilson (elbow) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with the Dodgers' High-A affiliate … Jaime Garcia (shoulder) isn't ruling out a return this season … Brandon Belt went 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored in Monday's win over the Brewers ... Cardinals prospect outfielder Oscar Taveras (ankle) is still about 10 days away from playing in rehab games … The Dodgers have called up speedy shortstop Dee Gordon …
AL Quick Hits: Miguel Cabrera (abdominal) went 1-for-4 with a walk in his return to action Monday … Mike Trout drew three walks Monday and has walked in 10 straight games ... Desmond Jennings was placed on the disabled list Monday with a small fracture of his left middle finger … Howie Kendrick hyperextended his left knee Monday in a collision with teammate Collin Cowgill and is considered day-to-day… Clay Buchholz (shoulder) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday … Alex Avila launched a go-ahead three-run homer off Indians' closer Chris Perez on Monday and is hitting .256 with four homers and 23 RBI since the beginning of July … Alex Rios knocked in four runs in Monday's win over the Yankees … Josh Willingham (knee) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Rochester … R.A. Dickey held the Mariners to one run over 7 2/3 innings Monday for his ninth victory … Eric Hosmer homered and knocked in five runs in Monday's win over the Twins … Omar Infante (ankle) will restart a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Toledo … Josh Fields notched his first career save in Monday's win over the Red Sox … The Red Sox placed Daniel Nava on the paternity leave list Monday … Jonathan Villar swiped three bases Monday against the Red Sox and is now 9-for-11 in stolen base attempts over 14 games since being called up from the minors … Dayan Viciedo is day-to-day with a jammed left thumb … The Mariners are demoting former closer Tom Wilhelmsen ... Jason Vargas (arm) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Triple-A Salt Lake … Jeremy Guthrie tossed his second shutout of the season in Monday's win over the Twins … Vernon Wells started at first base Monday for the first time in his career … The Angels released injured reliever Ryan Madson …