According to a report in a Dominican newspaper, Fernando Rodney will be following up his superb 2012 season by pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. It's an honor for any athlete to represent their country, but there's one minor hurdle Rodney may have to clear first, asking permission.
According to the paper, Rodney didn't ask the Rays permission before agreeing to pitch, saying, "You don't have to ask permission to represent your country." Well, you sort of do, Fernando. The Rays are the ones paying you $2.5 million this year, and if they don't want you to pitch, you're not going to pitch. As Adam Berry points out in his story, Rodney's preparation for the upcoming season could be affected by his decision, as the Dominican team's first game is less than a month after pitchers and catchers report. Being self, I don't want any of the Rays players to participate.
In other news...
Another day, another Rays minor leaguer failing a drug test. This time it's Double-A catcher David Wendt who tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, a short acting stimulant that is "slightly more powerful than a cup of coffee." As silly as it may sound for something like that to be banned, it is, and he took it, so he's getting 50 games. Wendt's a 26-year-old non-prospect, hitting .235/.284/.314 in four minor league seasons.
The Rays had six minor league players suspended for various drug violations last season. This announcement came on the heels of Mitch Lukevics, director of minor league operations, speaking about the team's new annual development program, saying yesterday that he "doesn't believe there's a widespread organizational problem, but admitted the number of suspensions were concerning." Unintentionally poor timing there.
-Jim Rice is a hilarious hypocrite.
-Jeff Sullivan digs a little deeper into pitchers batting, since interleague play is changing this season.
-Over at MLB.com, Zack Meisel points out that every year since 1987 has included a player getting exactly one Hall of Fame vote, like Aaron Sele this year. Of course, voting records aren't public, which is ridiculous.