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Rumor Mill: Yanks not getting their man?

07.30.09 at 11:20 pm ET
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Jarrod Washburn has been mentioned for days as a potential target for many teams, but according to Brewers GM Doug Melvin, it’s looking like the starter will stay put. Washburn will be a free agent after the season and it’s highly possible the Mariners will try to retain him.

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Rumor Mill: Silent night?

07.30.09 at 11:10 pm ET
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On what is usually the busiest night for baseball front offices in the regular season, all is apparently quiet surrounding J.P. Ricciardi. Buster Olney reports the Blue Jays GM hasn’t been talking to any teams about trading Roy Halladay tonight. Of course, tomorrow itself may prove to be a different beast, but it’s certainly unusual given the amount of interest that is out there. Stay tuned, as Halladay is sure to be a name that comes up (mispronounced all the while) again before 4 p.m.

Also, if you’re concerned about Halladay going to the Rangers, there are all sorts of reports out there, including some that would disagree with Olney. Evan Grant say the two teams are talking. Jordan Bastian says they’re not, citing a Blue Jays official.

The Dodgers are also a potential suitor even after getting George Sherrill and could still make a push tomorrow.

UPDATE: Nolan Ryan has confirmed the Rangers are pushing for Toronto’s ace.

Read More: mlbrumormill2009,

Theo Epstein: ‘We Support David’

07.30.09 at 9:09 pm ET
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Red Sox G.M. Theo Epstein met with reporters immediately after David Ortiz addressed the report (and subsequent confirmation by Ortiz in a statement) that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in 2003. He made clear that the organization reminds behind the slugger, and that it is grateful that Ortiz is addressing the matter directly. Epstein acknowledged that the timing – with Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline approaching and just after the team had to address a controversy with Daisuke Matsuzaka about his training methods – presented challenges.

‘€œI think the first thing is, we support David,” said Epstein. “We’€™ve known him for a long time and we really respect him as a person. We care about him. He’€™s meant a lot to us personally and as an organization. We fully support him. The second thing is, as I think he just told you guys and as you can read in the statement, we admire his approach to this, which is, he’€™s not going to run from it, he’€™s not going to hide from it. He needs to find out ‘€“ well, the first thing he needed to find out was whether he indeed tested positive or not, and he confirmed that this afternoon talking to the union. Now he needs to find out what he tested positive for. He needs some time to get some answers and then he’€™s going to stand up and answer every question. I admire that courage.’€

The Sox found out for the first time today, after the New York Times reporter asked Ortiz about the positive test this morning. Ortiz informed the team’s P.R. staff, which in turn notified the rest of the staff. Epstein had been under the impression that players were supposed to be notified when they tested positive. Some other topics:

ON WHETHER IT COULD BE A DISTRACTION FOR THE TEAM

‘€œI think this could be a distraction if we allow it to become a distraction. But David’€™s approach, in which he’€™s not going to hide and he’€™s going to find out the facts and answer questions will help prevent it from becoming a distraction. The organization supports him and his teammates support him. And it’€™s easy to support him with the approach that he’€™s chosen to take, as a result of the revelations of today.’€

WERE YOU SURPRISED?

‘€œYeah, we were all surprised. We were all blindsided by the report. Haven’€™t really had time to process it. We just had time to talk to David about it after the game. He’€™s told us how he wants to handle it, which is, I think the absolute right thing, to take a little bit of time to find out exactly what the facts are and then confront it head on. We’€™re going to support him through it. I think that’€™s the right approach.’€

‘€œWe’€™re surprised and saddened by the report but I think before we can have complete reaction, we need the complete story. I’€™m not trying to run from anything or hide from anything either. I think David’€™s response ‘€“ let’€™s get all the facts ‘€“ and we’€™ll answer every question. I think that’€™s the right approach.’€

ON THE DIFFICULTY OF FINDING OUT THIS INFORMATION ONE DAY BEFORE THE TRADING DEADLINE

‘€œIt’€™s been a busy day but this is important. There are a lot of things going on right now that are important. We’€™re trying to do the best we can.’€

Read More: David Ortiz, peds, Theo Epstein,

Big Papi, Tito and Theo react

07.30.09 at 8:47 pm ET
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There was a common theme expressed following Thursday’s game at Fenway Park when the subject of David Ortiz was raised.

The entire team, from general manager Theo Epstein to manager Terry Francona to the man himself, was blindsided by the New York Times report that Ortiz and then-Red Sox teammate Manny Ramirez tested positive for performance enhancing steroids in 2003.

On Thursday, before the team left for Baltimore the trio fielded the questions and here’s an audio sample of what they said.

David Ortiz said after hitting the decisive three-run homer, said he wants more information from MLB before issuing more of a reaction to the news.

Ortiz said he will comment more in a few days when he has more information on what he tested positive for.

Manager Terry Francona said Ortiz will have the team’s full support.

Francona believes Ortiz will meet the challenges of this story head on.

Francona said his star is handling the news okay.

General manger Theo Epstein said the team has no problem supporting Ortiz.

Epstein said the team was blindsided by the report.

Epstein is hopeful this story doesn’t become a huge distraction for the team.

Epstein wants to find out exactly what his slugger tested positive for.

Read More: Big Papi, David Ortiz, Red Sox, Terry Francona

Nomar: ‘This List Has Become an Absolute Joke

07.30.09 at 8:02 pm ET
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In 2002, one of the most vocal opponents of the concessions made by the Major League Baseball Players Association was then-Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. The shortstop expressed concern about whether or not testing that was supposed to be confidential would truly remain so. That concern seemed to gain further credence on Thursday when former Sox teammate David Ortiz‘ positive test in 2003 (which was used to determine whether enough players tested positive to create a permanent testing program with penalties) was reported by the New York Times, citing lawyers familiar with the results.

Garciaparra was livid about the disclosure. Here are some of his comments:

“It’€™s so hard to even understand, I mean what is that list? This has become an absolute joke, I think it’€™s just a crock, I don’€™t even believe the list, it’€™s kind of ridiculous when you have a list like that and it doesn’€™t go through the proper channels. What is the truth about something like that? That’€™s just unfair.

‘€œI know David and I know the guy is just so solid as an individual and cares about the game and what he does, I just hope he’€™s doing alright.”

‘€œThere’€™s a lot of guys having to deal with accusations and that’€™s unfortunate. I don’€™t know the truth. The only thing for me is that I don’€™t agree with people taking them at all by any means.”

‘€œYou have guys who are taking regular supplements at GNC and getting 50-game suspensions. That’€™s unfortunate. There’€™s a big difference between being a cheater and being irresponsible, they seem to put the same label on both.”

‘€œThere are flaws but it’€™s getting better. It’€™s not perfect but I think it’€™s headed in the right direction for sure. I think we all as individuals and fans of the game have to be aware of that, it’€™s not going to be perfect and we shouldn’€™t cast somebody a certain way until we hear the whole story.”

‘€œThere’€™s process that’€™s supposed to go on, if there’€™s a suspension a guy can appeal it and there’€™s a big process to see what happened, did any of those guys [listed] even have that chance? I guarantee they didn’€™t. It was a list that was supposed to be anonymous and now they’€™re saying it’€™s not. They didn’€™t have a process.”

‘€œThere was supposed to be just a number. I knew guys who didn’€™t take the test just to be positive because they wanted testing. Are those guys on the list? I don’€™t know. There are literally guys who said, ‘€˜I’€™m not taking it, go ahead and put me on there because I want the number to be above [five percent], if those guys are on the list?’ How about that? People don’€™t talk about that.”

‘€œI think there’€™s a bigger issue about a grand jury and stuff being leaked like that, I think we have a bigger problem there than steroids in baseball, that’€™s a lot bigger than stuff that’€™s supposed to be sealed and confidential. It’€™s not anymore. That hurts in all walks of life.”

‘€œThen you’€™re going to have 100 guys trying to tell a story, but is this [list] even legit? I don’€™t know, that’€™s what you question. It’€™s one of those things where if it was in court it would probably be tossed out and not allowed.’€

Read More: David Ortiz, Nomar Garciaparra, peds, steroids

Ortiz: ‘I’m okay; I’m okay’

07.30.09 at 7:51 pm ET
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David Ortiz met with reporters to take a few questions about the report of his positive test for a performance-enhancing substance in 2003. Ortiz made clear that he would deal directly with the report, and address the positive test to the best of his abilities. That said, he was still awaiting confirmation from the MLB Players Association about whether or not he did test positive (he received confirmation just after he met with the press, and said as much in a statement).

Ortiz learned about the report today around 10:30 a.m., when a New York Times reporter asked him about the matter, roughly two hours before the story went online. Prior to the game, he began the process of gathering information in hopes of being able to clarify the situation.

‘€œAll I have to say right now is I found out like an hour before the game about the situation and, as you guys know, I’€™m a guy that, I never turn my back on (the media),” he said. “I’€™ve always been a true guy with you guys. Honestly, right now, I don’€™t have no information about it. I’€™m going to get more info about the situation and I’€™m going to honestly tell you guys what’€™s up. Right now, I don’€™t have no answers. I’€™ve got no information. The next few days, I’€™m going to get some information about it.’€

ON WHETHER HE KNOWS WHAT THE SUBSTANCE MIGHT HAVE BEEN, OR WHEN THE TEST COULD HAVE HAPPENED?

‘€œLike I say, I have no answers right now. I’€™m going to get deeper on this and then you guys are going to find out what’€™s up.’€

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THE FANS?

‘€œThanks for everything. Like I say, my whole life, my whole career that I’€™ve been around here, I’€™ve been what I am. Like I say, honestly, I’€™m going to get to the bottom of this and you guys are going to here from me in the next few days.’€

DO YOU THINK THE ENTIRE LIST SHOULD BE RELEASE?

‘€œI don’€™t know. I don’€™t really have control over it so I don’€™t really get too deep on that. I have a statement out there and like I said, you guys are going to hear from me in the next few days.’€

ARE YOU HURT THAT THIS HAS COME OUT IN THIS WAY?

‘€œI’€™m okay. I’m okay.’€

Read More: David Ortiz, peds,

This News Hurts

07.30.09 at 6:25 pm ET
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It sucks.

The first thing that hits me is that phrase. I don’t think anybody really is surprised in this day and age, no matter whose name comes out. But people talk about Manny and A-Rod because maybe personality-wise they don’t like some of the things they do. David’s different. People love him. He’s a great person, they should love him; he’s a good friend. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to him.

It doesn’t change the type of person he is. He made a mistake, but hopefully he addresses it the right way. I think many people have showed us how to handle it so hopefully he comes out, talks about it and admits it, and moves on. That’s the way to get by it. People will now judge him, this team and its accomplishments.

I was David’s teammate in 2003, both in spring training and then again when the Red Sox brought me back through a trade in the middle of the year. Even though that was David’s breakout year, nothing made me suspicious about it. I always felt if you looked at the games played in Minnesota the at-bats, there were some numbers that were projected pretty close to what he did in Boston. He just didn’t have the at-bats that he did here. I talked to him about learning how to hit the fastball in. That’s how teams used to beat him. That’s a big power spot. If you learn to hit that fastball in, your power improves. I think he’s worked on a couple of those things. That was the reason I always felt he became a superstar.

Has he done it since? We don’t know. We haven’t heard anything about it. We do know now about ’03, so it’s unfortunate, but I’ve always looked at the fact that he was a part-time player in Minnesota that’s the reason why. People always forget that when they say he was nothing in Minnesota. I’ve always felt that was a big difference.

David has been outspoken about keeping the game clean, but I think it’s tough on all the players. The more they talk about it, the more they can say things and you can look back and judge them. We don’t know if in ’06 he was taking them. Maybe in ’06 he was clean; maybe he did it in ’02 or ’03 to get on the scene. There’s a lot of pressure on these guys to get on the scene and make that one big contract and then maybe you get off of it. We don’t know.

It’s naive to think it, but at the same time you have to give the benefit of the doubt until the end, until we find out otherwise. But players in his position Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, they are forced to answer some questions and I think you answer them properly to the best that you can. I don’t think anybody that is going to come out and admit, “I know I haven’t been caught yet but I’ve been using, too.”

That will never come out of a players mouth. There’s just no reason for it. You deal with it when you get caught. So that’s kind of the reality of the situation. You deny it until something happens. He went into the subject at length in spring training, when details of his association with a Dominican trainer (Angel Presinal) who has been accused of steroid distribution came out. He talked more than I thought he was going to or maybe should have. He addressed that issue, too, but once again he was kind of forced to because it was in his face. When you’re a player of his magnitude, you’re sometimes forced to answer questions and, like I said, if you think you’re going to have one of these players come out and say, “By the way, I’m on that list too I just never got caught,” that’s just not going to happen.

For David’s teammates, I think it could add another distraction to a bad week. This is a tough week with the trade deadline. There’s a lot of changes. You saw how this team played last year coming into the deadline, you see how they are playing now coming into the deadline. What this does is create a big distraction for one individual guy. David Ortiz is going to have to deal with this for the whole road trip, then deal with it again when he comes back for the first time.

It will last him a few weeks – if not even longer – but guys in the clubhouse are going to have to answer questions about David: How do you feel about David? It’s just a distraction you try to avoid and really isn’t necessary but you have to deal with it.

Then again, it could go the other way. He is a well-respected guy in the clubhouse, and another way of looking at it is that he’s a well-respected guy and it could bring the team together in support of David.

Even so, it probably doesn’t do anything to change how the Sox need to approach the trade deadline. I think you look at the moment now, not back in ’03. If you like the way he is swinging the bat now and the way he has been swinging the last month or two, then you’re fine. It’s not like just because this news comes out he is going to lose production. He is what he is today and what he was a week ago — maybe not what he was in ’03, but you see what you have right now, you have a guy that I think is good in the middle of that line up – not great, but still good. I think that’s enough.

Read More: 2003 red sox, David Ortiz,

David Ortiz issues statement

07.30.09 at 5:34 pm ET
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BOSTON, MA ‘€” Red Sox Designated Hitter David Ortiz issued the following statement today:

Today I was informed by a reporter that I was on the 2003 list of MLB players to test positive for performance-enhancing substances.  This happened right before our game, and the news blindsided me.  I said I had no comment because I wanted to get to the bottom of this.

I want to talk about this situation and I will as soon as I have more answers.  In the meantime I want to let you know how I am approaching this situation.  One, I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true.  I have just been told that the report is true.  Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.  Two, I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public.  You know me – I will not hide and I will not make excuses.

I want to thank my family, the Red Sox, my teammates, and the fans for their patience and support.

Read More: David Ortiz, Red Sox, Statement,

Red Sox claim enormous come-from-behind win

07.30.09 at 4:53 pm ET
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There are moments when a season changes. More often than not in recent Red Sox history, they have come around the trading deadline.

On July 24, 2004, the team’s brawl against the Yankees served as a catalyst for rescuing a season and commencing a path to a championship. One week later, the deal that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs as part of a four-team swap that brought back Orlando Cabrera further laid the groundwork for a World Series.

The following year, rumors swirled as July 31 approached about the possibility of Manny Ramirez getting dealt. He was not. Instead, minutes after the trading deadline, he stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter and delivered a game-winning single, preventing the Sox from falling apart.

In ’06, the worm turned in the opposite direction. On July 30, Trot Nixon went down with an oblique injury. The next day, hours after the deadline, Jason Varitek suffered a knee injury that forced him to the sidelines until September.

Last year, in the first game following the trade that sent Manny Ramirez to L.A. and brought Jason Bay to Boston, Bay hit a triple in extra innings that set the stage for a Red Sox walkoff victory.

And this year, it was a three-run blast by David Ortiz – on the day that his name surfaced in a New York Times report that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in 2003 – that propelled the Sox to a come-from-behind, 8-5 victory over Oakland. The Sox had been amidst one of the worst week’s of the year, between the Daisuke Matsuzaka controversy, trade deadline and Ortiz report. A victory such as Thursday’s can play a huge role in moving a team beyond such hassles.

Statement From Daisuke Matsuzaka

07.30.09 at 3:52 pm ET
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BOSTON, MA’€”Red Sox right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka issued the following statement today:

‘€œI spoke to Tito on the phone yesterday, and I’m very glad that we had a productive conversation.

As for the reports from the past several days, I want to correct some misunderstandings.  I did not go public with any complaints and I regret that some of my private conversations were made public without my knowledge or consent.

Also, I never said in public or in private conversation that: ‘€˜If I’m forced to continue to train in this environment, I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan.’€™

I had no intention of criticizing the team and we are, in fact, working together to communicate, to exchange ideas, and to try to understand one another’s baseball culture as we move forward.

The team and I have had many meetings and conversations, and after shaking hands with the general manager, manager, and coaches on the 24th, I was able to resume my training in a good state of mind.

My goal is to put myself into a position where I can contribute to this team.

I look forward to rejoining my teammates and playing in front of the fans at Fenway Park.’€

Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dice-K, Red Sox,
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