Albert Pujols broke in with the St. Louis Cardinals at 21 years old in 2001. He has long denied using steroids. (Getty Images)
Former major leaguer Jack Clark, now a sports-talk radio host in St. Louis, recently accused Angels star Albert Pujols of using steroids early in his career with the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported today that Clark had been on the job less than a week last Friday when he declared on the air that Pujols used steroids: “I know for a fact he was. The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”
More from Clark, courtesy of the P-D:
Grant Green (left) collected two hits in his Angels debut Tuesday night. (Getty Images)
Nine years ago, Grant Green
, Hank Conger
and Mark Trumbo
were among Orange County’s brightest young baseball stars. It’s still true. When the Angels recalled Green from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday, it reunited the former Anaheim Canyon star with Conger (Huntington Beach) and Trumbo (Villa Park) in the same clubhouse.
Their paths in amateur baseball overlapped just enough that there are a few stories.
It looked like spring training in August.
The Angels gathered on the Angel Stadium infield for a short team meeting around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. When that was done, players broke off to their separate positions and proceeded to perform a Cactus League staple: Pitchers’ fielding practice (PFP) drills. For the next half-hour, each pitcher peeled off from the pack standing along the third-base line, jogged to the mound, and practiced pickoff throws to each base, fielded bunts, and covered first base on ground balls to the right side.
Kevin Jepsen said it was the first time he’d done PFP drills in August in five full seasons with the Angels.
In a season full of team meetings, Angels manager Mike Scioscia called another one following an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.
In his comments to reporters afterwards, Scioscia singled out the team’s inability to hold runners on base. The Rangers stole six bases off Angels catcher Chris Iannetta in six attempts.
However, Scioscia refused to blame Iannetta.
“Chris is throwing the ball well,” Scioscia said. “This is about the inabilty of some of our pitchers to make the adjustments they need to make.”
“The reality of it is, if this is going to become an instructional league,” he continued, “we have to make some changes, because guys up here should be able to do a better job.”
More in tomorrow’s editions.
Joe Blanton has a 0.00 earned-run average out of the Angels’ bullpen this season. (Associated Press photo)
The Angels tried Joe Blanton as a starting pitcher when the season began. Can’t blame them — 228 of his 237 career appearances before this season came as a starter. He was even slotted third in the rotation.
That experiment ended after 20 starts. Blanton went 2-13, which remains the most losses in the American League. He allowed 24 home runs in those starts and opponents hit a collective .317/.356/.543 against him.
A funny thing happened when Blanton was bumped from the rotation last month: He started pitching really well. In six relief innings since, the right-hander has retired 18 of the 19 batters he faced. Unlike some relievers, Blanton wasn’t fazed by going seven days between appearances, pitching three perfect innings Monday night against the Texas Rangers.
Considering Blanton didn’t pitch a 1-2-3 inning in 2013 until May 2 — his sixth start of the season — that was no small feat. Blanton looks like he’s found his niche.
Not so fast, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
An MRI on Howie Kendrick‘s left knee Tuesday revealed a bone bruise and no structural damage, and the Angels will try to wait until week’s end for him to recover before deciding whether to put him on the disabled list or not.
“We’ll give him about four or five days to see how it progresses,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Obviously he’s very, very sore and very stiff, but we’ll give it a couple days to play out.”
The Angels recalled Grant Green from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday. He is starting at second base against the Texas Rangers and batting eighth. Chris Nelson and Tommy Field can also play the position, and those will be the only options until a decision is rendered on Kendrick.
Scioscia said that Kendrick will travel with the Angels on their seven-game road trip to Cleveland and New York starting Friday.
Kendrick hyperextended his left knee colliding with Collin Cowgill (above) in Monday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rangers.
Howie Kendrick left in the fifth inning the Angels’ game against the Texas Rangers on Monday with a hyperextended left knee and did not return. He’s listed as day-to-day.
Kendrick and right fielder Collin Cowgill converged in pursuit of a fly ball to shallow right field hit by Elvis Andrus. Kendrick’s knee collided with Cowgill’s arm as the two players dove for the ball, which bounced between them into right field. Two runs scored on the play, turning a 1-1 game into a 3-1 Rangers lead.
The Rangers led 5-1 in the seventh inning.
The Angels placed pitcher Ryan Madson on unconditional release waivers Tuesday.
Madson, who had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in April 2012, spent the entire season on the disabled list after signing an incentive-laden one-year contract. The Angels owe him the remainder of his $3.5 million base salary.
The 32-year-old pitcher had been rehabbing in Arizona. He pitched one inning of one rehab game for the Single-A Inland Empire 66ers on May 13, but the subsequent pain in his elbow stalled his progress.
“We signed Ryan with the belief that he would return to the mound and positively impact our team,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement released by the team. “It became increasingly more apparent to us that he would not pitch for the Angels this season. Our medical team has spent much time, effort and resources in the effort to facilitate a healthy return. It’s been a long and difficult process for all involved.
“I spoke to Ryan earlier today and informed him of our decision. This was an upside gamble that I deemed worth the risk and unfortunately it did not transpire for either Ryan or the club.”
Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson, the Angels’ player representative to the MLB Players’ Association and a former teammate of suspended Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, addressed a crowd of reporters in the Angels dugout today. Here’s a sampling of his responses:
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz issued a statement today after accepting a 50-game PED suspension from Major League Baseball. Here it is, courtesy of MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan:
“I have been notified by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball that I have been suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement,” Cruz said in a statement. “I have decided to accept this suspension and not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal. From November, 2011 to January, 2012, I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month. By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation differently, and my illness was no excuse. I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers’ fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs.”