Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Mota's suspension shows sport isn't clean
By David Schoenfield
Guillermo Mota became the third major leaguer ever to receive a 100-game for a second positive drug test, joining Manny Ramirez and Eliezer Alfonzo.
The loss to the Giants is probably minimal, although not necessarily insignificant since Mota did throw 80 innings of something close to league-average relief in 2011. Combined with the injury to closer Brian Wilson, the San Francisco bullpen is thinner than it appeared back in March, although still deep in quality arms with Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez, plus the up-and-down Clay Hensley. Top relief prospect Heath Hembree could also be ready soon as he's pitching well at Triple-A Fresno.
The biggest concern is that Mota owned a rubber arm, something Casilla and Romo haven't shown. Casilla's career high in innings is 55.1 while Romo's is 62. As dominant as Romo was a year ago (29 hits, five walks and 70 strikeouts in 48 innings), Bruce Bochy basically uses him as ROOGY. Those 48 innings came in 65 appearances; this year, he's pitched in 10 games but just eight innings. With Mota out, Bochy may look to extend Romo a little more; we'll see how his arms responds.
The best news out of this: The Giants activated Aubrey Huff as Bochy said the team will go with an 11-man staff for now. This makes a lot of sense, considering the Giants are without Pablo Sandoval. Bochy should be looking to maximize matchups on offense, not defense.
Mota's agent says he used a children's cough syrup that contained trace substances of Clenbuterol and will appeal the suspension. Hey, it worked for Ryan Braun.
There's not a whole lot else to read into this other than it's a reminder that baseball isn't completely clean and also that hitters weren't the only players using performance-enhancing drugs and stimulants all these years.