One of the big headlines in baseball today is the latest development in the Biogenesis scandal. More than 20 players, headlined by Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers' outfielder Ryan Braun, could face drug related suspensions after the clinic's founder, Anthony Bosch, agreed to cooperate with Major League Baseball investigators. The potential suspensions, which could create the biggest sting in baseball history, could spread far and wide. The New York Mets, although reportedly not having a major league player on the list, could be impacted as one of their young outfield prospects has been implicated in the scandal. This big news highlights this week's edition of Mets 101 News and Notes. Let's get started with:
The Biogenesis scandal continues to become a bigger black eye on baseball. The latest twist, as reported by ESPN's Outside the Lines, is the cooperation of Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch with baseball investigators. Bosch, who had previously denied any knowledge of performance enhancing drugs at his clinic, has apparently changed his tune. In exchange for MLB dropping a civil lawsuit against him as well as putting in a good word for the Biogenesis founder with criminal investigators, Bosch will offer his full cooperation with the steroid investigations. Bosch is expected to verify that up to 20 players received performance enhancing drugs from his clinic. A partial list obtained by Outside the Lines implicates Mets' minor leaguer Cesar Puello. Puello, an outfielder for Double-A Binghamton, has been off to a scorching start this season, batting .312 with nine homers and 36 RBI's. Puello, who is on the 40 man roster, could face a 50 game suspension for violating baseball's substance abuse policy. The OTL report cautions that prior to any potential suspensions being announced, all players under suspicion would be interviewed by MLB investigators and have the opportunity to appeal any decisions. The situation is not going away any time soon, and we will keep you up to date on it throughout the year at Mets 101.com.
David Wright Trailing Pablo Sandoval in All Star Voting:
In last year's All Star voting, Mets third baseman David Wright lost out on the starting third base spot in fan voting to Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval. According to current voting totals, Wright is trailing Sandoval again, this time by 127,000 votes. While Wright and Sandoval have had similar years statistically, Sandoval has a sizeable lead thanks to the efforts of Giants fans. The San Francisco Giants are very effective at encouraging the vote and utilizing social media, which has contributed to nearly every player on the team being in striking distance of an All Star starting spot. While starting catcher John Buck is third amongst catchers, Wright retains the only realistic chance to start the All Star Game for the Mets. The Mets will need to find creative ways to entice a disenfranchised fan base to get out the vote if they want to guarantee a hometown player will start the All Star Game.
The Mets do have some good news, as top prospect Zack Wheeler is expected to be promoted to the major leagues at some point in the next several weeks. Wheeler, who is 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA for Triple-A Las Vegas, has generated tremendous excitement among Met fans. Manager Terry Collins, however, cautioned fans and pundits that Wheeler should not expected to be the franchise's savior, MetsBlog.com reports. This is a smooth move by Collins, as the team's struggles combined with the surprise success of fellow youngster Matt Harvey may give fans unrealistic expectations for Wheeler. Wheeler will arrive soon, but his arrival will not be enough to pitch the Mets towards the playoffs in 2013. Wheeler, who will supplant either Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee in the starting rotation, may end up debuting on the road in order to lessen the pressure on him when he first reaches the major leagues. The Mets employed a similar tactic with Matt Harvey last season successfully.
Mets Draft Plans May Change Tomorrow:
The annual MLB entry draft is tomorrow, and the New York Mets hold the 11th overall pick in the draft's first round. General Manager Sandy Alderson's first two drafts yielded two high school hitters in the first round, outfielder Brandon Nimmo in 2011 and shortstop Gavin Cecchini last year. Alderson's approach may change this season, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports. The Mets, who had been seeking impact high schoolers who could eventually contribute in a long term rebuilding project, may now focus on a more polished college player in this year's draft according to Martino's report. With the team likely targeting 2014 as the beginning of a potential turnaround, there is a good possibility that Alderson will select a collegian who could contribute to the big league club within a year or two. Check back tomorrow as we break down the team's first round draft choice.
Rapid Fire Injury Updates:
The Mets received good news on catcher Travis D'Arnaud, whose broken foot is healing properly. D'Arnaud will continue to wear a protective boot but should begin to ramp up his baseball activities soon. Expect to see him in the second half of the season . . . Still no news on Frank Francisco's possible return. Francisco was shut down again recently and is going to begin another throwing program soon . . . ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports that reliever Jeurys Familia will undergo elbow surgery to remove debris from his pitching elbow. There is no timetable for his return . . . Reliever Scott Atchison has returned to Port St. Lucie to resume a throwing program. A recent visit with Dr. James Andrews confirmed that he has a bone spur. No timetable on his return either . . . Jon Niese will throw a bullpen session today at National Park. If all goes well, Niese is aiming to return to the Mets' rotation on Saturday against the Miami Marlins.
Tags: Baseball, Biogenesis, Cesar Puello, David Wright, MLB, New York, New York Mets, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins, Zack Wheeler