Some news and notes of the day…
- Anthony Rizzo is expected to debut with the major league Cubs tomorrow, which is the start of the future. Without the pressure of guiding a winning team, or even a team with a modestly poor record, Rizzo is going to be the everyday first baseman against lefties and right-handers, according to Dale Sveum. With 89 games remaining after tonight, if Rizzo can hit between 10 and 15 HRs and drive in between 40 and 50, it would be a successful transition for a player that is meant to be a foundation piece for future seasons. This also could signal the beginning of a number of call-ups from Iowa and Tennessee, as more and more players are likely to get looks at the big league level as veterans like Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker, Geovany Soto, and others are subject to trade speculation.
- Marlon Byrd’s positive test for tamoxifen is a bitter pill to swallow for me, personally, because of the respect I have for him While tamoxifen is not a performance enhancing drug, it is banned because it is used to mitigate the side effects of PEDs. For his part, Byrd says that he was prescribed the drug for a condition not related to baseball. Tamoxifen is used to treat a variety of conditions, and without testing positive for steroids or testosterone, it is unlikely that Marlon had any performance enhancing effect from it. Unfortunately, its off label use as a mask for PED use puts it on the banned substance list, and triggered his positive test. As has been my feeling since he was traded, I hope Byrd catches on somewhere and can have a positive impact on a contending team.
- Many in the 2012 draft class are getting their careers underway, either with the Boise Hawks or in the AZL. Supplementary Picks Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn, the highest of the picks to sign to this point, are in Arizona. First round (6th overall) pick, Albert Almora is yet to sign.
- As the trade deadline gets closer, Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza are being talked about more and more. That talk will not quiet down until a move is made or the deadline passes. Garza is the biggest chip in the Cubs’ pile, which would net them the most in return. It appears, however, at the moment, Dempster is still the only player likely to be traded. Ryan is still on the Disabled List, though, and he will probably make at least a few starts with the Cubs to prove that he is alright before a team ponies up prospects for him.