Let’s face it: Manny Ramirez’s little rehab stint
in Albuquerque wasn’t fair. The guy was facing a steroid suspension,
and he got to return to action a week before his 50 days were up to
tune up in the minors, taking playing time away from some poor soul who
was just trying to make it.
Well, commissioner Bud Selig caught on.
It took a
while, but he caught on. (Maybe some day, he’ll catch on to all the
problems with the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, too. One can only
hope. Cue the music.)
Right now, there’s an agreement in place — forged by the player’s
union and MLB — that allows for a rehab stint before a steroid
suspension ends. Position players get 10 days to get back in the
groove, and pitchers get 16. But by the look of statements Selig made on Monday in St. Louis, he plans to change all that as soon as the agreement runs out in 2011.
“I believe that should be changed in the next labor negotiations,”
Selig said. “[Serve] 50 games, and then you do what you got to do.”
It means PED abusers might be rushed back to the big club, to some
extent — and it means minor league affiliates won’t make bank off a
player of Manny’s caliber — but it also makes things seem a lot more
fair. If a Triple-A shortstop gets caught for PED use, should he get to
make a few rehab appearances with a Double-A affiliate? That doesn’t
seem to make much sense.
If a guy’s suspended from baseball for 50 games, he should be
suspended from baseball for 50 games. Period. Banned means banned. The
minor leagues are no exception.
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