MLB's Biogenesis probe could impact playoffs
Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic had an impact on the 2013 season, with 14 players suspended and 13 of them serving their penalties. It will have a lingering effect on the postseason.
Five things to know about Biogenesis and postseason baseball:
CRUZ CONTROL: Outfielder Nelson Cruz completed his 50-game suspension on Sunday, and Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the All-Star will be activated for Monday's AL wild-card tiebreaker game against visiting Tampa Bay. MLB decision to start the penalties on Aug. 5 was caused by Cruz — the Rangers played game 113 that night, so he had to start serving the suspension to be eligible for the playoffs. Who expected a Game 163? The Rangers were 29-21 without Cruz, who has 27 homers and 76 RBIs this season. He has been playing in the instructional league in Arizona the past two weeks, going 9 for 27 with five doubles, a homer and nine RBIs in eight games.
HOT ROD: The hearing of the grievance filed by the Major League Baseball Players to overturn the 211-game suspension of New York Yankees third baseman starts Monday. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has set aside five hearing days this week; more days could be scheduled. Each side can introduce evidence, present witnesses and cross-examine them. The union maintains the penalty is excessive. Barring a settlement, a decision is expected this winter.
JHONNY ON THE SPOT: All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta returned to the Detroit Tigers on Friday after serving his 50-game penalty. Moved to the outfield, Peralta was 3 for 12 with an RBI double in the weekend series at the Miami Marlins. He made the first three outfield appearances of his big league career, although he did shift back in the later innings on Saturday and Sunday. It was not yet clear whether Peralta would be on Detroit's roster for the division series against Oakland starting Friday.
BRAUNLESS BREWERS: Former NL MVP Ryan Braun missed the final 65 days of the season while serving his penalty. In Braun's absence, his Milwaukee Brewers went 6-4 against Cincinnati, 3-3 against Pittsburgh and 3-6 against St. Louis, which won the NL Central by three games over the Pirates and by seven games over the Reds.
MARKET TIME: Biogenesis may have an impact on the free-agent market. Peralta will be a free agent after the World Series, so October might be his final month with the Tigers. New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, sidelined since late April, finished serving his 50-game penalty Friday, and the Yankees might be in the market for an upgrade at catcher, perhaps with free-agent-to-be Brian McCann of Atlanta.