Bad day for the minor leaguers

Dave · April 4, 2005 at 2:09 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Okay, its officially been released, so here’s the news:

Jose Lopez out 4-6 weeks with a broken hamate bone.

Ryan Anderson and Rett Johnson have been released from the organization.

Damian Moss, Ryan Christianson, Troy Cate, Renee Cortez, Omar Falcon, Jesus Guzman, Billy Hogan, and Darwin Soto have been suspended for failing steroid tests. Soto was subsequently released.


44 Responses to “Bad day for the minor leaguers”

  1. hans on April 4th, 2005 2:12 pm

    I guess those issues never really got resolved for Rett? That’s really too bad because it sounded like he had quite a bit of promise.

    What about the steroid testing? Did the Mariners do the testing or was it an outside agency? MLB?

    Please Jose, get better.

  2. mundeazy on April 4th, 2005 2:17 pm

    damn they gave up on Anderson…how was he doing?

  3. Emil on April 4th, 2005 2:20 pm

    Considering he just got released, I have a pretty good guess…

  4. 116 wins in 05 on April 4th, 2005 2:22 pm

    so no more little unit?

    i cant believe it

  5. Troy on April 4th, 2005 2:28 pm

    It’s about time. Now we can all move on. Still sad to see such talent wasted by recurring injuries though.

  6. Jeff on April 4th, 2005 2:29 pm

    It is interesting to go back and review the trade offers that the M’s had for Anderson years ago.

  7. ChrisK on April 4th, 2005 2:36 pm

    Jeff, I’m dying to know. What were the offers for Ryan back in the day?

  8. fiction on April 4th, 2005 2:38 pm

    Just when the Big Board had Rett Johnson stock rising. What prompted his release? Anderson is abit understandable. Johnson seemed to be throwing well.

  9. J on April 4th, 2005 3:07 pm

    As recently as a few days ago, the San Antonio Express-News was reporting that Rett Johnson was expected to be in the rotation for the Missions. Something must have happened soon after…

  10. Ralph Malph on April 4th, 2005 3:24 pm

    These are part of the list of 38 minor leaguers suspended by MLB. I think that is just the Cactus League list — presumably there will be more, probably a longer list, once the Grapefruit League list comes out.

    It looks to me like the majority of the players on the complete list are Latins. I wonder if there are products available over the counter in Latin American countries — which might not be labelled very accurately — which a not-very-sophisticated player might take without realizing they are banned.

  11. Bobbydon on April 4th, 2005 4:09 pm

    #10 Of the eight names, four are hispanic. So unless the others were playing winterball in Venezuela, I’d suspect something more…..

  12. Ralph Malph on April 4th, 2005 4:39 pm

    There aren’t a lot of top prospects on the list but there are a few. Javier Herrera of the A’s, for one.

  13. Ralph Malph on April 4th, 2005 4:42 pm

    It’s just difficult for me to understand, with all the talk about a testing regimen coming, why somebody would keep using. A guy would either have to be very stupid — which might include Alex Sanchez — or very unaware.

    Out of these 38 I am thinking it includes some guys who are just stupid — maybe they quit using too late thinking their systems would be clean by the time they were tested — and some who didn’t know any better.

    I am just speculating that some Latin players might not have known what was going on in the US. Or might have taken poorly labelled “supplements” that they bought in a Venezuelan pharmacy or the like.

  14. Ralph Malph on April 4th, 2005 4:44 pm

    The minor league banned substance list is broader than the MLB list — it includes amphetamines, for instance. This could take in some “stay awake” products which were once pretty widely used.

  15. Scott on April 4th, 2005 4:46 pm

    Can’t say I am suprised by Anderson’s release. But Rett Johnson? I thought they were going to assign him to AA to start this year. Dave, any insight on his release?

  16. Evan on April 4th, 2005 5:10 pm

    I expect minor leaguers aren’t even allowed to take Sudafed.

  17. dw on April 4th, 2005 5:42 pm

    OK, dumb question time: Is Wilson Valdez the only replacement-level SS available out there on the market? I mean, nothing against him, but isn’t there a SS out there we could throw in that’s better than Valdez yet equally expendable and reasonably priced?

  18. JMB on April 4th, 2005 6:09 pm

    There’s no players union for minor leaguers, right? Because I have to think if Soto were in the MLBPA, they’d go to bat for him over this release. I’m guessing teams can’t release guys for this, but maybe I’m wrong.


  19. John in L.A. on April 4th, 2005 6:43 pm

    Ok. So the Mariners won this contest they didn’t want to win. Eight players… including a notoriously injured pitcher.

    This is obviously a small smaple size and nothing to draw conclusions from, but…

    Is there any chance that steroid use, IF it was particularly widespread in the MAriners minors could help explain in any way their horrible track record of pitcher health?

    Obviously it is not all… but is there any chance that it is any part?

  20. Adam on April 4th, 2005 6:49 pm


  21. DMZ on April 4th, 2005 7:43 pm

    Minor league players are not represented by any union or like organization (which is lame, but this part of my anti-MLBPA list can wait), so they may have their agent and that’s it.

  22. allen shirts on April 4th, 2005 7:46 pm

    Soto wasn’t the only one. says 10 of the 38 were released. What amazes me is this: “Oakland’s David Castillo was suspended for 60 games, the penalty for a third violation. All the others were suspended for 15 games, the ban given to first offenders.”

  23. JMB on April 4th, 2005 8:46 pm

    Here’s the party line (read: article) on the suspended minor leaguers.


  24. Conor Glassey on April 4th, 2005 9:13 pm

    $10 says the D-Rays pick up Ryan Anderson!

  25. tino on April 5th, 2005 1:36 am

    Wait a sec. When did we pick up Damian Moss?

  26. Goob on April 5th, 2005 6:07 am

    #25, my thoughts exactly. I remember when he was pitching down here for Atlanta, he was spoken of as maybe being able to turn into a decent pitcher one day. And then he just fell off the face of the Earth. What happened to him?

  27. paul mocker on April 5th, 2005 6:43 am

    How did Lopez break his bone? I wonder if a proper “pre-hab” program would have prevented it.

  28. tino on April 5th, 2005 6:55 am

    From Flintoff & Dunn’s Australian Major League Baseball

    One roster move made by the Mariners last month that flew under the radar was the signing of LHP Damian Moss to a minor league deal. The 28-year-old Australian has 61 career big league starts with Atlanta, San Francisco, Baltimore and Tampa Bay, and is 22-19 with a 4.50 ERA.

  29. paul mocker on April 5th, 2005 7:06 am

    I advocate teaching prospects not to run into anything (OF wall, catcher blocking home plate, opposing player, head first slides) at the expense of an out, or even a game.

    The point of minor leagues is to teach baseball and so when a player takes an unnecessary risk he costs his current team and his future team, which is usually the major league club.

    So if the injury to Lopez could have been prevented by this type of “pre-hab” then I will be very angry.

  30. Dave on April 5th, 2005 7:09 am

    Hamate injuries almost always happen on a check swing.

  31. paul mocker on April 5th, 2005 8:05 am

    I feel somewhat better.
    The “Ghost of Snelling Crippler” must have given him the take sign too late.

  32. Conor Glassey on April 5th, 2005 8:45 am

    Here’s an image of where the hamate bone is…
    Apparently, it’s also a common injury in golf.

  33. JMB on April 5th, 2005 9:26 am

    Griffey broke his hamate bone probably ten years ago. Pretty common baseball injury, though the conventional wisdom is that it takes a year to get your power back even after fully recovering from the injury.


  34. Pilots fan on April 5th, 2005 9:32 am

    Ryan Christianson (like many others) says he took over the counter supplements only. No steriods. Does anyone know how likely it is that he is telling the truth and got caught on a technicality? Does he have the option of making that information public if in fact he is telling the truth and can prove it by the test results?

    If he is as innocent as he claims to be, you’d think he’d like to reveal what he took and what technicality he got busted on.

  35. Jim Thomsen on April 5th, 2005 11:06 am

    I think it’s likely there’s something substantive to what Christianson says, and that we should not rush to judgment on him. It reminds me of the “Seinfeld” episode where Elaine was red-flagged as an opium addict at J. Peterman because she liked to eat poppy-seed muffins and they turned up on her drug test. “Oh, Elaine … the toll road of denial is a long and costly one. The price? Your soul.”

    I for one was pleased to see Christianson’s “I didn’t take steroids, but I wasn’t careful enough in avoiding the appearance of it, so I’m going to take my punishment like an adult” attitude. I hope he reveals to the team exactly what he took that might have created a “false positive” on his test to the matter can be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. If indeed that’s what’s happened.

  36. roger tang on April 5th, 2005 12:16 pm

    re #34 and #35

    One thing to remember is that the supplements industry isn’t regulated. That could mean that the manufacturing process for these additives isn’t examined much and could easily be contaminated by outside agents or be secretly “boosted” by sleazy manufacturers.

    Biochemistry gets complex enough as there are all sorts of masking agents, drugs that give positives (and should be avoided), etc. for athletes to keep track of. It’s quite conceivable for marginal or minor league players to not be as aware of this as they should be (you think REGULAR people are aware of all the side effects of the drugs they’re supposed to take?)

  37. msb on April 5th, 2005 12:44 pm

    #36-roger tang said: “It’s quite conceivable for marginal or minor league players to not be as aware of this as they should be (you think REGULAR people are aware of all the side effects of the drugs they’re supposed to take?)”

    Chuck Armstrong’s response this morning (prefaced by the comment that he had not yet talked to Ryan himself) was that they have spent a lot of time trying to educate the minor leaguers to NOT take unapproved supplements, and that the minor league clubhouses stock approved (ie clean) vitamins and supplements.

  38. John in L.A. on April 5th, 2005 2:57 pm

    Man, people BADLY want to believe that players don’t take steroids.

    I completely understand this site not wanting to speculate about individual player use. But across baseball this is extending even to the players that were caught… and that becomes a bit disingenuous.

    There is a fine line between “avoiding a witch hunt” and “burying our heads in the sand”. There is and was rampant steroid abuse in our major sports. We can differ in opinion on how serious a problem that is – I think it’s very serious, some will quite legitimately think it is not so serious. But denying its existance as MLB so desperately wants us all to do is just not facing facts. The culture of silence on this topic is beginning to crumble. And I think that’s a good thing.

  39. John in L.A. on April 5th, 2005 3:03 pm

    Just re-read my post and I want to clarify that I was not directing any of that at anyone here. I’m speaking of the media treatment of the issue and the tactic of encouraged suspension of disbelief.

  40. Nick on April 5th, 2005 3:32 pm

    What kind of trade offers did the Mariners get for Ryan Anderson during his years as a phenom

  41. msb on April 5th, 2005 4:33 pm

    #39- do we actually know if it was steroids that these 38 failed on? I just noticed the MLB release said ‘failing drug tests’

    “The Commissioner’s office released a comprehensive list for the first time Monday of 38 Minor Leaguers who have all been suspended for failing drug tests. The most notable was David Castillo of the Oakland A’s, who was suspended for 60 games after he tested positive for the third time. The other 37 players were all suspended for 15 games each, the mandatory penalty after testing positive for the first time. The Minor League testing program is much wider in scope than its Major League counterpart. In the Majors, players on the 40-man roster of each team are tested for steroids and steroid-based drugs only. In the Minors, players are tested for steroids and a variety of drugs, including amphetamines and recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine and alcohol.”

  42. Mike on April 5th, 2005 6:15 pm

    Was Mike Morse’s suspension last summer steroid-related?

  43. Steve on April 14th, 2005 8:27 pm

    Hi. I was just checking in on this site to find some news on a former college teammate when I noticed all the talk of steroids. Steroids is a big problem in baseball, at the collegiate level and at the professional level. I watched the congress hearing and was laughing at some of those guys who said they think only 1.7 percent are on steroids. The team I played for in college I knew of over 1/3 of the guys taking them. I don’t suppose they just stop when they get signed to a pro contract, it probably continues. From talking to teammates, I know there are ways they can mask it when taking tests. They weren’t even worried about drug testing. Anyways, I just wanted to enlighten some of you guys from an insider view if you are clinging to the idea that there are a lot of innocent guys out there.

  44. Incognitio on April 22nd, 2005 10:44 am

    I know everyone is wondering about Ryan Andersons release and how it came about? Well here is an insight, it has nothing to do his healing and his pitching. He was seen the saturday before he was released and he was throwing 89-92 mph and only got one hit off of him, into the left field out of 35 pitches.
    I feel that it may because of something that none of us may ever know about. I do know that they had a new GM this year and maybe the team was just going into another direction. I also heard that he was being prospected by the Yankee’s. Lets keep the faith!