By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
9:19 PM EDT, June 5, 2013
HOUSTON -- An ESPN report Tuesday that roughly 20 major league players will be suspended for their involvement with performance-enhancing drugs as part of the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic scandal has been met with caution by Orioles officials.
The suspensions could come within the next few weeks, according to ESPN, and executive vice president Dan Duquette said he'd be waiting to comment until all the information is out.
“I think the commissioner's office worries about the larger issue of what's good for baseball, and they have spent a lot of time and resources investigating this particular situation,” Duquette said. “I don't know much about it, so it is not appropriate for me to comment on something that is currently under investigation.”
The only Oriole who has been connected to the controversy is designated hitter Danny Valencia, who, according to Yahoo Sports, had his name listed in Biogenesis records. Valencia has denied any involvement with the clinic or its founder, Tony Bosch. Valencia reiterated Tuesday that he stands by his statements this spring.
“I think Danny has already responded to that,” Duquette said. “I don't have any new information that is going to affect the Orioles.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he, too, is reserving judgment on the entire controversy until more information is gleaned.
“I think nobody's naïve. I used to be about a lot of things. But we'll let it run its course,” Showalter said. “I think, like a lot of things in life, you're not really sure what the endgame is going to be. You look at things how you would do it personally, but everybody's different, from different backgrounds, different demographics. We'll see.”
Orioles in space (sort of)
Eight Orioles and several staff members visited NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston Wednesday afternoon. They had a chance to talk to an astronaut currently in space via phone while also getting an insider's tour of the facility.
“It was pretty awesome. There are not a lot of times you get to visit something like that,” said reliever Steve Johnson. “You got to see what [the astronauts] have to go through to do their job up there. They sometimes spend a short time up there and they have to do so much work.”
The players taking the tour, beside Johnson, were pitchers Jim Johnson, Jason Hammel, T.J. McFarland and Darren O'Day, outfielders Chris Dickerson and Steve Pearce and shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Around the horn
Right fielder Nick Markakis missed the first of two games Wednesday to attend the funeral of his grandmother. Pearce played right field, and Hardy batted third in Markakis' absence. … The Orioles have picks No. 22, 37 and 61 during the first two rounds of the amateur draft, which begins tonight. … The Orioles decided not to change their pitching rotation for this week to keep Hammel on four days' rest. So Miguel Gonzalez will pitch today against Houston and Hammel will start Friday in Tampa. … Former Orioles manager Dave Trembley, now the Astros' third base coach, chatted with several of his former players and staff members around the batting cage Wednesday. Trembley managed the Orioles from 2007 to 2010. He'll return to Camden Yards on July 30 with the Astros. … Showalter said Wilson Betemit (right knee) has not had a setback but is still not close to returning to the team as he undergoes extensive rehab. … Norfolk outfielder Lew Ford will have groin surgery in Philadelphia today to remove scar tissue. William Meyers, who performed Ford's sports hernia surgery in October, will do this operation as well. The club expected the procedure to be done last week, but it was pushed back for scheduling reasons. The Orioles have not yet ruled out Ford for the remainder of the year, but his season could be in jeopardy. … Texas native Danielle Bradbery, a participant in NBC's “The Voice,” sang the National Anthem on Wednesday.
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