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Phillies get bad news, make trade

carlosruiz.png

Phillies get bad news, make trade

With a 2012 season ruined by major injuries, the Philadelphia Phillies hold hope they can bounce back as contenders in 2013. Their chances to turn things around, however, may have been dealt a blow on Tuesday with the suspension of All-Star catcher Carlos Ruiz.

Ruiz has been banned for 25 games in the 2013 season because he tested positive for Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant considered a performance enhancing drug. 

Here is the statement from the league on his suspension:

“The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has received a 25-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an Amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Ruiz is effective at the start of the 2013 regular season.  He will be eligible to participate in Spring Training, including in Spring Training games.”

The Phillies were by no means good in 2012, but without Ruiz they would have been even worse. The 33-year-old backstop enjoyed a career year hitting .325/.394/.540 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI. He posted the numbers in just 114 games including just one appearance in August.

Ruiz’ suspension would put him on track to debut at the New York Mets on April 28. The Phillies don’t play the Nationals until they visit Washington on May 24.

Ruiz released a statement apologizing for his offense:

“I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant. I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization, and the Philadelphia fans. I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013.”

The N.L. East figures to be one of baseball’s best divisions once again next season and the Phillies can’t afford to get off to a slow start. They don’t play the Nationals while Ruiz is out, but they do face the Braves, Reds, and Cardinals in April.

Phillies make a trade

The Phillies are also close to acquiring relief pitcher Wilton Lopez from the Astros for a few minor leaguers (CSNphilly.com first had the report). Lopez, 29, went 6-3 with a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings in 2012. He has a career ERA of 3.14 through four major league seasons. 
[This article originally said the deal had been completed]

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Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan Rodriguez becomes first former Nationals player to be voted into Hall of Fame

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history. 

Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him. 

During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.  

In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons. 

Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store

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Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper wants Nationals to invest in Matt Wieters, Greg Holland more than facilities

Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract

On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.

Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop. 

It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series. 

Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster. 

Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.

The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda. 

There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.

MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others