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News and Notes: MLB Improves Drug Agreement

Baseball players and owners agreed to a new deal calling for more frequent test of players over the next three seasons. The terms of the deal also give amnesty to all the players implicated in the Mitchell Report, so Jose Guillen's suspension has been eliminated. "We are gratified that commissioner Selig chose to accept Sen. Mitchell's recommendation that no further punishment of players is warranted," union head Donald Fehr said. "In many instances the naming of players was punishment enough; in others it may have been unfair." The deal has several other perks, but here are the major parts of it:

- Annual tests will rise by 600 to 3,600, an average of three per player.

- As many as 375 offseason tests can be conducted over the next three years, up from the current limit of 60 per offseason.

- Testing will include the top 200 prospects for each year's annual draft.

- The IPA will issue an annual report detailing what substances resulted in positive tests, the number of tests given and therapeutic use exemptions by category of ailment.

- Additional substances were added to the banned list, among them: insulin-like growth factor, gonadotropins, aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators, and clomid and other antiestrogens.

- An automatic stay for an initial suspension will be expanded to players disciplined for conduct unrelated to a positive test.

I look forward to this years draft now that they will test the draftees, I wonder if it will change anything. Otherwise, we will have to wait and see to learn the effects of the deal.

Rich Hill to bullpen: The Cubs will likely move Rich Hill to the bullpen to work on his control problems and move Jon Lieber into the rotation. However, it is possible they keep Lieber where he is because he is doing well and move Sean Marshall into the bullpen.

Snyder drawing interest:
Kyle Snyder is drawing trade interest from the Rays, Tigers, and Phillies. He will likely be traded by the end of next week. Mike Timlin is set to come off the DL and the Red Sox will likely trade Bryan Corey as well. Maybe one of those teams will be interested as well.

Clement coming up?:
Mariners prospect Jeff Clement could be called up soon if Kenji Johjima continues to struggle.

Sosa considering retirement: Sammy Sosa is holding out for a job, but if none comes, then he will retire. Japan was interested, but I doubt Sosa would go over there.

Nats prospect goes down: Nationals prospect Kory Castro suffered a broken hamate bone and will likely miss two months.

Samardzija tops Kershaw:
Cubs prospect Jeff Samardzija topped Dodgers prospect Clayton Kershaw in his best performance in his professional career. Former number one pick Ryan Harvey collected three hits off Kershaw, a sign that maybe he is coming around.

Poreda has promising start:
Poreda pitched five solid innings in Single-A before the game was called. Poreda skipped Low-A, so to see a good start come in your pro debut is promising.