Touch 'Em All: Union denies Bautista's charge

thinks he's being targeted by MLB due to his homer totals. CHRISTOPHER PASATIERI / Newsday.
thinks he's being targeted by MLB due to his homer totals. CHRISTOPHER PASATIERI / Newsday. (Toronto slugger Jose Bautista)
Posted: March 19, 2012

Jose Bautista's moon shot off poor David Herndon on Sunday afternoon brought up the Toronto slugger's pre-spring training allegation that he is being targeted for extra drug testing by Major League Baseball.

But even the Players Association is saying that's not true.

Executive Director Michael Weiner was at the game in Dunedin, Fla., and ESPN.com's Jayson Stark asked him about Bautista's claim that he was tested 16 times in the last two seasons.

According to Stark, Weiner was skeptical about the claim, saying that if Bautista was tested more than the average player, it wasn't because he'd been "targeted." Weiner said no "non-random" tests were conducted.

Bautista hit 13 homers in 2009, 54 in 2010 and 43 last year. He's the only major-

leaguer to have hit 50-plus in the last four seasons.

And he certainly looked in mid-season form on Sunday.

Voice fading

Vin Scully, the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hall of Fame broadcaster, will further trim his already limited travel schedule for the 2012 season, a team official said.

Scully, 84, now will call road games only within California (San Diego, San Francisco and a June interleague series at Oakland) and Arizona.

The legendary announcer is in his 63d season with the Dodgers, going back to when the franchise was located in Brooklyn.

Difficult case

The trustee recovering money for investors swindled by Bernard Madoff may need a perfect pitch to a jury Monday in Manhattan to force the New York Mets owners to pay up to $303 million to repay victims cheated of billions of dollars during the financier's decades-long fraud.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff says he's skeptical that lawyers for Trustee Irving Picard can succeed in convincing a nine-person civil jury that the Mets owners believed Madoff's business was a fraud but continued their investments anyway because they were making a lot of money.

Lawyers for the owners insist their clients had no idea the former NASDAQ chairman was cheating thousands of investors out of roughly $20 billion for at least two decades.

Tough spring for Mets

Carlos Lee drove in five runs with a double and a home run off an ineffective (again) Mike Pelfrey, and the Astros beat the Mets, 9-5, in Kissimmee, Fla., to extend New York's spring training losing streak to eight.

The Mets are a big-league worst 3-11 this spring.

Noteworthy

Twins righthander Francisco Liriano pitched five hitless innings, struck out six and walked one in a 10-0 win over Pittsburgh in Fort Myers. . . . The Braves' Mike Minor stretched his scoreless streak to 14 innings as Atlanta and an Orioles split squad tied, 2-2, in 10 innings in Kissimmee. . . . The Nationals sent slugging prospect Bryce Harper to Syracuse after the 19-year-old struggled following a calf injury. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft is being moved from right field to center. . . . Kansas City beat Cleveland, 6-4, in Surprise, Ariz., a win dampened by an elbow injury to closer Joakim Soria. The two-time AL all-star left in the fifth inning with soreness in his right elbow after retiring just one of the five batters he faced. Soria, who missed the 2003 season after having Tommy John surgery, has an 18.90 ERA in three appearances, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, a walk and a hit batter in 31/3 innings.


Contact Don McKee at dmckee@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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