SEATTLE — The expansive spiral of deceit that has chased Major League Baseball for more than a decade received a new chapter Monday.
Major League Baseball suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, without pay for the remainder of this season for violation of the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The news filled every flat screen in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse at Safeco Field. It also was being watched in the Cleveland Indians’ clubhouse.
Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders, who pitched against Braun while with the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks, was irritated by Monday’s news on multiple levels.
“I think we all feel a little bit cheated,” Saunders said. “What we don’t get is why good players like the (Alex) Rodriguezes and Brauns have to try to be even better than what they are. They’re already the elite of major league players without using that stuff. When they use that stuff, then it just makes them even better. I don’t know why they even do it.”
MLB has increased suspensions for players who fail drug tests as it continues to search for a forceful deterrent. In Braun’s case, the suspension is for 65 games, but for someone who has been hurt this season and whose team is out of contention, that punishment appears light to Saunders.
“I talked to a lot of the guys, and we think the penalties aren’t harsh enough, really,” Saunders said. “They should step up the penalties even more. That will really set the telltale sign that if you cheat and do get caught, you’re going to lose a lot of money.
“Braun’s deal that he made or whatever, it’s going to last 65 games. To me, it’s not enough. Next year he’s making even more money. I think it should have been a year’s suspension, at least.”
When players cheat, they’re not only cheating the game, but also other big leaguers, according to Saunders.
“From a player’s standpoint, from a guy who does it the right way — and I can’t speak for other players, but I can imagine how they feel — they’re taking money out of other players’ pockets, really, from what they’re doing,” Saunders said. “It’s hurting the game. It’s hurting the fan base. It’s also hurting other players. It’s just not right, and the penalties should be stiffer.”
Wedge goes to hospital
Mariners manager Eric Wedge had “dizzy spells” during batting practice and was taken to a hospital for observation.
Wedge had to be helped off the field by several players. The Mariners’ medical staff assessed him, and according to general manager Jack Zduriencik, Wedge felt much better by the end of the exam.
Zduriencik stressed that Wedge’s hospital trip was precautionary and said he expected him to be back today.
Bench coach Robby Thompson managed the team Monday.
Seattle shortstop Brad Miller was named the American League Player of the Week after a blistering post-All-Star Game start.
Miller is the first Mariners rookie to receive the accolade since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989 — the year Miller was born.
In three games against the Houston Astros, Miller hit .385 with four runs scored, two home runs, seven RBI and a 1.346 OPS (on-base plus slugging).
Michael Morse went through running drills Monday afternoon at Safeco Field and looked so good he was sent to Tacoma. He was in the Rainiers’ lineup as the designated hitter Monday night. He is expected to play five innings in the field Tuesday.
Wedge said he didn’t have a specific timetable for Morse’s return.