MLB Notes: Ex-Phillie Marlon Byrd suspended 162 games for PED violation


CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians outfielder Marlon Byrd has been suspended 162 games for testing positive a second time for a performance-enhancing drug.

MLB officials said Wednesday that Byrd tested positive for Ipamorelin, a growth hormone releasing peptide.

Byrd was suspended for 50 games in 2012 shortly after he was released by Boston. Major League Baseball increased its penalty for a second offense in 2014 from 100 games to a full season.

Byrd's lawyer Jay Reisinger said in a statement that the positive test resulted from a tainted supplement. He says Byrd won't appeal the suspension.

The 38-year-old Byrd signed as a free agent in March with Cleveland, which needed veteran outfield depth because both left fielder Michael Brantley and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall were recovering from injuries.

Byrd is batting .270 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 34 games. He went 4 for 4 with a homer on Monday night against Texas, and then struck out three times in a loss Tuesday. He spent last season with Cincinnati and San Francisco.

To replace Byrd on the roster, the Indians recalled outfielder Tyler Naquin from Triple-A Columbus.

Mariners: Felix Hernandez (calf) placed on DL 
SAN DIEGO -- The Seattle Mariners have placed Felix Hernandez on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain, just the third time in his career the veteran right-hander has landed on the DL.

The Mariners announced the move Wednesday and recalled left-hander James Paxton from Triple-A Tacoma. Paxton joined the team in San Diego, where he was set to start Wednesday night.

Hernandez is 4-4 this season with a 2.86 ERA. The 30-year-old didn't travel with the team to San Diego and was examined by Dr. Ed Khalfayan in Seattle on Wednesday morning before the roster move was made.

There's been much attention placed on the decreased velocity of his fastball, but Hernandez has remained a highly effective pitcher, if not a bit inconsistent. Opponents are hitting just .217 against him.

Tigers: Francisco Rodriguez had Zika virus
Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez says he contracted the Zika virus over the offseason in his home country of Venezuela and advises potential Olympic athletes to educate themselves on the virus before heading to Rio de Janeiro.

Rodriguez told on Tuesday that he wouldn't blame athletes for skipping the Olympics, and that "if they have plans to have kids in the future, you've got to think about it."

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus linked to severe birth defects and possible neurological problems in adults.

Rodriguez says he was bedridden for about two weeks with head and body aches, sore joints and other symptoms. It felt like he had a cold at first, but as symptoms worsened, he went for bloodwork that determined it was Zika. It took about two months until he felt normal again.

The World Health Organization last week rejected a call from 150 health experts to consider postponing or moving the Olympics due to Zika in hard-hit Brazil. WHO argued the shift would make no significant difference to the spread of the virus.

A number of possible Olympic participants have voiced concerns about Zika recently, including Pau Gasol, Serena Williams and Rory McIlroy. Gasol says he has considering skipping Rio altogether.

"It's something people have to be careful with and worry about," Rodriguez said. "There's no vaccine for it. It's not like you take a shot and (improve). ... It could be global."

Brewers: Will Smith returns from DL
MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers have reinstated Will Smith from the 15-day disabled list, bolstering a solid bullpen with a hard-throwing left-hander.

Smith returned in time for Wednesday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He takes the roster spot of right-hander David Goforth, who was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday night.

Smith sprained a ligament in his right knee while taking off a shoe in spring training. He was expected to be the co-closer with right-hander Jeremy Jeffress before the injury.

In 2015, Smith appeared in 76 games for Milwaukee, going 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA. Manager Craig Counsell said he would use Smith judiciously at first.

The Brewers on Tuesday also added Neil Ramirez to the bullpen after claiming the righty off waivers from the Cubs.

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