Angels’ C.J. Wilson critical of suspended players
Pitcher C.J. Wilson had harsh words for the 13 players suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation on Monday, especially New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who got the stiffest penalty.
“It’s good for the game that they’re finally getting him on something,” Wilson, the Angels’ union representative, said of Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension. “This latest chapter just gives further fuel to the fire that he’s made bad decisions.”
Wilson, who will pitch next week in Yankee Stadium — and against Rodriguez, assuming his appeal has not been resolved — then alluded to a recent Sports Illustrated article in which Rodriguez told the magazine he “wants to be a role model.”
“Let’s just play baseball and stop trying to be a role model,” Wilson said. “All those quotes are hilarious for everybody in our clubhouse. It’s a saga for Alex. Always has been. He has one of those polarizing personalities. People will think he’s a villain no matter what he does.”
Wilson is also a former teammate of Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, who began a 50-game suspension Monday. Though Cruz said he used performance-enhancing drugs in an effort to gain 40 pounds he lost because of a severe gastrointestinal infection before 2012, Wilson was in no mood for excuses.
“We need the greed to stop,” Wilson said. “I’ve accepted the fact I’m not a $300-million player. I’m dealing with regular-guy stuff and trying to compete, and that’s the way it is for the rest of the guys in this dugout. You’re dealt a certain hand and you have to play that. Stop being a baby and move on.”
The Angels shed no tears for Cruz, the All-Star who has a .292 average, 25 homers and 69 runs batted in in 106 career games against the Angels, including a solo homer in a 2-1 win in Texas last Wednesday.
“He’s done some damage against us,” reliever Kevin Jepsen said. “It definitely gets frustrating from a pitcher’s standpoint to learn that he was taking something. All of us have given up hits to him, key hits that cost games. I’m glad he got caught and they’re taking action.”
Cruz is batting .269 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs, and his loss will damage the Rangers’ playoff hopes. The slugger said his PED use was “an error in judgment that I deeply regret and take full responsibility for. I should have handled the situation differently. My illness was no excuse.”
Asked about Cruz’s statement, Jepsen smiled and shook his head.
“I’m sure he went through what he said,” Jepsen said. “I’ve had three surgeries, and I’m sure PEDs would have helped me get back a lot quicker, but I never felt the urge to take anything.”
Said first baseman Mark Trumbo: “The pitchers aren’t going to get some of those balls back that he put in the seats. It’s tough to swallow, but you do and move on.”
Left-hander Jason Vargas, out since June 26 surgery to remove a blood clot in his armpit, will start for triple-A Salt Lake against Round Rock Thursday night with a target of 75 to 80 pitches. … The Angels have signed pitcher Dontrelle Willis, infielder Andy Marte and reliever Jason Urquidez, who were all playing independent-league ball this summer, to minor league contracts.
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