when Major League Baseball suspended players for violating the sport’s drug agreement.
Several teams battling the Royals for a coveted spot in the MLB playoffs suddenly will be weaker at key positions.
Sure, baseball overall has been damaged by the actions of the players. The cheaters deserved their punishment. In fact, it ought to have been even more severe.
But Royals fans who are intent on seeing the team qualify for the playoffs for the first time in 28 years ought to take a look at the list of who got tossed out of the game and won’t be able to help their teams over nearly the next two months of games.
The list includes three major players on teams that are involved in the playoff chase with the Royals:
• Alex Rodriguez, the long-injured 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees. He’s expected to be back in their lineup tonight in Chicago, and reportedly will appeal his lengthy suspension. No one knows how good Rodriguez will be, but he has to be better than the sad-sack third basemen the Yankees have used so far in the 2013 season.
• Nelson Cruz (in photo), a hard-hitting outfielder for the Texas Rangers. He has 27 home runs so far, tied for fourth best in all of baseball. He’s suspended for 50 games.
• Jhonny Peralta, shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. He is batting .305, 8th highest in the American League. He’s also suspended for 50 games.
Both Cruz and Peralta have accepted their penalties.
So now it’s up to the Royals to capitalize on the mistakes of others.