MLB to conduct blood tests for HGH

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MLB to conduct blood tests for HGH

Major League Baseball is putting its foot down. Steroids and performance-enhancing drugs have begun to plague the game of baseball but Commissioner Bud Selig will attempt to prevent any further damage.

According to the New York Times, the new collective bargaining agreement will include blood testing for human growth hormone (HGH). This is one of those "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" type of deals for Selig considering baseball will be the first major North American professional sport to conduct any type of blood testing to unionized players.

There's no doubt Selig is giving himself a nice pat on the back and will now walk around with quite the chip on his shoulder seeing as though he's done what the NFL wasn't able to do.

The NFL and its union tried to include blood testing for HGH in their CBA last summer but players refused to sign off. Their main concern being that the natural level of HGH in football players might be higher than that of the general population, causing too many players to unfairly test positive.

There are definitely other arguments and ways around this, but that's a whole other issue, considering baseball players aren't the "general population," are they?

Selig brought HGH testing to the minor leagues in 2010 and first at bat was Mike Jacobs, a first baseman in the Colorado Rockies' organization. Jacobs was the first minor league player to test positive for HGH. Not necessarily a great milestone to have on your resume.

Under the new agreement, testing would begin in February when players report to spring training. Players who test positive will face a 50-game suspension.

This move shows how important it is to Selig to treat the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. What do you think about the tests? Should other leagues follow in the MLB's footsteps?

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

White Sox agree to one-year deals with Brett Lawrie, Avisail Garcia

Brett Lawrie and Avisail Garcia will both return to the White Sox in 2017.

The team announced it reached deals with both players shortly before Friday’s 7 p.m. CST nontender deadline. Lawrie will earn $3.5 million next season and Garcia received a one-year deal for $3 million.

The club didn’t tender a contract to right-handed pitcher Blake Smith, which leaves its 40-man roster at 38.

Acquired last December for a pair of minor leaguers, Lawrie hit .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs, 22 doubles and 36 RBIs in 94 games before he suffered a season-ending injury.

Lawrie produced 0.9 f-WAR when he suffered what then-manager Robin Ventura described a “tricky” injury on July 21. Despite numerous tests and a lengthy rehab, Lawrie never returned to the field and was frustrated by the experience. Last month, Lawrie tweeted that he believes the cause of his injury was wearing orthotics for the first time in his career.

He was projected to earn $5.1 million, according to MLBTraderumors.com and earned $4.125 million in 2016.

Garcia hit .245/.307/.385 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs in 453 plate appearances over 120 games. The projected salary for Garcia, arb-eligible for the first time, was $3.4 million.

The team also offered contracts to Miguel Gonzalez and Todd Frazier, who are eligible for free agency in 2018, first baseman Jose Abreu and relievers Dan Jennings, Zach Putnam and Jake Petricka, among others.

The White Sox have until mid-January to reach an agreement with their arbitration-eligible players. If they haven’t, both sides submit figures for arbitration cases, which are then heard throughout February.

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

White Sox announcer Jason Benetti cracks Crain's 40 under 40

Crain's Chicago Business released its latest 40 under 40 project and White Sox announcer Jason Benetti made this year's list.

The 33-year-old just finished his first season with the White Sox as play-by-play announcer, working the home games at U.S. Cellular Field (before it was renamed Guaranteed Rate Field last month) alongside Steve Stone as longtime broadcaster Hawk Harrelson saw his workload reduced to mostly road games.

Benetti quickly became a fan favorite among Chicagoans on CSN and other networks in 2016 and his cerebral palsy became more of a backstory, with his work alongside Stone and his affable sense of humor taking center stage instead.

Among other topics, Benetti discussed how he approaches his job of broadcasting for the team he grew up rooting for:

Law school taught me that there are always two sides of the argument. I see it from the Sox prism, but I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that, if the Sox lose, the world’s over anymore. That first game, I was like, “All right, it’s just a game.” And then Avi Garcia hits a homer late in the game against the Indians and I call it like I would call it with a little more. And as the ball cleared the fence, when it was rolling around, I got a slight tear in my eye. And I was like, “What’s that?”

Check out the entire interview with Benetti and the full list at ChicagoBusiness.com.