Frank Thomas on Braun: Those tests dont lie

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Frank Thomas on Braun: Those tests dont lie

With the latest report that Ryan Brauns positive test for a banned substance was caused by medication hes taking for a private medical issue, it would seem like there might be a ray of hope that the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder is true to his word that he has never taken a performance-enhancing drug.However, one person still has his doubts.Frank Thomas.The bottom line is those tests dont lie. He tested positive for something, Thomas said in an interview Monday with Comcast SportsNet. If its something medical, its got to be something weve never heard of to spike the testosterone to that type of level.When Braun was tested during the playoffs, his testosterone levels were insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken, a source told the New York Daily News.When it comes to drug testing, Thomas is a unique authority on the matter. The former White Sox slugger who hit 521 home runs in his 19-year career was a vocal advocate for testing during his playing days, especially at the height of the steroid era when he noticed smaller, lesser players suddenly explode -- both physically and numerically as their home run totals spiked to record heights.
It probably cost Thomas the 2000 American League MVP, an award he narrowly lost to Jason Giambi, who later admitted to taking steroids. Its a sensitive subject for Thomas, and now that Braun, who just won the 2011 National League MVP, has a PED-cloud hanging over him, Frank is not afraid to be frank in discussing the ramifications.Its messy. Its messy because he won the National League Most Valuable Player, and if the test results were made public a month before, he would have not won the National League MVP. So it becomes a messy situation, Thomas said. "Right now I know with a majority of voters, he probably wouldn't have won that MVP if they had known that information that he had flunked the drug test."Braun is facing a 50-game suspension. He is currently appealing the ruling through an arbitrator, but as far as anyone knows, out of a reported 13 attempts, no player has ever won an appeal following a positive drug test.At this point, I want to wait to hear what the problem is, Thomas said of Braun. As you know, I lost an MVP to Jason Giambi back in 2000, but I told people I lost a vote. I felt I was an MVP that year. I had better numbers, I led a team that year that was expected to finish last in the division (the Sox finished first). So some things you cant get back, and this year Braun beat out a fine centerfielder Matt Kemp in LA who almost had a triple crown year, so this is going to be a messy situation one way or another.Thomas commends the leagues current drug policy and the harsher penalties being handed out.These 50-game suspensions are some serious suspensions, he said.However, does that mean that everyone is clean?Thomas says no.I think where theres smoke, theres fire, Thomas said. Theres a lot of chemists out there that say they can beat the tests. When you throw this type of money around, and guys are making 20-25 million a year there are going to be some guys that will really take that chance because its a life-changing moment when you get a check for 25 million, so some guys will take that risk.Did Braun?We dont know the answer.But we know this: Thomas has questions.For more of Thomas' comments, tune in to Chicago Baseball Hot Stove Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.

A.J. Pierzynski retires, joins FOX as full-time analyst

A.J. Pierzynski retires, joins FOX as full-time analyst

Former White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski officially retired from MLB on Tuesday.

Pierzynski will join FOX as a full-time analyst, according to a press release from FOX Sports.

"We love having A.J. on the FOX Sports team," Fox Sports President John Entz said. "He’s confident in his opinions and insight and he doesn’t hold back or shy away from topics he feels strongly about. Fans want an honest approach to what’s happening on the field, in the locker room and away from the game, and A.J. gives you just that, and has a lot of fun doing it."

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Pierzynski will serve as both a color commentator and studio analyst for FOX, while also making regular appearances on FS1's MLB Whiparound. Pierzynski previously worked with FOX during the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 MLB postseasons.

"With Opening Day right around the corner, this is always a great time of year," Pierzynski said in a statement from FOX Sports. "I’m really looking forward to what should be a very exciting MLB season and to being a part of the FOX Sports team again."

Pierzynski spent 19 years in MLB with the Minnesota Twins (1998-03), San Francisco Giants (2004), White Sox (2005-12), Texas Rangers (2013), Boston Red Sox (2014), St. Louis Cardinals (2014) and Atlanta Braves (2015-16). Pierzynski won a World Series ring with the White Sox in 2005. The 40-year-old Pierzynski had a career major-league slash line of .280/.319/.420 with 188 home runs and 909 RBI.

Pierzynski joins former MLB players Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, who both recently signed deals with FOX.

Carlos Rodon headed to the disabled list, will start throwing program

Carlos Rodon headed to the disabled list, will start throwing program

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carlos Rodon will begin a two-week throwing program after a second opinion revealed no structural damage.

The White Sox pitcher is back in camp on Tuesday morning after he traveled to Los Angeles for a follow up appointment on Monday. That visit yet again cleared Rodon of any major injury, though he has been diagnosed as having bursitis (inflammation) in his left bicep tendon. Rodon is expected to start the season on the 10-day disabled list.

"I had a good day (Monday), figured some stuff out and are going with the plan we've got now," Rodon said. "(The program is) based on how I feel, how I push it. I'll try to take it slow, and if everything feels good, I want to be back with these guys as soon as I can."

Rodon was scratched from Friday's start and has undergone a slew of tests since.

General manager Rick Hahn said last week that odds were Rodon would start the season on the disabled list. Manager Rick Renteria hinted the same on Monday when he said the White Sox would be cautious with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 draft even if the second opinion revealed no significant damage.

Rodon wasn't certain but thinks he may stay behind in Arizona for extended spring training. 

"It's almost like you have to re-start the process a little bit," Renteria said. "It would be foolish to try to anticipate or push him into any direction without first of all ultimately having whatever the diagnosis is or the validation or whatever it might be of the second opinion. Once we get that, we'll know hopefully tomorrow how we can ultimately proceed. I wouldn't think we’d try to ramp him up quickly."