3/28/2014 11:00 P.M. ET
Ziegler pleased with changes to drug program
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced on Friday significant enhancements to the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and one D-backs player had a sizable involvement in the process of making the changes a reality.
Relief pitcher Brad Zieger, the club's former union rep, currently serves as a volunteer on the MLBPA's executive subcommittee, meaning he was on conference calls dealing with the revisions.
"We're excited as a union," Ziegler said. "Many of the things that got done were player-driven, and I think that shows players want to make the game clean."
Among the modifications, a first-time offender will now receive an 80-game suspension, up from the previous 50 games. A second violation will result in a 162-game suspension and a loss of an entire season (183 days) of pay, up from 100 games. A third violation will lead to permanent banishment.
Ziegler, however, believes the most substantial change is the considerable increase in player testing, as the number of in-season random urine collections doubled from 1,400 to 3,200 and the frequency of offseason collections raised from 250 to 350. That's along with blood collections for HGH detection increasing to 400, both in and out of season.
"There's no question for us, the bigger deal is the testing," Ziegler said. "You've got to put things in place to get them caught. We still know there are guys out there that will do it and try to beat the system. The idea is that we have to put something in place so we get them caught."
The amendments came even though baseball already had the most thorough testing in American professional sports, something Ziegler took great pride in, but wasn't content with.
"Being the best isn't good enough," Ziegler said. "We're not measuring ourselves against what football does, what basketball does, what hockey does, we're only measuring ourselves against us. So if we're not happy with where our game is, then we need to do something to try to fix it."
Ziegler said the fight against performance-enhancing drugs won't stop here, he knows there's a cat and mouse game baseball will need to stay ahead of to rid users from the game.
"With the science, it's always evolving," Ziegler said. "There are always people out there trying to create drugs that can beat the test. The tests then eventually come along to detect. So there's always going to be evolution, hopefully the number of tests scare guys off, and then maybe it won't be a problem."
Corbin coming to terms with season-ending injury
PHOENIX -- A couple of weeks ago, D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin stood in front of a crowded room of reporters at the club's Spring Training facility and appeared visibly shaken as he answered questions about the damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow that would eventually lead to season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Back with the team on Friday at Chase Field, sporting an immobilizing sling following his Tuesday operation in Florida, Corbin was decidedly more at peace with his situation, although that didn't do much to alleviate his disappointment.
"Just realizing I'm not going to pitch this year, it's something I'm still trying to get a better feel for," Corbin said. "It's good to be back with the guys and see everybody, but honestly, it just [hurts] that I'm not going to be able to play."
Since receiving his diagnosis, Corbin has replayed the events leading up to the injury in his mind over and over again, but he doesn't think he could have avoided it.
"You question yourself and what you could have done differently to stay healthy, but sometimes it just happens," Corbin said. "I felt great and I've done everything I can to stay healthy, and it still happened."
Corbin said doctors used a ligament from his left wrist to repair his elbow and the surgery went as well as it could. His arm will be placed in a loose cast in the next few days to start getting some motion back in his elbow, and then the stitches will come out 14 days after that.
At that point, he'll then begin the long road of rehabilitation back to his old self, one he hopes will have him ready by the start of next season. Until then, Corbin will likely be side by side with David Hernandez, who is expected to have Tommy John surgery in the coming days. He thinks having someone to go through the arduous recovery process with will help them push each other.
"Me and David are really close," he said. "Just terrible news for him, I know what he's going through. You don't wish it on anybody, but me and David will come back from this stronger."
D-backs unveil Children's Hospital Sandlot
PHOENIX -- Longtime teammates in the Valley, the D-backs and the Phoenix Children's Hospital announced a wide-ranging marketing partnership on Friday, beginning with the ribbon cutting of the newly renamed Phoenix Children's Hospital Sandlot, a fun-filled area in the left field upper deck at Chase Field that caters to kids.
Highlighting the initiative, PCH will have a large presence at every Sunday home game, with mascot appearances and giveaways in the Sandlot before and during the game.
Then, after every Sunday home game, the D-backs will hold a "Kids Run the Bases for Phoenix Children's Hospital" opportunity. For every child that runs the bases, the D-backs Foundation will donate $1 to PCH. One patient from the hospital will be highlighted for his or her story each Sunday, and that child will serve as the leadoff runner for the event.
"I encourage everyone to get out there on Sundays," D-backs All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "Run the bases, have some fun and best of all, raise some money that will go to a great cause."
The D-backs Baseball Academy and PCH also will help educate families and young athletes about Phoenix Children's Hospital's Sports Medicine, Urgent Care, Concussion Program and injury prevention at D-backs Baseball Academy's summer camps.
In addition to other fundraising efforts, the D-backs will ramp up their visits to PCH, bringing players to the hospital throughout the year.
"Can you imagine how much fun it is to have a member of the D-backs arrive at your doorway with a stuffed animal and an autographed baseball?" Phoenix Children's Hospital Director of Marketing Debra Stevens said. "Visits from players and Baxter brighten the day of children staying at Phoenix Children's Hospital."
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.