AL East Rumour Roundup – Thursday, February 23

Some big stories breaking today from around MLB, here are a few highlites:

-Huge news out of Milwaukee as Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension has been overturned in the appeal process.  Mike Axisa at MLB Trade Rumours writes:

Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his failed banned substance test and will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the season, reports Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel. The union officially announced the win, saying both parties agreed to the announcement despite what is usually a confidential process. MLB has issued a statement saying it “vehemently disagrees” with the decision.

“It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” said Braun in a statement passed along by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “We were able to get through this because I am innocent … This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully the process worked.”

Haudricourt says the appeal went Braun’s way not because of the test result, but because of a technicality with the testing process. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman and The New York Post’s Joel Sherman report that part of Braun’s argument was that the sample was not shipped in a timely fashion and that the chain of custody was broken for two days, meaning the sample was left unprotected (Twitter links). Independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of the technicality, giving Braun the win by a 2-1 margin.

The reigning NL MVP is the first player to have a suspension successfully overtuned through the appeals process.

-ESPN’s Jim Bowden graded the offseason for each American League and National League team (Insider req’d). The Marlins, Angels, and Yankees each received an A, the Blue Jays received a B.

-Ben Nicholson-Smith reports  Roy Oswalt has told MLB teams that he may sign midseason, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnickreports. The free agent right-hander explained that he intends to stay ready in case an appealing opportunity emerges before midseason.

The Red Sox, Rangers, Cardinals and Reds were among the many clubs to express interest in Oswalt this offseason. It appears that they didn’t have enough room in their rotations or budgets for the 34-year-old, who seeks a one-year deal and a job as a starter.

Roger Clemens, a former teammate of Oswalt’s, sat out the beginning of the season in 2006 and 2007 before signing midseason and Pedro Martinez had a similar approach to the 2009 campaign.

-Blue Jays infielder Omar Vizquel said he’ll likely become involved in coaching next year, according to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm (on Twitter). The 44-year-old doesn’t anticipate playing after 2012 and would eventually like to manage in the Major Leagues.

-Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports discusses the Rays’ impressive rotation depth and explains why it’s a good ‘problem’ to have. Manager Joe Maddon told Rosenthal the club could use a six-man rotation at times this year and said top prospect Matt Moore won’t be relegated to the bullpen.

***AL EASTBOUND & DOWN UPDATE***

I am ‘gone fishin’ for the next ten days and updates might be sparse, I will try my best to keep up with all the happenings of the Toronto Blue Jays as spring training starts to kick into high gear!

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