If the San Francisco Giants bullpen wasn't already in enough trouble with the loss of Brian Wilson and the temporary absence of Jeremy Affeldt, the loss of long-reliever Guillermo Mota is yet another big blow to not only the bullpen as Mota makes the fourth member of the bullpen to start the season to no be gone, but to the team at large as well.
But Mota may not have to serve his complete suspension as it was reported by the AP on Monday afternoon that the MLB Players Association has filed an appeal to be heard by an outside arbitrator.
The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance challenging the suspension that will be heard by an arbitrator. Under baseball's drug agreement, grievances for initial positive tests are heard before a suspension is announced but cases involving second or third positives are argued after the penalty is made public.
Outfielder Manny Ramirez and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo are the only previous players to twice test positive. No player has tested positive a third time, which would result in a lifetime ban.
Here is San Francisco Chronicle beat writer Hank Schulman with some additional info:
As a second-time offender, Mota was not given the opportunity to appeal and continue playing during the appeal. He can appeal now.— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) May 7, 2012
Schulman would also note that Clenbuterol, the drug Mota tested positive for, was the same one that cost Alberto Contador the Tour De France, though he claimed food contamination.
This certainly leaves the Giants bullpen in a tough spot, with Casilla, Lopez, and Romo completely surrounded by Fresno's finests. San Francisco will go with a six man bullpen for now, but will likely make a move to pick up someone (like Roy Oswalt) or just pull up another arm from the farm (much more likely).
Mota is 39-45 along with 10 saves in 726 career games with the Montrea Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and now in his third season with San Francisco. If his suspension is upheld, the earliest he could return in August 28.
For more on the Giants, head over to McCovey Chronicles.