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Ronel Blanco Was Fired After Foreign Materials Inspection

Right-handed Astros Ronel Blanco it was ruled out earlier this evening against the A's following a test of external factors. Umpires confiscated Blanco's glove when he left the fourth inning. Tyler Scott he entered freely.

It's almost certain that the Astros will be without Blanco for the next week and a half. Players ejected from the game for foreign drug use are subject to an automatic 10-game suspension. MLB has yet to make an official announcement on Blanco's case, but it looks like they will do so tomorrow. Teams are not allowed to replace a banned player for breaking the rules of the field. Assuming Blanco is suspended, the Astros will need to play with the 25-man roster for 10 games. Blanco told reporters (incl Roman Chandler Athletic) that he plans to appeal if MLB imposes the suspension.

Blanco has been Houston's best hitter this year. He earned the fifth starting job late in camp and was a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in his season opener. The 30-year-old has followed it up with six solid games. He did not allow more than three runs in any start. Blanco has pulled within one quality start in each of his seven appearances leading up to tonight. He went through three more scoreless frames against Oakland, bringing his season ERA to 2.09 over 47 1/3 frames.

While Blanco's pedestrian strikeout and walk rate suggest he could slot in as a pitching arm going forward, he has been a huge boost to the starting pitching staff. Besides Blanco, Hunter Brown and the rookie Spencer Arrighetti they are the only Houston pitchers to make more than five starts. Brown and Arrighetti each have an ERA north of 7.00. That's right too JP Francewho was selected in late April and later suffered a shoulder injury.

The Astros welcomed you Framber Valdez, Justin Verlander again Cristian Javier back on the injured list a few weeks ago. Manager Joe Espada said last night that the Astros will trade six players for Valdez, Verlander, Javier, Blanco, Brown and Arrighetti for now (X link via Brian McTaggart of That's designed to handle the crew's workload as they only rotate one day through June 6. Blanco's possible suspension could put that program on hold for several weeks.

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