"Manny was of a mind, 'Just let me take batting practice.' I encouraged him to play games. If he's going to miss 50 games, then he's going to have to do something."
Joe Torre stated this in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated's Dan Patrick.
Yes, Manny should continue to play and practice baseball. With him missing 50 games, that is a lot of time to get out of shape.
Why should Manny get to return before his 50-game suspension?
On the one hand, Manny served his 50-game suspension in Major League Baseball. He tested positive for a masking agent that could possibly mask steroids and did his time. If he tests positive again, he will serve a 100-game suspension.
On the other hand, Manny came back early to play baseball. He served a 45-game suspension, then returned to action to play for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes and Single-A Inland Empire 66ers.
I agree Manny needed to play some games before returning the MLB; however, letting him play five games in the Minors before his suspension was over sends mixed messages.
A manager could argue that his player needs more time to get in shape if he was injured, so a player could play as many as 10 games in the Minors before his return. This would only give someone a 40-game suspension.
Further, if a player tests positive a second time, he will arguably need more time to return to the Majors. What if a player is allowed to play 20 or 25 games? This defeats the purpose of the suspension.
A 100-game suspension becomes a 75-game suspension. Pretty soon, they will not even get suspended. A player will just get sent down to the Minors until his suspension is over.
Fifty games is 50 games. Baseball needs to change their rule to state, "50 games of any kind, including Single A, AA, and AAA."
Baseball needs to get tougher on their steroid policy. If a player cheats and gets caught, make them pay. They deserve it. There is a warning and a rule. If someone breaks the rules knowingly, they deserve to serve the full suspension.