From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Add catcher to the Philadelphia Phillies' needs this offseason.All-Star Carlos Ruiz was suspended Tuesday for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine. The 33-year-old catcher had a career year in 2012, hitting .325 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 114 games."I am sincerely regretful for my mistake in taking a prohibited stimulant," Ruiz said in a statement issued by the Major League Baseball Players Association. "I apologize to my teammates, the Phillies organization and the Philadelphia fans. I will serve the imposed 25-game suspension to begin the season and I look forward to returning to the field and working toward bringing a championship back to Philadelphia in 2013."Ruiz will be eligible to participate in spring training, including exhibition games."The Phillies fully support Major League Baseball's drug program," the team said. "We are disappointed by the news of this violation of the program. We will support Carlos in an appropriate manner and move forward to achieve our goal to play championship-caliber baseball in 2013."Erik Kratz will likely begin the 2013 season as Philadelphia's starting catcher while Ruiz serves his suspension. Kratz, a career minor-leaguer, filled in nicely when he finally got a chance after Ruiz went down with a foot injury. Kratz hit .248, but had nine doubles, nine homers and 26 RBIs in only 141 at-bats. Kratz also threw out 45 percent of base-stealers (15 of 33).Still, losing Ruiz hurts a lineup that struggled mightily last year. Ruiz moved up from his usual No. 8 spot and took over for an injured Ryan Howard as the team's cleanup hitter for a chunk of the season. He batted fifth after Howard returned in July.The Phillies, who finished 81-81 after winning five straight NL East titles, have several holes to fill. Only Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are certain regulars. Utley, though, didn't play until late May in 2011 and late June in 2012 because of chronic knee injuries.General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. hopes to add a starting center fielder, another starting outfielder and a third baseman either through free agency or trades. Now he'll also need a backup catcher for Kratz for the first month. Brian Schneider served as the team's primary backup the last three seasons, but only batted .212 in 122 games.The Phillies have two top prospects catching in the minors. Sebastian Valle hit .253 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs in 80 games at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Tommy Joseph, acquired in the trade that sent Hunter Pence to San Francisco, hit .257 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs for the Giants' and Phillies' Double-A affiliates.Ruiz became the eighth player suspended this year under the major league testing program, the second for amphetamines following Baltimore shortstop Ryan Adams. The eight suspensions are the most since 2007.This had to be Ruiz's second positive test for a stimulant. An initial positive for a stimulant does not trigger a suspension, only that the player must undergo follow-up testing.There have been 102 suspensions this year under the minor league testing program.
We finally know who the Eagles will select this Thursday in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.
No need to tune into the draft broadcast, or even visit the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to partake in all of the festivities. Just look at Corey Davis' Twitter feed:
Done deal. Get him a cheesesteak and a midnight green uniform.
But in all seriousness, Davis made an appearance Monday on ESPN and retweeted this tweet to Trey Wingo.
Davis would certainly make an immediate impact on the Eagles' offense. He would join a receiving corps already bolstered in free agency with the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
But the Western Michigan product might not be on the board at the 14th overall pick, and the Eagles could look elsewhere on Thursday night.
The700Level's Andrew Kulp wrote about Davis at length here.
So, you think you know where every player will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft?
Well, here are some odds, courtesy of Bovada, to help you gauge your early predictions for the draft in Philly this week.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
We start with McCaffrey, probably the most talked about prospect in Philadelphia entering the first round on Thursday.
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz compared McCaffrey to Darren Sproles. Stanford head coach David Shaw thinks not only would McCaffrey be a good fit in the Eagles' offense, but would also be a great fit in the city of Philadelphia.
Bovada has 2/3 odds of McCaffrey being selected over the 9.5 pick, and has 11/10 odds of him being selected under the 9.5 pick.
CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro has McCaffrey being selected at No. 15 overall by the Indianapolis Colts -- the pick after the Eagles, who are slotted at No. 14 -- in his mock draft.
Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette has consistently been in the top 10, or sometimes even the top five, of mock drafts.
Many teams covet Fournette for his combination of strength and speed. The LSU product is 6-foot, 240 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.
Bovada has 2/3 odds of Fournette getting selected over the fourth pick and 11/10 odds of him getting drafted after the fourth pick.
How many RBs/WRs will be selected in first round?
Since Bovada has the same odds for the number of running backs and wide receivers going in the first round, we combined the two.
If you're living under a rock and haven't been following NFL mock drafts since the season ended, there have been three running backs and wide receivers consistently selected in the first round -- WR Mike Williams, WR Corey Davis, WR John Ross, RB Dalvin Cook, RB McCaffrey and RB Fournette.
Here are the identical odds for both position groups:
Over 2.5 with 1/5 odds.
Under 2.5 with 3/1 odds.
How many defensive players will be selected in first round?
This one can get tricky, because you'll have to bank on a few teams getting desperate and drafting some quarterbacks to hit the under.
Over 18.5 with 1/1 odds.
Under 18.5 with 5/7 odds.
How many Alabama players will be selected in first round?
Alabama is the gold standard for NFL players. Every year, the university churns out first-round talent on the opening night of the draft.
In Zangaro's afformentioned mock draft, he has five Alabama players being selected.
Here are the odds:
Over 4.5 with 11/10 odds.
Under 4.5 with 2/3 odds.