Stricter drug penalties? Wait till next year.

On Saturday, commissioner Bud Selig held a news conference and put on his ermine mantle of leadership to say he wanted increased punishments for cheaters as soon as humanly possible, if not sooner.

On Sunday, players union head Michael Weiner said increasing penalties for drug violations would not happen until 2014.

"We're not going to change the rules of the game in the middle of the season," Weiner said. "In a sense, the drug-testing season started with spring training." (Who gave the first sample? We missed it.)

World Baseball Classic. In that other world series, Yoshio Itoi broke the game open for host Japan in the bottom of the fifth with a bases-clearing double and the two-time defending champions beat China, 5-2, in Fukuoka. Ismel Jimenez picked up the win after striking out six over 42/3 scoreless innings as Cuba topped Brazil, 5-2, in the earlier game. . . . In Taiwan, Dai-Kang Yang had a home run and three RBIs as host Chinese Taipei flattened the Netherlands, 8-3.

Around the horn. Former Phillie Joe Blanton, now with the Angels, allowed a first-inning solo homer to the Chicago Cubs' Brian Bogusevic in his first game in a Los Angeles uniform, but then allowed just one hit in two innings, striking out two and walking none. . . . The Oakland A's scored their first four runs without putting the ball in play in a 7-2 win over Colorado, as Rockies pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Chatwood combined to hit three batters with pitches - all with the bases loaded - and hand out five walks in the first three innings. . . . New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki said he was uninjured after being in a Saturday traffic accident in which his SUV was totaled by a driver running a red light in Tampa, and plans to play on Tuesday. . . . Oft-injured 32-year-old righthander Mark Prior, a former all-star, is making a fourth straight comeback try after signing a minor-league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

Sign that kid up. The Washington Nationals didn't really want to go out in the cold to take BP, what with temperatures in Viera, Fla., dropping down into the freezing 40s. So they elected an emissary to ask Nats manager Davey Johnson if they could instead hit in the batting cages before playing the St. Louis Cardinals.

The rough, tough pro athletes' choice? Adam LaRoche's 11-year-old son, Drake. Johnson said yes.

(No truth to the rumor that the kid and septuagenarian skipper then went out and parked a few baseballs into the stands for the benefit of early-bird fans at the delightfully monikered Space Coast Stadium.)

Contact Michael Harrington at mharrington@phillynews.com
This article contains information from the AP.