SAN FRANCISCO – In an unprecedented agreement between Major League Baseball and union officials, suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera will be ruled ineligible to win the 2012 NL batting title, sources told CSNBayArea.com.
Cabrera asked to be removed from consideration on Wednesday, when his representatives sent a letter to union officials. The Players’ Association worked out a one-time amendment to Rule 10.22(a) with MLB officials on Thursday, one day after Commissioner Bud Selig said publicly that he was not likely to take action on the matter.
Cabrera, who is hitting .346, will finish one plate appearance short of qualifying for the batting title. Rule 10.22(a) permits a player to be recognized as the official winner if extra hitless at-bats are added to his average and it remains higher than any qualifying player. (Cabrera’s average would fall from .3464 to .3456 – still .346 when rounded up.)
Under terms of the agreement, Rule 10.22(a) will not apply to suspended players.
A “one-time amendment” to the rule is a curious phrase. What it is a decision to just ignore a rule because baseball and/or Melky Cabrera or whoever initiated this decision didn’t like the repercussions of that rule.
I presume this will make a lot of people happy because no one was comfortable seeing Melky Cabrera win the batting title. But it also opens the door for all manner of messing around with the rules in the future when they don’t produce results to someone’s liking. Which is exactly the kind of arbitrary thing having rules is supposed to prevent.
Two nights ago, Mike Olt got the start against a lefty-tossing Scott Diamond, and went 0-for-4 to reduce his triple-slash line for the season to .182/.310/.227. He started off reasonably well, but he has received sporadic playing time, and when you're talking about a sub-30 PA sample, yeah, going really poorly for even just 5-10 PA is going to murder your numbers.
Today, the Twins are rolling lefty Brian Duensing out on the bump, and Olt, whose primary value on the major league roster was supposed to be his ability to hit lefties, is on the bench. Mitch Moreland, who is on a hot little ~1.000 OPS run over the last week or so, but has not established himself as someone who can hit lefties at the big league level, gets the start, presumably because Ron Washington didn't want to pull his hot bat out of the lineup.
The first thing that comes to mind here is, okay, I don't want to overblow Olt sitting out this one game against a lefty ... but if we've reached the point where he just hasn't produced enough for Wash's liking to utilize him in spite of the circumstances, then, okay, we should probably go ahead and expect to see even less of him in September/October than we've seen already. That's a frustrating realization, but if that's the reality of the situation, then it's not altogether surprising.
And, hopefully, what is going with Olt right now between the offensive/defensive struggles in a small sample doesn't have any bearing on how Wash views him or his potential role on the 2013 squad. But, hey, first impressions and all of that. We have a long way to go.
The other thing that comes to mind is that Wash has shown what feels like a greater inclination of late to dismiss matchups and keep playing guys like Moreland/Murphy -- even if they're locked into unfavorable lefty matchups -- because they're "hot," to the detriment of Gentry's/Olt's playing time. I don't get a real great feeling from that, in part because (a) hot streaks have extremely minimal predictive value, and (b) I'm unnerved by the thought that such logic could burn Texas in a post-season context. Murphy has a lower well-hit average against lefties than righties this year, but his BABIP vs. lefties is .555. You combine that with his career-long struggles to hit lefties, and tell me whether you really think that level of production is going to hold up.
Update: A couple of interesting tweets, including one from Anthony Andro:
Ron Washington on starting Moreland vs LH: I want to throw Moreland a bone, give him a shot at a lefty.— Anthony Andro (@aandro) August 25, 2012
And one from Ben Rogers (although he has since deleted another such tweet that was broadcast to his followership at large, so I'm not sure what that's about):
@lonestarball Olt bothered by a foot issue.— Ben Rogers (@BenRogers) August 25, 2012
A few nights ago, I was making the excursion up several sets of escalators and approaching a final staircase that would eventually lead me to the upper-level FOX Sports Southwest suite when my traveling companion, Daniel, directed my attention to the floor immediately above us.
"There's Nolan Ryan," he muttered in a hushed tone, and my eyes darted from the neatly carpeted stairs ahead of me upwards and to the right, as the club president peered down over the railing, all the while maintaining his purposeful stride in the opposite direction.
For about three-quarters of a second, his steely, weathered gaze achieved a state of perfect alignment with my view upwards, and I decided that, this morning, I would provide this very special artist's rendition of what I saw upon making eye contact with Nolan, so that I might better convey my experience of this night:
Then I blacked out, and, from that point onward through the remainder of the evening, reality was no longer distinguishable from fantasy.
Veteran A's pitcher Bartolo Colon failed an MLB drug test and is subject to a 50-game suspension, CBSSports.com has learned.
Colon resurrected his career after a controversial stem-cell treatement. He is 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA for the A's this year after going 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA with the Yankees last year.
Colon's suspension comes on the heels of the 50-game suspension for Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera.
This news hits a little bit closer to home for the Rangers fan base than the Melky situation, obviously, as the Athletics are running in second place (albeit five games back) and still have an outside shot at the division title, as well as a more realistic shot at a wild-card spot. Colon's been humming along with a ~2.5 WAR this season over 150-plus innings this season, so, as a practical matter, this isn't a crippling blow to their post-season hopes ... but it certainly doesn't help, particularly when you take notice of the fact that Colon had thrown up a 2.55 ERA with good peripherals since the end of May.
Also, Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown notes on Twitter that Colon actually tested positive for testosterone. Other reports are surfacing indicating that the suspension is already official. And so, with baseball's P.R. department still reeling from the fallout from the Melky imbroglio, they now have this to deal with.