A catch is finally, once again, a catch. Today, at around 12 noon eastern time, Major League Baseball tweaked one of its new rules that it had changed during the offseason. When a fielder catches a ball, then loses it when he opens his glove, the rule stated that was not a catch. Or when a fielder makes a catch, then loses it on his throw, the rule stated that was not a catch. Those plays, which have been previously called catches for, practically, ever, caused much controversy.
Today, Major League Baseball reverted to the old rules. When a fielder makes a catch, and loses it on a transfer, it will be a catch and an out will be recorded. Here is the press release from Major League Baseball, exactly explaining the rule:
The Committee has determined that a legal catch has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Catch”), or a valid force out or tag has occurred pursuant to OBR 2.00 (Definition of Terms, “Tag”), if the fielder had complete control over the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after intentionally opening his glove to make the transfer to his throwing hand. There is no requirement that the fielder successfully remove the ball from his glove in order for it be ruled a catch. If the fielder drops the ball while attempting to remove it to make a throw, the Umpires should rule that the ball had been caught, provided that the fielder had secured it in his glove before attempting the transfer. The Umpires will continue to use their judgment as to whether the fielder had complete control over the ball before the transfer.
Major League Baseball has promptly fixed a rule that many felt needed fixing. That is fantastic on their part. However, other rules, such as the "catcher blocking the plate" rule, have received much controversy as well. Whether Major League Baseball decides to remove that rule is unknown, but a huge step in the right direction was made today with the tweaking of the transfer rule. Now baseball fans, a catch is, once again, a catch. The way it should be.
New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda has been suspended ten games for having an illegal substance on his neck during Wednesday's game against the Boston Red Sox. Pineda was ejected in the bottom of the second inning, when Red Sox manager John Farrell came to protest to home plate umpire Gerry Davis, notifying him of the illegal usage of pine tar.
This is not the first time people have noticed pine tar on Pineda. On his April 10 start, also against Boston, Pineda presumed to have pine tar on his hand, which, of course, is also illegal. Pineda claimed it was dirt Since nothing was said, Farrell decided to speak up this time.
"You could see it," Farrell told reporters after Boston's 5-1 win. "I could see it from the dugout. It was confirmed by a number of camera angels in the ballpark. And given the last time we faced him, I felt it was a necessity to say something. I fully respect on a cold night you're trying to get a little bit of a grip, but when it's that obvious, something has got to be said.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports that Pineda will be paid during his suspension, and that he will not be fined. Although Pineda is facing a ten game suspension, it only means that he may have to miss one start, based on how the schedule works out for the Yankees. He still has yet to make a decision on an appeal. Pineda also admitted to using pine tar.
"It was a really cold night, and in the first inning I [couldn't] feel the ball," Pineda said (via ESPN). "I don't want to like, hit anybody, so I decided to use it."
On the season, Pineda is 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA and a 2.61 FIP in 19 2/3 innings pitched. He has a 15/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and has posted a 224 ERA+ while on the mound.
Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols hit his 499th and 500th home runs against the Washington Nationals yesterday. He has now joined the rarest of clubs, the 500 home run club.
In the top of the first, Pujols hit his first shot of the night. He hammered a Taylor Jordan pitch to left field, driving in J.B. Shuck and Mike Trout. That was the 499th of his career and seventh on the season. Pujols' wife, Deidre, was back at home with their five children. She planned to get on a pre-arranged flight to New York that she hoped would be where Pujols hit his 500th. Deidre told Albert that if he hit his 499th in Washington, that she would get on a plane immediately. But Pujols did not hold up his end of the bargain.
Then in the top of the fifth, Pujols hit a mammoth shot to left center field for number 500. As he rounded the bases, the Angels came out of the dugout to celebrate with the slugger. The crowd in Washington was cordial, giving Pujols the standing ovation he deserved. Pujols greeted them with a brief curtain call.
Albert Pujols is the third-fastest player to reach the 500 home run club, behind Alex Rodriguez and Jimmie Foxx. Pujols is the only member of the club to hit his 499th and 500th home runs in the same night. At age 34, Pujols' fantastic career is far from over. He's just getting started. The Nationals broadcast thought that Pujols had a shot of hitting 700 homers. We will have to see how he responds.
"It's pretty special," Pujols said about hitting 500 home runs. "To have almost 18,000 players wear a big league uniform, and to have only 26 players to do this, it's pretty special."
Eighteen of the 500 home run club members have made the Hall of Fame. The others are either up for induction within the next few years or have been linked to performance enhancing drugs. Pujols, by reaching this historic milestone, just might be a first ballot Hall of Famer five years following his retirement.
If Pujols hits another home run this month, he will set the Angels' all-time record for home runs in April with 9. While all of his first eight have been special, the weight has been lifted off of Pujols' back. Now the question is, "How far can he go?"
Pujols is currently under contract through the 2021 season. If he hits 40 home runs in each of these next seasons, he could actually hit over 800 home runs. While that seems farfetched, Pujols has been a fantastic player. And number 500 is just one step in an amazing career by slugger Albert Pujols.
Major League Baseball has suspended four players after the Sunday brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers. All four players have been fined as well.
The brawl began when Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez flipped his bat after hitting a triple off of the Pirates' Gerrit Cole. Cole shouted heated words at Gomez, who stormed him off third base. The benches emptied, and players went into a full-out brawl.
Two Brewers players, catcher Martin Maldonado and Carlos Gomez, have been suspended for five and three games, respectively. Maldonado was fined $2,500, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Maldonado has been the Brewers backup catcher this season, and is 4-for-12 with one run batted in on the season. Gomez was an all star last season, and is hitting .313 this season with 5 home runs and 12 runs batted in.
The Pirates will be losing starting catcher Russell Martin for one game and outfielder Travis Snider for two games. Martin has been a big piece in Pittsburgh's lineup this season. Martin has hit .263 with 2 home runs and 11 runs batted in on the season. Snider has hit .250 with 3 home runs and 8 runs batted in for the season as well. Snider received a black eye from Maldonado in the brawl.
Gomez, Martin, and Snider have all appealed their suspensions. All three will be in their respective lineups tonight. Gerrit Cole will not be receiving disciplinary action from Major League Baseball. He was not ejected on Sunday, while all other players were removed from the game by the umpiring crew.
After having the position of first base clogged by both Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, the Mets have been in talks for weeks with many teams for Davis, seemingly making Duda the long-term option at the position. After many rumors and teams showing interest, the Mets have finally ended the "saga" by dealing the Arizona native to Pittsburgh today.
The Mets and Pirates agreed to a deal that sent Ike Davis to the Pirates, in exchange for prospect Zack Thornton and a player to be named later, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Many have already bashed the Mets for the trade, barring the player they received that will be named later.
Ike Davis remains under contract throughout the 2016 season, with arbitration seasons in 2015 and 2016 that the Pirates will most likely cover. They will be getting a hitter that homered 32 times not too long ago in 2012 for a exceptionally reasonable price. A change of scenery, plus a ballpark that is much more even than Citi Field, which heavily favors pitchers.
In 2013, the 27 year old Davis hit a slash line of .205/.326/.334 with 9 home runs and 33 RBI in 377 plate appearances. He posted a 0.2 WAR (Davis has already reached that mark so far THIS SEASON) and a 89 OPS+ in an overall dismal season. In 2012, Davis hit a slash line of .227/.308/.462 with 32 home runs and 90 RBI in 584 plate appearances. He added 1.0 WAR and posted a 111 OPS+.
The Mets will be receiving relief pitcher Zack Thornton. Thornton can throw a fastball around 89 to 90 MPH, has a decent slider, and a good change-up. The 26 year old has a career 10.2 K/9 rate, a 2.2 BB/9 rate, and a career 3.03 ERA. While these numbers look good on paper, Thornton has yet to receive the call. He could be a middle reliever type of guy in the Major Leagues.
Personally, the Mets could have received more for Ike Davis. They may have wanted him out of the locker-room, but with all the interest, they should have waited on more offers. We will have to see what the player to be named later is, but for now, it's hard to like this deal for the New York Mets.