MLB In Full Bloom - MLB Adjusts Home Plate Force Rule - 6/25/2014

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Major League Baseball took a formal step Tuesday to clarify a portion of the new rule governing unnecessary collisions between base runners and catchers at home plate. In a statement sent to the baseball operations departments for all 30 teams, MLB said umpires have been instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate. The directive came several days after Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said the rules were interpreted incorrectly to overturn an apparent force play in a game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. An overturned call led to controversy in the third inning of Cincinnati's 11-4 victory over the Pirates on June 18. Umpires initially ruled that Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was out on a force play at home plate, then changed the call to safe because officials at MLB's replay command center in New York determined that Pirates catcher Russell Martin had illegally blocked home plate with his foot. Rule 7.13 was adopted in order to prevent unnecessary collisions at home plate between a runner attempting to score and a catcher attempting to make a tag play on the runner. Rule 7.13 has no function for a force play. So, effectively immediately umpires will be instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

MLB In Full Bloom - Mesoraco Homers in Fourth Straight Game - 6/24/2014

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Devin Mesoraco has been terrorizing National League pitching since he got healthy after beginning the season with a oblique injury and a hamstring injury. On Monday, Mesoraco hit a grand slam off Cubs reliever Hector Rondon that turned a one-run game into a comfortable victory. The homer was his 13th of the season, and it was his fourth straight game with a home run. It's not completely unexpected from Mesoraco, who was a first-round pick of the Reds in 2007, but he's trending toward having a breakout season this year. Mesoraco is in the top five among catchers in the National League in nearly every batting category, as he's hitting .315 with 38 RBI and 23 runs scored. Factor in that Mesoraco has played roughly 25 fewer games than other starting catchers and his numbers are that much more impressive.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Logan Morrison led the Mariners to 12-3 blowout victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday in Seattle. Morrison went 4-for-4 with two homers, three RBI and four runs scored. He reached base all five times up as he also drew a walk. Morrison's second inning solo homer off starter John Lackey tied the game 1-1, and his three-run bomb off Chris Capuano in the seventh capped the game's scoring. Despite the big night at the plate, Morrison should be owned in only AL-only leagues.
  • Matt Adams had two homers and six RBI to lead the Cardinals to an 8-0 win over the Rockies on Monday. Adams singled in two runs in the third, but he was just getting started; he had a solo homer off Jhoulys Chacin in the fifth and then a three-run shot off Franklin Morales in the seventh.
  • Bryce Harper (thumb) reached base in both of his plate appearances and played three innings in left field during his first rehab game Monday with High-A Potomac. Harper is making his way back from surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb, singled in his first at-bat and drew a walk later in the game. He's expected to play five innings in center field tonight, as the Nationals plan to have him play all around the outfield when he returns. After tonight's game, he's expected to take the day off Wednesday before joining another minor league affiliate.
  • Matt Cain struggled again on Monday night as he allowed six runs over 7 1/3 innings in a loss against the offensively challenged San Diego Padres. On a night fantasy owners were hoping to see Cain turn the corner, it was not to be as he surrendered three runs in the fourth inning. The Giants are now 3-10 in their previous 13 games. Cain (1-6, 4.82 ERA) hasn't helped, going winless in his last five starts, with the two most recent outings being the ugliest (7 ER in 5 innings against the White Sox on Friday). At least he kept the ball in the yard tonight. After giving up 11 homers, Cain is on pace to surpass his career-most 23 home runs set last season. He'll look to get back on track while hosting the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, but mixed leaguers should stay far away from him.
  • Andrew Cashner (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, but he does not seem to not be too worried about his current shoulder injury. Cashner hopes to play catch before the end of this weekend. The Padres thought about having Cashner skip just one start, but instead decided on a more cautious approach. It sounds like the right-hander has a shot to return after the 15-day minimum, though that's far from a sure thing at this early point in time.
  • FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday evening that the Blue Jays had their pro scouting director attend Jeff Samardzija's start on Monday night in Chicago. It's not surprising to hear that the Blue Jays continue to monitor Samardzija, as the two sides are a natural fit to make a deal. Morosi went on to report that there are "strong indications" that the Cubs would deal Samardzija to Toronto for a package of prospects including right-hander Aaron Sanchez, left-hander Daniel Norris and center fielder Dalton Pompey. As of now, the Blue Jays may be willing to deal only one or two players from that group. Something will have to give in order for a deal to get done by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
  • Stephen Strasburg, like his former college teammate Addison Reed, has announced that he will give up giving up smokeless tobacco following the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Strasburg played for Gwynn at San Diego State said he quit because of his daughter. Strasburg said he picked up the habit long before arriving at San Diego State and added that he didn't know Gwynn had used smokeless tobacco during his playing days.

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