Touch 'Em All: Melky Cabrera disqualifies himself for NL batting title

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker stayed in a Chicago hospital with an irregular heartbeat. PAUL BEATY / AP
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker stayed in a Chicago hospital with an irregular heartbeat. PAUL BEATY / AP
Posted: September 22, 2012

What Major League Baseball and the players' union couldn't do, Melky Cabrera could - he reportedly disqualified himself from winning the National League batting title on Friday.

The disgraced San Francisco Giants outfielder and 2012 All-Star Game MVP, serving a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, has been stuck at a .346 batting average since being banned on Aug. 15, and was seven points up on the Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen as of Friday.

Cabrera has 501 plate appearances, one fewer than the required amount to win the title if the Giants play 162 games. But the rules allow an extra hitless at-bat to be added to his average to give him the crown. (It's been done before - Tony Gwynn, for example, won the title that way in 1996.)

Under baseball's rule book and the labor contract, the rules on who can win the batting title can be changed by mutual agreement. But since the union is legally required to represent Cabrera's best interests, it took the player's OK to make it possible to ignore the extra at-bat rule.

"I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted," Cabrera told MLB.com. (So, the new All-Star Game MVP is . . . Ryan Braun? OK, maybe Pablo Sandoval? Oh, never mind.)

It ain't over yet, though, as baseball sage Yogi Berra understood. If the Giants have a rainout and play only 161 games, Cabrera could be eligible all over again.

(No truth to the rumor that Barry Bonds offered to accept the honor in Cabrera's place.)

Not to worry about the American League, where Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera - referred to in these parts as the "Good Cabrera" - still leads with a .333 average (but he has the Millville marvel, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, in pursuit).

Baker still out

Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker missed a third straight game Friday with an irregular heartbeat. MLB.com tweeted that Baker's doctors were concerned about him traveling and decided to keep him in a Chicago hospital another day.

Baker still made out the lineups for the two games he missed in Chicago, but bench coach Chris Speier took care of it for Friday's possible division clincher against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

His bags were packed

The Toronto Blue Jays sent well-traveled catcher Yorvit Torrealba to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later or cash. Torrealba has also had stints with the Giants, Seattle, Colorado, San Diego, and Texas.

Is Ozzie outtahere?

Rumors are flying that the Miami Marlins plan to fire manager Ozzie Guillen (which would definitely make the game less fun).

Replacement fantasies are ex-Marlin Mike Lowell; Nationals coach Bo Porter; and Brad Ausmus, currently managing Team Israel.


Contact Michael Harrington at mharrington@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the AP.

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