A rare enforcement of Rule 6.08

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I missed this on Sunday, but two extraordinary things happened during the Sox-Rangers game:

First, a pitched ball hit a player — Kevin Youkilis — yet he was not
awarded first base because the umpire ruled that Youk made no attempt
to avoid being hit, as he is required to do by Rule 6.08(b)(2).
In reality, this could and should be called on every other HBP, but I
can’t recall the last time an ump actually enforced the rules. For
those who care, one of the most famous invocations of Rule 6.08(b)(2)
came on May 31, 1968
when Don Drysdale hit a guy that would have forced in a run, thus
ending his scoreless innings streak at 44. The ump ruled that the
batter didn’t try to avoid the pitch, however, and called it a dead
ball. Drysdale went on to retire him and went another 14 innings
without allowing a run.

Second, Terry Francona — who ran out to argue the non-call on the Youk play — later admitted that he was wrong:

“I don’t know if you can go out and yell at a guy and then go back
out and apologize. It’s probably a little unprecedented to run back out
and scream you’re sorry.”

Yep.

Oh, I also like this play because the ump who got the call right — Tim
Timmons — makes his offseason home about two miles from my house.
Throws a big Halloween party every year. I’ve never been invited, but I
hear it’s pretty sweet.

So nice call, Tim. And, just so you know, I’m not doing anything
this Halloween. You know. Just in case you’re having that party again.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.