Daily Dose: Cardinals bring in help for Pujols

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Acquired from Cleveland for Chris Perez plus a player to be named
later, Mark DeRosa jumped right into St. Louis’ cleanup spot Sunday and
went 0-for-3 with a walk hitting behind Albert Pujols. While not a
prototypical cleanup hitter, DeRosa has batted .280/.364/.473 with 34
homers and 43 doubles since the beginning of last year, compared to the
measly .220/.297/.387 produced behind Pujols so far.

He’s a nice pickup for the Cardinals, who can either re-sign him or
take draft pick compensation if he leaves as a free agent. Depending on
the PTBNL the Indians also did fairly well cashing in a guy they
acquired this winter for three mediocre prospects, because Perez is a
23-year-old with a 3.72 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 65 innings as a big
leaguer and should be a quality setup man or closer option.

While the Cardinals help a lineup that beyond Pujols has hit just
.248 with a .381 slugging percentage, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* Antonio Bastardo has been scratched from his scheduled Wednesday
start with shoulder soreness and has left the team to undergo further
tests, so Philadelphia will call up Carlos Carrasco to fill in. He’s
been the Phillies’ top pitching prospect for years, but Carrasco’s
stats haven’t quite matched the hype with a 4.14 ERA and 239/83 K/BB
ratio in 237 innings between Double-A and Triple-A since 2008.

* Josh Outman’s promising rookie year may be finished after Oakland
transferred him to the 60-day disabled list Sunday. He had been sent to
the 15-day DL last week with a sprained left elbow and there’s
speculation that he may be headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery
that would knock him out into the middle of 2010. He’ll meet with Dr.
James Andrews before any decision is made.

* Adrian Beltre and the Mariners have already decided that he’ll
undergo surgery to remove bone spurs from his left shoulder, but
haven’t settled on an exact date yet. In the meantime he’s still
playing, starting at third base and knocking in a run Sunday, but the
surgery is expected to sideline him for at least a month and take place
at some point this week. Chris Woodward seems like the probable fill
in.

* Xavier Nady had to remove himself from a minor-league rehab game
Thursday after experiencing pain in his partially torn elbow ligament
and reportedly may be headed for Tommy John surgery. While the
operation isn’t as bad for hitters, he’d be finished for this year and
questionable for the first few months of 2010, so the impending free
agent may be done with the Yankees.

AL Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton (abdomen) is expected to start a
rehab assignment Monday at Double-A … Zack Greinke was limited to 6.1
innings Sunday due to a rain delay, but picked up his 10th victory …
Asdrubal Cabrera returned from the disabled list Sunday less than four
weeks after suffering an ugly looking shoulder injury … Francisco
Liriano turned in perhaps his best start of the season Sunday with
seven innings of two-run ball … Aaron Hill went deep twice Sunday and
has already set a career-high with 19 on the year … Adam Kennedy slid
to third base Sunday with Mark Ellis coming off the DL … David Price
gave up just one run in 6.1 innings Sunday, but again struggled with
his control by walking five … Alexei Ramirez went 3-for-5 with a homer
Sunday and is batting .301 with nine homers in his last 40 games … John
Danks shut out the Cubs for seven innings Sunday for his fourth
straight Quality Start … Reports suggest that impending free agent
Jason Bay is close to beginning long-term contract talks with the Red
Sox.

NL Quick Hits: Jamie Moyer moved past Bob Gibson into 45th place
all time with his 252nd career victory Sunday … Kyle Lohse (forearm) is
expected to begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Double-A … Nate
Schierholtz went 4-for-5 with a homer Sunday and is hitting .312 with
nine extra-base hits in 22 starts … Tommy Hanson improved to 4-0 with
six scoreless innings Sunday and hasn’t allowed a run in three starts …
Ryan Sadowski tossed six shutout innings in his big-league debut
Sunday, getting a dozen outs on the ground … Despite leading the team
in wins, Shairon Martis is being bounced from the rotation to make room
for Scott Olsen … Ryan Doumit (wrist) is slated to start rehabbing
Tuesday at Single-A in the hopes of returning next week … Aaron Cook
tossed eight innings of one-run ball Sunday, with Huston Street closing
out his eighth win … Max Scherzer gave up eight runs Sunday, but only
three were earned.

Rob Manfred on robot umps: “In general, I would be a keep-the-human-element-in-the-game guy.”

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 5:  Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred talks with media prior to a game between the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on April 5, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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Craig covered the bulk of Rob Manfred’s quotes from earlier. The commissioner was asked about robot umpires and he’s not a fan. Via Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Manfred was wrong to blame the player’s union’s “lack of cooperation” on proposed rule changes, but he’s right about robot umps and the strike zone. The obvious point is that robot umps cannot yet call balls and strikes with greater accuracy than umpires. Those strike zone Twitter accounts, such as this, are sometimes hilariously wrong. Even the strike zone graphics used on television are incorrect and unfortunate percentage of the time.

The first issue to consider about robot umps is taking jobs away from people. There are 99 umps and more in the minors. If robot umpiring was adopted in collegiate baseball, as well as the independent leagues, that’s even more umpires out of work. Is it worth it for an extra one or two percent improvement in accuracy?

Personally, the fallibility of the umpires adds more intrigue to baseball games. There’s strategy involved, as each umpire has tendencies which teams can strategize against. For instance, an umpire with a more generous-than-average strike zone on the outer portion of the plate might entice a pitcher to pepper that area with more sliders than he would otherwise throw. Hitters, knowing an umpire with a smaller strike zone is behind the dish, may take more pitches in an attempt to draw a walk. Or, knowing that information, a hitter may swing for the fences on a 3-0 pitch knowing the pitcher has to throw in a very specific area to guarantee a strike call or else give up a walk.

The umpires make their mistakes in random fashion, so it adds a chaotic, unpredictable element to the game as well. It feels bad when one of those calls goes against your team, but fans often forget the myriad calls that previously went in their teams’ favor. The mistakes will mostly even out in the end.

I haven’t had the opportunity to say this often, but Rob Manfred is right in this instance.

Report: MLB approves new rule allowing a dugout signal for an intentional walk

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 29:  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laughs during a ceremony naming the 2016 winners of the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award and the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award before Game Four of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 29, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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ESPN’s Howard Bryant is reporting that Major League Baseball has approved a rule allowing for a dugout signal for an intentional walk. In other words, baseball is allowing automatic intentional walks. Bryant adds that this rule will be effective for the 2017 season.

MLB has been trying, particularly this month, to improve the pace of play. Getting rid of the formality of throwing four pitches wide of the strike zone will save a minute or two for each intentional walk. There were 932 of them across 2,428 games last season, an average of one intentional walk every 2.6 games. It’s not the biggest improvement, but it’s something at least.

Earlier, Commissioner Rob Manfred was upset with the players’ union’s “lack of cooperation.” Perhaps his public criticism was the catalyst for getting this rule passed.

Unfortunately, getting rid of the intentional walk formality will eradicate the chance of seeing any more moments like this: