The Cardinals are complaining about slick balls again

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chris carpenter headshot cardinals.jpgLast October John Smoltz and the Cardinals complained mightily about the balls being used in Great American Ballpark. The beef: that the Reds don’t properly rub them down with Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud to remove the gloss as God and Major League Baseball rule 3.01(c) intends.

They’re at it again, with Chris Carpenter saying after yesterday’s game that the baseballs
were not prepared properly. Carpenter: “(Either) they make an adjustment or look into it, (or) ultimately,
somebody’s going to get hurt. Something’s going to get
away, or whatever, and end up getting somebody in the head. I hope that
doesn’t happen.”

This is the power of suggestion at work. Last fall Carpenter’s manager and the future Hall-of-Famer made a big stink over it. He knows for weeks if not months ahead of time that he’ll make his season debut in Cincinnati. I think he just psyched himself out over it.

And to be sure: the rule linked above says that it’s the umpires — not the home team who supplies the balls — who has final sign-off on whether they’re acceptable for game play.  The umpires for yesterday’s game thought the balls were OK. The Reds’ pitchers had to use the same balls and they didn’t complain. Unless Carpenter thinks they’re all in on the conspiracy too, I’m chalking this up to self-inflicted delusion.

Dodgers activate Adrian Gonzalez

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The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.

Rays activate Kevin Kiermaier

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The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.

Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.