The Rays change the rules regarding balls off the catwalks

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It’s not often that you see a ground rules change in midstream, but Major League Baseball has approved of new ones for Tropicana Field, effective for the playoffs.

Specifically, for balls off the A&B catwalks (i.e. the two highest rings). Previously, if a ball hit those rings, the ball was in play, and it was fair or foul depending on where it came down. Now, balls that hit those two catwalks are dead balls.

In effect, a play that often serves to bring embarrassment on everyone involved — the ballpark, the defenders trying to track it and the batter standing on first base trying to figure out what to do — will now become a do-over.

I suppose this is better. Not as good as a ballpark suitable for the playing of baseball games, but better.

Eric Hinske joins Angels as a hitting coach

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The Angels announced on Monday that Eric Hinske has joined the team to serve as the new hitting coach. Hinske had been the hitting coach for the Cubs since 2014.

Hinske, 40, spent parts of 12 years in the majors, though he never played for the Angels (or the Cubs). He put up a .762 OPS over his career.

Dave Hansen had been the Angels hitting coach since the end of the 2015 season but the Angels decided to part ways with him heading into 2018.