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.

Report: Brewers have made formal contract offer to Yu Darvish

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Yahoo Japan reported on Sunday (Monday there) that the Brewers have made a formal contract offer to free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has confirmed Yahoo Japan’s report. The length of the offered contract and the value are not known at the moment.

Darvish recently said on his personal Twitter account that the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros, Twins, and “one more team” have been in the running for his services. The unnamed team was believed to be the Dodgers, but it may well be the Brewers.

The Brewers could certainly use Darvish’s arm. Chase Anderson and Zach Davies currently lead the starting rotation and the club added Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo this offseason.

Darvish, 31, posted a 3.86 ERA with a 209/58 K/BB ratio in 186 2/3 innings between the Rangers and Dodgers in the regular season last year. He faltered in the playoffs, specifically in the World Series, where he gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings across two starts. Darvish was apparently tipping his pitches, however, which is a correctable issue.