Chicago White Sox v New York Yankees

Jorge Posada asks out of lineup after Yankees drop him to ninth

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9:20 p.m. EDT: Sources told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that Posada asked out of the lineup due to back stiffness, contradicting pretty much everything that’s come out over the last hour and a half.  Maybe there’s some truth to it, but it sounds like spin.  In speaking with reporters just before 8 p.m., GM Brian Cashman made it clear that Posada’s exit from the lineup was not injury-related.

8:45 p.m. EDT: Buster Olney tweets:

To be clear:Posada said to reporters at 4 p.m. that he understood move to 9th spot, blamed himself.At 6 pm, he told Girardi something else.

8:30 p.m. EDT: A source told YES Network’s Jack Curry that Posada told manager Joe Girardi that he was “insulted” to be batting ninth and that he went on to throw “a hissy fit.”

The Yankees are believed to be weighing docking Posada’s pay as a result of the incident.  Indications are that Posada is not leaning towards retirement.

8:00 p.m. EDT: GM Brian Cashman says Jorge Posada asked out of the lineup after being dropped to the ninth spot.   While indications were that he was fine was being dropped, obviously, it wasn’t the case.  One wonders if he might be suddenly weighing retirement.

6:40 p.m. EDT: The Yankees just scratched Posada from the lineup.  No reason was given.  Andruw Jones has replaced him as the DH and No. 9 hitter.

Early word was that Posada was OK with the switch to the ninth spot in the lineup.  He indicated that it was an appropriate move given his struggles.

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For the first time in exactly 12 years, Jorge Posada is batting out of the ninth spot.

In a 4-for-25 slump over the past 10 days, Posada was dropped to the very bottom in the Yankees lineup for Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.

He last opened a game batting ninth on May 14, 1999.

Posada is hitting just .165/.272/.349 for the year. He has six homers, but the last one of them came on April 23. He’s driven in four runs in his last 16 starts.

Likely also influencing manager Joe Girardi’s decision is the fact that Posada hasn’t excelled against Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. He’s 11-for-42 with one homer and four RBI versus the right-hander, good for a 668 OPS. Most of his teammates have fared quite a bit better, as evidenced by Beckett’s career 5.90 ERA in 23 starts against the Bombers.

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)
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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)
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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: