Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers’ lineup after leaving Thursday’s game and sitting out last night with a sore Achilles’ tendon, but Carlos Gomez remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.
No official move has been made yet, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Gomez is almost surely bound for the disabled list tonight or tomorrow, leaving Nyjer Morgan and Norichika Aoki to split time in center field.
It’s not an ideal time-sharing arrangement because both Morgan and Aoki are left-handed hitters, and losing Gomez hurts because in addition to his always excellent range defensively he was off to a good start at the plate with a .280 batting average and .801 OPS in 21 games.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.