Major League Baseball releases its annual report counting the non-U.S. players

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Just got the press release from Major League Baseball in which it sets forth how many non-U.S.-born players are on major league rosters. The upshot:

Two-hundred forty-one players on 2013 Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists were born outside the 50 United States, Major League Baseball announced today.  This year’s percentage of 28.2 marks the fourth highest of all-time. The 241 players born outside the U.S. come from the pool of 856 players (750 active 25-man roster players and 106 disabled or restricted Major League players) on March 31st rosters and represent 15 countries and territories outside the U.S.

The countries, with the number of players representing each: Dominican Republic (89); Venezuela (63); Canada (17); Cuba (15); Mexico (14); Puerto Rico (13); Japan (11); Colombia and Panama (4 each); Curaçao (3); Australia, Nicaragua and South Korea (2 each); and the Netherlands and Taiwan (1 each).

Later this month the annual report in which people make hay about how few U.S.-born blacks are in the game will come out. It will likely not make much mention of the fact that the game continues to be diverse in many other ways.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

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Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.

Video: Aaron Judge sends a baseball into the upper deck at Citi Field

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit another jaw-dropping home run, victimizing Mets starter Robert Gsellman in the top of the fourth game of Wednesday night’s game at Citi Field. Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes didn’t even move. The ball traveled 457 feet and was hit 117 MPH off the bat, according to Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues.

The home run moved Judge’s AL-best total to 37, putting him two ahead of the Royals’ Mike Moustakas. Along with the prodigious dinger total, he has 80 RBI, 90 runs scored, and a .291/.421/.616 triple-slash line in 499 plate appearances. Judge is on pace for 50 dingers. If it holds, that would give him the rookie record for home runs in a season. Mark McGwire currently holds the record, having hit 49 for the Athletics in 1987.