Carl Crawford going on the disabled list with a strained hamstring on June 2 led to the Dodgers calling up Yasiel Puig, but now Crawford is ready to return and Puig is hurt.
Crawford went 5-for-13 with one stolen base on a four-game rehab assignment at Single-A and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that he’s expected to come off the disabled list Friday against the Giants.
That will create a logjam in the Dodgers’ outfield with Crawford, Puig, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier splitting time in three spots, although Puig running into the wall at Coors Field last night may lead to some time off for the rookie phenom. If everyone is healthy Ethier looks like the odd man out, or at least the outfielder least likely to play regularly.
Crawford hit .301 with five homers, nine steals, and an .828 OPS in 51 games before the injury, looking very much like his old, pre-Red Sox self.
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.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.