Indians top prospect Francisco Lindor played in Sunday’s Futures Game at New York’s Citi Field, then returned home to pack his bags for Double-A Akron, where he will debut on Tuesday night after spending the first three-plus months of the 2013 regular season with the High-A Carolina Mudcats.
“My focus right now is playing Double-A baseball every day,” Lindor told reporters in Akron on Tuesday afternoon. “Yeah, I see (Cleveland) in the future, but I’m focusing on playing today and winning today.”
The 19-year-old shortstop was batting .306/.373/.410 with 20 stolen bases and 51 runs scored in 83 games this season for Carolina. He was ranked fifth overall on Baseball America‘s midsummer Top 50.
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.