MLB may get rid of the “no-fraternization” rule

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There is a rule on the books — Rule 3.09 — which prevents players from talking to each other and being friendly while in uniform. It’s a widely-ignored rule that, for reasons which are known only to Joe Torre, the league asked teams to start paying more attention to back in 2011.  They didn’t of course because the rule is dumb.

Buster Olney mentioned in his column today that the rule may be axed for that very reason. Just taken off the books.

Which: good. There is nothing wrong with showing fans that it’s OK to like and respect their competitors. That the game is the game and that, when it is over or in a lull, it does not have to extend into some intense personal rivalry as well. That these are human beings, not gladiators, and they can and should be allowed to express friendly feelings toward one another because, in reality, most of them are friendly with one another.

Seeing two guys chatting at first base or talking to each other as one team comes out for batting practice as the other leaves always makes me feel better about baseball. I’m glad that baseball doesn’t enforce its rule against that and I’ll be happy if they remove the rule altogether.

Adrian Gonzalez might retire after his contract is up if his back isn’t any better

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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:

“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.

“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”

Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.

The Cubs send Kyle Schwarber to the minors

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Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.

Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.

Now this:

The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.