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Matt Carpenter has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic

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Cardinals’ first baseman Matt Carpenter won’t be joining Team USA when the World Baseball Classic kicks off on Monday. Club manager Mike Matheny and GM John Mozeliak confirmed the withdrawal, though the decision was left up to Carpenter in the days preceding the tournament.

The infielder had been taking things slow in camp this spring and was scratched from a spring training game on Thursday after experiencing tightness in his lower back. Now, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that the infielder is taking preventative measures to make sure the soreness does not spread to his oblique, especially in light of the right oblique injury that sidelined him through nearly a full month of the 2016 season. He’s expected to continue running defensive drills in camp, but won’t be swinging a bat for the remainder of the weekend and likely won’t appear in a game until next Friday’s match-up with the Nationals.

This would have been Carpenter’s first appearance in the World Baseball Classic. There was some chatter about his return to Team USA during the second round of the WBC, but as Rob Rains of Stlsportspage.com points out, that rule is exclusively reserved for pitchers. Instead, he’s scheduled to be replaced by the Pirates’ Josh Harrison, who will assume a utility role under the direction of Team USA manager Jim Leyland.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.