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MLB may crack down on bogus trips to the disabled list

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Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal spoke with Red Sox manager John Farrell and got some interesting dish: MLB may very well crack down on phantom disabled list visits.

You know how this has worked in the past: a player who is not exactly in the team’s plans at the moment, but who cannot be sent down — say, a veteran or a Rule 5 draftee — may suddenly find himself “injured” and placed on the DL. This happens even if he’s not injured, as it allows the club to call up a reliever or something. Major League Baseball has, generally, turned a blind eye to that.

Now, however, the minimum stay on the disabled list has been reduced from 15 days to 10 days. This creates an even greater incentive to stash an uninjured player on the DL in the name of roster flexibility. Say a fifth starter who may have his next start skipped due to a day off. As he “convalesces,” the club gets an extra reliever or something.

Not so fast, reports MacPherson:

No official word has come down, but Red Sox manager John Farrell said his understanding is that Major League Baseball plans to crack down on the so-called “phantom DL” and require increased documentation for injuries requiring DL stints. That would make it more difficult for teams to manipulate roster rules by abusing the disabled list.

MacPherson talks about how a team like Boston, with a lot of veterans who do not have options, could theoretically abuse the new shorter DL.  Farrell talks about MLB signaling to him that they will investigate DL stints more thoroughly to make sure they’re not bogus.

I’m sure everyone will adjust. And probably a lot faster than it takes all of us to stop calling it the 15-day DL.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.