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MLB may crack down on bogus trips to the disabled list


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.

Giants fans will have to pay a surcharge to park at Athletics games

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Athletics president Dave Kaval is ready to take full advantage of the interleague series between the Giants and A’s this season. While the two teams customarily play a few preseason “Battle of the Bay” games each year, they’re also scheduled to meet each other six times during the regular season; once for a three-game set in San Francisco, then for a three-game set in Oakland. On Saturday, Kaval announced that any Giants fans looking to park at the Coliseum this year will be charged $50 instead of the standard, general admission $30 — an additional “rivalry fee” that can be easily waived by shouting, “Go A’s!” at the gate.

This isn’t the first time that a major-league team has tried to keep rival fans at bay, though Kaval doesn’t seem all that intent on actually driving fans away from the ballpark. Back in 2012, the Nationals staged a “Take Back the Park” campaign after people began complaining that Phillies fans were overtaking Nationals Park during rivalry games. They limited a single-series presale of Nats-Phillies tickets to buyers within Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in hopes of filling the stands with a few more friendly faces. Washington COO Andy Feffer told the press that while he would treat all guests with “respect and courtesy,” he wanted Phillies fans to feel irked enough to pay attention to the Nationals. In the end, things went… well, a little south for all involved.

Whether the Giants are planning any retaliatory measures has yet to be seen, but it’s not as if this is going to be an enforceable rule. The real travesty here, if you’re an A’s fan or just pretending to be one, is that the parking fees have increased from $20 to $30 this season. Unless you’re a season ticket holder with a prepaid $10 parking permit, it’s far better to brave the crowds and take advantage of local public transportation. There are bound to be far fewer irate Giants fans on BART than at the gates — even if the gag only lasts a few days out of the year.