In late February, Major League Baseball officially announced the new intentional walk rule, which allowed managers to intentionally walk an opposing batter with a signal rather than instructing his pitcher to throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. The signal wasn’t invoked much in spring training, so we had to wait until April to see it in action. Understandably, it’s going to take some getting used to.
According to Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times, Angels center fielder Mike Trout was confused by the new rule during the eighth inning of Monday night’s season opener against the Athletics. Trout had doubled to bring Pujols to the plate. With first base open, Athletics manager Bob Melvin opted to intentionally walk Pujols, so he gave the signal.
Trout said, “I called timeout, got back to the bag, and when I looked up, he was on first base. It was different. He was laughing. I was laughing. It took me a little bit to figure out what happened. But that’s the way it’s going, I guess.”
The intentional walk worked in the Athletics’ favor as, after Pujols was given first base, C.J. Cron grounded out to end the inning. The Angels went on to lose 4-2.
Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.
Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.
Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.
Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.