Bill Baer

Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen follows the flight of his solo home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Andrew McCutchen hit three home runs on Tuesday against the Rockies


If you thought you hadn’t heard much about Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, you’d be right. The 29-year-old, who has had a top-five finish in NL MVP Award balloting in each of the last four seasons (including a first place finish in 2013), entered Tuesday’s game in Colorado batting a meager .213/.337/.347 with a pair of homers and five RBI in 89 plate appearances.

McCutchen fixed that lackluster slugging percentage quickly, blasting three home runs against the Rockies. The first was a solo shot off of Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa to stake the Pirates to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He added another solo shot off of De La Rosa in the second inning to push the Pirates’ lead to 4-0, then swatted a three run shot to right field off of Christian Bergman in the sixth inning, pushing the Pirates’ lead to 7-3.

It’s the second three-homer game of McCutchen’s career. The other one came on August 1, 2009 against the Nationals. McCutchen is the fourth Pirate with two or more three-homer games, joining Willie Stargell (four), Ralph Kiner (four), and Roberto Clemente (two).

Following the 3-for-5 performance on Tuesday, McCutchen now has five home runs, 10 RBI, and a .237/.351/.475 triple-slash line.

Austin Hedges to undergo hamate bone surgery, out 6-8 weeks

San Diego Padres' Austin Hedges hits an RBI single off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Chris Heston in the third inning of their baseball game Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in San Francisco. The hit was Hedges' first in the major leagues. At left is San Francisco Giants catcher Andrew Susac. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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Padres catcher Austin Hedges will miss six to eight weeks as he needs surgery to repair the hamate bone in his right hand,’s A.J. Cassavell reports.

Hedges, 23, was playing with Triple-A El Paso and got off to a great start, hitting .333/.385/.583 with a pair of home runs and nine RBI in 39 plate appearances.

It’s unfortunate for the Padres, who might have called up Hedges sooner rather than later as neither starting catcher Derek Norris nor back-up Christian Bethancourt have done much to begin the season. The Padres’ aggregate .519 OPS from their catchers is the worst mark in the National League.

Tyler Collins won’t face discipline for flipping off the crowd on Monday

Detroit Tigers center fielder Tyler Collins catches a fly ball hit by Oakland Athletics' Chris Coghlan during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 25, 2016 in Detroit. Collins directed an obscene gesture at fans after he lost a ball in the lights on a previous play in the inning which allowed the first run Tigers pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has given up this season. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Tigers outfielder Tyler Collins lost a fly ball in the lights in the top of the sixth inning of Monday’s game against the Athletics. It eventually led to a run for the A’s, cutting into what was a 6-0 lead for the Tigers. The fans at Comerica Park booed Collins, who responded by flipping them off.

Collins apologized after the game, but Major League Baseball decided to review the incident, which meant the 25-year-old could’ve been suspended. Ultimately, MLB decided not to punish Collins, ESPN’s Katie Strang reports.

There was precedent for punishment, as MLB suspended Jonathan Papelbon seven games for grabbing his crotch in reaction to an unhappy crowd at Citizens Bank Park after he blew a save in 2014.

Video: Justin Upton bobbles but hangs onto a deep fly ball at the wall

Detroit Tigers' Justin Upton blows a bubble in the dugout during  the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Monday, April 11, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Tigers left fielder Justin Upton robbed Chris Coghlan of at least a double in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Athletics. Coghlan drove a 3-1 Mike Pelfrey fastball to the opposite field, sending Upton back towards the wall. He leaped for the ball and it bounced off of the heel of his glove, but he stayed with the ball and re-grabbed it before it hit the ground.

From the camera angle provided in this video, it’s not clear if the ball would or would not have gone over the fence if Upton hadn’t interfered. Either way, he robbed Coghlan of extra bases.

If Joe Girardi were commissioner, he’d ban infield shifts

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi walks out to the mound to pull starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi during the sixth inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Miami Marlins on Friday, April 1, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rob Foldy)
AP Photo/Rob Foldy

Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal spoke to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who said that if he were commissioner of baseball, he would ban infield shifts. Girardi added that the second base bag would be the dividing line. Ostensibly, he means that a team would have to have two fielders on both sides.

This would be a serious change to the rulebook, as Diamond points out:

Teams are shifting now more than ever, but it actually hasn’t had much an effect on batted balls overall. Here’s a look at league-wide BABIP since 2000:


American League BABIP is at its lowest point while National League BABIP is at its highest. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted team-by-team shift data recently:

There aren’t a preponderance of AL teams at the top or the bottom of the list which might help explain the disparity. But it’s certainly not evident that shifts are leading to hit prevention. Girardi’s solution may be addressing a problem that doesn’t exist.