The Mattingly mound visit: MLB says the umps were wrong; umps disagree

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I’ll admit that I was rather confused about the Don Mattingly mound visit thing the other night.  After my initial post yesterday I was mostly persuaded by others that even if the umpires were following the letter of the rule regarding Mattingly making two mound visits, they weren’t following the spirit of the rule because Donnie Baseball wasn’t trying to either waste time or play games with matchups or whatever reason managers aren’t allowed to make two visits before changing the pitcher.

But it seems I wasn’t even right that the umpires were following the letter of the rule. Major League Baseball said otherwise yesterday:

Because Mattingly disobeyed the umpire’s warning, the rule calls for
Mattingly to be ejected and for Jonathan Broxton to face the next
batter, then be removed. MLB has told the umpires this interpretation
was the correct one.

Instead, the umpires ruled that Broxton had to be removed immediately.
Mattingly brought in George Sherrill, who didn’t have a chance to warm
up in the bullpen.

To be fair to the umps, it was a highly unusual situation regarding a less-than-crystal-clear rule and they had Bruce Bochy yelling at them about it all while they tried to work through it.  Even if they were ultimately wrong about it I’m willing to cut some slack under the “everyone’s human” rule.

Not that this clears anything up:

Crew chief Tim McClelland did not agree with MLB’s interpretation.

“I am not of the opinion [that’s the way the rule should have been
applied],” McClelland said. “The league is of that opinion. It’s a
difference of opinion in a situation that’s not covered.”

I think it’s safe to say that if, more than a day later, the umps, the league and parties involved still can’t agree on what should have happened, we’re dealing with a rule that desperately needs an overhaul.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.