Pirates right-hander Ross Ohlendorf likely done for 2010

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An MRI Tuesday showed a significant strain in the muscles of Ross Ohlendorf’s upper back, likely putting the Pirates hurler on the shelf for the rest of 2010.
Ohlendorf felt discomfort in the back of his throwing shoulder during his start Monday and took himself out of the game against the Cardinals after he faced just two batters. While he’s probably done for the rest of the year, he was pleased with the news.
“I’m very relieved with the diagnosis,” Ohlendorf told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I was afraid it might be worse. It’s not a rotator cuff muscle and it’s not a tendon. To know I’m going to make a full recovery is very encouraging.”
If he’s done, Ohlendorf will finish the season with a 1-11 record to go along with a plenty respectable 4.07 ERA in 21 starts. Except for his win-loss record, all of his numbers were about the same as they were a year ago, when he went 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 176 2/3 innings. His walk rate jumped, but his strikeout rate also increased a bit and his home run rate dropped.
So, obviously, it’s hardly all his fault. The Pirates scored two runs or fewer in 13 of his 21 starts, including his lone victory. He pitched seven scoreless innings to beat the Phillies in a 2-0 game on July 2.
Despite the poor record, Ohlendorf is probably the closest thing the Pirates have to a lock to open next season in the rotation. Paul Maholm could be traded this winter, and Zach Duke might be dealt or non-tendered. Other rotation candidates will include James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen and Brad Lincoln. Charlie Morton, who is likely to replace Ohlendorf now, is another possibility. The Pirates figure to add at least one veteran to the mix over the winter.

Max Muncy and Matt Beaty step on Rhys Hoskins’ ankle on consecutive plays

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In the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last year, infielder Manny Machado — then with the Dodgers — stepped on the foot of Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar. Aguilar, understandably, wasn’t happy about that and both teams’ benches spilled onto the field. It was a continuation of a tumultuous series for Machado, who was also vilified for not hustling and sliding hard into Orlando Arcia twice. The Machado-Aguilar dust-up served as a referendum on Machado’s character until he finally signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres.

Recently, Machado criticized the analysts on MLB Network for holding double standards. Dan Plesac and Eric Byrnes argued with Greg Amsinger about the Jake Marisnick collision at home plate with catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Amsinger felt Marisnick was in the wrong; Plesac and Byrnes defended Marisnick. On Instagram, Machado said if he had been the one who bulldozed Lucroy, Plesac and Byrnes wouldn’t have defended him, in part because he is Latino. Diamondbacks outfielder Adam Jones said earlier this year that Machado would “one hundred percent” be treated differently if he were white.

With that context in mind, something interesting happened in the fourth inning of Thursday afternoon’s game between the Dodgers and Phillies. Leading off the top of the fourth inning against Aaron Nola, Max Muncy grounded out to shortstop Jean Segura. As Muncy crossed the first base bag, he stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle. On the next play, Matt Beaty beat out an infield single hit to third baseman Maikel Franco, shifted up the middle. As Beaty crossed the first base bag ahead of the throw, he tripped over Hoskins’ ankle. MLB.com hasn’t posted video of the incidents yet, but here’s a look at both plays from @jomboy_ on Twitter:

We rarely see runners tripping over the feet of first basemen, but here we have it happening on back-to-back plays. Hoskins’ footwork around the bag was textbook given the situations. The commentators on the exclusive YouTube broadcast gave the runners the benefit of the doubt. Other than that, there has surprisingly been little discussion of these plays. A July 18 game isn’t exactly Game 4 of the NLCS, but look at how much conversation the Marisnick-Lucroy play generated and that was less than two weeks ago. These plays deserve a “Was it dirty?” conversation.

One wonders what the conversation would have looked like if it had been black or Latino runners stepping on Hoskins’ ankle on back-to-back plays. Would they have gotten the immediate benefit of the doubt like Muncy and Beaty? Would malicious intent have been ascribed to them instead? That, really, is Machado’s point about the double-standard applied to non-white players. It doesn’t excuse any of his obviously terrible behavior, but if we’re going to criticize players for bad behavior, we should do so evenly and fairly. Muncy and Beaty deserve criticism for their poor, sloppy, dangerous base running. Frankly, Major League Baseball should consider fines and/or suspensions. Machado was fined for stepping on Aguilar.