Rays considering Rocco Baldelli as part-time designated hitter

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Last month Rocco Baldelli made the transition from coach to player, and since moving up to Triple-A two weeks ago he’s 10-for-30 (.333) with two homers and three doubles.
Baldelli has been limited to designated hitter duties and is swinging at everything, striking out seven times compared to zero walks, but Bill Chastain of MLB.com writes that he’s hit well enough to potentially earn a call-up to Tampa Bay.
Joe Maddon indicated that he’d consider using Baldelli as a part-time DH and giving him some starts over Willy Aybar or Dan Johnson against left-handed pitchers could make sense. Baldelli hit .266/.337/.462 versus lefties from 2007-2009.

MLB calls umpire union statement about Manny Machado discipline “inappropriate”

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Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.

This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:

“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline.  Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires.  We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.