MLB bans Jim Joyce from umpiring games involving Armando Galarraga’s team

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It’s a moot point for now after the Diamondbacks demoted Armando Galarraga to Triple-A, but Amy K. Nelson of ESPN.com reports that MLB has banned Jim Joyce from umpiring “any series in which Galarraga’s team plays.”

Joyce’s botched call ruining Galarraga’s perfect game last season forever linked them in history and they’ve since become business partners by co-authoring a book, so MLB’s ruling certainly makes sense.

Nelson reports that Joyce was replaced by another umpire when his crew worked a Diamondbacks series in early May, noting the similar arrangement with umpire Jim Wolf and his brother, Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf. Wolf is allowed to umpire games involving his brother’s team, but is not allowed to call balls and strikes when his brother is pitching.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the “imperfect game” and Galarraga will spend it at Triple-A after posting a 5.91 ERA in eight starts for the Diamondbacks. Overall since the game he’s 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA in 29 starts.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.