Jacoby Ellsbury becomes Red Sox’s first 30/30 man

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The Red Sox may have collapsed, but their MVP certainly isn’t to blame.

Jacoby Ellsbury hit a pair of solo homers Sunday off the Yankees’ A.J. Burnett to become the first member of the 30 HR/30 SB club in Red Sox history.

It’s the 57th 30/30 season in major league history.  Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun have also pulled it off this year.  Kemp has 37 homers and 40 steals for the Dodgers, while Braun has 33 homers and 31 steals for the Brewers.  Ellsbury currently has 38 steals.

Ellsbury’s second homer also gave him 100 RBI for the season.

Ellsbury is the first American Leaguer to go 30/30 since the Rangers’ Ian Kinsler in 2009.  He’s the first American League to amass 30 homers, 30 steals and 100 RBI since the Rangers’ Alfonso Soriano in 2005.

While Ellsbury was always a good bet to get the required steals needed to pull off such a feat, none were expecting this kind of power from him.  He has 10 more homers in 639 at-bats this season than he did in 1,372 at-bats entering the year.

There will be a pitch clock for spring training

Associated Press
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Major League Baseball just announced that there will be a pitch clock for spring training. It will be a 20-second pitch clock, phased in like so:

  • In the first Spring Training games, the 20-second timer will operate without enforcement so as to make players and umpires familiar with the new system;
  • Early next week, umpires will issue reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule, but no ball-strike penalties will be assessed. Between innings, umpires are expected to inform the club’s field staff (manager, pitching coach or hitting coach) of any violations; and
  • Later in Spring Training, and depending on the status of the negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, umpires will be instructed to begin assessing ball-strike penalties for violations.

As is the case in the minors, the batter will have to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with at least five seconds remaining on the timer; and the pitcher needs only to begin his windup before the 20-second timer expires, as opposed to having thrown the pitch. The timer will not be used on the first pitch of any at-bat. Rather, it begins running prior to the second pitch once the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.

The league has not decided if the pitch clock will be used in the regular season yet. It can do so unilaterally, without union approval, for one year if it chooses to since it first introduced the idea last year.

There will likely be a lot of complaining about this, but as someone who has been to several minor league games with the clock in place, it’s pretty seamless and not noticeable. Minor leaguers had few if any complaints about its implementation.