Josh Hamilton day-to-day with left groin tightness

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Josh Hamilton is considered day-to-day after leaving last night’s game against the Rockies with left groin tightness. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes, the good news is that it is not in the same area where he required sports hernia surgery last November.

The Rangers expect Hamilton to be ready for Opening Day against the White Sox next Friday, but they also conceded that he might “need a couple of days” to recover. The 30-year-old has averaged just 114 games over the past three seasons and is entering a contract year, so there’s no reason to risk a potential setback.

Hamilton has made four straight starts in center field, which is a sign that he’ll likely be shuffled back and forth between left field once again. The Rangers would obviously prefer to keep him in left as much as possible to avoid the wear and tear on his body, but neither Craig Gentry or Julio Borbon has made a compelling argument to start on a regular basis and Leonys Martin isn’t ready for the majors yet. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Rangers eventually go outside the organization for a part-time center fielder.

The Cubs played under protest after Joe Maddon disputed an ‘illegal’ pitching motion

Joe Maddon
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The Cubs found themselves in a disadvantageous position toward the end of their 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday. Down by three in the ninth, they were finally looking to gain some ground against closer Sean Doolittle after wearying themselves against Stephen Strasburg for the first eight innings of the game. Instead, the game ended under protest when Cubs skipper Joe Maddon took umbrage with Doolittle’s delivery:

The issue appeared to stem from the motion Doolittle made with his left foot, a kind of “toe-tapping” gesture that Maddon believed had previously been made illegal. The official rules state that a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate during his delivery, a stipulation that had previously been violated by Cubs’ pitcher Carl Edwards Jr.:

Comparing the two motions, however, one would be hard-pressed to characterize Doolittle’s tapping motion as a full step toward the plate. Maddon clearly didn’t see it that way, and emerged from the dugout to dispute the pitcher’s delivery twice. Following Doolittle’s first-pitch strike to Albert Almora, the manager informed home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook that the Cubs would play the remainder of the game under protest.

An official decision has not yet been announced regarding the illegality of the delivery and the validity of the Cubs’ protest. According to league rules, “the game will not be replayed unless it is also determined that the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning.”

During the inning in question, however, the umpiring crew allowed Doolittle to continue his delivery. He helped secure the Nationals’ 5-2 win after inducing a groundout from Almora, striking out Kyle Schwarber, and getting a game-ending pop-out from Kris Bryant.

After the game, both Holbrook and Doolittle took issue with Maddon’s protest.

“In that moment, he’s not trying to do anything other than rattle me,” Doolittle told reporters. “And it was kind of tired. I don’t know, sometimes he has to remind people how smart he is and how much he pays attention to the game. So he put his stamp on it, for sure.”

Holbrook, meanwhile, said Doolittle did “absolutely nothing illegal at all.”