Hanley Ramirez scratched from Friday’s lineup after being hit in nose during BP

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The Marlins were given quite the scare this afternoon, as Hanley Ramirez was hit in the nose by a batted ball which bounced off a batting cage screen in the cage at Tropicana Field.

Ramirez was scratched from tonight’s lineup against the Rays as a result of the incident, but Marlins’ manager Ozzie Guillen told Coley Harvey of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

“He’s kind of dizzy right now,” Guillen said of Ramirez about two hours before Friday’s first pitch. “He should be ready (Saturday). The trainers don’t think it’s anything big, but they want to wait for the doctor to see how it is.”

Donovan Solano made the start at the hot corner tonight, but Greg Dobbs is also an option to fill in if Ramirez needs to miss a few days.

After being limited to just 92 games in 2011 due to a shoulder injury which eventually required surgery, Ramirez is hitting .259/.336/.461 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .797 OPS through through 63 games this season. He’s grounded into 10 double plays, which is tied with Cubs’ outfielder Alfonso Soriano for the National League lead.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on as precedent. And, it should be noted, in doing so they gave at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?