MLB umpire Brian Runge fired for drug violation

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Ben Walker of the Associated Press shares this exclusive story behind Major League Baseball’s dismissal of umpire Brian Runge:

MLB announced on June 14 that Brian Runge was no longer on the staff and that a Triple-A umpire had been promoted, but didn’t give a reason. Only once since 2000 had such a change been made in midseason, and that was because of an injury.

The two people said Runge failed at least one drug test, then reached an agreement so he could remain on the umpire roster. When he failed to comply with those terms, he was released.

The Associated Press was unable to determine what drug was showing up on those tests and both MLB and the World Umpires Association have declined comment.

Runge, a 43-year-old native of San Diego, California, began umpiring in the big leagues in 1999. He took a mysterious hiatus from the job between July and September 2009 and hadn’t umpired a game this year.

Runge was behind the plate for Philip Humber’s perfect game on April 21, 2012 at Seattle’s Safeco Field and he was on the umpiring crew for the 2012 All-Star Game last July at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak ends at 45 games

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Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera‘s streak of reaching base safely has ended after 45 consecutive games. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Cardinals.

Herrera’s streak tied Chuck Klein for the fourth-longest on-base streak in Phillies history. The only longer streaks were done by Mike Schmidt (56), Klein again (49), and Bobby Abreu (48). It’s the longest on-base streak in the majors since Freddie Freeman reached base in 46 consecutive games from August 6 to September 28, 2016. Jayson Werth also got to 46 in a row June 20 through August 18 that same year.

After Sunday’s 0-fer, Herrera is batting .344/.411/.544 with seven home runs, 30 RBI, and 24 runs scored in 180 plate appearances. He leads the National League in batting average, and ranks sixth and ninth in slugging percentage.