Baseball’s controversial plate-blocking rule strikes again

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Opponents of baseball’s new plate-blocking rule, meant to protect catchers, got another round of ammo to add to their arsenal with what went on in Philadelphia this afternoon.

The Phillies and Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Howard had drawn a two-out walk to bring up Marlon Byrd. Byrd worked the count 3-2 before skying a fly ball into shallow right-center. Second baseman Didi Gregorius ranged out for it and appeared to have it, but the ball deflected off of his glove towards shallow center. Center fielder Ender Inciarte alertly picked up the ball and fired a seed to catcher Miguel Montero, who applied an easy tag to Ryan Howard for the third out.

Only one problem: Montero didn’t give Howard a lane to the plate. The umpires reviewed the play for more than three minutes, but ultimately reversed the out call, giving the Phillies the run although Howard never ended up touching the plate.

Let the debate begin anew.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

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Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.