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MLB, Apple enter into an agreement allowing teams to use stat-loaded iPads in dugouts

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Apple and Major League Baseball have entered into a multi-year agreement in which every team will be given iPad Pro tablets loaded with analytics and other stuff to be used in-game, in dugouts, The Wall Street Journal reports. This corresponds with MLB’s lifting of a ban on using laptops, tablets and smartphones in dugouts.

In addition to any number of analytical tools, spray charts and the like, the iPads will have video so a hitter will be able to, for example, watch video of a pitcher he is about to face without having to go back into the clubhouse. This is convenient for teams and Rob Manfred touts it as a means of speeding up games (eh, sure, OK). It’s also quite convenient for Apple, which will no doubt benefit from lots of live TV footage of the sports’ biggest stars using iPads in the middle of games. In this, the Wall Street Journal notes, it’s sort of like the NFL’s adoption of Microsoft Surface tablets on sidelines. Except this time, when broadcasters make note of the devices, calling them “iPads” will actually be accurate.

Use of the iPads will be optional — from the players’ and coaches’ point of view it’s a tool, not merely a forced product placement — but given that clubs will be able to load these things up with their own proprietary analytics you can expect pretty wide adoption. People like to stereotype managers and coaches as old crusty types who, at best, use a binder, but not a single one of them doesn’t have a smart phone on them all dang day when they’re not in the dugout. Indeed, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen one of them texting somebody from the bat at the Winter Meetings. It’s like watching your uncle play Bejeweled Blitz.

Anyway, this is pretty cool. Both for baseball and for people like me. Because despite this innovation, and despite an extended quote from Rob Manfred in the article about the predominance of technology and analytics in the game and how they “affect the way we judge players, make decisions on the field and the way fans consume the game,” this will no doubt lead to some columnist or broadcaster to talk about how bad and wrong this development is, complete with the words “new-fangled” and references to how so-and-so old timer didn’t need an iPad to hit a breaking ball.

Yep, it’s gonna be glorious.

Red Sox place Chris Sale on 10-day injured list

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.

Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.