Mike Napoli put the Indians on the board in an unorthodox fashion on Friday night. With one out and runners on second and third, Napoli skied a Michael Fulmer heater to left field, where it ricocheted off the grass behind Justin Upton and cleared Cleveland’s 19-foot “Little Green Monster.”
If the Tigers and Indians had played this game prior to 1930, Napoli’s double would have been credited as a home run. In 1931, a year after the American League adopted more severe restrictions on batted balls, the Chicago Tribune’s Irving Vaughan documented the rule changes that limited one-hop doubles to two bases:
Last year the American league limited to two bases any fairly batted ball which bounded over a fence or into a bleacher or grandstand. It was adopted because of the three foot concrete wall at the end of the short left field line in the Yankee stadium.
(Thanks for taking the fun out of “trick home runs,” Yankees.)
Thankfully for the Tigers, this game was played in 2016, and Justin Upton recovered quickly from the gaffe by clearing the fences himself in the second inning with a solo shot off of Corey Kluber.
The Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.