Lucas Duda didn’t lose any time acclimating to American League competition this week. Following his trade to the Rays on Thursday, he recorded his first home run with Tampa Bay during his debut on Friday night, taking Masahiro Tanaka deep in the seventh inning for the team’s first and only run of their 7-1 loss. On Saturday, he did it again, crushing a 2-0 pitch from David Robertson into the second deck of Yankee Stadium to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth.
Duda entered Saturday with a modest .247/.347/.541 batting line, 18 home runs and an .888 OPS through 294 PA. He’s made a good-faith effort to return to a starting role after getting sidelined with a lower back stress fracture last year, though he has yet to match the 27-homer, .250-average output of previous seasons. Following his blast off of Robertson, Duda’s 19 home runs rank third-most among Rays’ players, tied with Corey Dickerson and trailing only Logan Morrison (26 HR) and Steven Souza Jr. (21 HR).
Duda went 1-for-1 on Saturday with a home run, two walks and a sac fly. The Rays couldn’t capitalize on his knock in the eighth, however, and remain tied 4-4 with the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Major League Baseball has told Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong that he has to get rid of the colorful arm sleeve he’s been wearing, pictured above, that pays tribute to his native Hawaii and seeks to raise awareness of recovery efforts from the destruction caused by the erupting Mount Kilauea.
[Wong] has been notified by Major League Baseball that he will face a fine if he continues to wear an unapproved sleeve that features Hawaiian emblem. Wong said he will stash the sleeve, like Jose Martinez had to do with his Venezuelan-flag sleeve, and find other ways to call attention to his home island.
None of these guys are being singled out, it seems. Rather, this is all part of a wider sweep Major League Baseball is making with respect to the uniformity of uniforms. As Goold notes at the end of his piece, however, MLB has no problem whatsoever with players wearing a non-uniform article of underclothing as long as it’s from an MLB corporate sponsor. Such as this sleeve worn by Marcell Ozuna, and supplied by Nike that, last I checked, were not in keeping with the traditional St. Louis Cardinals livery:
If Nike was trying to get people to buy Hawaii or Venezuela compression sleeves, I’m sure there would be no issue here. They’re not, however, and it seems like creating awareness and support for people suffering from natural, political and humanitarian disasters do not impress the powers that be nearly as much.