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MLB wants to fine Ben Zobrist for wearing black cleats

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Cubs outfielder Ben Zobrist received a formal warning from Major League Baseball after wearing all-black cleats during the club’s day games at Wrigley Field. According to Section G(1) of the league’s Uniform Regulations, at least 51 percent of a player’s exterior shoe color must adhere to the team’s designated shoe color. It’s a silly rule, and one that has been used to police several players over the last few years, most recently Indians right-hander Mike Clevinger.

On Saturday, Zobrist took to Instagram to document the shoes and voice his frustration with the decision:

Dear @mlb, I still like you but this is rediculous [sic]. For the last two years, I have worn black spikes exclusively at Wrigley Field for Day games to pay homage to the history of our great game, and now I am being told I will be fined and disciplined if I continue to wear them. When I was a kid, I was inspired by highlights of the greats such as Ernie Banks and Stan Musial in the 1950s-60s and was captured by the old uniforms and all black cleats with flaps. […] I am curious as to why @mlb is spending time and money enforcing this now when they haven’t done it previously in the last year and beyond. I have heard nothing but compliments from fans that enjoy the “old school” look. Maybe there is some kid out there that will be inspired to look more into the history of the game by the “flexibility” that I prefer in the color of my shoes.

Unfortunately, Zobrist’s point — that he chose the color and design of the spikes based on historical significance (unlike, say, the “bohemian elephant” vibe of Clevinger’s kicks) — likely won’t make a difference in this case.

Leonys Martin to be released from hospital

Leonys Martin
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Indians outfielder Leonys Martin will be released from the Cleveland Clinic on Sunday, according to comments from club president Chris Antonetti. Martin was hospitalized with a life-threatening bacterial infection several weeks ago, one that was said to have affected multiple organs and jeopardized Martin’s quality of life, as well as his career. The length of his recovery process is still undefined, Antonetti added, noting that there’s “no precedent for how to return to playing shape,” though it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to work back up to full strength before the season wraps up in September.

It’s been a tumultuous season for Martin, who also battled a left hamstring strain that cost him another four weeks on the disabled list earlier this year. He’s appeared in just six games with the Indians this season, collecting five hits and two home runs over 17 plate appearances. Taking into account his 78-game stint with the Tigers prior to the trade deadline, he slashed a combined .255/.323/.425 with 11 homers and a .747 OPS across 353 PA in 2018.

As the outfielder’s status is still up in the air for the time being, no significant roster changes appear to be in the team’s immediate future. Fellow outfielders Greg Allen and Rajai Davis will continue to split duties in center field during Martin’s absence. The 25-year-old rookie, Allen, has seen the bulk of the starts in center field over the last two weeks and is currently batting .243/.278/.305 with seven extra-base hits and a .583 OPS in his first full season at the major league level.