The stuff that came out the other day about the National League possibly adopting the Designated Hitter soon? Forget it: Commissioner Rob Manfred said today that expanding the DH is something that’ll have to wait until the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, which — barring an extended work stoppage — will take place before the 2022 season.
Manfred said today that he and the owners are focused on pace-of-game changes for 2019. The DH thing came from the players in response to the league’s desire to put forth said pace-of-game changes. Those proposals currently focus on a pitch clock and a three-batter minimum for a relief pitcher unless an inning ends. Manfred can, at the very least, unilaterally impose a pitch clock this year if he wants to since he proposed it last year.
So: stand down purists. Stand down DH-evangelicals. The status quo will remain for at least three more seasons.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.