Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t want to see universal DH rule

6 Comments

Recently, we learned that the MLBPA suggested implementing a universal DH rule in time for the 2019 season. Commissioner Rob Manfred quickly shot down that idea, saying a universal DH wouldn’t be implemented until the next collective bargaining agreement, i.e. 2022 at the earliest.

Naturally, the DH debate came alive again. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard chimed in, showing he’s not a fan of a universal DH rule. Now another New York pitcher has weighed in: Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Newsday’s Erik Boland reports that Tanaka would also prefer not to see a universal DH rule take effect.

Tanaka said via a translator, “I did get injured last season running the bases but when you look at it, I grew up where baseball was played by nine guys, meaning the pitcher would hit also. I really enjoyed that baseball, so I guess that’s all I can say about that.”

Tanaka, 30, batted in only three games last season. The second of those three games was a June 8 battle with the Mets. With one out in the sixth inning, Tanaka reached on an error, advanced to second base on a Gleyber Torres single, then went to third base when Brett Gardner walked, and finally scored on an Aaron Judge sacrifice fly. Tanaka injured both of his hamstrings running home. He was placed on the injured list and ended up missing a month of action. Proponents of the DH rule pointed to Tanaka’s injuries as reason to implement a universal DH. One would think Tanaka himself would be pro-DH after what happened, but he’s not.

Across parts of seven seasons in Japan, Tanaka only came to the plate 42 times. He registered three hits (one double) and four RBI with 16 strikeouts. In his 28 major league plate appearances, he has just one hit with 12 strikeouts and one walk.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
11 Comments

The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”