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Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t want to see universal DH rule

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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.

Ronald Acuña Jr. reaches a rare home run milestone

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. hit his 40th home run in today’s 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. In so doing he become only the third player to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Eddie Matthews, who hit 42 and 47, respectively, before turning 22. Ott was only 20 in fact.

Home run marks are a dime a dozen this year, of course, so maybe you want to discount Acuña’s accomplishment. Even if you do, though, you can’t discount his wheels. He didn’t have a stolen base this afternoon but he does have 37 on the year and has over a week to swipe three more. If he does he’ll become a member of the exclusive 40/40 club. It’s only current members: Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano.

The Braves win clinches at least a tie for the NL East title. They’ll clinch the division outright if either they win or the Nationals lose tomorrow.