10 bizarre rules you won't believe existed

|
10 bizarre rules you won't believe existed

Baseball has been played roughly the same way for so long that its rules have become sacred institutions. The numbers are spoken of in hushed tones, and even thinking about touching them is akin to heresy: Of course there are 90 feet between bases, because it just feels right, and has for generations.

But the path the game took to get here was more trial and error than divine intervention, the game's founding fathers throwing all kinds of stuff against the wall to see what stuck. It was a long and winding road, full of detours and dead ends and pegging innocent baserunners (no, really). To appreciate just how far we've come, behold, we give you nine incredibly weird rules that we swear actually existed.

Continue Reading on Cut4

MadBum HRs off Kershaw; Statcast tells you why

3 reasons why fastball from LA lefty landed in the seats

MadBum HRs off Kershaw; Statcast tells you why

Clayton Kershaw has faced more than 5,700 hitters over his eight-year career, but never once had he allowed an opposing pitcher to hit a home run -- never, that is, until Thursday, when Madison Bumgarner crushed a first-pitch third inning fastball into the AT&T Park seats for the first run in what would be a 4-0 Giants win. Let's start by giving fair credit to Bumgarner, who now has seven homers to his name, third among active pitchers behind Yovani Gallardo (12) and Travis Wood (9).

But all due respect to the outstanding Bumgarner, this is the defending NL MVP and three-time Cy Young winner we're talking about in Kershaw. How in the world does the best pitcher in baseball give up a homer to his opposite number, even one who can swing the bat like Bumgarner? Let's dig into Statcast™, which calculated the distance of the homer at 415 feet with an exit velocity of 105 mph, and the other tools at our disposal to point out three reasons how that ball ended up in the stands.

More

Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariano's son among Draft's family ties

Kin of current, former Major Leaguers ready to take game to professional level

Mariano's son among Draft's family ties

Hearing their name called during next month's First-Year Player Draft would be a dream come true for many hopeful future big leaguers, some of whom will be trying to build upon their already strong family legacy within the game.

More than a thousand names will be called over the 40-round affair from June 8-10, and many could have a familiar ring to them. In fact, eight of MLB.com's Top 100 Draft prospects alone have family ties to Major League Baseball.

More

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

ASG debate: Prince or Hosmer at first in AL?

Rusurging Ranger, emerging Royals star clash on Midsummer Classic ballot

ASG debate: Prince or Hosmer at first in AL?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think! ***

You want a head-to-head All-Star ballot matchup? Last week, the Royals and Rangers split a four-game series at Globe Life Park. Prince Fielder homered in Games 1 and 3, and Texas won those. Eric Hosmer homered in Games 2 and 4, and Kansas City won those.

More

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Entourage' star enjoys National Jersey Day

|
'Entourage' star enjoys National Jersey Day

In honor of National Jersey Day on May 22, MLB and Majestic turned to the world's foremost expert on proper jersey etiquette: Jerry Ferrara.

Ferrara is mostly known for playing Turtle on "Entourage" -- a character who typically dresses the part of a rabid but transplanted New York sports fanatic:

Continue Reading on Cut4

MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

Harper, Hosmer highlight all-breakout team

Harper, Hosmer highlight all-breakout team

It is the quarter mark of the 2015 season, and we're at the point where was can finally get a sense if certain breakout seasons are for real.

With that in mind, here's a look at my all-breakout team. These aren't necessarily superstars -- though some are -- but rather a look at players who appear to have found a new level of play that should be somewhat sustainable for the foreseeable future.

More

Dan O'Dowd is an MLB Network analyst and MLB.com columnist who served as general manager of the Rockies for 15 years, building a National League pennant winner in 2007. Prior to his time with Colorado, he worked in the front offices of the Orioles and Indians. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers' Smith ejected for substance on arm

Brewers' Smith ejected for substance on arm

ATLANTA -- Milwaukee Brewers left-hander Will Smith was ejected from Thursday's game against the Atlanta Braves when umpires, urged on by Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez, discovered a prohibited substance on the reliever's arm.

Smith said he placed a mixture of rosin and sunscreen on his right arm while he was warming up in the bullpen in order to get a firm handle on the ball on a cool and blustery night at Turner Field. He simply forgot to wipe it off, he said, when he was rushed into the game.

More

John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast in effect for Halos-Sox on Network

Statcast in effect for Halos-Sox on Network

The Red Sox welcome the Angels to Fenway Park on Friday night in an MLB Network Showcase game, which features the revolutionary tracking technology of Statcast™. The opener of the three-game series begins at 7:10 p.m. ET and marks the first meeting of the season between these teams.

The Angels went 5-2 against the Sox in 2014, including a four-game sweep in Boston, and have won 16 of their last 21 games against the club.

More

Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quicken, Pollock can help you 'Steal A Home'

Fans can win free mortgage payment up to $1,500 after speedster swipes plate

Quicken, Pollock can help you 'Steal A Home'

There was big news on the U.S. mortgage lending front in recent hours, as the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down to 3.84 percent and A.J. Pollock stole home.

While real estate buyers and sellers digest the news of Freddie Mac's key figures released on Thursday, the real upside here for Major League Baseball fans is the chance to win a free mortgage payment of up to $1,500 from Quicken Loans thanks to one of those club-record-tying seven stolen bases by the D-backs in their 6-1 victory a night earlier in Miami.

More

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant makes himself at home vs. Padres

Cubs' top prospect belts two-run blast in first inning of series finale

Bryant makes himself at home vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Kris Bryant didn't play at Petco Park during his three years at the University of San Diego, but the Cubs' top prospect looked right at home Thursday night when he hit his fifth home run of the season.

"I'm glad [Bryant] was able to come through for the hometown crowd -- that was nice," manager Joe Maddon said after his club's 3-0 win vs. the Padres.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hendricks' five-hitter lifts Cubs past Padres

Hendricks' five-hitter lifts Cubs past Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Kris Bryant hit a two-run home run in the first inning and Kyle Hendricks threw his first career complete game and shutout Thursday as the Cubs defeated the Padres, 3-0, before a crowd of 30,021 at Petco Park.

"When you pitch like that, you'll win a lot of baseball games," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He was in command of himself, in command of the game. It was really fun to watch."

More

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings picks: Harper, Span, McCann

DraftKings picks: Harper, Span, McCann

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants today.

More

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Mariners, Blue Jays await fruits of their labor

Teams made good postseason moves but both have experienced disappointment thus far

Mariners, Blue Jays await fruits of their labor

The Blue Jays and Mariners enter their weekend series in Toronto in similar states of frustration. Unwittingly, they have illustrated that you can get so many things right in the offseason and still have so much go wrong in the season itself.

It's almost as if building an October team is difficult. Imagine that.

More

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

After slow start, Nats should own division

Washington has rocketed into first place, and talent will keep it there

After slow start, Nats should own division

Order has been restored in the National League East. The Washington Nationals are back in gear and back in first place.

They had not been away that long. They had the best record in the National League two of the last three seasons, and then they added the premier free-agent pitcher of the 2014-15 offseason, Max Scherzer.

More

Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

What to watch for in today's games

Royals, Cards open Interleague set; Felix among aces to take mound

What to watch for in today's games

The Royals and Cardinals may find their toughest competition in their own backyard.

Kansas City and St. Louis -- leading the American League Central and National League Central, respectively -- will meet for the beginning of an exciting three-game Interleague series tonight. The Royals won the AL pennant in 2014, a year after the Cards won the NL pennant, and both clubs are among the early favorites in 2015 to return to the Fall Classic.

More

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays alone in 1st place with shutout of A's

Rays alone in 1st place with shutout of A's

ST. PETERSBURG -- David DeJesus provided most of the offense and the Rays' pitching did its part in a 3-0 win over the A's on Thursday night with a crowd of 10,605 watching at Tropicana Field.

The Rays grabbed sole possession of first place in the American League East by a half-game over the idle Yankees. It's the first time Tampa Bay has been alone in first since April 12, 2014.

More

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

deGrom retires 23 in a row, leads Mets past Cards

deGrom retires 23 in a row, leads Mets past Cards

NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom's early-season rough patch has officially come to an end.

deGrom's eight shutout innings led the Mets to a 5-0 win over the Cardinals at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon, giving the clubs a four-game series split and boosting the Mets to their fourth win in six games. Though St. Louis starter Jaime Garcia was also sharp in his first outing in 11 months, deGrom was better, striking out 11 Cardinals and holding them to one hit.

More

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MadBum hits 415-foot HR off Kershaw

Giants' ace is first pitcher to homer off Dodgers' lefty

MadBum hits 415-foot HR off Kershaw

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the Giants' 4-0 victory Thursday over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Madison Bumgarner restrained himself. That contrasted with a very significant third-inning moment, when he simply let it rip.

His swing, that is.

More

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Double-threat MadBum, Giants sweep Dodgers

Double-threat MadBum, Giants sweep Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner supported himself with a home run and distinguished himself with a 6 1/3-innings effort Thursday as the San Francisco Giants completed their three-game shutout sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 4-0 victory.

The defending World Series champions lengthened their winning streak to six games while improving to 7-2 this season against the Dodgers. The Giants last blanked Los Angeles in a three-game series June 25-27, 2012.

More

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

HS pitcher with rare disorder throws first pitch

|
HS pitcher with rare disorder throws first pitch

Approximately one in 200 high school baseball players will eventually be drafted by a major league team. The chances that you're born with DiGeorge syndrome are estimated to be one in 4,000. That's to say: There's a greater likelihood of getting drafted to compete for a job in the big leagues than being born with the chromosome disorder.

Continue Reading on Cut4

ASG debate: Gordon or Wong at second in NL?

Marlins speedster faces power of emerging Cards star on Midsummer Classic ballot

ASG debate: Gordon or Wong at second in NL?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think. ***

Dee Gordon has a big league pedigree.

More

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Write 'em Cowboy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers suspend Arruebarrena for rest of '15

Dodgers suspend Arruebarrena for rest of '15

SAN FRANCISCO -- Minor League infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena has been suspended for the rest of the season due to repeated failures to comply with his contract, the club announced on Thursday.

Arruebarrena -- a defensive specialist signed out of Cuba last year to a five-year, $25 million contract -- has had repeated run-ins with staff over the last two years and was taken off the 40-man roster during the offseason.

More

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kris Bryant did Kris Bryant things to beat Padres

|
Kris Bryant did Kris Bryant things to beat Padres

Kris Bryant started the 2015 season at Triple-A, ostensibly because he needed to work on his glove at the hot corner. Well, he's playing home games on the North Side, now and that glove is coming along nicely, though he didn't need it to show off his skills on Thursday.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Tanaka pitches three scoreless in rehab start

After Monday's pain-free session, Yanks ace throws 25 of 41 pitches for strikes

Tanaka pitches three scoreless in rehab start

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka took a huge step toward a return to a Major League mound on Thursday night with a successful rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Tanaka threw 41 pitches, 25 for strikes, over three shutout innings against the Durham Bulls in his first game action since landing on the disabled list on April 29 with tendinitis in his right wrist and a strained right forearm.

More

Matt Kardos is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Two shortstops headline latest mock Draft

Vandy's Swanson edges out high school phenom Rodgers as top choice of Arizona

Two shortstops headline latest mock Draft

The Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., is the hottest scouting destination this weekend. The two players making the biggest charges into the first 10 picks in the First-Year Player Draft are Vanderbilt right-hander Carson Fulmer and Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Fulmer, who will draw a flock of scouts to his start today, is passing UC-Santa Barbara righty Dillon Tate as the best pitcher available.

Also on hand are three other potential top-10 selections in Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, Louisiana State shortstop Alex Bregman and a third Commodore, right-hander Walker Buehler. There's a growing sense that Swanson is the preferred choice of the D-backs, Astros and Rockies, who hold the first three picks.

More

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Judge, Severino among top performers in Minors Thursday

Yankees' No. 2 prospect delivers walk-off sac fly; No. 1 allows no hits in return from DL

Judge, Severino among top performers in Minors Thursday

Two elite pitching prospects engaged in a pitchers' duel on Thursday, as Yankees No. 1 prospect (No. 22 overall) Luis Severino narrowly outperformed Orioles No. 1 prospect (No. 20 overall) Dylan Bundy in Double-A Trenton's extra-innings victory over Bowie.

Coming off a short disabled list stint due to a right middle finger injury, Severino was nearly perfect through five innings, with Bowie's only baserunner resulting from a catcher interference call in the fifth inning. The right-hander was pulled with a no-hitter intact, but Bowie's Ronarsy Ledesma singled in the sixth inning off of Kyle Haynes to end the no-no bid.

More

Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays, Dickey overwhelm Angels in finale

Blue Jays, Dickey overwhelm Angels in finale

TORONTO -- R.A. Dickey picked up his first complete game of the year while Edwin Encarnacion and Danny Valencia each homered in the Blue Jays' 8-4 victory over the Angels on Thursday night at Rogers Centre.

Dickey allowed a first-inning homer to Marc Krauss, but he settled down after that and enjoyed one of his best starts of the season. He limited the Angels to five hits and two walks and, along the way, recorded a season-high seven strikeouts. The pitching line is somewhat misleading because Los Angeles added a pair of runs with two outs in the ninth when the game was well in hand.

More

Gregor Chisholm and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moreland's bat more than enough vs. Red Sox

Moreland's bat more than enough vs. Red Sox

BOSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez kept the Red Sox in their offensive funk while leading the Rangers to a 3-1 victory Thursday night in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Over 6 2/3 innings, Rodriguez gave up four hits and a run, walking two and striking out five. The Rangers, getting 2 1/3 scoreless innings from their bullpen and another save from Shawn Tolleson, took two of three from the Red Sox.

More

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves roll past Brewers behind big 7th inning

Braves roll past Brewers behind big 7th inning

ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran produced his finest start of the season and the Braves rolled to a 10-1 win over the Brewers on Thursday night courtesy of a seven-run seventh inning that included Brewers left-handed reliever Will Smith being ejected for a foreign substance.

After Christian Bethancourt chased Brewers starting pitcher Matt Garza with a go-ahead single in the seventh, Smith entered and promptly hit Pedro Ciriaco with a pitch to load the bases. When Smith touched the substance on his right forearm after throwing the next pitch to Jace Peterson, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez got the attention of crew chief Jim Joyce, who quickly ejected Smith after touching the substance, which Smith said was sunscreen and rosin that he forgot to remove after warming up quickly in the bullpen.

More

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCann's HR in 11th lifts Tigers past Astros

McCann's HR in 11th lifts Tigers past Astros

DETROIT -- Preston Tucker's first Major League home run sent the Astros into extra innings against the Tigers after a five-run deficit, but James McCann's second career homer was a walk-off shot for Detroit in the 11th, sending the Tigers to a 6-5 win Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

The Astros came to town for a series-opening matinee leading the American League in home runs and strikeouts, and lived up to both. After 12 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings from reigning AL strikeout champion David Price, Houston rallied with five runs from the seventh inning on, capped by Tucker's pinch-hit homer off Joakim Soria. McCann answered with his first traditional home run, sending Tony Sipp's offering out to left leading off the bottom of the 11th. His only previous shot was an inside-the-park home run April 29 at Minnesota.

More

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.