The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced today that for purposes of determining the individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion, the last sentence of Official Baseball Rule 10.22(a) shall not be applicable for the 2012 season for any player who failed to obtain 502 plate appearances if such player served a drug suspension for violating the Joint Drug Program. This agreement was reached at the request of San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended for 50 games without pay on Aug. 15, 2012 after testing positive for testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
"After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera's request," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera's peers who are contending for the batting crown."
"Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked for the Union's assistance in removing him from consideration for the 2012 National League batting title," said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. "We complied with Melky's wish and brought the matter to the Commissioner's Office, which agreed to suspend the rule. We commend Melky's decision under these circumstances."
At the time Cabrera was suspended, he had 501 plate appearances and a .346 batting average, which led the National League. 502 plate appearances qualify a player for a batting championship.
Rule 10.22(a): "The individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion shall be the player with the highest batting average, slugging percentage or on-base percentage, as the case may be, provided the player is credited with as many or more total appearances at the plate in league championship games as the number of games scheduled for each club in his club's league that season, multiplied by 3.1 in the case of a Major League player. Total appearances at the plate shall include official times at bat, plus bases on balls, times hit by pitcher, sacrifice hits, sacrifice flies and times awarded first base because of interference or obstruction. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement of minimum appearances at the plate, any player with fewer than the required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting, slugging or on-base percentage championship, as the case may be."
Note: Bold text indicates the portion of the rule that will not apply to a player who has been suspended for violating the Joint Drug Program during the 2012 season.