Melky Cabrera ended the debate over whether a suspended drug cheat should be able to win a batting title. The San Francisco outfielder asked Major League Baseball officials to disqualify him, and on Friday they agreed.
With less than two weeks left in the regular season and Cabrera on track to win the National League batting championship, MLB and the players’ association reached a deal on a one-season-only change in the rule governing the individual batting, slugging and on-base percentage champions.
Serving a 50-game suspension, Cabrera entered Friday with a league-leading .346 average, seven points ahead of Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive test for testosterone and is missing the final 45 games of the regular season.
Cabrera had 501 plate appearances, one short of the required minimum, but would have won the title if an extra hitless at-bat were added to his average and he still finished on top.
“To be plain, I personally have no wish to win an award that would widely be seen as tainted, and I believe that it would be far better for the remaining contenders to compete for that distinction,” Cabrera wrote a letter released by his agent.
RAYS SET MARK FOR KS
Tampa Bay’s pitching staff broke the American League single-season record for strikeouts when James Shields fanned Toronto’s J.P. Arencibia leading off the second inning.
Rays pitchers began the night with 1,264 strikeouts, two shy of the 2001 New York Yankees. Shields struck out Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion in the first to tie the mark, then got Arencibia swinging on a 2-2 pitch.
The major league record is 1,404, set by the Cubs in 2003.
The Blue Jays traded catcher Yorvit Torrealba to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. … The Red Sox recalled third baseman Danny Valencia and right-handers Pedro Beato and Zach Stewart from Triple-A Pawtucket.… The Orioles activated designated hitter Jim Thome and left-hander Troy Patton from the 15-day disabled list. Thome was batting .261 in 18 games for Baltimore before going on the DL with a herniated disc in his neck. Patton, placed on the disabled list on Aug. 14 with a sprained right ankle, hadn’t allowed a run in 18 consecutive games before he was injured.