Melky Cabrera was disqualified from the National League batting title at his own request.
Major League Baseball and the players’ association said Friday that they agreed to change the rule governing the individual batting, slugging and on-base percentage champions for this season.
Serving a 50-game suspension, the San Francisco Giants slugger entered Friday with a league-leading .346 average, seven points ahead of Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen. Cabrera was suspended Aug. 15 for a positive test for testosterone.
MLB could not unilaterally disqualify Cabrera, needing an agreement from the union to alter the rules.
Cabrera has 501 plate appearances, one fewer than the required amount for the batting title if the Giants play 162 games. But he would win the title if an extra hitless at-bat is added to his average and it remains higher than that of any other qualifying player.
With the rule change, that no longer applies to a player who served a drug suspension.
Reds manager still in hospital
Reds manager Dusty Baker missed a third consecutive game on Friday because of problems caused by an irregular heartbeat. Doctors in Chicago advised him to spend one more night in a hospital there before traveling to Cincinnati for the Reds’ series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Reds’ clinching number was down to one after the St. Louis Cardinals lost on Friday in Chicago 5-4 in 11 innings, setting up the possibility that Cincinnati could end up celebrating later in the night without its manager.
“It would be bittersweet,” shortstop Zach Cozart said. “We’re all still thinking about him and wish he were here.’’
The 63-year-old Baker was hospitalized in Chicago on Wednesday because of symptoms from an irregular heartbeat that he’s had for some time.
The Reds swept the series against the Cubs, putting themselves in position to clinch their second division title in three years at home.
The Reds weren’t sure when Baker would be allowed to rejoin the team. The Reds clinched at least a wild-card berth in Chicago, but weren’t going to celebrate until they got the division title, even if they had to do it without Baker.
Brewers add veteran catcher
The Toronto Blue Jays traded catcher Yorvit Torrealba to the Milwaukee Brewers for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Torrealba played in 10 games for the Blue Jays this season, hitting .214 with one home run and two RBI. In 12 major-league seasons, he has a .258 batting average with 56 home runs and 323 RBI.
Around the league
The Baltimore Orioles activated designated hitter Jim Thome and left-hander Troy Patton from the 15-day disabled list. Thome was batting .261 for Baltimore before going on the DL on July 31 with a herniated disc in his neck. The Orioles obtained him June 30 from the Philadelphia Phillies. … The Boston Red Sox recalled third baseman Danny Valencia and right-handers Pedro Beato and Zach Stewart from Triple-A Pawtucket.