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How to Think About Rules Changes, Cubs Injury Updates, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News, MLB News and Rumors

Did you see the new ‘Alien: Covenant’ trailer that came out this week? It’s solid. Here’s the thing, though: as we see more from the film, the more it looks like – to me – just another ‘Alien’ flick. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the franchise. But (unlike some folks), I was a huge fan of ‘Prometheus’ because it looked to take things in another direction while still staying in that universe. I’m not sure that’s still the plan anymore. I haven’t really read anything about ‘Covenant’ because I don’t want any spoilers, and I’m just going off of the teasers and trailers, so maybe I’m wrong.

  • MLB announced seven rules changes yesterday, including the official death knell for the four-pitch intentional walk. As we’ve discussed, it’s not a change that is going to save much time overall or improve pace of play all that much, but I do like the way Joe Maddon described it (Cubs.com): “I think it’s a method to really promote the fact that the Commissioner is looking for a quicker pace of the game. I don’t think anybody will argue that it does substantially increase the pace …. Standing alone, it doesn’t seem significant. If you’re looking at the package of items, it probably makes sense to the person putting the package together.” When done in conjunction with several other small changes, the overall improvement could be notable.
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  • Of course, we know that the Commissioner would like to do a whole lot more with respect to pace of play, and this is only the beginning. Joel Sherman suggests doing away with mound visits altogether, which would not be received well by players and managers, but in the process, he offers a very interesting way of thinking about all of these changes: imagine that the thing you’re thinking about eliminating didn’t already exist. Would you decide, today, to mandate that it be included in the game? For example, with the intentional walk, if it had always been “we want to walk him, go take your base”, would you propose today that, no, the pitcher instead must throw four fake, almost-entirely-drama-less pitches? No one would propose that rule change. So maybe that means eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk is clearly the right move. Just an interesting way to think about these things. (If there had always been a 20-second pitch clock, would you today propose eliminating it? For me, there’s a really obvious answer to that one, and it bears considering the implications.)
  • One of the other rules changes will not really impact anyone in baseball except Carter Capps, whose oddly unique double-jump delivery will not be allowed unless – based on my interpretation and the interpretation at FanGraphs – he actually drags his foot as he jumps off of the pitching rubber.
  • Bad news for utility man Jemile Weeks, who will miss the rest of Spring Training with an ACL sprain and a bone bruise (Cubs.com). The 30-year-old switch-hitter was trying to win a job on the Cubs’ bench, which would have been tough, but not impossible (especially given that Tommy La Stella (hamstring) has yet to make his debut). Weeks will rehab and head to Iowa when their season opens up. From there, he’ll probably be among the top utility options to come up if the Cubs are in a pinch, together with guys like Munenori Kawasaki and Chesny Young.

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  • Elsewhere on the health front, Rob Zastryzny expects to be fine after taking a comebacker off of his calf yesterday, though it might hurt for a couple days (Cubs.com). Until he mentioned it, I’d forgotten that his injury in 2015 was a broken ankle courtesy of a comebacker – one that he says he tried to do the kick save thing on. He won’t be doing that again.
  • Anthony Rizzo was scratched yesterday with a tight back, but he could be in there again any day now.
  • If you missed it yesterday, the Cubs revealed the debut plans for their core relievers.
  • If you want to get into the spirit of the season:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor of Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.

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