Playing stupid seems to have worked for Miami Marlins righty Alex Sanabia.
The 24-year-old was seen spitting on the ball during last week's start against the Philadelphia Phillies, but now says he didn't know it was against the rules.
"I didn't know,” Sanabia told the Associated Press. “I was in my zone and just grooving. It's something you live and learn from. I didn't mean anything bad by it.”
But MLB rule 8.02 clearly states the league is supposed to come down hard on those who “expectorate” on the ball, hand or glove.
“The pitcher shall be ejected immediately from the game and shall be suspended automatically.
“In National Association Leagues, the automatic suspension shall be for 10 games.”
In 6 1/3 innings in his controversial outing, Sanabia – some would say aided by the spitball – gave up one run on seven hits in a 5-1 win.
“People all of a sudden just create their own perception,” Sanabia said of those questioning his intentions.
RAMIREZ MOVES CLOSER
The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to be cautious with all-star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
The 29-year-old hasn’t appeared since suffering a hamstring injury while running the bases on May 3 against the San Francisco Giants.
But MLB.com reported Saturday that Ramirez appears close to a return after hitting batting practice and fielding before Friday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"They know what's happened before to guys that try to come back early and it didn't work," Ramirez told MLB.com. "You have to be 100% and don't try to come back early. By the time I get back, I want to make it all the way to the end of the season."
Prior to his early-season setback, Ramirez had just returned after missing time for a torn ligament in his right thumb.
MAUER THE SPOILER
Joe Mauer’s the last batter a pitcher three outs from a no-hitter wants to see approach the plate.
Detroit Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez knows that all too well after having his bid for a no-hitter broken up by the Minnesota Twins slugger, whose one-out single in the ninth inning Friday night cut short the 29-year old's bid for a second career no-no.
It was the third time Mauer’s spoiled a ninth-inning no-hit bid in his 10-year career.
“Yeah, I think everyone was aware of it,” Mauer said of collecting his club’s only hit of the game in a 6-0 loss. “You try and go up there and have a good at-bat and put a good swing on a pitch and I was able to do that so that was good.”
The five-time all-star broke up what would have been the first no-hitter in the majors this season.
“He’s one of the best,’’ said Sanchez, who finished the game with 12 strikeouts. “It’s really hard to face this guy four times or five times and dominate. He’s so smart.”
BRIEFLY: The New York Yankees have placed outfielder Curtis Granderson on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured pinkie … The Yankees announced Saturday they’ve claimed left-hander David Huff off waivers from the Cleveland Indians … Atlanta Braves righty Brandon Beachy returned to the mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June. The 26-year-old allowed two runs in four innings with triple-A Gwinnett … Milwaukee Brewers closer Jim Henderson could miss some time after suffering a strained hamstring in the ninth inning of Friday night’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates … Baltimore Orioles reliever Pedro Strop has been placed on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain suffered during Saturday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.