Hunter Pence's triple-hit sparks rules debate

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Hunter Pence's triple-hit sparks rules debate

The Giants' Game 7 victory over the Cardinals Monday at AT&T Park included a unique type of base hit, courtesy of Hunter Pence.

With the bases loaded, Pence swung at reliever Joe Kelly's first pitch and was jammed by the inside fastball. The force of the pitch cracked his bat but did not shatter it completely. As Pence completed his swing, the broken bat connected with the baseball two more times.

After the game, Lance Berkman made this observation:"It hit the bat three times; it was actually an illegal hit, but there's no way that you can expect the umpire to see that."

Even if the umpires did see that, Berkman's claim that the hit was "illegal" is not necessarily true.
Here are the official MLB rules, under section 6.05:

"A batter is out when..."(h) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a secondtime in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners mayadvance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rollsagainst the bat in fair territory and, in the umpires judgment,there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, theball is alive and in play;"That wording would seem to back up Berkman's statement, but there's a Rule 6.05(h) Comment that would seem to favor Pence and the Giants:"If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and ishit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and nointerference be called. If batted ball hits part of broken bat in foul territory, it is afoul ball."

What do you think of Berkman's comments? Do you think he was right and the hit was technically illegal or is he being a sore loser that's misinterpreting the rules?

Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game

Cueto toys with young prospect in Giants minor league game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There is no way to really ramp up the intensity when an All-Star pitcher makes an appearance in minor league camp, so Johnny Cueto instead found a way to have a bit more fun. 

While getting his work in against A-ball hitters, Cueto had a prolonged, smile-filled battle with 19-year-old Jasrado Chisholm, one of the Diamondbacks’ top prospects. The sequence between Cueto and the shortstop from the Bahamas: 

  • Cueto just missed with a two-strike inside fastball, so he went right back to the same spot, freezing Chisholm, who smiled and nodded at Cueto, who laughed back. 
  • The next time up, Chisholm took two vicious hacks, trying to crank a homer onto Hayden Road. He missed both breaking balls by about a foot. 
  •  Before the third pitch, Cueto yelled something at Chisholm and smiled. “I was telling him to keep his eye on the ball,” Cueto said. “Because every time he was swinging, he was taking his eye off the ball.”
  •  The advice worked. Chisholm hung in on the third pitch, lining a single to left-center. Cueto laughed and pointed his glove at the teenager. He promptly picked him off of first base. “He probably doesn’t know I have a quick move,” he said. “I was having fun with a kid who wanted to actually hit against me.”

Nobody has more fun than Cueto, even on a sun-baked minor league field. He capped his day by standing in for an at-bat of his own, and he stood and watched as a young Diamondback struck him out.

The work on the mound was just what was needed: 7 innings, 85 pitches, 10 strikeouts, 0 runs. Cueto, who missed the opening weeks of camp, is ready for the season.

“I feel strong,” he said. “I feel really good."

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

Injured Michael Morse will stick with Giants, work way up from Triple-A

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Morse isn't ready to give up on his comeback. 

Morse, sidelined by a hamstring injury, said he will continue to rehab with the organization, with the plan of eventually going to Triple-A and working his way up to the big leagues. Morse hasn't played since getting hurt March 20 in Glendale. He was initially given a two-to-three week diagnosis, but because he wants to let the strain heal completely, he anticipates missing closer to a full month. 

Morse said he's on the same page with general manager Bobby Evans. He will get healthy at the minor league facility in Scottsdale.

"I'll then go to Triple-A and play games and figure it out from there," he said. "I'm going to get healthy and play some games and if that point the team is 20-0, I know I probably won't get called up. If they need me, that'd be great."

The Giants are hopeful it works out. Before getting hurt, Morse had three spring homers and was in position to make the opening day roster. Without Morse, the Giants are light on right-handed power options for the bench.