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Cabrera disqualifies self from batting title

NEW YORK — Melky Cabrera lost the right to play baseball by failing a drug test, and now he has given up his chance to win the National League batting title.

Cabrera was disqualified from the NL honor at his own request when Major League Baseball and the players association agreed Friday to a one-season-only change in the rule governing the individual batting, slugging and on-base percentage champions.

Serving a 50-game suspension, the 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.

Cabrera had 501 plate appearances, one short of the required minimum, but he would have won the title under section 10.22(a) of the Official Baseball Rules if an extra hitless at-bat were added to his average and he still finished ahead. With Friday's agreement, that provision won't apply this year to a player who "served a drug suspension for violating the Joint Drug Program."

The process for the change was set in motion Wednesday when Cabrera's agent, Seth Levinson, sent an email to union head Michael Weiner with an attached letter from Cabrera.

"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.

Lawyers from MLB and the union drafted the change Friday.

"I guess he thought that was the right thing to do, and I commend him for doing that," McCutchen said.

Tigers-Twins postponed: Minnesota's game at Detroit was rained out and will be made up Sunday as part of a doubleheader.

Hamilton vision issues: Rangers OF Josh Hamilton will have more tests to determine the extent of the sinus condition that has blurred his vision. Manager Ron Washington said Hamilton was "out of sorts" during the pregame workout Thursday, and he will miss the three-game weekend series with Seattle.

Carpenter's debut: Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter threw five effective innings in his season debut and was in line for the win until the Cubs' Darwin Barney launched a two-out, 1-and-2 pitch off of reliever Fernando Salas into the seats for a two-run tying homer in the ninth. The Cubs later won 5-4 in 11 innings. Carpenter, 37, threw 77 pitches, allowing two runs on five hits. He had surgery July 19 to relieve a nerve ailment that caused numbness in the right side of his body.

Brewers-Blue Jays trade: The Brewers acquired C Yorvit Torrealba from the Jays for a player to be named later or cash.

Blue Jays: SS Yunel Escobar was kept out of the starting lineup after serving a three-game suspension for wearing eye-black displaying an gay slur written in Spanish last weekend. Escobar, who served the penalty during a three-game series against the Yankees, was eligible to return against the Rays but was not in manager John Farrell's lineup. "It's not so much staying in shape or baseball activity, it's just about how he's dealing with the fallout of what he did," said Farrell, who added that Escobar could be back in the starting lineup today.

Cabrera disqualifies self from batting title 09/21/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 21, 2012 10:38pm]
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