Melky Cabrera has decided to disqualify himself from the MLB National League batting title as a way to put the controversy whether he should be eligible for the award to rest.
The San Francisco Giants outfielder, who is serving a 50-day steroid suspension, is batting .346, which still leads the league, but which of course puts MLB in an awkward position. According to an unnamed ESPN source, however, Cabrera has voluntarily decided to drop out of contention for the batting crown:
Cabrera asked the players’ association to convey his desire to the commissioner’s office and that an agreement to make him ineligible was reached Friday.
Commissioner Bud Selig said previously that he would likely not stand in the way of Cabrera winning the title.
Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates is currently batting .339 going into tonight’s action and would appear to be the favorite to win the batting title if the Cabrera disqualification is confirmed. Cabrera’s Giants teammate, Buster Posey, is batting .335, so he is also in the running.
Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games on August 15 by MLB for the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) which he did not deny. Cabrera’s suspension will end four games into the playoffs, so if the Giants manage to advance, he could theoretically return to the lineup, assuming San Francisco gives him the go-ahead.
Cabrera has 501 plate appearances this season. Generally the batting average winner needs 502 appearances in 162 games to qualify but a weird baseball rule allows for “hitless at-bats” to be added to a player’s average in circumstances where a player is right at the threshold of qualifying. “Under Friday’s deal, MLB and the union agreed that the sentence will not apply this year, leaving Cabrera one plate appearance short,” ESPN reports.
Cabrera was also the MVP of this year’s All-Star Game, which gave the National League home field advantage in the World Series.