Giants

EXCLUSIVE: Melky Cabrera ruled ineligible to win batting crown

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EXCLUSIVE: Melky Cabrera ruled ineligible to win batting crown

Programming note: Catch complete coverage of the Melky Cabrera story tonight on Giants Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m., and get a recap of all the day's news on SportsNet Central at 6, 10:30pm and midnight, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!

SAN FRANCISCO In an unprecedented agreement betweenMajor League Baseball and union officials, suspended Giants outfielder MelkyCabrera will be ruled ineligible to win the 2012 NL batting title, sources toldCSNBayArea.com.

Cabrera asked to be removed from consideration on Wednesday,when his representatives sent a letter to union officials. The PlayersAssociation worked out a one-time amendment to Rule 10.22(a) with MLB officialson Thursday, one day after Commissioner Bud Selig said publicly that he was not likely to take action on the matter.

Cabrera, who is hitting .346, will finish one plate appearanceshort of qualifying for the batting title. Rule 10.22(a) permits a player to berecognized as the official winner if extra hitless at-bats are added to hisaverage and it remains higher than any qualifying player. (Cabreras average would fall from .3464 to .3456 still.346 when rounded up.)

RELATED: Melky Cabrera career stats 2012 game logs News

Under terms of the agreement, Rule 10.22(a) will not apply to suspended players.

Cabreras request to refuse the extra at-bat is a clear attempt to rehab hispublic image and market value, both of which were tarnished by his Aug. 15suspension for testing positive for testosterone. The 27-year-old switch hitter sustained furtherdamage to his reputation through subsequent revelations that a liaison paid byhis agents, the Levinson brothers, created a phony Web site and product in anattempt to persuade the league that Cabrera inadvertently took a bannedsubstance.

In a statement to be released shortly, Cabrera said he had no wish to win an award that would be tainted, and that he believed it would be far better for someone more deserving to win.

The NL batting title now becomes a legitimate race betweenPittsburghs Andrew McCutchen (.339) and Cabreras former teammate, BusterPosey (.335). Both players are expected to be among the top finishers in MVPballoting as well.

No Giant has won a batting title since Barry Bonds hit .362in 2004.

I am grateful that the Players Association and MLB were able to honor my request," Cabrera said in a statement. "I know that changing the rules mid-season can present problems, and I thank the Players Association and MLB for finding a way to grant my request.

Cabrera was informed of his positive test at some point inJuly and the 50-game ban was announced Aug. 15 after his appeals wereexhausted. The Giants had 45 games remaining in the regular season when thesuspension was handed down.
REWIND: Cabrera suspended 50 games for positive testosterone test

The Giants could clinch the NL West title as early asSaturday, and in the event they play more than five postseason games, Cabrera wouldbe eligible to return.

Although Cabrera has not seen live pitching in more than amonth, sources tell CSNBayArea.com that he remains hopeful the Giants willdirect him to return once hes eligible. He continues to work out and keephimself in shape under terms of him uniform player contract, although sourcessaid he is not working out at any team facilities.

The Giants are not keen on bringing back Cabrera for thepostseason, citing the distraction factor as well as his questionable readinessfollowing a 50-game ban. But the club must remove him from the restricted listwhen his suspension is up. Although they could face a grievance if they do notadd him to the roster, the club could always cite baseball reasons for leavinghim aside.

Cabrera did not address his teammates after the suspension was announced; he had privately denied the positive test to Giants players and coaches when rumors began to swirl in the weeks preceding the Aug. 15 announcement, even blaming the whispers on Dodgers fans who were attempting to cause a distraction.

It was a hard fall for Cabrera, who had emerged as a fan favorite in San Francisco. Giants fans stuffed the ballot box to make the "Melk Man" theleading vote getter among NL outfielders for the All-Star Game in July. Cabrerawas selected as the MVP of the Midsummer Classic after leading the NationalLeague to a victory that secured home-field advantage in the World Series forthe NL pennant winner. Sources tell CSNBayArea.com that Cabrera has no plans toreturn his MVP trophy, however.

Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco, one of Cabrera's best friends on the team, said the suspended outfielder was embarrassed by his positive test. Cabrera's agent, Seth Levinson, said in a statement that his client is "truly humble person, is embarrassed by his mistake and sincerely regrets letting down his teammates, the Giants organization, and the fans. Since his suspension, Melky has been adamant that he did not want the batting title award, and that he wanted to solely focus on working hard to return to baseball so he could be in a position to win that award with honor.

Cabrera, a former New York Yankees top prospect, came to theGiants in an offseason trade following a breakout 2011 season for the KansasCity Royals. He will be a free agent this winter and was looking at a contractin excess of five years and 60 million before the suspension came down. Nowagents and league officials privately speculate that Cabrera will have to provehimself somewhere on a one-year deal and return to baseballs good graces.

His request to be removed from the batting race is a firstgesture to that end.

Baseball Hall of Fame: Good, bad news for two former Giants on ballot

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AP

Baseball Hall of Fame: Good, bad news for two former Giants on ballot

SAN FRANCISCO -- A pair of former Giants middle infielders made modest gains in Hall of Fame voting, but only one of them seems to have a real shot. 

In his second year on the ballot, Omar Vizquel went from 37 percent to 42.8 percent.

Jeff Kent, now in his sixth year on the ballot, reached a new high of 18.1 percent, but he is far, far away from the 75 percent needed for induction, and he's running out of time. Kent has been between 14 and 18.1 percent in every year he has been on the ballot. 

The Kent case is a bit baffling, as he's the all-time leader in home runs among second basemen, a five-time All-Star and the 2000 National League MVP. He has seemingly been punished for playing in a homer-happy era and having a less-than-stellar defensive reputation, but Kent still seems worthy of far more discussion than he gets on a yearly basis. 

Perhaps Kent will benefit from a bit of a ballot purge, as four players were voted in Tuesday. Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous Hall of Famer and will be joined in the 2019 class by Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, and the late Roy Halladay. Barry Bonds, in his seventh year on the ballot, received just 59.1 percent of the vote. 

Vizquel is one of the best defensive shortstops of all-time and finished his career with 2,877 hits. The 11-time Gold Glove winner played four seasons with the Giants and is an interesting spot. He currently is far from induction, but there are always players who make massive leaps in their final years on the ballot and get to the threshold. Martinez was at 43.4 percent as late as 2016 and Mussina was at 43 percent that year. Both are now Hall of Famers, and with a similar trajectory, Vizquel could join them one day. 

[RELATED: Bonds gains ground, but falls short of Hall of Fame again]

Another player with Giants ties certainly will not. Miguel Tejada got five total votes in his first year on the ballot and will not be eligible again. 
 

Barry Bonds gains votes, but remains far from Hall of Fame induction

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AP

Barry Bonds gains votes, but remains far from Hall of Fame induction

SAN FRANCISCO — Once again, Barry Bonds saw small gains in Hall of Fame voting, but it wasn't nearly enough. 

Bonds was listed on 59.1 percent of ballots this year, a bump from his total of 56.4 percent in 2018, but remains well short of the 75 percent required to make the Hall of Fame. This was his seventh time on the ballot, meaning he has just three more years of eligibility.

Four players will be inducted this summer, led by former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who became the first player to be inducted unanimously. Former Mariners star Edgar Martinez easily made it in his final year on the ballot, the late Roy Halladay made it in his first, and longtime Orioles and Yankees ace Mike Mussina made it in his sixth year. 

Bonds, a seven-time MVP and the all-time home run leader, was first on the ballot in 2013, when he got just 36.2 percent of the vote. He dipped to 34.7 percent the next year before going 36.8, 44.3 and 53.8 the next three years. The final jump coincided with Bud Selig, who oversaw the steroid era, getting in, which led many voters to change their minds. 

Bonds has also slightly benefited from younger voters entering the process. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s vote tracker, Bonds was on the ballots of seven of the eight first-time voters who made their choices public before Tuesday’s announcement. Still, it has not been nearly enough. The climb has been slow, and he does not appear to be trending towards induction. 

Bonds and Roger Clemens have always been side by side because of their similar cases. They are all-time greats, worthy of unanimous inclusion if not for PED connections. In recent years, Bonds has mostly stopped commenting publicly about his fate, but he has become more visible in San Francisco. Bonds had his number retired last season as part of an ongoing effort to celebrate his achievements.