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Some links: possible rule changes and notes on the Pirates’ potential future infield

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  • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has some info on possible rule changes ($) that are being discussed between MLB and the union. One is the expansion of the DH to the National League, which is just too evil a proposal to contemplate. The other is a three-batter requirement for relievers. The latter obviously would help move games along, which is good. It would also reduce the Pirates’ handicap from being managed by Clint “What’s a Platoon Advantage?” Hurdle. Personally, I’d rather see baseball shift away from frantic pitching changes simply as a matter of more sensible strategy. Still, if they call it the “F*** Tony LaRussa Rule,” I could get on board. The union wants the dastardly DH expansion and MLB wants the reliever rule, so maybe there’s a compromise in the offing.
  • There’s also a Pirates update at Baseball America — specifically, from Tim Williams, who’s now their Pirates correspondent — that discusses Ke’Bryan Hayes’ progress in hitting for more power. (It doesn’t seem to be behind the paywall.) It seems Hayes’ cracked rib two years ago did hamper him for quite a while, but he’s also making adjustments. The latter is consistent with BA’s earlier assessment of Hayes: He started pulling the ball more and more during 2018, to the point where opponents had to change the way they were playing him. There are also some hints from minicamp — although it’s not always a good idea to read too much into this — that the Pirates may be seeing Kevin Newman more as a utility guy and Cole Tucker as the long-term answer at shortstop. Erik Gonzalez presumably would be the short-term beneficiary. Whether the table-pounding scouts have played a role is unknown.
  • And, finally, bullet dodged.