HOUSTON — Major League Baseball made Astros catcher Martin Maldonado stop using a bat it deemed illegal after World Series Game 1, a league official said Saturday.
Maldonado was using a specific type of maple bat given to him by Albert Pujols, his teammate with the Angels in 2017 and 2018. Maldonado, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, requested bats from Pujols because he believed the future Hall of Famer got higher-quality bats due to his status.
The bat had been grandfathered in, but only for players who were in the major leagues prior to 2011, the MLB official said. Maldonado made his MLB debut in 2011. A player can use a maple bat, but it has to meet MLB standards for grain, among other items, the official said.
The league deemed that Maldonado gained no competitive advantage from using the bat, though he did have an RBI in Game 1. The league considers it a riskier bat because it has a greater chance of splintering into multiple pieces, the league official said, and as a result it was banned for safety reasons, the league official said.
The official did not say whether Maldonado used the same bat in previous series, including against the Yankees in the ALCS, but the ESPN report said Maldonado received several bats from Pujols on Friday, prior to Game 1 of the World Series.
Maldonado used a different bat for World Series Game 2 on Saturday night, the league official said. An Astros official said they were aware of this issue, but had no immediate comment.
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