HOUSTON (AP)Astros catcher Martin Maldonado was forced to switch bats for Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night after it was determined the model he swung in the opener was no longer allowed in the majors.
Maldonado went 1 for 3 with an RBI single in Game 1, a 6-5 Houston loss in 10 innings to Philadelphia.
The bat he used in that game – a Marucci AP5 – was an Albert Pujols model. In 2010, Major League Baseball changed bat specifications for safety purposes, trimming the diameter of the barrel from the long-standing 2.75 inches to 2.61 inches.
The move to slightly slimmed-down bats was designed to reduce the risk of them breaking into multiple pieces. As part of the move, players already in the majors and using bigger bats could continue to swing them.
Maldonado made his big league debut in 2011 and therefore couldn’t use any of the bats that had been grandfathered in.
MLB didn’t find Maldonado had any competitive advantage using the Pujols model, and it appeared the mix-up was an honest mistake. Maldonado batted .186 this season and is a career .209 hitter in 12 seasons.
Pujols finished his 22-year career this season with 703 home runs, fourth on the all-time list.
Bat maker Jack Marucci said the AP5 was ”one of the original models I worked with Albert to design.”
”He was the first player to give me a bat to replicate,” Marucci texted to The Associated Press.
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