Astros catcher Martín Maldonado used a different bat in Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night after being notified by Major League Baseball that the one he used in Game 1 was not a legal bat due to player safety concerns.
According to a recent tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney, Maldonado had reached out to Albert Pujols prior to the World Series to ask the Cardinals legend to send him some bats. As Tom Verducci explained on the FOX broadcast, Maldonado did so, in part, as a way to honor the recently retired Pujols.
However, while the bat is legal for Pujols, it is not for Maldonado, who went 0-for-3 in the Astros' 5-2 Game 2 victory to even the World Series at a game apiece.
The bat Maldonado used in Game 1 has been banned by Major League Baseball for player safety reasons because that type of bat is more likely to break into multiple pieces. Following the 2008 season, MLB and the Players Association agreed to a series of recommendations regarding bat specifications after seeing a significant increase in broken bats over the course of a few years.
Though the league changed the legal bat specifications to exclude that particular model that Maldonado used in Game 1, players who debuted before 2010 -- such as Pujols -- could continue to use it. Maldonado made his MLB debut on Sept. 3, 2011.
After being notified by MLB that he could not continue using that model, Maldonado switched back to his usual bat for Game 2.
“Pujols and I were really good friends,” Maldonado said. “We had a relationship from before; I played with him in Anaheim. I asked him for a couple of bats and I used them [in Game 1]. The league calls today and all they said is I didn’t have the service time to be able to use that bat, just because there’s a rule that in 2010 you had to have service time. I came up in '11. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think it’s a rule and I’ve got to follow the rule, and that’s why I didn’t use it today.”