HOUSTON — Major League Baseball forced Astros catcher Martin Maldonado to stop using a bat deemed illegal after Game 1 of the World Series, 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 was of higher quality. bats because of its status.
The bat had been acquired, but only for players who were in the major leagues before 2011, the MLB official said. Maldonado made his MLB debut in 2011. A player can use a maple bat, but it must meet MLB standards for grain, among other things, the official said.
The league felt that Maldonado gained no competitive advantage using the bat, although he did have an RBI in Game 1. The league considers it a riskier bat because it has a higher chance of breaking in several pieces, the league official said, and as a result, it was banned for security reasons, the league official said.
The official didn’t say if Maldonado had used the same bat in previous series, including against the Yankees in the ALCS, but ESPN’s report said Maldonado received multiple bats from Pujols on Friday, before the first game of the World Series.
Maldonado used a different bat for Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday night, the league official said. An Astros official said they were aware of the issue, but had no immediate comment.