Melky Cabrera has ruled himself out of the NL batting title race. (Doug Pensinger, Getty Images)
Suspended San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has been ruled ineligible to win the 2012 NL batting title, CSNBayArea.com reports.
The ruling comes after an agreement was struck between Major League Baseball and the MLB Player's Union. Cabrera contacted the union on Wednesday to request his removal from consideration for the award, after which union officials worked with MLB to create a one-time amendment to league rule 10.22(a).
Cabrera has not played since being suspended following his positive test for performance-enhancing drugs on August 15th. Because of this suspension, Cabrera will fall one plate appearance short of the required number to be considered for the batting title. However, there is a loophole that would allow him both to be eligible and to win the title. The agreed one-time amendment closes that loophole.
The unamended rule 10.22(a) states that any player that falls short of the minimum plate appearances may instead add hitless at-bats to his total to make up the difference and become eligible for the title. If the player's average is still higher than any other player, as Cabrera's is likely to be, the player may still win the batting title with empty at-bats. Under the one-time amendment, players that are currently suspended will not be eligible to add empty at-bats, thus disqualifying Cabrera, whose season average would stand at .346 with or without the added hitless plate appearance.