MLB: Suspended Cabrera withdraws from batting title race
(Reuters) - Suspended San Francisco Giants slugger Melky Cabrera has been disqualified from the National League batting title race at his own request, baseball officials said on Friday.
Cabrera, who was banned 50 games last month after failing a doping test, was able to remove himself from consideration after Major League Baseball (MLB) and the players' association agreed a rule that made the slugger eligible would be amended.
"Melky Cabrera, through a written request to me, asked for the union's assistance in removing him from consideration," MLB Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner said in a joint statement with MLB.
"We complied with Melky's wish and brought the matter to the commissioner's office, which agreed to suspend the rule."
Cabrera was batting .346 with 501 plate appearances when he was suspended on August 15. No other player in the National League currently has a higher average.
Although 502 at bats are normally needed to be eligible for the title, a rule says any player with fewer plate appearances could win the title if his average was still the highest after adding the number of hitless at-bats required to the reach the minimum number of plate appearances.
Adding one more hitless at bat to Cabrera's average would still make him the leader.
But MLB agreed not to apply the rule to the 2012 season if a player served a drug suspension, which Commissioner Bud Selig said was appropriate after Cabrera's request.
"I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera's peers who are contending for the batting crown."
Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen currently has the league's second best average at .339 with the Giants' Buster Posey close behind at .335.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)