Major League Baseball forced Houston Astros catcher Martín Maldonado to stop using an illegal maple bat after Game 1 of the World Series on Friday, reports the New York Post. The bat was deemed illegal for safety reasons and not competitive reasons -- the specific type of maple bat Maldonado used is more likely to splinter into multiple pieces.
Maldonado was given the illegal maple bats by Albert Pujols, his former teammate with the 2017-18 Los Angeles Angels. These maple bats were grandfathered in for players who started their careers prior to 2011, like Pujols, but not those who came up after the rule change, like Maldonado, who made his big league debut in September 2011. Maple bats are still used league-wide, though with updated standards and specifications.
It's unclear whether Maldonado used the illegal maple bats in previous postseason series. He went 1 for 3 in the Game 1 loss and drove in a run. Maldonado was 4 for 17 (.235) this postseason entering Game 2 of the World Series on Saturday.
A defense-first catcher, Maldonado authored a .186/.248/.352 batting line with 15 home runs during the regular season. His work with the pitching staff is valued so highly that trade deadline addition Christian Vázquez has been relegated to backup duty this October.
Martín Maldonado on using a bat from Albert Pujols that MLB grandfathered in for Pujols since he was playing before 2010 when new rules went into effect for safety issues. MLB ruled Martín couldn’t use the bat b/c he started playing in 2011.Didn’t give him a competitive advantage pic.twitter.com/4MtvL1goTe— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 30, 2022
Maldonado used a different bat in Game 2's win over Philadelphia on Saturday.