HOUSTON -- If Andrew McCutchen does win the National League batting title with an average lower than .346, he will have the satisfaction of knowing he had personally knocked out Melky Cabrera.
According to the joint decision made by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, in response to a request by Cabrera himself, a player has been rendered ineligible for the 2012 batting title if he failed to accumulate the 502 plate appearances required for qualification due to suspension for violation of the MLB Drug Program.
"It was man of him to do something like that," McCutchen said of Cabrera's initiative. "He admitted he was wrong, and felt this was the right thing to do, so he did it."
"A voice of reason, that was my first thought," said McCutchen's manager, Clint Hurdle. "Melky probably gave it a lot of thought and talked to people who are close to him. I think he made a very good decision."
The Cabrera amendment had to be worded so narrowly because baseball's official rules do not yet deal with the statistical status of suspended players.
Cabrera had 501 plate appearances when he was suspended on Aug. 15. And he would have picked up the missing plate appearance had McCutchen not gone off on July 8 against his Giants.
With McCutchen belting a pair of home runs and driving in four runs, the Bucs opened up a 10-0 lead in the sixth on the way to a 13-2 win over San Francisco in PNC Park. As is routine in such blowout situations, Giants manager Bruce Bochy began removing his regulars in the seventh to give them a rest.
Cabrera was one of those pulled from the game, before his spot in the batting order came up in the eighth.
McCutchen entered Friday night's game here against the Astros batting .339, with only a slight lead over another member of the Giants, catcher Buster Posey, at .335.
"It's good that he did what he did, and we move on from there," McCutchen said.