MLB ponders smaller September rosters (plus winter ball updates)

The time has probably come for a move like this. It looks like Major League Baseball officials are considering a change to the current rules that allow for teams to carry 40-man rosters in September.

It seems some teams choose to call up few players while others bring in a truckload, and some in the sport feel it's not fair that those clubs have more players than others for late-season games. While my take on that would be, "too bad," the team with fewer players simply should have called up more. But really, I think it is time to change the rules.

Perhaps MLB could limit or reduce September roster sizes to 35 and have only 28 players eligible to play each night. The manager would have to identify his active roster for that game, holding seven players out.

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, told reporters at this week's GM meetings in California, that baseball is taking a hard look at this issue.

"Each team should have equal number of players available every day," Torre said. "I just think you play the whole season with one set of rules and the most important time of the year, especially for clubs that are in a pennant race, I just don't think it's fair for it to be done (with a) different number of roster people."

Even though Orioles manager Buck Showalter can be masterful working with an expanded roster and bullpen in September, Baltimore reporters have heard him make comments basically agreeing with Torre's take on the subject several times. We'll see where all this leads. As with most any change in baseball, the players association will be involved with this decision.

Alexi Casilla, the infielder the Orioles recently claimed off waivers from Minnesota, is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Casilla is batting .286 (8-for-28) over six games with three doubles, two RBIs and an OPS of .857. He does not have a walk or a strikeout. He has hit safely in all six games.

Jonathan Schoop's bat has cooled off a bit as play in the Arizona Fall League is winding down. In 20 games, he is batting .276 with two homers, 10 RBIs and a .910 OPS. Schoop has split time between shortstop and third base with a few games at second base as well.

After a slow start in Arizona, where he gave up four runs in his first three games, lefty reliever Mike Belfiore has allowed just one run over his past 7 1/3 innings for a 4.35 ERA in 10 games.

Belfiore came to the Orioles from Arizona as the player to be named later in the Josh Bell trade. This season at Double-A Bowie, he went 5-1 with a 2.85 ERA and fanned 50 over 47 1/3 innings. Lefty batters hit just .160 against him and he fanned 19 in just 50 at-bats.

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