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Scott Boras called MLB about Bellinger's auto-strike during ovation

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Chicago Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger was assessed an automatic strike while receiving an ovation from Los Angeles Dodgers fans Friday, a call that drew the ire of his agent, Scott Boras.

Boras was so upset that he phoned Major League Baseball to complain about the call taking away from Bellinger's moment. The agent said MLB told him that teams must follow specific protocols by notifying umpires of any special tributes to avoid violating baseball's new rules.

"I called (deputy commissioner Dan Halem) and said, 'Why do we not have provisions for this?' And he goes, 'We do,'" Boras told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. "It's umpire discretion, and normally the clubs notify the umpires beforehand if they have any kind of special things."

Still, that answer didn't appear to satisfy Boras, who noted that Bellinger's opponents also questioned home-plate umpire Jim Wolf's decision.

"(Dodgers manager Dave Roberts) was even screaming from the dugout, 'Hey, give him some time!'" Boras continued. "You have the opposing manager trying to make sure a (visiting) player is appropriately welcomed. I couldn't believe it. I was like, 'Why are you not doing that?' Unreal."

He added: "I watched eight games, and it was on every TV broadcast, they all brought it up and had film of it. I was like, 'What are our rules doing?' It's kind of embarrassing for MLB."

Any request for a stoppage in play must be made by one or both teams in advance of the game and approved by the commissioner's office, according to DiGiovanna. No request was made to accommodate an ovation for Bellinger on Friday, a major-league source told DiGiovanna.

Bellinger is returning to Los Angeles this weekend following six seasons with the Dodgers. His tenure with the club included winning both Rookie of the Year and a National League MVP award, as well as a World Series title in 2020, before a significant downturn over the last two seasons.

The 27-year-old, who joined the Cubs on a one-year contract this past winter, was initially feted with a video tribute and ovation before Friday's game. The second smaller ovation from fans before his first at-bat was unexpected and led to the violation.

"Yeah, me and Wolf are going to have to have a word," Bellinger said, according to Matthew Moreno of Dodger Blue 1958. "I was surprised, but rules are rules, I guess, at the end of the day."

Umpires have used discretion to stop the pitch clock for a few tributes this season, resulting in lengthy ovations for Aaron Judge in New York and Andrew McCutchen in Pittsburgh, among others.

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