Seems Todd Linden was using an illegal bat. The was nothing wrong with the bat itself (the bat passed inspections last year). The problem apparently has something to do with a sticker he placed on the bat.
Wait, huh? A sticker?!
Linden's bat is produced in the US. The sticker belonged to the Japanese bat manufacturer Linden has a contract with.
According to the Eagles, the sticker was placed on the bat in consideration for the Japanese bat manufacturer.
So how does that make the bat illegal?
There are apparently two reasons:
- As has been mentioned on this blog before, baseball equipment cannot have any manufacturer trademarks on it.
- The sticker did not match the actual bat manufacturer
The first reason is kind of strict, but this would actually be the second case this year that a player was caught with a trademarked logo on his baseball equipment (Yusei Kikuchi's glove).
The second reason is, well, kind of obvious. Although I'm not really sure how big a deal it was in this particular situation.
Now it also seems there was mention as some point that Linden receive clearance to place the sticker on the bat, but according the NPB rules, such a request likely would have been turned down.
On Thursday, the NPB contacted the manufacturer listed on the sticker and were informed that the manufacturer did in fact give Linden the sticker, but did not think he would actually put it on his bat.
What makes this story a little more interesting is that he actually hit a 3-run home run with the bat against the Orix Buffaloes on the 22nd.