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Melky Cabrera Bows Out Of Race For Batting Title, Clears Path For Andrew McCutchen

The race for the NL batting title has just gotten very interesting.

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In a strange move, Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has reportedly asked to be removed from eligibility for the the 2012 National League batting title, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.

Cabrera led the race for the batting title despite being in the midst of serving a long suspension for testing positive for testosterone.

Even though Cabrera is one at-bat shy of qualifying, MLB rules typically allow a player to add hitless at-bats in order to reach the minimum number. If this had happened for Cabrera, his average would have been .346, which is seven points ahead of the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen.

But instead, Cabrera has requested to be removed from the contest, claiming he had "no wish for an award that would be tainted," and Major League Baseball and the players' union agreed.

That paved the way for McCutchen. McCutchen's current average (.339) is four points higher than that of Buster Posey. Posey and the Giants have 12 more games, so the race is still not over.

McCutchen is a career .292 hitter, and this would be his first batting title. 2012 has been an impressive breakout season for the young outfielder, after hitting just .259 last year.

For more Pirates updates, visit Bucs Dugout, and check out SB Nation's Pittsburgh page for all of the city's sports news.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.