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huangjian123
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27/03/2019 2:47 am  
WEST PALM BEACH <a title=" removed link " href=" removed link "> removed link  , Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball is unilaterally starting the use of pitch clocks for spring training games, while brushing off complaints from players about the slow free agent market.With the sport looking for ways to speed the pace of play, pitchers generally will have 20 seconds to deliver to the plate when teams play exhibition games in Arizona and Florida beginning this week. The intention is to get players and umpires accustomed to the clock in the event MLB makes the rule change for the upcoming regular season.“We will start getting ready for the possibility that we’re going to use the pitch clock on opening day,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said Sunday at spring training media day in Florida. “We have to get going.”After the 2016 and 2017 seasons, players rebuffed management’s proposal for a pitch clock. Owners have the right to implement one this year without consent, but Manfred has been reluctant to initiate on-field modifications without agreement from players and their union head, Tony Clark.“We’re still hopeful that we’re going to make an agreement with Tony on pace-of-play initiatives,” Manfred said. “I just think that whether it’s by agreement or otherwise, the only prudent course for us at this point is to be in a position to proceed if in fact we have an agreement or decide to do it … under our collectively bargained right to do that.”MLB made a unilateral decision on clocks for the exhibition season.“We were recently notified by the commissioner’s office that the pitch clock will be tested in spring games,” the players’ association said in a statement. “This is not the result of an agreement with the players’ association. Discussions regarding several on- and off-field issues remain ongoing.”Manfred said the rules involving the clock will be “phased in” and won’t start immediately with ball and strike calls. But there will be a “functional” clock in Grapefruit League and Cactus League games. Management’s proposals have said a clock would not be used after foul balls.Pitch clocks have been used in the high minors since 2015.With spring training underway and exhibitions scheduled to start Thursday, several players around the majors have taken issue with a second consecutive slow market for free agents. They question why more teams aren’t trying to win.“It would be nice to start with the facts on this topic. There has been no meaningful change in the distribution of winning percentages in Major League Baseball,” Manfred said. “Our teams are trying. Every single one of them wants to win. It may look a little different to outsiders because the game has changed, the way that people think about the game, the way that people think about putting a winning team together has changed <a title="Kosuke Fukudome Jersey" href=" removed link ">Kosuke Fukudome Jersey , but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying.”Two of the game’s biggest stars, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado remain unsigned — along with closer Craig Kimbrel and dozens of other accomplished veterans.“There are 11 players who had a WAR (wins above replacement) above 1 last year that are unsigned. I believe that just like last year, that market is going to clear. At some point here in the next few weeks, those players are going to get signed,” Manfred said. “We negotiated a system that allows the market to operate and I have every confidence that for those players that I just described, that market is going to clear before we get to playing real games.”The current economy for players is all part of the game, he insisted.“I think it’s important to remember that the Major League Baseball Players Association has always wanted a market-based system. And, markets change. Particularly when the institution around those markets change. We’ve had a lot of change in the game. People think about players differently. They analyze players differently. They negotiate differently. Agents negotiate differently,” Manfred said.“I think there’s lots and lots of offers out there and it’s a bilateral process. Players haven’t accepted those offers yet. That’s how a market works. So you know, we bargained for a market system, that market’s out there operating, and I don’t have any choice but to live with that right now.”Manfred said just because clubs don’t spend big doesn’t mean they aren’t attempting to win.He pointed out that Oakland and Tampa Bay, two low-payroll clubs expected to struggle in 2018, both had excellent seasons. The Athletics reached the playoffs with 97 wins <a title=" removed link " href=" removed link "> removed link  , and the Rays won 90 games.“I reject the notion that payroll is a good measure for how much a team is trying or how successful that team is going to be,” he explained.That drew the ire of Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander, who tweeted: “Agreed… finally we’re on the same page! Awesome! Removal of the luxury tax it is.” OAKLAND, Calif. — Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez will be seeking one of the most important wins in his grand history against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon when he pitched the finale of a four-game series between American League playoff hopefuls.The third-place Mariners (76-60) gave their hopes of overtaking the second-place A’s (81-56) a boost with a nail-biting, 8-7 victory Saturday night.Seattle will leave Oakland either a reasonable 3 1/2 games or a distant 5 1/2 games behind the A’s as they go head-to-head not just for second in the West but perhaps most important for the second AL wild-card berth.Article continues below ...The clubs also will meet three times in Seattle in the final week of the season, magnifying the need for the Mariners to stay at least within three games of the A’s.Hernandez (8-12, 5.49 ERA) hasn’t had his best season, but the Mariners way more often than not have been in good hands when the 14-year veteran has pitched in Oakland.Hernandez has faced the A’s 50 times in his career, starting on 49 of those occasions. He has gone 26-12 with a 2.71 ERA.The 26 wins are seven more than he has against any other team.The 32-year-old has been especially good in Oakland, where he’s 13-5 with a 2.89 ERA in 26 games, including 25 as a starter.Hernandez’s 13 wins in Oakland are the most by an A’s opponent in Oakland Coliseum history.He has faced the A’s four times already this season and lost three of them, albeit by the low-scoring counts of 2-1, 4-3 and 3-2. The latter two games were in Oakland.Hernandez, the sixth-winningest active pitcher with 168 victories <a title="Ron Santo Jersey" href=" removed link ">Ron Santo Jersey , will be opposed by another member of the exclusive 100-win club, A’s right-hander Edwin Jackson (4-3, 3.03), who owns 102 career wins.The 34-year-old hasn’t faced Seattle since 2013, but he dominated the Mariners when he did. Jackson has started four games in his career against the Mariners and won all four, compiling a 1.26 ERA in the process.Jackson has not gotten out of the fifth inning in either of his last two starts — home against Texas and at Houston — allowing seven runs (six earned) and 11 hits in nine innings.Neither team was particularly sharp in Saturday’s game.The A’s lent a helping hand to the Mariners in a three-run third inning when second baseman Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty miscommunicated, allowing Denard Span’s pop fly to drop.Oakland still had a chance to get a forceout at second base on the play, but center fielder Ramon Laureano threw wildly to the plate, allowing a run to score and setting up the other two runs.Kyle Seager put the Mariners up 5-1 later in the inning with a single to right field on which Lowrie dropped a relay throw, allowing Span to score after he had initially held up at third.The A’s then caught a break in a four-run rally in the eighth when Span, playing left field, turned Marcus Semien’s two-run double into a three-run blow when he bobbled the ball.That got the A’s within one and gave them a chance to tie the game with Semien at second base, but Mariners closer Edwin Diaz struck out Matt Chapman to retain the 8-7 lead.

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