Wednesday's Quick Hits – Get ready for two more All-Stars

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MLB announced Wednesday that it has expanded All-Star rosters to add 13th pitcher.

Because who could reasonably be expected to get by with 12?

From now on each All-Star team will have 33 players, including 13
pitchers. Obviously, the decision is a response to what happened last
year, when George Sherrill was asked to throw 2 1/3 innings out of the
pen in the 15-inning game. Of course, that only happened long after Roy
Halladay threw nine pitches in one inning and Francisco Rodriguez
worked one-third of an inning.

Orioles right-hander Koji Uehara was diagnosed with a partially torn flexor tendon in his elbow and is expected to miss two months.

The good news is that no ligament damage was found. Even if Uehara
ends up needing surgery, he should be able to return at 100 percent
next season.

Questions about how Uehara, who had spent time as a closer in Japan,
would hold up as a full-time starter in the U.S. forced him to settle
for a two-year, $10 million contract from the Orioles. I still think it
was a great gamble for Baltimore. He has been pretty solid while
healthy, amassing a 4.05 ERA in 12 starts.

The injury could mean that we’ll see top prospect Chris Tillman in
the majors before the end of the month. David Hernandez is filling in
at the moment.

After making it clear
Tuesday that David Wright would have Wednesday off, manager Jerry
Manuel put his All-Star third baseman into the lineup against the
Brewers.

Wright still seemed to think he had the day off, as he went 0-for-4
with three strikeouts and committed his 12th error of the year.
Fortunately for Manuel, the Mets won 1-0 anyway. It doesn’t make Manuel
any easier to take seriously.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.