Strasburg won't pitch in the majors this year

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Bob Nightengale tweets:

Strasburg, who got a $15.1 million guaranteed contract won’t make his MLB debut before 2010, Boras says. Press conference likely on Thursday

Analytical take: this is probably smart, as he pitched a lot of college innings and could use the rest, his presence won’t mean the difference between the Nats having a winning or losing season, and there’s no need for the P.R. bump of having him appear in a game because the Nats got a huge P.R. bump simply by signing him.  Heck, if he pitched once in September and got shelled, it could even be anti-P.R. Better to put his picture on the envelope of next year’s season ticket renewal letters as an unsullied and potentially-perfect product.

Cynical take: Now that the Nats know they can work with Scott Boras and live to tell the tale, there’s no WAY they want to win any more games than they have to and thus lose out on the Bryce Harper derby to Kansas City or San Diego or someone.

UPDATE: A second Nightengale tweet has Boras saying that Strasburg may not even pitch in the big leagues next year. Whatever. As of 11:58 last night, Boras doesn’t control too terribly much about Strasburg’s future, so while I agree with Boras that it may be in everyone’s best interests for Strasburg to be brought along slowly, I don’t give the Nats’ management enough credit to see beyond the increase in ticket sales that would result from him being in the Washington rotation in 2010.  Maybe in June or July 2010, but if he’s not pitching in major league games next year, I’ll eat my hat.

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.