First batch of September call-ups includes Giambi

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Teams will be calling up players throughout the day as rosters expand to 40 spots, so keep an eye on Rotoworld’s player news page for all the latest transactions.
Along with the Brewers bringing back J.J. Hardy once his service time was sufficiently suppressed, here are some of the other noteworthy early moves:
* As expected, Jason Giambi has joined the Rockies’ bench after signing a minor-league contract last week. He went 8-for-18 with two homers in a brief stay at Triple-A and will fill the same pinch-hitting role that the Dodgers have in store for Jim Thome.
* Tim Hudson was activated from the 60-day disabled list and will make his season debut tonight against the Marlins, facing big-league hitters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery 12 months ago.
* Brandon Wood is back with the Angels and will no doubt take his usual seat on the bench after hitting .293/.353/.557 with 22 homers in 99 games at Triple-A. He’ll be joined by homerless wonder Reggie Willits and catcher Bobby Wilson, who reportedly might end up as the player to be named later in the Scott Kazmir trade.
* Speaking Kazmir, his old rotation spot in Tampa Bay now belongs to Andy Sonnanstine, who’s back with the Rays after a two-month demotion to Triple-A. Sonnanstine had a 6.61 ERA in 15 starts with the Rays and then posted a 4.40 ERA in nine starts at Durham, so things could get ugly tonight against the Red Sox.
* Acquired from the Orioles for a PTBNL or cash last week, Joey Gathright will be the Red Sox’s pinch-runner and defensive replacement down the stretch. Gathright isn’t much of a hitter with a career .262/.327/.303 line, but he’s one of the fastest players in baseball, has tons of range in the outfield, and will prove to be a major asset if the Red Sox ever need someone to jump over a car.

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.