Heyward, Hanson impress as spring play begins

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The Mets started off the Grapefruit League schedule with a 4-2 win, but it was the young Braves that stole the show Tuesday in the first game of the spring season. Tommy Hanson started and struck out three in two scoreless innings for Atlanta, while Jason Heyward, batting third and playing right field, walked twice and delivered a hard single through the right side of the infield in his three plate appearances.
Some notes from the game:
– The Mets scratched David Wright, Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, Jeff Francoeur and Luis Castillo from the starting lineup because of a rain shower that ended about an hour and a half before the game started. If that’s acting a little gun shy, well, it’s rather hard to blame them.
– Of course, the Mets did suffer the first injury in an exhibition game anyway. Elmer Dessens, the team’s second pitcher in, limped off the field in the third after taking a comebacker off his leg.
– In addition to reaching all three times up, Heyward had a steal of third base and an advancement to second on a wild pitch that he got a very good read on. The 20-year-old doesn’t need to hit 450-foot homers in order to impress.
– Kris Medlen, who was terrific in middle relief during the second half of last season, followed Hanson in the third and also pitched two scoreless innings. He may not get any starts this spring, but the Braves will want to keep him rather stretched out in case Jair Jurrjens has a setback or another starter goes down.
– Mets non-roster invite Russ Adams had the first homer of the spring, a solo shot off Chris Resop in the eighth that concluded the scoring for the day.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.