Stephen Strasburg shows that he is, in fact, human

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stephen strasburg headshot double-a.jpgWell, maybe he’s human. An alternative explanation is that, a day after learning that he was being promoted to AAA, he decided to mail one in the same way you mailed in that last Communications 220 exam after you already earned enough credits to graduate and had already been accepted to law school.

Strasburg gave up three earned runs — four total — on six
hits and three walks over 4.2 innings yesterday. The bad guys: the Altoona Curve, who he so deftly handled in his minor league debut last month.  Strasburg wasn’t hit particularly hard, with a couple of the runs following infield hits and bloop single kinds of things, but he struggled with the strike zone, which this game story suggests may have been a bit tight thanks to the home plate umpire.

But tough stuff. He’s going to get squeezed like crazy when he makes the bigs because, right or wrong, major league umpires make young pitchers earn the full extent of the strike zone through experience. Wait, that’s totally wrong and everyone knows it. Still happens though.

All of this makes Strasburg’s AAA debut more interesting, of course. Because now he must not only show that he can get more experienced hitters out, but he must show that he can shake off a bad day.

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.