Jerry Manuel might be jumping the gun on Carlos Beltran's return

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Carlos Beltran Mets.jpgCraig already told us that Carlos Beltran played the outfield and homered in an extended spring training game this afternoon. Well, Mets manager Jerry Manuel was so encouraged by the news that he suggested that Beltran could return as a designated hitter during interleague play. (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com)

“I think if this trip would have maybe come a week later, I think we
could have possibly DH’d him,” Manuel said. “I could have taken care of
him, you know? I’m still trying to do that. I’m still trying to get him.
I don’t know. I’m anxious to talk to [assistant GM] John Ricco. I’m
anxious to talk to the people down there because I wanted to see how he
felt first going in and out of the field.”

Nice thought, but Mets assistant general manager John Ricco quickly put the kibosh on that one. While saying that the organization doesn’t “frown on optimism,” Ricco called Manuel’s suggestion “pretty aggressive.”

“There’s been really no change in his status,” the assistant GM said of
Beltran. “He’s continued to play in simulated games down at our complex
with various minor leaguers who are there getting ready for their short
seasons that will start up here shortly, and he’s continuing to
progress. But he’s still not ready to go out yet on a formal rehab
assignment.”

From all indications, Beltran is expected to return sometime in July.

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.