Erick Aybar hoping to return from knee injury this weekend

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Erick Aybar has avoided the disabled list after suffering an ugly looking knee injury on Casey McGehee’s takeout slide last week and manager Mike Scioscia said yesterday that the shortstop is on the verge of returning.
According to Scioscia “he did great” and “got a glowing report” while taking batting practice, running, and fielding ground balls prior to Thursday’s game, making it likely that “he’ll be available this weekend” in at least a part-time role.
“I’m ready to get back out there,” Aybar told Lyle Spencer of MLB.com. “I feel normal. If it was up to me, I’d play today.”
Aybar was just starting to heat up before the injury, batting .340 with six steals in his previous 25 games. Maicer Izturis coming down with an injury of his own shortly after Aybar was knocked out of the lineup has left Brandon Wood filling in at shortstop, but he hasn’t played particularly well (shocking, I know) and will now have to fight the hot-hitting Kevin Frandsen for starts at third base.

Report: MLB likely to unilaterally implement pace of play changes

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.

Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”

The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.

It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.