Dustin Pedroia’s surgically-repaired foot is almost healed

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Good news for Red Sox fans. During an appearance on WEEI in Boston earlier today, Dustin Pedroia said that his surgically-repaired left foot is almost fully healed.

“I saw Dr. Theodore today. The CT scan looked great, and he said I’m pretty much 99.9 precent healed,” Pedroia said. “That’s as close to 100 as we’re going to get.”

“I’m getting cleared to start jogging and build up to sprinting, and once January comes, hit it hard and get ready for the season.”

Pedroia was off to a roaring start with the bat before he broke the navicular bone in his left foot on June 25. He returned in late-August, but went right back on the disabled list just two games later after aggravating the very same injury. In September, he had a screw inserted into the foot in order to help with the healing process. So far, so good, it seems.

The Red Sox still managed to win 89 games this past season despite Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis appearing in just 195 games combined. Incredible, when you really think about it. Victor Martinez may have bolted for Detroit and Adrian Beltre is still out there in free agency, but there’s every reason to believe Boston will be back with a vengeance next season.

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.