Corey Hart running out of time to get healthy as oblique “kills”

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Three weeks ago Corey Hart was expected to miss two weeks with a strained oblique muscle, but he’s yet to rejoin the lineup and yesterday told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he’s worried about being ready for Opening Day:

It’s still not coming as fast as I want it to. It won’t go away. I still can’t go full-speed on anything. Hitting off the tee is fine, but I can’t amp it up the way I know I can. I can throw, but as soon as I have to do a quick move or let it go, it kills. I can’t go out there and be a huge liability. I’m basically just waiting for my body to do what it’s supposed to do.

McCalvy writes that Hart “would need to make significant progress” in the next few days to have a realistic chance to be ready for March 31, and based on Hart’s comments above that seems unlikely. Even if he makes a miraculous recovery in the next two weeks he’d be entering the season with very few spring training at-bats. Of course, he hit just .172 last spring and was benched on Opening Day, yet ended up making the All-Star team and setting career-highs in homers and RBIs.

Hart won’t be on the bench much this season after signing a three-year, $26.5 million extension, but the Brewers may have to turn to Chris Dickerson or Mat Gamel in right field for a while.

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.