Mets prospect Sean Ratliff to miss season after being struck in the eye by foul ball

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Mets prospect Sean Ratliff broke six bones and suffered a partially detached retina when a foul ball struck him in the right eye while he stood in the on-deck circle during a game this spring and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the 2008 fourth-round pick will miss the entire season.

Ratliff has undergone two surgeries already and told Rubin that doctors “sounded pretty hopeful … that everything would be back to normal, or good-enough eyesight, to where I can hopefully keep playing.”

Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar lost his left eye when he was struck by a foul ball just a few weeks earlier and Ratliff talked about how fortunate he feels to avoid the same fate:

I’m very blessed that it didn’t happen that way. That was the first thing that went through my mind. I wasn’t knocked out or anything. I was on the ground. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is going to happen to me too?”

You don’t wish something like what happened to Luis Salazar happening to anybody. I was scared for a little while there that I wasn’t going to be able to see, or I wasn’t going to play again. I’m still not completely out of the woods yet with returning, or being able to play. But God has blessed me with hopefully a second chance here.

Ratliff struggled somewhat in his first two-and-a-half pro seasons after being picked out of Stanford, but the 24-year-old outfielder hit .317 with 16 homers and a .933 OPS in 73 games at Double-A following a midseason promotion last year.

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.