Bud Selig’s comments about the expanded playoffs being inevitable may have been a bit premature. That’s because, as Jayson Stark reports, the league and the union — which has to sign off on any plan — haven’t gotten all that far along in the process. Michael Weiner:
“We’ve had healthy discussions at the bargaining table about a lot of different schedule formats. Included in those discussions were several formats which expand the playoffs in one form or another. But neither side has made any proposals. So it’s just too early in the bargaining process to predict or guess where it’s going to land.”
That said, the union did signal last year that it is not opposed to the idea in principal. And make no mistake: Weiner is very good at saying when the union is opposed to something on a fundamental level. This is not that, though. This is Weiner talking about details here, and he’s being cautious in doing so. Nothing I have seen or heard about all of this suggests that it’s not going to happen.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.