Domonic Brown diagnosed with sprained right thumb

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Ben Francisco has begun to lose his grip on the starting right field job by batting just .107 (3-for-28) with a 7/7 K/BB ratio this month, but at least now he has a little more time to right the ship.

According to David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal, Domonic Brown was diagnosed with a first degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb and will be sidelined for 5-7 days. Brown suffered the injury while playing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, so he could presumably return to action sometime next week.

Brown has bounced back nicely from hamate bone surgery by batting .353/.425/.588 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBI over his first 40 plate appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The most important thing is that the 23-year-old gets regular at-bats right now, but he should eventually get a chance at the job he was expected to win at the start of spring training.

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.