Marlins remove Heath Bell from ninth-inning role

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After watching Heath Bell blow his fourth save in seven chances Friday against the Padres, the Marlins are finally ready to make a change. Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald brings the breaking news:

Edward Mujica, Ryan Webb and Steve Cishek seem likely to split save opportunities going forward.

Bell signed a three-year, $27 million free agent contract with the Fish this offseason after posting a dominant 2.53 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 134 saves in five years for the Padres. Through his first 8 2/3 innings with Miami, the 34-year-old right-hander has registered an 11.42 ERA, 6.2 K/9 and only three converted saves.

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.