AL All-Star balloting update: Jose Bautista joins the leaders

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The latest American League ballot totals are in and the red-hot Jose Bautista has moved into third place in the outfielder voting, with Nelson Cruz dropping out of the lineup to fifth place.

Bautista had the AL’s highest vote total last year, but his slow start guarantees he won’t duplicate that feat this year. Instead, it looks like Josh Hamilton will take the title.

CATCHER
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 2,239,047
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,283,804
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,242,247

FIRST BASE
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 1,946,045
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 1,680,793
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 1,405,187

SECOND BASE
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 2,580,306
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 2,565,046
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,331,657

THIRD BASE
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 2,251,304
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 1,869,727
Evan Longoria, Rays: 1,442,308

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 3,359,875
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 2,008,678
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 968,963

OUTFIELD
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 5,414,880
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 2,818,535
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 1,996,940
Adam Jones, Orioles: 1,959,207
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 1,944,487
David Murphy, Rangers: 1,229,190
Nick Swisher, Yankees: 1,177,500
Jeff Francoeur, Royals: 823,568
Brett Gardner, Yankees: 818,164

DESIGNATED HITTER
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 2,390,132
Michael Young, Rangers: 1,892,150
Raul Ibanez, Yankees: 1,080,421

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.