Nick Markakis is “good to go” for spring training

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Nick Markakis wasn’t able to make it back from September thumb surgery in time for the playoffs, but the Orioles outfielder said yesterday on WBAL radio in Baltimore that he’s “good to go” for spring training.

Markakis had been one of league’s most durable players prior to undergoing three different surgeries last season, playing just 104 games while hitting .298 with 13 homers and an .834 OPS that was his highest since 2008.

“I’ve had no setbacks,” Markakis said, via Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. “My thumb feels good. Everything couldn’t have gone better.”

According to Markakis he would have been ready to rejoin the Orioles’ lineup had they advanced to the World Series, so he should be at full strength by now.

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.