Carlos Beltran out Sunday with lower back tightness

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Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com that veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran began experiencing tightness in his lower back near the end of Saturday’s loss to the Pirates and will not be in the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale at PNC Park.

The back tightness is not a serious concern.

Beltran is batting .310/.343/.522 with 23 home runs and 71 RBI in 122 games this season. He owns an .853 OPS (132 OPS+), 55 home runs and 168 RBI in 273 games since agreeing to a bargain two-year, $26 million contract before the start of the 2012 campaign.

The Cardinals currently trail the Pirates by one game in the National League Central standings.

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.