Red Sox unveil statue for Carl Yastrzemski

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The Red Sox unveiled a statue yesterday honoring Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski. It’s the third statue at Fenway Park, joining one of Ted Williams and a “teammates” statue featuring Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr.

The new monument sits outside Fenway’s Gate B and depicts a 44-year-old Yastrzemski tipping his cap at Fenway before his final major league at-bat 30 years ago on October 2, 1983. Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Luis Tiant, and Bill Lee were among those on hand for yesterday’s unveiling.

Yastrzemski, who also threw out of the first pitch prior to yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays, told the Associated Press that he was touched by the team’s tribute.

“It means tremendous importance to me,” he said, standing at the base of the statue after a 30-minute ceremony that included some of his former teammates and current members of the AL East champions. “This is as important to me as being elected to the Hall of Fame and having my number retired. It’s a tremendous honor.”

Plenty deserving of the honor, Yastrzemski spent his entire 23-year career with the Red Sox, compiling a .285/.379/.462 batting line to go along with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, and 1844 RBI. An 18-time All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, he was awarded the American League MVP award in 1967 after winning the Triple Crown.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.