Joey Cora among finalists for Seattle manager

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Greg Johns of MLB.com has the inside scoop:

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has returned to Seattle on Saturday and is beginning the second round of interviews for a new manager this weekend, with former Mariners second baseman Joey Cora among a handful of finalists.

Cora acted as a bench coach and third base coach under Ozzie Guillen during Guillen’s managerial tenure with the White Sox (2004-2011) and Marlins (2012). Cora also spent three years (2001-2003) as a manager in the Expos’ and Mets’ minor league systems.

He suited up for the Mariners from 1995-1998 as part of an 11-year major league playing career.

A’s bench coach Chip Hale, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach, Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and former Mariners catcher Dave Valle have also interviewed for the Seattle job, which was vacated in late September by Eric Wedge’s resignation.

Brad Ausmus, who has already spoken with the Tigers and Cubs, is also in the running with the M’s.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.