Orioles sign relief pitcher Evan Meek and outfielder Jack Cust to minor league contracts

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According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have signed right-handed reliever Evan Meek to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. And outfielder Jack Cust got the same deal, reports Roch Kubatko at MASN.

Meek will try to revitalize his major league career with the O’s after spending the last two seasons battling shoulder issues. The 30-year-old will be fighting for a middle relief job this spring in camp.

Cust, 35, did not play MLB-affiliated ball in 2013 and spent the entire 2012 season at Triple-A. He batted just .213/.344/.329 in 270 plate appearances with the Mariners in 2011 and will be a longshot to make the Opening Day roster this year in Baltimore.

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.