Picture of the Day: Doug Fister shows off his flexibility

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Nationals right-hander Doug Fister allowed two runs on four hits and no walks over seven innings against the Phillies this afternoon as part of a 4-2 victory. While he was excellent on the mound yet again, perhaps the most remarkable thing he did was this stretch at first base while trying to complete a double-play.

Ryan Howard actually beat out the throw, so Fister’s effort went for naught, but that’s some pretty impressive flexibility. It gives new meaning to “pitching from the stretch.”  Fortunately for the Nationals, Fister didn’t hurt himself there. It’s worth noting that he played a little bit of first base in junior college.

That wasn’t the only display of Fister’s athleticism this afternoon. Check out this sprawling stop of a comebacker off the bat of Ben Revere.

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.