Rob Manfred voted in as new MLB commissioner

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UPDATE: Manfred’s election was just made official in a press conference. Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com has some quotes:

6:16 p.m. ET: Manfred ended up being elected unanimously, which is a positive thing from an optics perspective, even though there was some objection.

6:04 p.m. ET: After a long day of deliberations in Baltimore, MLB owners have finally voted in Rob Manfred as Bud Selig’s successor as MLB commissioner.

Manfred, 55, will be the 10th commissioner in MLB history. Selig, who has served as commissioner since 1992, will retire when his contract expires on January 25, 2015.

Manfred was one of three candidates at the start of today, along with MLB’s Executive Vice President of Business Tom Brosnan and Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. However, Brosnan dropped out of the race around midday. Manfred received 22 out of 30 votes in the balloting earlier this afternoon, leaving him one vote short of election, but the owners (likely with some serious convincing from Selig) were eventually able to bridge the gap and reach a consensus. Per the New York Daily News, the Blue Jays, Red Sox, White Sox, Nationals, Angels, Athletics, Diamondbacks, and Reds were the teams who initially backed Werner over Manfred.

Selig’s preferred successor, Manfred has been involved with baseball since 1987. He became MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations and human resources in 1998 before his role was expanded to include executive vice president of economics and league affairs in 2012. He was promoted the position of chief operating officer last September, reporting directly to Selig, a move which essentially signified that he was the heir apparent for the job. During his time with MLB, he has helped lead negotiations for three collective bargaining agreements (2002, 2006, and 2011) as well as the joint drug agreement.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.