Pariah no more! A-Rod was front and center for a big MLB community event

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Today in New York, Major League Baseball announced the launch of the “PLAY BALL” initiative, which is designed to encourage participation in baseball activities among kids. And not just in the form of organized leagues. Sandlot, playing catch, the whole deal. It seems like a pretty cool idea because, as so many have said, if you played baseball as a kid, you’re more likely to be a fan later. The website, linked above, has coaching tips, guides to help parents find community leagues and other information that can make it all easier.

The launch today happened at Heritage Park in New York, where Rob Manfred and members of the Yankees and Marlins — who are in town for an interleague series — were on hand. Included in the group:

Alex Rodriguez: good enough to market a very important Major League Baseball community initiative. I guess he’s officially off the s***-list.

Report: Twins interested in Wade Miley

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Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.

The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.

Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”