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White Sox sign Everth Cabrera to minor league deal

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Middle infielder Everth Cabrera picked up a minor league contract with the White Sox last week, according to a report by La Prensa in Nicaragua. The 30-year-old has not played professional baseball since 2015, when he was released by the Giants after refusing to play for their Triple-A affiliate when he did not get a September call-up.

Prior to his dispute with the Giants, Cabrera saw some major league action with the Orioles through the first half of 2015, batting .208/.250/.229 with two stolen bases in 105 PA. It’s a far cry from the league-leading 44 bases he stole with the Padres back in 2012, and even though he’s reportedly made strides in the Nicaraguan professional baseball circuit since then, he’ll face some stiff competition for a roster spot in the spring.

As the White Sox roster currently stands, Brett Lawrie figures to have a lock on second base, while Tim Anderson is expected to cover short. Unless Cabrera can prove he’s retained some of the speed that earned him an All-Star nomination in 2013 (or, at the very least, his .283/.355/.381 batting line), it’s difficult to picture him winning a starting role in 2017.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.