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Rob Manfred still wants to improve pace of play

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has his eye on the pitch clock again. During the Owners Meetings on Friday, Manfred talked at length about his desire to improve the pace of play, citing the need for an “ongoing effort” to shorten games in order to make them more appealing to fans.

Per MLB.com’s Paul Hagen, that could mean the resurfacing of the pitch clock, which limits pitchers to a 20-second delivery window. It’s a method that has only been experimented with in the minor leagues so far, shortening games by as many as 16 minutes. Despite its effectiveness, there have been many arguments against implementing the pitch clock on a big league-level. It has the potential to be overly distracting, both to players and to crowds. Some players think it could rush the hitter or negatively affect a pitcher’s arm, while others think it affords pitchers an excessive amount of time to deliver a pitch. Still others, both players and fans, don’t see anything wrong with a more leisurely pace of play — even the kind that breeds four-hour, 32-minute NLDS-clinching marathons.

Nothing looks close to being agreed upon at this point, though discussions between the owners and players’ association are ongoing. Manfred suggested that there may be multiple approaches to the issue, which is one he feels that “players, owner, umpires — everyone who is invested in this game” should be concerned with. Whether or not he receives the kind of collaboration and compromise he’s seeking remains to be seen.

The Red Sox are calling up Rafael Devers

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Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox are calling up third base prospect Rafael Devers. He’ll be in Seattle for the start of the three-game set between the Sox and Mariners.

Devers, 20, is the top prospect in the Boston system according to MLB Pipeline. He has spent most of his season with Double-A Portland, where he hit .300/.369/.575 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 320 plate appearances. He was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after the All-Star break. In eight games with Pawtucket, Devers hit .355/.412/.581 with two home runs and four RBI.

There is still just over a week until the non-waiver trade deadline, but perhaps the Red Sox seem confident Devers can be the answer to the third base problem.

Stephen Strasburg exited Sunday’s start with an apparent injury

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It’s not a good day if you’re a star starting pitcher. First Clayton Kershaw, now Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals’ right-hander lasted only two innings in Sunday’s start against the Diamondbacks, leaving with an apparent injury. Strasburg held the D-Backs to a hit and three walks with two strikeouts without allowing a run. Matt Grace relieved him in the third inning.

Including Strasburg’s two innings on Sunday, he’s carrying a 3.25 ERA with a 141/37 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings.

The Nationals should pass along word on Strasburg’s condition shortly.