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MLB finds no rules violation after ball sticks to Yadier Molina’s chest protector

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Major League Baseball won’t be taking any action against the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina after a wayward pitch stuck to the catcher’s chest protector during Thursday’s 6-4 loss to the Cubs. According to the official rulebook, the use of any foreign substance on a baseball is strictly prohibited, but there are no provisions in place to punish a non-pitcher who is caught with the substance on his person.

That may be why, as both ESPN’s Mark Saxon and the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales pointed out, the Cubs did not request that home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott inspect the ball shortly after the incident occurred. After the game, Cubs’ outfielder Jason Heyward explained that Molina had probably used something like pine tar or an adhesive spray called Tuf-Skin to get a better grip on the ball, which inadvertently led to the odd play — and, later, a blown lead for the Cardinals.

Both Molina and manager Mike Matheny denied any knowledge of a foreign substance on Molina’s uniform. No in-depth explanation has been offered up by the team so far, and with Major League Baseball backing off, it’s unlikely that they’ll volunteer more details anytime soon. As Matheny relayed to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch: “I don’t know what happened. I have no idea. I’ve never seen it.”

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.