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Braves sign No. 5 pick Kyle Wright

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The Braves have officially signed No. 5 draft pick Kyle Wright, the team announced Friday. The 21-year-old right-hander will receive a signing bonus of $7 million, exceeding both the $5,707,300 typically reserved for No. 5 draftees and the $6.7 million signing bonus Kris Bryant received from the Cubs in 2013.

Wright was taken fifth overall in the first round of Monday’s annual amateur draft, though he was projected as high as the No. 1 slot by FanGraphs prior to the draft. He pitched to a 5-6 record with Vanderbilt University in 2017, logging a 3.40 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.5 SO/9 through 103 1/3 innings. The righty showed considerable improvement with his command after plunking a team-high 12 batters last year and profiles as a potential front-end starter with an impressive curveball and slider at his disposal. Comments from club GM John Coppolella suggest that he could see time in both the Gulf Coast League and Single-A Rome by the end of 2017.

Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, the Braves are also expected to sign second-round pick Drew Waters, which will bring the two signing bonuses to a projected $8.7 million. Waters, 18, is a switch-hitting outfielder from Etowah High School. He is expected to report to the Gulf Coast League later this year.

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.