Bill Baer

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Video: Bryce Harper hits a massive spring training homer

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Spring exhibition games have begun and that means we finally have some fresh baseball highlights at our disposal. Let’s kick things off with one of the longer home runs you’ll see this spring.

The Mets hosted the Nationals at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Saturday afternoon. Lefty Sean Gilmartin started for the Mets and worked a perfect first inning. Nats outfielder Bryce Harper led off the top of the second and swung at a first-pitch fastball from Gilmartin. It was absolutely crushed to right-center field, nearly clearing the berm beyond the fence.

Harper, 24, is trying to show that his 2015 NL MVP Award-winning season was no fluke, as he had what was by his standards a down year last season. He finished batting .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 627 plate appearances.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.