Ron Gardenhire sticks with his regulars for Game 3 vs. Yanks

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at possibly using Alexi Casilla in place of J.J. Hardy or Danny Valencia with the team facing elimination in Game 3 against the Yankees tonight, but he has all of his regulars in there against Phil Hughes (via Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
J.J. Hardy, SS

The lefty-heavy Twins weren’t able to muster much in the way of offense against southpaws CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte over the first two games of the series, but they should be a bit more comfortable Phil Hughes tonight. 17 of the 25 home runs that Hughes allowed during the regular season came against left-handed batters. Unsurprisingly, opposing batters had a 754 OPS against Hughes at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium this season compared to a 624 OPS on the road.   

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.