ALDS Game 4 lineups: Rangers vs. Rays

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Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the Rangers-Rays series:

   TEXAS RANGERS               TAMPA BAY RAYS
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B          1. Desmond Jennings, LF
2. Elvis Andrus, SS         2. B.J. Upton, CF
3. Josh Hamilton, CF        3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Michael Young, DH        4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B        5. Johnny Damon, DH
6. Mike Napoli, C           6. Kelly Shoppach, C
7. Nelson Cruz, RF          7. Sean Rodriguez, SS
8. David Murphy, LF         8. Casey Kotchman, 1B
9. Mitch Moreland, 1B       9. Matt Joyce, RF

SP Matt Harrison, LHP       SP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP

Ron Washington is trotting out the same lineup against right-hander Jeremy Hellickson that he used in Game 2 versus right-hander James Shields, which means David Murphy in left field, Josh Hamilton in center field, and speedster Craig Gentry on the bench.

For the third time in four games the Rays will face a left-handed starter and that’s the exact same lineup Joe Maddon used against southpaw Derek Holland in Game 2. Maddon also started those same nine hitters versus lefty C.J. Wilson in Game 1, but had Sean Rodriguez atop the lineup and Desmond Jennings hitting eighth to break up Casey Kotchman’s and Matt Joyce’s lefty bats.

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.