Pariah no more! A-Rod was front and center for a big MLB community event

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Today in New York, Major League Baseball announced the launch of the “PLAY BALL” initiative, which is designed to encourage participation in baseball activities among kids. And not just in the form of organized leagues. Sandlot, playing catch, the whole deal. It seems like a pretty cool idea because, as so many have said, if you played baseball as a kid, you’re more likely to be a fan later. The website, linked above, has coaching tips, guides to help parents find community leagues and other information that can make it all easier.

The launch today happened at Heritage Park in New York, where Rob Manfred and members of the Yankees and Marlins — who are in town for an interleague series — were on hand. Included in the group:

Alex Rodriguez: good enough to market a very important Major League Baseball community initiative. I guess he’s officially off the s***-list.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.