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Hanley Ramirez exits game after being hit by pitch

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Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez left Thursday night’s game against the Yankees after he was hit on the hand by a Sonny Gray fastball in the bottom of the first inning. Given the drama that unfolded on Wednesday, home plate umpire Chris Guccione issued warnings to both teams. Mitch Moreland pinch-ran for Ramirez and stayed in the game to play first base.

For what it’s worth, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe said, “Gray’s reaction was not one of somebody who intended to do that.”

Ramirez has gotten off to a good start, batting .357/.404/.548 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 47 plate appearances entering Thursday’s action. With the hot-hitting Xander Bogaerts on the disabled list, the Red Sox would be quite short-handed if Ramirez were to need to take some time off to mend his injury.

Ramirez will undergo evaluation and the Red Sox should pass along an update later tonight. (Update: X-rays negative, per Abraham.)

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.