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Report: Active rosters to expand to 26 players in 2020

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Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are close to agreeing to expand active rosters to 26 players for the start of the 2020 regular season. This is in exchange for a commitment to discuss larger economic issues after Opening Day, which is later this month.

Additionally, September rosters would be lowered from 40 players to 28 players, beginning in 2020. This is done in part to help speed along the pace of September games, which tended to drag on because teams had many more relief pitching options and thus could afford to make plenty of pitching changes. Additionally, teams not in the playoff picture tended to play their young, inexperienced players even if the game technically mattered because it was being played with a team that was in the playoff hunt. As a result, certain teams that got lucky with their September schedules essentially got free wins down the stretch.

The union wants to discuss larger economic issues as the free agent market stagnated in recent years. While Bryce Harper and Manny Machado eventually got their money, A) it took them a lot longer than usual to actually reach an agreement, and B) lesser-skilled free agents are still on the market or settled for lesser contracts than they might have had to even just a few years ago. There are myriad reasons for free agency becoming what it is today and the union is hoping to address those reasons ahead of December 2021, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. The union is also aware of service time manipulation, so that may be another topic brought up.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.