Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game

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Gonzalez gets six at-bats in minor league game

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. With general manager Theo Epstein, manager Terry Francona, third baseinfield coach Tim Bogar, and his agent John Boggs among the onlookers, Adrian Gonzalez got six at-bats in a game at the Red Sox player development complex Wednesday afternoon.

Batting third in each of the first six innings another sign of spring training in the Pawtucket Red Sox game against the Rays Triple-A Durham Bulls, Gonzalez went 3-for-6, all singles, with a run scored and an RBI, as he makes his way back from off-season surgery on his right shoulder to prepare for full-time play in the regular season. He saw a combined 24 pitches in his plate appearances. Gonzalez did not play in the field.

It went well, Gonzalez said after his outing, a large ice pack wrapped around his right shoulder. The shoulders been feeling really good. I know for head trainer Mike Reinold, the important issue was playing back-to-back games. For me it was more getting my timing down. The first couple of days I was just hitting, just looking for a fastball. And then the last couple of days Ive been trying to actually have at-bats. It hasnt gone too well. So, it was good to be able to go up there and try to have at-bats. And then kind of mix it up and be aggressive. It felt good.

Gonzalez faced Rays' minor league right-handers Richard De Los Santos and Jeremy Hall.

Held out of games until March 12 as the Sox monitored his shoulders progress, Gonzalez has gotten just 16 plate appearances in six Grapefruit League games. By comparison, minor-league infielder Nate Spears leads the team with 56 plate appearances in 21 Grapefruit League games. Gonzalez is hitting just .143, going 2-for-14 with two walks.

Ive been seeing the ball great as far as seeing it out of the hands, seeing ball-strike, Gonzalez said. But when it comes to actually seeing a pitch I want to swing at and swinging, it just wasnt clicking. I really dont care about results because results, it doesnt really matter in spring training. It's just being able to see a strike and take a good swing at a strike with the right timing. It hasnt been there quite. So today I felt a lot better out there.

Gonzalez expects to play in the Sox remaining Grapefruit League games, except Thursday in Jupiter against the Marlins and Sunday in Sarasota against the Orioles.

He has also resumed using his regular bat instead of the lighter one which he used for most of his spring training at-bats.

Im using the right one now, he said. Today I used the normal bat. Ive been trying it out an at-bat here and there. But today I actually took it out every at-bat because they were all righties. It felt fine.

Gonzalez had surgery in October, after originally injuring his shoulder in Houston in May diving for a foul ball.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.