Pedroia lets his play do the talking

846923.jpg

Pedroia lets his play do the talking

BALTIMORE With a group of reporters huddled around his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards, Dustin Pedroia finished putting on his jacket, popped in his ear buds and stone-facedly walked past every questioner on his way out to the Red Sox team bus.

Pedroia had collected two hits, scored a run, knocked in another run and sparked the Red Sox offense with his antics, energy and uncanny ability to make plays that win ballgames. He did just that in the fifth inning when he tagged up from third and just barely beat an Adam Jones thrown from center field that arrived at home plate just on time.

Hes trying to leave it on the field every single night," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Hes that competitor that makes a team go. He never stops. He hits all pitches. He makes all plays. How hes not on an All-Star team player every year is beyond me. I know this year it was because of the thumb thing, of course.

Thats one of the best arms in the league and it was shallow center field. It seems like he can run just as fast as he has to to be safe. Thats pretty special.

If Pedroia had been gunned down there, it could have been a gut punch for the Sox. Instead, Pedroia scored, let out a primal scream, pumped his feet and immediately lifted the energy in his own dugout en route to a 6-3 win over the Orioles.

I dont know how much more energy he could bring because if he did then he would probably die, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He wants to win. The same thing as everybody, but hes the little guy that just goes hard all the time. Its something you can always feed off of. Its fun to watch him play.

His play spoke for itself, and his quiet exit from the clubhouse left his teammates to fill in the blanks with compliments, attaboys and verbal bouquets of all shapes and sizes. Perhaps hes keeping silent now after he was leveled by sharp criticism and harsh accusations in the Yahoo! Sports story accounting players attempting to get Bobby Valentine fired. Perhaps hes just done talking, aside from his play on the field.

He plays as hard as anybody Ive ever seen, said Cody Ross. Even on the ball that I hit to left field that he scored on, he was halfway to third by the time the ball got to the fielders glove and hes trucking as hard as he can.

Hes doing it with the bat too. Its a lot of fun when hes on his game.

Whatever the case hell need to be one of the pivotal guys if things are going to start changing for a Sox team that needs to play .750 baseball the rest of the way. The Sox need accountability, they need urgency and they need non-stop energy and Pedroia brings all those things when its harnessed in one direction.

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.