Pedroia loses cool after called strike three, gets tossed

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Pedroia loses cool after called strike three, gets tossed

BOSTON On the calmest of days, Dustin Pedroia is usually the most fired-up player in the Red Sox dugout. It doesnt take much to light his fuse.

So, with the Sox trailing the Rangers by two runs in the eighth inning, when he was called out by first base umpire Paul Nauert for what Nauert perceived as a swing on an outside curveball for the second out of the inning, Pedroia vociferously let Nauert know his displeasure. All the way back to the dugout he demonstrated his checked swing. In the dugout. Especially after a double off the wall by Adrian Gonzalez, the next batter, surely would have scored Pedroia. And until the side was retired.

Going back to second base for the ninth, though, Pedroia took a slow walk, being sure to ignore Nauert on the way.

But after David Murphy was hit by a Craig Breslow pitch leading off the ninth, Pedroia unloaded on Nauert. Very quickly, the Sox second baseman was tossed from the game. It was the second time in his career hes been ejected and first since Aug. 19, 2008, in Baltimore.

Manager Bobby Valentine, who ran out to support his second baseman, argued with Nauert, as chants of Bob-bee, Bob-bee filled Fenway Park. The chants were a first this season for Valentine, in home game No. 62.

Pedroia had already left Fenway by the time reporters were allowed into Fenway Park. But the Sox perspective on the situation was clear.

It was a bad call, said Jon Lester, who took the loss. Pedey obviously is very emotional and plays this game with a lot of heart and for him to get that fired up, obviously he knew he was right. It was a bad call. I shouldnt say a turning point in the game but if he battles and gets in there, maybe its a different game.

Well, its a two-run ballgame, said Will Middlebrooks. Its a tough call. Is it hard to see? Yeah, sure. At the same time, I don't know. its just a tough situation. Its a tight ballgame. We needed everything to go our way.

It looked like he checked his swing from our vantage point, Valentine said. Then Adrian hits one off the wall, of course.

I was pretty angry, and supporting my guy. I said more to Nauert than I said other times and gotten thrown out. He wasnt going to throw me out. Unless I made a complete fool of myself or punched him or something. And I dont like staying out on the field that long with my pitcher on the mound.

Valentine thought the situation was over when the Sox took the field in the top of the ninth.

I was watching Pedroia, Valentine said. I wasnt expecting another play. He made an innocuous comment and got thrown out. Its not like he went out on the field yelling. He stayed totally away from him. I was watching him. Bres Craig Breslow throws that pitch and he makes some comment and gets thrown out. Whatever.

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.