Rodriguez keeps making positive strides toward return to real games

Grayson

Grayson Rodriguez is confident that he’ll pitch again in September.

The progress he’s making from a strained lat suggests that he’s right.

The Orioles say Rodriguez is scheduled for another bullpen session, followed by live batting practice and a simulated game. All of it happening this week down in Sarasota, Fla.

A prolonged shutdown period led to flat-ground throwing with increased distances, a half-mound session and then regular bullpen sessions.

Throwing live batting practice and in a sim game finally allow Rodriguez to face hitters as he nears a return.

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Will MLB's darkest day in 27 years prove just as disastrous?

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Ask any knowledgeable baseball fan of a certain age about the significance of Aug. 12, 1994, and you'll get a shudder and a scowl out of them. That's the day Major League Baseball players went on strike, a decision that ultimately led to the cancellation of the World Series and a delayed start to the following season.

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MLB cancels first two series after deadline passes with no deal

MLB cancels first two series after deadline passes with no deal

For the second time in three years, the Major League Baseball season will not start on time. And for the first time in 27 years, it's because of a labor dispute.

Unable to come to terms with the MLB Players Association on a new collective bargaining agreement before the league's self-imposed, once-postponed 5 p.m. deadline today, commissioner Rob Manfred officially announced opening day will not take place as scheduled March 31, then added he has canceled the first week of the regular season.

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Deadline passes without new CBA (updated with Manfred quotes)

Deadline passes without new CBA (updated with Manfred quotes)
The second deadline imposed by Major League Baseball has passed without the creation of a new collective bargaining agreement. The MLB Players Association rejected the league's final offer and will move past 5 p.m. without a resolution. The vote was unanimous, according to reports, and came with approximately 40 minutes left on the clock. Union reps exited Roger Dean Stadium, and presumably are leaving Florida. The lockout reached its 90th day and the sport is now facing its first labor...
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MLB pushes back deadline as sides move close to deal

MLB pushes back deadline as sides move close to deal

For much of Monday, the prospect of the first postponed opening day due to a labor fight looked inevitable. As representatives of Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association gathered yet again at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., for yet another day of negotiations, even the most optimistic observers were left believing a deal couldn't be reached in time to satisfy the league's Feb. 28 deadline to ensure an on-time start to the season.

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What's likely to be the final sticking point in negotiations?

What's likely to be the final sticking point in negotiations?
If you're the optimistic sort, you probably looked at Monday's face-to-face meetings between Major League Baseball owners and player representatives, which took up most of the afternoon in Jupiter, Fla., as encouraging news. At last they two sides were talking in person, with actual participants involved, extending and reacting to competing offers, caucusing in separate corners for a while, then returning to present counteroffers before breaking for the day. If you're the pessimistic type,...
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What would a condensed spring training look like?

What would a condensed spring training look like?
We've tried to stay optimistic around here for the last 2 1/2 months, so until someone gives us legitimate reason not to be, we'll stay optimistic and hope Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association work out a deal within the next week and ensure opening day will proceed March 31 as planned. Even if that happens, though, it's going to be a wild scramble for everyone to get ready for spring training, open camps and get the proper work in to prepare players for the regular...
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Spring training games delayed until at least March 5

Spring training games delayed until at least March 5
What had already been widely understood was made official by Major League Baseball this afternoon: Spring training is delayed due to the ongoing labor battle that has yet to produce a new collective bargaining agreement. With camps across Florida and Arizona supposed to open earlier this week, and with the Grapefruit and Cactus league schedules set to commence Feb. 26, a postponement had become inevitable. In its formal announcement today, MLB - which enacted a lockout of the players when the...
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Despite issues, MLB still has more parity than other leagues

Despite issues, MLB still has more parity than other leagues
The National Football League crowned a new champion Sunday night, the Rams winning their first Super Bowl in 22 years (when they still played in St. Louis), making this their first Lombardi Trophy while representing Los Angeles. And they did so by beating a Bengals franchise making its first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years, a franchise still seeking its first title after this heartbreaking loss. The NFL, with its salary cap and even distribution of television money (something it can do...
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Will latest offer spark talks or leave them stagnant?

Will latest offer spark talks or leave them stagnant?
Nobody really expected Major League Baseball's latest offer to players to bring an immediate end to the lockout, but there was hope it would at least spark more aggressive negotiations between the two warring parties as the clock ticks down to the point of no return. Based on the immediate reaction widely reported Saturday, it didn't achieve that goal. And that's only going to leave more people around the sport worried the season might not actually start on time. We don't have to delve into...
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What needs to happen this week to keep spring training on tap

What needs to happen this week to keep spring training on tap
Friday's news of the Major League Baseball Players Association declining the league's request to bring a government mediator into the stalled negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement made for a dour start to the weekend. As a new week arrives, we're all left wondering a seemingly simple, yet perhaps not-actually-simple question: What happens now? We don't have an official answer yet, but the actions of both parties in the next 48 hours or so should give us a good clue about...
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MLB can only watch as COVID-19 impacts rest of sports world

MLB can only watch as COVID-19 impacts rest of sports world
By sheer virtue of timing, Major League Baseball was the first major North American sport to return to play during the pandemic. July 2020 feels like a lifetime ago at this point, but it's worth remembering just how uncertain everything was as ballplayers took the field for the first time in empty stadiums. We didn't know if the strict protocols put into place were going to allow for games to be played without the spread of the virus. We didn't know if clubhouses would become petri dishes...
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A vote against expanding the postseason field

A vote against expanding the postseason field
Watching college football the last two weekends, I couldn't help but keep asking myself: Why does that sport still only allow four teams into its top-level playoff? How much better would it be if every major conference winner automatically qualified, plus two at-large teams and the highest-ranked team from one of the other conferences, making up an eight-team bracket? Which also got me thinking how baseball really does have its postseason system right at the moment. Ten of the sport's 30...
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MLB suspends Castro 30 games, Nats will release him

MLB suspends Castro 30 games, Nats will release him
Major League Baseball has suspended Starlin Castro for 30 days for violating the league's domestic abuse policy, and the Nationals subsequently announced they will release the veteran infielder once he completes the suspension. "My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Starlin Castro violated Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in the league's announcement. "Having reviewed...
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Strasburg backed down after continued issues with neck

Strasburg backed down after continued issues with neck
A frustrating 21 months since being named the 2019 World Series Most Valuable Player continues for Stephen Strasburg, who once again experienced neck pain while throwing during his latest bullpen session. The veteran right-hander was able to throw a bullpen session and then long toss earlier this week, but his second bullpen session caused more discomfort in his neck and forced the Nationals to keep him from throwing for now while they try to work out the next steps. "So Strasburg, once again,...
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Rizzo: Nationals don't plan for Castro to return to team

Rizzo: Nationals don't plan for Castro to return to team
General manager Mike Rizzo spoke out forcefully against Starlin Castro and the recent domestic violence allegation made against the Nationals third baseman, accepting responsibility for signing him despite a previous allegation of sexual assault and saying he does not expect Castro to return to play for his team. "I am not planning on having Starlin Castro back," Rizzo said this afternoon outside the dugout at Nationals Park, taking questions from beat reporters for the first time since...
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Scherzer makes case for pine tar, not stickier stuff

Scherzer makes case for pine tar, not stickier stuff
After offering an update on the status of a tweaked groin that will prevent him from starting Wednesday's series finale against the Pirates, Max Scherzer offered a lengthy take on a subject matter that has become current issue No. 1 across baseball: foreign substances. With Major League Baseball attempting to crack down on pitchers using so-called "sticky stuff" to improve their grip and spin rate, Scherzer spoke of both players' desire to allow certain substances to be used to help prevent...
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Nats cleared to work out Monday, play Tuesday (updated)

Nats cleared to work out Monday, play Tuesday (updated)
The Nationals were cleared to open their season Tuesday against the Braves after another round of tests came back negative for COVID-19, and will be given the opportunity to hold a full workout for all healthy and eligible players at Nationals Park on Monday. Major League Baseball made the much anticipated announcement late tonight after another long day of uncertainty. Though the Nationals (who now have 11 players and two staff members in quarantine) saw their fourth consecutive game postponed...
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A modest proposal for a better postseason format

A modest proposal for a better postseason format
Among the pressing topics reportedly still being discussed between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association as the 2021 season inches ever closer is the possibility of keeping the playoff field expanded again. You'll recall that 16 teams made the postseason in 2020, six more than ever had before. It was an acknowledgment of the inability of a 60-game season to distinguish the best teams from the rest of the pack, and most folks accepted and understood why it was needed. But now...
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Nationals finished with seventh-highest payroll in 2020

Nationals finished with seventh-highest payroll in 2020
The Nationals finished the 2020 season with the seventh-largest payroll in Major League Baseball, down three slots from their position during their World Series run the previous year but still leaving them among the sport's biggest spenders. The Nats paid out a grand total of $76.2 million to all players on their 40-man roster this season, according to figures obtained and published by the Associated Press on Saturday evening. That ranked seventh in the majors, behind the World Series champion...
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