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4/8/2024 |  MLB Union Wants Pitch Clock Studied As Arm Injuries Skyrocket (Front Office Sports)

After a number of baseball’s best pitchers were ruled out for the season over the weekend, the head of the MLB Players Association is blaming the league’s pitch clock rules for making the problem worse.

“Despite unanimous player opposition and significant concerns regarding health and safety, the Commissioner’s Office reduced the length of the pitch clock last December, just one season removed from imposing the most significant rule change in decades,” executive director Tony Clark said Saturday in a statement.

The league implemented the pitch clock ahead of the 2023 season and reduced the time to pitch when runners are on base from 20 to 18 seconds in December. Players averaged 7.3 seconds left on the 20-second clock when they began pitching last season, according to MLB.

Clark isn’t asking the league to eliminate the pitch clock; he just wants a study done.

“The league’s unwillingness thus far to acknowledge or study the effects of these profound changes is an unprecedented threat to our game and its most valuable asset—the players,” his statement read.

The league responded to Clark’s statement with one of its own, saying the MLBPA’s note ignores the “much more significant” long-term impacts of “velocity and spin increases.” The league cited a study from Johns Hopkins University that found no link between sped-up pitches and the likelihood of getting injured.

MLB said it is in the middle of a research study to understand the long-term rise of pitching injuries, and its results have so far matched those of the Hopkins study.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander chimed in on the trend. He said it’s easy to blame the pitch clock, but there are a lot more contributing factors, such as seam stitching changes in 2016, analytics that decide when to take a pitcher out, and everyone throwing as hard and as fast as they can—and learning to do it from a young age.

“Something needs to change,” Verlander said. “It’s obviously a pandemic and it’s going to take years to work itself out. … I can’t look at my Instagram feed without seeing some kids trying to learn how to throw as hard as they can at 10 years old. I sure as hell didn’t do that. I didn’t figure it out until college, I matured into my body.”

4/5/2024 |  Dominican judge denies request to lift court order against Rays’ Wander Franco in sex abuse probe (Associated Press (AP)) SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — A judge denied a request by Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco to suspend required monthly meetings with Dominican authorities investigating allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, according to a document The Associated Press obtained Friday.
4/5/2024 |  Athletics express sadness, some relief at moving out of Oakland at the end of the season (Associated Press (AP)) DETROIT (AP) — The Oakland Athletics no longer have to wonder where they’ll play the next few seasons. That won’t make the long goodbye any easier.
The A’s reacted to the announcement that this will be their last year in Oakland with a mixture of sadness and relief.
“At least as a player, you know where you’re headed,” outfielder Seth Brown said Friday before a game against the Tigers in Detroit. “There’s obviously a lot of moving parts, a lot of stuff we’re not privy to, so it’s just been kind of a waiting game on our end. Where are we going to go? Where are we going to be? So I think just having that knowledge -- at least we know where we’re going to be playing next year.”
4/5/2024 |  Braves celebrate 50 years since Hank Aaron broke home run record (AXIOS Sports) Next week, the Atlanta Braves will honor the 50th anniversary of legendary slugger Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's home run record.
Why it matters: "Hammerin' Hank" surpassed Ruth's 714 record when he hit his 715th home run on April 8, 1974, in a city that, just months earlier, elected the Deep South's first Black mayor and was forging ahead with its slogan of the "City Too Busy To Hate."
Flashback: Former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin, who tells Axios that she was at the record-breaking game with then-mayor Maynard Jackson and her ex-husband when Aaron reached that milestone, says witnessing that moment in history was "thrilling."
4/5/2024 |  Oakland A’s Moving to Sacramento for Next Three Seasons (SportsTravel) The Athletics will leave Oakland at season’s end and go to Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park, a minor league baseball stadium, starting in 2025 for at least three seasons ahead of the team’s permanent transition to Las Vegas.
The announcement was made by the Sacramento Kings, majority owner of the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, who play at 10,000-seat Sutter Health Park. The temporary spot for the Athletics will be from at least 2025-2027 with an option for 2028.

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