Ferrari helps in Cubs' lesson to stay humble

Strength coach Buss plans joke with Maddon, arrives in expensive car

Ferrari helps in Cubs' lesson to stay humble

MESA, Ariz. -- When you win a World Series, you travel in style, and Cubs strength coach Tim Buss arrived for Tuesday's workout in a white Ferrari convertible.

"It was just 'Bussy' being 'Bussy' and having a good time," Anthony Rizzo said. "With all the crazy things that us players did this offseason, him going to buy a Ferrari is even crazier."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats agree to deal with Wieters

Backstop's bat adds depth to Washington's lineup

Nats agree to deal with Wieters

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The Nationals had been the speculated landing spot for free-agent catcher Matt Wieters this offseason, and the two sides reached a deal on Tuesday, pending a physical, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.

The deal reportedly is for $21 million over two years, with an opt-out after the first season. Wieters will be paid $10.5 million in 2017 and the same amount if he returns for '18, with $5 million deferred through '21, according to The Washington Post.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Commissioner: Meaningful rule changes will take time

Commissioner: Meaningful rule changes will take time

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday in Phoenix the league won't see any "meaningful" rule changes brought to MLB play in 2017, though he hopes to see rules implemented in the future to address pace of play and rate of action issues.

"Unfortunately, it now appears there really won't be any meaningful rule change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said at Cactus League Media Day. "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 a concrete demonstration of the potential of our game to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Britton to miss intrasquad game with oblique issue

Britton to miss intrasquad game with oblique issue

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles closer Zach Britton will not pitch in Wednesday's intrasquad game as the lefty is dealing with early signs of an oblique issue.

The O's want to be extra cautious with Britton, which is why manager Buck Showalter said right now they'll take it day by day. Baltimore had half of its pitchers throw in Tuesday's intrasquad game and the other half were slated for Wednesday.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Simmons gearing up for 2017 Classic

Simmons gearing up for 2017 Classic

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Four years ago, Angels infielder Andrelton Simmons played a pivotal role in helping the Netherlands reach the semifinals of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Simmons, a native of Curacao, started at shortstop and hit .333 with two home runs, three doubles and six RBIs in eight games, an effort that helped the Netherlands secure its best finish in the tournament.

Next week, Simmons will depart for Seoul to represent the Netherlands in his second career World Baseball Classic. He'll join a loaded infield that will also feature the Yankees' Didi Gregorius, the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop and the Rangers' Jurickson Profar, many of whom are childhood friends of Simmons.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes throws knucklers in camp

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Cespedes throws knucklers in camp

The Mets are pretty stocked with pitching this year. Although they lost a legendary pitcher/hitter in the offseason, the return of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to a staff that already includes Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom should strike fear in hitters around the league.

But just in case it doesn't, Mets fans needn't worry, for Yoenis Cespedes is working on his knuckleball this spring. 

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Ichiro tweaks back in minor outfield collision

Ichiro tweaks back in minor outfield collision

JUPITER, Fla. -- Ichiro Suzuki needed directions to the training room. He'd never been there before -- ever. For the first time in his illustrious career, the 43-year-old Marlins outfielder sought medical assistance after colliding with non-roster invitee Brandon Barnes in what was ironically enough a communication drill late in Tuesday's Spring Training workout.

Ichiro, playing center, and Barnes, who was in right field, were chasing a fly ball. The two called for it simultaneously and neither heard the other.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Same pinstripes, new role for 'grateful' A-Rod

Former Yankee ready to guide team's next generation as special guest instructor

Same pinstripes, new role for 'grateful' A-Rod

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Alex Rodriguez needs a moment to clear his mind, he'll sometimes reach for one of his old game-model bats, now stashed near his office desk. Those indoor swings are enough for the three-time American League Most Valuable Player, who says that he is retired and has "zero" urge to play again.

Rodriguez arrived in Yankees camp on Tuesday, embracing his new role as a special guest instructor. Just six months after stepping into the box for what he promises was his final Major League at-bat, Rodriguez's new assignment will be to help guide the team's next generation of players.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giolito feels work from offseason paying off early in camp

No. 11 overall prospect hoping to see better results in 2017

Giolito feels work from offseason paying off early in camp

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Lucas Giolito likes the way the ball is coming out of his hand, a noticeable difference even through just one week of Spring Training pitching with the White Sox.

"Much better than last year," said Giolito, the league's No. 11 overall prospect, per MLBPipeline.com. "I made a lot of positive changes in the offseason trying to simplify things -- get back to basics, let the ball kind of come out of my hand instead of forcing it. And it's feeling very good."

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quiz: Which MLB city should you move to?

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Quiz: Which MLB city should you move to?

A hypothetical question: If a genie came down and granted you the ability to move anywhere in the country, where would you go? (And no, "more wishes" is not an option.) You'd want to be near a Major League Baseball team, obviously, but that doesn't narrow it down very much -- there are 30 of those, after all, in every part of the country. How to choose?

Luckily, we've got just the thing: Take the quiz below -- backed by our exclusive, ballpark snack-fueled algorithm -- and your new dream destination will be revealed. 

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Correa easing into drills after oral surgery

Correa easing into drills after oral surgery

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Still recovering from having four wisdom teeth removed, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is slowly working his way into baseball drills. On Tuesday, Correa worked out at the team's complex, where he took about 50 swings in the cage and said he felt good.

"I'm still a little sore, obviously, because it was kind of like a surgery, but I'm feeling better. It's pain I can tolerate, and I can go out there and do most of the work."

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ozzie aims to help bolster Cardinals' defense

Hall of Fame shortstop working on mental approach in spring camp

Ozzie aims to help bolster Cardinals' defense

JUPITER, Fla. -- On the heels of a season dotted with fundamental lapses, the Cardinals prioritized defensive work this spring and they summoned the most distinguished defensive player in franchise history to assist with that instruction.

Hall of Fame shortstop and 13-time Gold Glove Award winner Ozzie Smith arrived at the team's Spring Training complex on Tuesday for a weeklong stay in which he intends to be more than a quiet bystander. His hope is to help the Cardinals recalibrate defensively following a season that he described as "uncharacteristic of the organization."

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

5 pitchers aim to repeat breakout campaigns

5 pitchers aim to repeat breakout campaigns

MLB.com earlier profiled five breakout hitters from 2016 and examined their chances of sustaining that improvement this coming season.

Now, it's time to switch the focus to five starting pitchers who will face a similar challenge in 2017:

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With Mensch on Bench, Israel ready for Classic

With Mensch on Bench, Israel ready for Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Mensch on the Bench lives, and a full-size version of it is sitting in the passenger seat of Cody Decker's SUV. It traveled with him here from his home in Santa Monica, Calif., and will make the trip with Team Israel to Seoul, Korea, in early March for the opening round of the World Baseball Classic.

"I told my friends in L.A. that he's riding with me so I could use the diamond [high occupancy] lanes on the freeway," Decker said over lunch in a local pizza joint the other day. "He'll be on the bench with us again for the Classic."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Breaking down the Mets' Top 30 Prospects

New wave of talent takes over NY's system, headlined by position players Rosario and Smith

Breaking down the Mets' Top 30 Prospects

It had appeared like the top prospects had all graduated to the big leagues. After all, how could there be more impactful talent after the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz graduated off of the Mets' Top 30 list? Well, sometimes looks can be deceiving.

While it's true there weren't guys coming up and throwing gas and looking like future National League Cy Young Award candidates, a still-eligible Matz did get an NL Rookie of the Year Award vote to extend the Mets' streak of getting at least one ROY vote to three years, starting with deGrom's win in 2014. But the contributions from the farm system came from more unlikely sources.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brantley optimistic about recovery process

Indians outfield plans on hold with uncertainty of former All-Star

Brantley optimistic about recovery process

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley is not just Jason Kipnis' teammate, but one of his closest friends. Publicly, Brantley is a master at concealing his emotions and putting a positive face on a comeback that has spanned 18 months. Kipnis has seen Brantley behind the scenes, and understands how difficult things have been for the outfielder.

This offseason, Brantley remained in Cleveland to focus on his rehab from the right biceps tenodesis surgery he underwent in August. In December, after attending a wedding in Ohio, Kipnis made the drive to Progressive Field to spend some time with his friend.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero feels great after dinner, talk with Maddon

Cubs catcher wants to be veteran presence in backup role to Contreras

Montero feels great after dinner, talk with Maddon

MESA, Ariz. -- Over red wine and plates of ravioli, Cubs manager Joe Maddon and catcher Miguel Montero cleared the air, discussing the present and future and not harping on the past.

Maddon invited Montero to dinner Monday night, although the catcher got to pick the spot, and he chose an Italian place in Scottsdale. Montero went from being the Cubs' regular catcher at the start of the 2016 season to No. 3 behind Willson Contreras and David Ross. Montero said he was able to get some things off his chest.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell pain-free after facing Pirates pitchers

Bell pain-free after facing Pirates pitchers

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates first baseman Josh Bell took another step toward full recovery from offseason knee surgery, facing live pitching on Tuesday for the first time in Spring Training.

The switch-hitting Bell, who underwent the procedure a few weeks ago to remove a loose body in his left knee and help alleviate some discomfort, said he felt no pain while facing right-handers Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow at the Pirate City training complex.

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Jeff Odom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ellsbury joins Yanks camp after birth of child

Outfielder, Gardner viewed as keys to boosting club's lineup this season

Ellsbury joins Yanks camp after birth of child

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees have their full roster in camp following the arrival of outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who was granted a late report because his wife, Kelsey, was delivering the couple's second child.

Ellsbury participated in batting practice on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex on Tuesday, hitting in a group with Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

C. Carpenter will be guest instructor at camp

C. Carpenter will be guest instructor at camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Ozzie Smith's arrival in camp on Tuesday marked the start of what will be a steady stream of former Cardinals coming to serve as guest instructors.

Chris Carpenter, who pitched for the Cardinals from 2004-12, is a new addition to a list of instructors that will also include Jim Edmonds, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. Edmonds is expected in Florida within the next few days. Gibson is scheduled to arrive in early March. Carpenter will visit toward the end of camp.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Vogelbach flexing footwork, flexibility in camp

Results of offseason workouts impressing Servais

Vogelbach flexing footwork, flexibility in camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Daniel Vogelbach has always been a big kid with big aspirations. So the fact that he's now one of the biggest question marks in the Mariners' equation this season as an unproven rookie first baseman doesn't phase him in the least.

Listed at 6-foot, 250 pounds, the 24-year-old doesn't fit the mold of the typical Major League first baseman. But he pushed all winter in Florida to improve his flexibility and footwork to give himself the best chance possible this year, and he is eager to see how things play out on the practice fields of the Peoria Sports Complex.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Super utility: Uber on Franklin's resume

Rays player has been driver for past two offseasons

Super utility: Uber on Franklin's resume

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- You're taking Uber to the airport, and the driver looks familiar. Finally, it comes to you: Nick Franklin.

No way. Why would the Rays utility man be driving Uber?

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Amarista's versatility could be helpful to Rox

27-year-old has experience playing for new manager Black

Amarista's versatility could be helpful to Rox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By joining the Rockies, left-handed-hitting Alexi Amarista can continue doing a little bit of everything for manager Bud Black.

Amarista, 27, broke in with the Angels in 2011 but truly gained footing in 2012 after joining the Padres, then managed by Black, who was there through the first 65 games of 2015. With the Padres, Amarista played every position except first base and catcher, even ending up on the mound twice (although the first wasn't until June 17, 2015, the game after Black's departure).

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Achter eager for shot with hometown Tigers

Achter eager for shot with hometown Tigers

LAKELAND, Fla. -- A.J. Achter grew up a Tigers fan down the road in Toledo, Ohio. His family had season tickets to the Triple-A Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field when Craig Monroe roamed the outfield. He played in the same ballpark as a teenager, winning City League titles with Clay High School, before going on to Michigan State University.

When Achter had interest from Detroit in his first chance at free agency, the right-handed reliever jumped at the chance. As he competes for a job this Spring Training, he has the chance to jump-start his career where his roots are planted.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Torre: Extra-innings rule could help game

Chief baseball officer weighs in on experiment from managerial viewpoint

Torre: Extra-innings rule could help game

Major League Baseball's experiment to put a runner on second base to begin extra innings in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues is "far down the road, if we ever get there" from reaching MLB, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said Monday on MLB Network's "High Heat."

The rule change, which is similar to the current rules for the World Baseball Classic in games that reach the 11th inning, will be used in Rookie-level games this season. Each team will begin its half of the inning with a runner on second and zero outs in the 11th inning and later.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Young prospects can learn from Naquin

Young prospects can learn from Naquin

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The message delivered to Tyler Naquin at the start of Spring Training a year ago was short and to the point. The Indians had vacancies in the outfield and the young center fielder had a great opportunity to seize one of the jobs with a strong performance in the preseason. Naquin did precisely that, too.

This spring, Indians manager Terry Francona did not give the same message to prospects Bradley Zimmer, Greg Allen and Yandy Diaz. Those three outfielders, while considered an important part of Cleveland's future, are in Major League camp solely to gain experience. Barring any unexpected developments, they will likely find themselves in the Minors to begin the 2017 campaign.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves' new additions take part in BP

Phillips, Garcia and Dickey look forward to chance to contribute

Braves' new additions take part in BP

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even with more than 31 combined years of Major League service time, second baseman Brandon Phillips, right-hander R.A. Dickey and left-hander Jaime Garcia relished their first opportunity to face live batting practice opponents as members of the Braves.

"That's when you really know Spring Training's starting up and it's getting heated," Phillips said. "It's good just to see some live pitching."

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Zak Kerr is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils reveal starters for first 3 spring games

Alec Asher to pitch Grapefruit League opener on Friday

Phils reveal starters for first 3 spring games

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies on Tuesday announced their starting pitchers for three games this week.

Minor League right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. will pitch Thursday afternoon in an exhibition against the University of Tampa. Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure said he expects a few of the big league relief pitchers to follow him.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tucker feeling good, continues rehab process

Tucker feeling good, continues rehab process

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Five months removed from undergoing right shoulder surgery, Astros outfielder Preston Tucker is progressing as normal, but he has been limited to hitting flips during the first week of spring camp. He's been able to do all the defensive drills, though.

Tucker underwent surgery on Sept. 21 to repair the acromion, a bony projection on the shoulder blade. He appeared in 48 games for the Astros last season, hitting .164 with four homers and eight RBIs from the left side of the plate. Tucker didn't get his arm out of a sling until November and he wasn't able to lift the arm over his head until the start of 2017.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays hope Liriano continues to flourish

Post-trade, pitcher boosted by change of scenery, Martin's encouragement

Blue Jays hope Liriano continues to flourish

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When Francisco Liriano was traded from the Pirates to the Blue Jays on Aug. 1, his uniform wasn't the only thing that changed.

For Pittsburgh, Liriano had a 5.46 ERA in 21 starts. With Toronto, he had a 2.92 ERA in 10 appearances, eight of them starts, one big reason why the Blue Jays made it to the postseason.

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Paul Hagen is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.