Hinch looks forward to visit from Manfred

Astros manager calls Commissioner coming to Houston 'a big day'

Hinch looks forward to visit from Manfred

HOUSTON -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will meet with players from both the Astros and Rangers on Wednesday afternoon during his visit to Minute Maid Park. Manfred, who is in his first season as Commissioner, has been visiting with players and club officials from all 30 clubs.

"He'll sit with us and I know he'll, in some ways, introduce himself to a couple of people that have never met him and stand in front of the team," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We'll have a small meeting to hear any words of encouragement he has. It's a big day when you get some of the Commissioner's time and he comes to our home city."

One of Manfred's biggest initiatives since taking over as Commissioner has been improving the pace of play. Baseball installed clocks this year that are used between innings to make sure the games move along, as well as rules trying to enforce that batters stay in the box between pitches.

"The pace of play, you can tell it's a non-issue anymore," Hinch said. "I don't even look at the clock anymore. Every now and then, you'll notice when a hitter steps out of the box. … It has shown some pretty immediate, favorable results, which is nice. Some of the instant-replay tweaks that were done, sort of between Commissioner [Bud] Selig and Commissioner Manfred, have gone, at least from our perspective, smoothly."

While appearing on MLB Network on Monday, Manfred said the Astros, who were on a 10-game winning streak at the time, were the best story in baseball.

"Somebody told me he was giving us some love," Hinch said. "We'll take all the love we can get. We like it when people love us."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.