Red Sox

Gonzalez hopes to resolve his health, contract

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Gonzalez hopes to resolve his health, contract

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Adrian Gonzalez is happy to be a member of the Red Sox. He'll be happier still when two issues get resolved -- his surgically-repaired right shoulder and a completed contract extension.

Gonzalez underwent surgery on his right shoulder in October, but is waiting to get get clearance from surgeon Dr. David Altchek to begin swinging. That should come next week and could put him a week ahead of schedule.

"I'm looking forward to that day," he said. "I've been counting the days now. Hopefully, when the doctor sees me, he clears me and I can start swinging that day or the following day. It's different (not being allowed to swing at the start of spring training), but I'm in no rush. It's a process and you don't want to get ahead of anything."

Gonzalez said he and the Red Sox were waiting to hear back from Altcheck Thursday to set up an appointment. The visit will take place in Port St. Lucie, across the state (Altchek is based there as the Mets' team physician), and should take no longer than 15 or 20 minutes.

Originally, the Sox and Gonzalez had set March 1 as a tentative date for when the first baseman would beging swinging, with a Grapefruit League debut three weeks later. Under the revised timetable, Gonzalez would appear to be about a week ahead of schedule, meaning he might see some game action in the second week of March.

"There's zero discomfort, zero limitations (with the shoulder)," he said. "I'm exactly where I need to be post-surgery. Everything's going as planned. It feels great. I know I could swing today if I wanted to, but there's no rush. I'll be ready for Opening Day. I feel like I'll be 100 percent. April 1 is definitely something I should be ready for."

Gonzalez added that he customarily doesn't swing until "spring training, so I'm not too far behind," where he would be in any other off-season.

Then there's the issue of his contract. There's a general feeling around the Red Sox that Gonzalez and the club have essentially reached agreement on a seven-year, 154 million extension, but are waiting until after Opening Day -- for payroll and luxury tax purposes -- to finalize it and officially announce it.

"Hopefully, we can get it done sooner rather than later," said Gonzalez. "From my end, I want to show them I'm healthy and I'm playing 100 percent out there."

Gonzalez said he watched the recently concluded negotiations involving Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals with some interest, but said those talks wouldn't have much influence on his own.

"He's him and I'm me," said Gonzalez. "For the most part I feel he's the best player in the game so you can't really compare yourself to him."

Said GM Theo Epstein: "I think it was well documented that we had a lot of conversations in the window that led up to the trade. As we said at the time, we developed a lot of mutual trust and understanding. When the time is right, I think both sides will be able to sit down, be fair with each other and hopefully work something out."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.