Red Sox

Iglesias focused on improving ... not a roster spot

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Iglesias focused on improving ... not a roster spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. When the Red Sox signed Jose Iglesias in September 2009 to a four-year 8.25 million contract, including a 6 million signing bonus, the defensive whiz was supposed to be their shortstop of the future. But Iglesias has not yet followed through on his promise and could soon find himself squeezed out.

Iglesias was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of August last season and in 68 at-bats he hit just .118 with three extra-base hits a home run and two doubles. In response, the Red Sox signed shortstop Stephen Drew this offseason to a one-year, 9.5 million deal with Xander Bogaerts winging his way up the organizational ladder.

Iglesias was caught off-guard when the Sox signed Drew.

A little bit, he said. Nobody tell me anything I was just reading the papers. But, yeah, but they make decisions. I cant control that. All I can control is be a better player every day, come to the park early, and get better, put myself in good position to help this team to win some ball games.

But it is likely the team Iglesias will be helping, at least early in the season, will be Pawtucket. General manager Ben Cherington has said he wants Iglesias to play every day, which wont happen if the shortstop is in Boston.

Theres nothing I can do about it, Iglesias said. Thats his decision, whatever he thinks is better for the team. My job is to get better, put myself in good position. My career is not one year. Hopefully, I got a lot of years. so prepare myself to get a good 2013 no matter where I play. Thats my goal. Its not my goal to be on the big league team, its my goal be a better player.

Iglesias is just 23. While the Red Sox wont call 2013 a make-or-break season for him, there are some things they need to see from him.

More consistent swing path, said manager John Farrell. I know that theres been a concerted effort for the time that hes been in the system to be an all-field approach, contact type. And I think at times that contact approach and spraying the ball around the field, hell get into a little bit of a weaker positionto execute the swing.

Theres bat speed in there and was evident when he first signed here. So to get back to just concentrating on hard contact and not so much trying to steer the ball around the infield or around the field for that matter. Defensively by all accounts and all of us are probably in agreement that hes ready to play defensively at the major league level. Its a matter of consistent at-bats offensively.

Iglesias said in September he wanted to work to add muscle in the offseason. On Sunday he said he added 11 pounds in a good way to his frame, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds in 2012. He also spent a few days in Arizona working out with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Iglesias is not going into the season looking to prove anything, he said.

Not really, Iglesias said. My goal is be healthy. I think if youre healthy and youre playing every day, the results will come.

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.