Rob Manfred

June 2019 dates set for Sox-Yankees series in London

June 2019 dates set for Sox-Yankees series in London

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball intends to announce next week the Yankees and Red Sox will play two games at London's Olympic Stadium on June 29-30 next year, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because no public comments had been authorized.

Boston will be the home team for both of MLB's first regular-season games in Europe.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan scheduled a news conference for Tuesday with baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred but did not announce the subject matter.

"I've never been to London, so I'm looking forward to that," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Thursday's game at Houston. "Can grow our game, obviously, in Europe and hopefully getting two big teams out there will be a great thing for the sport."

Baseball officials have long hoped for games on London and settled last year on Olympic Stadium, which is in its second season as the home of soccer's West Ham of the Premier League. Because it originally was built for a 400-meter track, Olympic Stadium is wider than other large stadiums in the London area and can best accommodate the dimensions of a baseball field.

Each player on the trip will get an extra $60,000 for participating in the games, according to baseball's collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL has played regular-season games annually in London since 2007, holding 18 games at Wembley and three at Twickenham. Three more NFL games are scheduled for this year, including one at Tottenham's new stadium.

The NBA has played eight regular-season games at London's O2 Arena since 2011. The NHL opened its 2007-08 season at the O2 Arena with two games between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.

MLB has put renewed emphasis on international games since Manfred became commissioner in 2015.

Cleveland and Minnesota played a two-game series last month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego play a three-game series at Monterrey, Mexico, that starts Friday. MLB announced Tuesday that Oakland and Seattle will open next season at the Tokyo Dome on March 20-21.

Baseball opened its season at Monterrey in 1999 (Colorado vs. San Diego); at Tokyo in 2000 (Chicago Cubs-New York Mets), 2004 (Tampa Bay-Yankees), 2008 (Boston-Oakland) and 2012 (Seattle-Oakland); and at Sydney in 2014 (Los Angeles Dodgers-Arizona).

Additional regular-season games were played at Monterrey in 1996 (San Diego-Mets); and at San Juan in 2001 (Toronto-Texas), 2003-04 (a total of 43 Montreal home games) and 2010 (Mets-Florida Marlins).

AP freelance writer Joshua Koch in Houston contributed to this report.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

 

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

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

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.

Astros' Gurriel suspended 5 games in 2018 for gesture, slur at Darvish

houston-astros-yuli-gurriel-102817.jpg

Astros' Gurriel suspended 5 games in 2018 for gesture, slur at Darvish

HOUSTON — Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros has been suspended for five games next season for making a racist gesture at Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during the World Series.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the penalty Saturday, a day after Gurriel’s actions during Game 3.

Manfred said he didn’t think it would be fair to penalize the rest of the Astros by suspending Gurriel during the World Series. Manfred said he understood other people might take a different view.

Gurriel will miss the first five games of the 2018 season and will not be paid during his suspension.

Gurriel said he didn't intend to offend Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish when he pulled on the corners of his eyes after homering against him Friday night.

"I didn't try to offend nobody," Gurriel said in Spanish through a translator. 

"I was commenting to my family that I didn't have any luck against Japanese pitchers here in the United States."

Gurriel, a 33-year-old from Cuba, made the gesture shortly after homering to start Houston's four-run second inning. While sitting in the dugout, Gurriel put his fingers to the side of his eyes and said "chinito" - a derogatory Spanish term that translates literally to "little Chinese."

Darvish was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Iranian father.

The league has recently suspended other players caught using slurs. Toronto's Kevin Pillar and Oakland's Matt Joyce were each banned for two games this season after making anti-gay comments.

Gurriel said the derogatory term is used commonly in Cuba to refer to Asian people. He said he knows the Japanese are offended by it because he played in Japan in 2014.

"In the moment, I didn't want to offend him or nobody in Japan because I have a lot of respect for them and I played in Japan," he said, adding that, "I didn't mean to do it."

Darvish played professionally in Japan from 2005-11 before joining the Texas Rangers in 2012. He was traded to the Dodgers at this year's July 31 trade deadline. He was angry about what happened.

"Acting like that, you just disrespect all the people around the world," he said in Japanese through a translator.

Gurriel hopes to speak with Darvish about what happened.

"Yes, of course. I want to talk to him because I have nothing against him," he said. "I think he's one of the best pitchers in Japan, and I never had success against him. ... If he felt offended, I want to apologize to him."

Gurriel spent 15 years in the Cuban professional league and played in Japan for a year before signing with the Astros last season. 
Gurriel homered and doubled in Game 3 and is batting .346 in the postseason.

"I know he's remorseful," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said.


Some of Darvish's former teammates with the Rangers called out Gurriel for his actions on Twitter. Pitcher Jake Diekman used an emoji to call the gesture trash, and outfielder Ryan Rua tweeted: "really hope that gesture from Gurriel wasnt directed towards Yu...no place for that."

Darvish hopes the incident can be a learning experience.

"Nobody's perfect and everybody is different and then ... we just ... have to learn from it," he said. "And then he made a mistake and then we're just going to learn from it. We are all human beings. That's what I'm saying, so just learn from it and we've got to go forward, move forward."


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

© 2017 by The Associated Press