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IOC ‘pushing’ for MLB players at Tokyo 2020 if baseball rejoins Olympics

Jake Arrieta

BEIJING - AUGUST 18: Jake Arrieta of the United States pitches against China at the Wukesong Baseball Field on Day 10 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 18, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) -- The IOC is still hoping that Major League Baseball players will take part in the Tokyo Olympics if the sport wins final approval for the 2020 Games.

The IOC executive board recommended Wednesday that baseball-softball be added to the Tokyo program, along with surfing, karate, sport climbing and skateboarding. The full IOC will vote on the proposal in August in Rio de Janeiro.

IOC sports director Kitt McConnell says “we’re pushing for confirmation regarding further progress on players from Major League Baseball being available.”

He says the IOC already has assurances that professional leagues in other countries would release their best players. McConnell says “the goal is to have the best players, and we’ll continue to work on that.”

MLB and the players’ union have said they would not interrupt the season to make room for the Olympics. Currently, players are under contracts to clubs and are not available for the Olympics.

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