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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's goal was to make a deal during meeting with MLBPA's Tony Clark

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred's goal was to make a deal during meeting with MLBPA's Tony Clark

Though negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLBPA continue to drag on through Thursday, that was not the plan commissioner Rob Manfred had in mind when he met face-to-face with MLBPA executive director Tony Clark on Wednesday.

Manfred believed the reason for the meeting was to get a deal done to bring baseball back right then and there, USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale and others reported on Thursday.

“I don’t know what Tony and I were doing there for several hours going back and forth and making trades if we weren’t reaching an agreement," Manfred said. 

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Despite what Manfred wanted, their in-person discussion ended with no concrete deal in place. Instead, MLB proposed a new offer to the players that included a 60-game season. The MLBPA quickly rejected that offer and has since countered with their latest set of demands that includes a 70-game season, among other preferences. 

The continuation of the back-and-forth is what Clark expected even when he took the meeting with Manfred on Wednesday. Though the two were able to come to a better understanding of what the players wanted, Clark explained in a statement that he made it clear there was still more work to be done.

"In my discussions with Rob in Arizona we explored a potential pro rata framework, but I made clear repeatedly in that meeting and after that it that there were a number of significant issues with what he proposed, in particular the number of games," Clark said

"It is unequivocally false to suggest that any tentative agreement or other agreement was reached in that meeting. In fact, in conversations within the last 24 hours, Rob invited a counterproposal for more games that he would take back to the owners. We submitted that counterproposal [Thursday]," Clark said.

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The meeting between Manfred and Clark may have not ended the drawn-out negotiations between the two sides, but there is optimism that an agreement will soon be reached. After Manfred noted earlier in the week that he was less confident there would be a season, the commissioner said on Thursday that everyone is on the same page in terms of wanting games to be played.

"We’re at the same place. We want to play. We want to reach an agreement," Manfred said. "We're doing everything necessary to find a way to play, hopefully by agreement.''

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Unauthorized drone over Target Field forces delay of Twins-Pirates game

Unauthorized drone over Target Field forces delay of Twins-Pirates game

Well, this is a new one.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins were in the top of the fifth Tuesday afternoon when the umpires called everyone off the field. An unauthorized drone had flown above the outfield at Target Field, forcing the umpire crew to declare a safety hazard until the drone flew away.

The delay lasted about five minutes.

Whether it was a fan trying to get a coveted view of the game or Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer messing with his division rivals, the game was put on hold while players attempted to throw baseballs up at it and knock it down. Eventually, the miniature aircraft left the stadium and play resumed.

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Juan Soto activated, but not in the Nationals' lineup vs. Mets

Juan Soto activated, but not in the Nationals' lineup vs. Mets

Juan Soto is not in the lineup. Yet.

He was reinstated from the COVID injured list to the active roster Tuesday. That’s a step. But, Soto is not in the Tuesday night lineup against the New York Mets and left-hander Steven Matz.

“He’s getting there,” Davey Martinez said. “I just want to make sure that we keep him healthy. We got him back and want to keep him healthy. He’s going to hit [Tuesday], he’s going to take some more ground balls in the field. Run a little bit more today. We’ll see where he’s at.

“I talked to him [Monday] night and he really felt like he could probably use another day or two. Said his legs felt a little heavy. His arm was a little sore. He tried to ramp it up -- we gave him the last four days, he’s probably got about 20 at-bats. In that respect he doesn’t feel that bad. But I want to make sure, like I said, we keep him healthy. We just got him back. He missed a lot of time. So we just want to make sure when he’s here now, he’s here to help us every day.”

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Martinez had to remind Soto the designated hitter is now an option in the National League. Which means the Nationals could start him in that spot or use it to give him a break.

Andrew Stevenson was optioned to the alternate training site to make room for Soto on the roster. Josh Harrison is playing left field in Soto’s place Tuesday.

Reliever Wander Suero was also activated Tuesday and is available if need be.

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