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MLB approves expanded replay starting this season

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POSTED January 16, 2014 11:58 p.m.

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — Ever since the game was invented, before television or even radio existed, baseball counted on the eyes and ears of umpires on the field. Starting this season, many key decisions will be made in a studio far away.

Major League Baseball vaulted into the 21st century of technology on Thursday, approving a huge expansion of instant replay in hopes of eliminating blown calls that riled up players, managers and fans.

“I think it’s great,” San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s about getting it right.”

Acknowledging the human element had been overtaken in an era when everyone except the umps could see several views over and over in slow-motion, owners and players and umpires OKed the new system.

Now each manager will be allowed to challenge at least one call per game. If he’s right, he gets another challenge. After the seventh inning, a crew chief can request a review on his own if the manager has used his challenges.

Rodriguez says suspension could be benefit

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Alex Rodriguez says his season-long suspension could be a benefit, allowing him to rest and return to the Yankees for the final three years of his contract.

Speaking late Wednesday in Mexico’s capital during a promotional appearance, Rodriguez declined to talk specifically about his suspension for violating baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

Rodriguez, in his first public comments since arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s decision Saturday, said he wanted to end his career with New York. Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner has declined to talk about his possible return but has called him a “great player.”

“The 2014 season could be a big help for me,” Rodriguez said. “It might serve as a break and close the chapter, and begin in 2015 with my last three years under contract with the Yankees.”

Price, Rays agree to $14 million, 1-year contract

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Now that Tampa Bay’s David Price is slated to earn the biggest single-season salary in Rays history, the three-time All-Star hopes he remains part of the budget-minded franchise’s plans for 2014.

The team announced Thursday that the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $14 million, one-year deal. However, the agreement doesn’t eliminate the possibility of a trade.

“I still have the mindset moving forward that I want to be with the Rays,” said Price, who at the end of last season seemed resigned to the fact that he’d probably be dealt during the offseason.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of trade speculation after going 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA last year while earning $10,112,500. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, and the Rays likely won’t be in a position to pay the type of money Price could earn on the open market.

Johnson, Jaso agree to 1-year deals with A’s

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — New closer Jim Johnson agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

Catcher John Jaso also reached agreement on a $2.3 million, one-year deal.

The A’s acquired Johnson, the 2013 AL saves leader, last month in a trade with Baltimore. He converted 50 of 59 save opportunities in 2013, going 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He was tied with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel for the major leagues saves lead.

Jaso gets a $500,000 raise under the deal announced Thursday. In addition, Jaso can earn $25,000 bonuses for 90 games started at catcher 450 plate appearances.

His first season with the two-time defending AL West champion A’s was cut short after he sustained a concussion when he took a foul tip off his mask July 24 at Houston and complained of a headache. Initially, Jaso was placed on the seven-day concussion list the following day, then transferred to the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 8.

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