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1:10 PM ET, March 1, 2012


 Top News:
Inside the Phillies: Manuel is no fan of baseball's latest playoff change  —  CLEARWATER, Fla. - In Charlie Manuel's perfect baseball universe, the best teams in each league at the end of the regular season would meet in the World Series every year.  —  That's the way it was when the Phillies manager …
Discussion: HardballTalk
Ronald Blum / Globe and Mail:
No hard deadline for MLB expanded playoffs  —  Negotiators for baseball players and owners say there is no set deadline for an agreement to expand the playoffs to 10 teams this season.  —  The sides have said for weeks a deal is likely.  When players and owners signed their agreement …
Discussion: Yahoo! Sports
Fox Sports:
Sources: MLB playoffs expanding in 2012  —  Baseball's playoffs will expand from eight to 10 teams, starting this season, according to major-league sources.  —  The sport's new collective-barganing agreement stipulated that additional wild cards would be added in each league no later than 2013.
Fox Sports:
Expanded playoffs are good for baseball  —  At first, I opposed expanding the baseball postseason.  —  Hardly anyone contended that the playoffs were too short.  If anything, the postseason was too long.  —  I'm still concerned that baseball's decision to add a wild card in each league …
Buster Olney / MLB:
Sources: MLB, union closer to 10-team playoffs
Chad Jennings / The LoHud Yankees Blog:
Hal: “189 is a real number, and we're going to be shooting for it”  —  Ever since the new CBA was announced, there has been plenty written and said about the Yankees desire to get below the $189-million luxury tax threshold in two years.  This morning, Hal Steinbrenner confirmed all of those stories …
Jeff Passan / Yahoo! Sports:
Rangers' signing of Dominican phenom Jairo Beras is investigated by MLB over age discrepancy  —  Major League Baseball will investigate the Texas Rangers' signing of Dominican prospect Jairo Beras for $4.5 million after questions about his age arose.  The Rangers believe he is 17 and eligible …
Discussion: Baseball Prospectus and MLB Rumors
Ben Badler / Baseball America:
Rangers' Surprise Signing Draws Industry Scrutiny
Discussion: Lone Star Ball
Phil Rogers / Chicago Tribune:   Your Morning Phil: Beras, Soler, Braun
Jane Lee /
Cespedes expected to make arrival soon  —  PHOENIX — The wait could soon be over.  —  There's a strong possibility that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will make his highly-anticipated arrival at A's camp by weekend's end, nearly three weeks after news broke of his four-year, $36 million contract.
Discussion: HardballTalk
Joe Capozzi / Fish Tank blog:
Miami Marlins slugger will go by a new name — Giancarlo Stanton  —  Batting fourth for the Miami Marlins, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.  That's how slugger Mike Stanton will be introduced from now on.  —  Starting Monday when he is introduced over the public-address system at Roger Dean Stadium …
Scott Lauber / Boston Herald:
Baseball is on the menu for Sox  —  FORT MYERS — Let the games begin.  —  Well, sort of.  —  In an attempt to give a few of the 35 pitchers in camp an additional chance to throw some innings, the Red Sox [team stats] have added a B-game to the schedule.
Discussion: Boston Globe
Mike DiGiovanna / Los Angeles Times:
Angels slugger Kendrys Morales taking steps forward  —  Kendrys Morales leads the Angels out of the locker room prior to a spring training baseball practice on Monday.  (Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)  —  Tempe, Ariz.—  Angels slugger Kendrys Morales, sidelined for the last year …
Discussion: HardballTalk
Mark Saxon / ESPN:   Mark Trumbo cleared for activity
Sam Mellinger / Kansas City Star:
Perez's signing may help lock up Hosmer, too  —  Catcher's new long-term deal may help Royals land their superstar first baseman as well.  At least, that's the plan.  —  SURPRISE, AZ.  — You will be interested to hear one of the first things Salvador Perez did as a millionaire.
Discussion: MLB Rumors and Royals Review
Tom Haudricourt / JSOnline:
Brewers, Axford talking multi-year deal  —  By Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel  —  Phoenix — There's a good reason that closer John Axford is the last player on the Brewers' 40-man roster to sign a contract for the 2012 season.  —  Assistant general manager Gord Ash confirmed Wednesday …
Adam McCalvy /
Crew, Axford to continue work on multiyear deal
Discussion: MLB Daily Dish and Al's Ramblings
Bill Chastain /
Final night of '11 still resonates with Rays  —  PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Luke Scott called the final night of the 2011 season “the greatest night in baseball history,” and that seems to be the general sentiment among fans and players alike.  —  Rays fans won't soon forget that night at Tropicana Field …
Andy McCullough / New Jersey Online:
Mets pitcher Dillon Gee embraces Pilates to gain an edge  —  PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Surrounded by women this winter in a Texas shopping center and fastened into a contraption called “The Reformer,” Mets starter Dillon Gee vacillated between attempting to “fire” his abdominal muscles and wondering what the heck he was doing.
Discussion: and HardballTalk
Discussion: HardballTalk and Baseball Nation
Bob Klapisch /
George Steinbrenner wouldn't know these Yankees  —  TAMPA, Fla. - Ten days into spring training and the Yankees have been everything you'd expect from a $200 million monolith: crisp, fundamentally sound, free of angst or anxiety.  Walking around camp, you'd never know this is the same team …
Discussion: HardballTalk
Associated Press:
Pirates' Burnett struck in right eye by batted ball … BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett was struck in the face by a batted ball on Wednesday, and will fly from the team's spring training complex to Pittsburgh to have his right eye examined by team doctors.
Discussion: Associated Press
Tom Singer /   Burnett to Pittsburgh for exam on injured eye
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 More News: 
Nathan Rode / Baseball America:
Giolito Hits Triple Digits
Amanda Comak / Washington Times:
Minor league right-hander Cortes not in camp with Nationals
Discussion: MLB Daily Dish
Doug Glanville / ESPN:
Appreciating Chipper Jones
Bob Harkins / HardballTalk:
Can Jesus Montero catch? He's motivated to show he can
 Earlier Picks: 
Adam Kilgore / Washington Post:
Davey Johnson's history lesson
Discussion: HardballTalk
Matt Gelb /
Howard sidelined indefinitely
Discussion: HardballTalk
Dgoold / derrickgoold:
The Promised Pujols Cartoon

From WeSmirch:

Karen Mizoguchi /
Jennifer Hudson & Fiancé David Otunga Split, Singer Receives Protective Order Against Partner of 10 Years

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Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Are Married
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