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Zack Greinke

Florida leads the country in All-Star participants

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With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game coming to Florida for the first time, a large number of the All-Stars will be returning to their home state. During Tuesday night’s game at Marlins Park in Miami, 9 Floridians, including one of the starting pitchers, will be joining the game’s best. Left hander Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox and the starting pitcher for the American League, is a native of Lakeland and a graduate of Lakeland High School. He…

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MLB average salary $4.4M after 4.4 percent rise

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Baseball’s average salary rose 4.4 percent to $4.38 million on opening day, according to a study of contract terms by The Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Dodgers topped spending for the third straight season. The Chicago Cubs boosted payroll by $51 million, adding Jason Heyward, John Lackey and Ben Zobrist in an effort to win their first title since 1908. After beating the Cubs in the NL Championship Series and losing to Kansas City in the World Series, the New…

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Play ball! 3 games on opening day, with Royals-Mets rematch

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Andrew McCutchen vs. Adam Wainwright in the first inning, Josh Donaldson and the bangin’ Toronto Blue Jays teeing off later, then a World Series rematch in Kansas City. Neat way to begin opening day. The forecast at PNC Park calls for temperatures in the upper 30s on Sunday afternoon when McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates host the first game of the 2016 season, facing the St. Louis Cardinals. No worries, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. They played an exhibition game…

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Baseball’s Wal-Mart now open for business

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On Wednesday, pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training camps. The Rays are among the last to begin, their players not arriving in Port Charlotte until Feb. 21. Baseball is in the pre-spring training period where clubs often intensify their efforts to sign free agents and fill out rosters. Signings might consist of middle relief pitchers, a fourth or fifth starter, or perhaps an infielder or outfielder who adds depth to their bench. The blockbuster signings are already completed…

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Will Don Mattingly have the time to turn Marlins into winners?

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With the first two games of the World Series in the books, the annual baseball manager shuffle intensified late this week. The practice of hiring “retreads,” or managers fired in one place only to wind up in another, is alive and well. San Diego, disrupted that pattern this week by hiring Arizona Diamondbacks’ third base coach Andy Green. Green replaces the fired Bud Black, who takes over in Washington. The Nationals fired Matt Williams shortly after a monstrously disappointing season…

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The parallel universe of David Price and Clayton Kershaw

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David Price and Clayton Kershaw have a lot in common. Starting with the basics, they are both left-handed pitchers who throw hard and have led their respective leagues in strikeouts at least once. Both have won Cy Young Awards in their relatively brief major league careers. Price was honored by the American League in 2012 after a spectacular 20-5 season with the Rays. Kershaw is a three-time winner in the National League and was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player…

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Longballs, pitching and the Cubs top the baseball playoff stories

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Now that the regular season is over, baseball heads to the playoffs. The Rays and 19 other teams will watch on television and focus on joining the party next fall. Fans of strong hitting will have more fun watching the American League. As the Rays know well, all five playoff teams are among the top six hitting clubs. Houston, Kansas City and Toronto are in the top five overall while the New York Yankees are in the middle of the pack and Texas…

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