OAKLAND, Calif.

Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s dean of discipline, came down hard on the Rangers for their role in an on the field brawl with Toronto on Sunday. Each team had seven staffers and players penalized, with the Rangers taking the bigger hit.

Odor received an eight game suspension for punching Toronto’s Jose Bautista. Andrus picked up a one game suspension for throwing a haymaker that missed everyone.

Andrus accepted his penalty, forcing the Rangers to go one player short against Oakland. The consensus opinion was the club would benefit by Andrus getting the suspension out of the way.

Odor will appeal, allowing him to stay on the roster until the process is completed. He was in the lineup, batting lead off, against the Athletics.

“I knew I was going to be suspended,” Odor said. “I’m waiting for the appeal.”

Toronto had four suspensions: three games to manager John Gibbons, three games to middle reliever Jesse Chavez, one game to coach Tim Leiper and one game to Bautista for a hard slide into Odor and post game comments.

Andrus and Odor for nine games. Bautista and Chavez for four games. Disadvantage, Rangers.

“It’s not necessarily how we’d like it to go, but we’ll live with it,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

The Rangers believe Odor’s heavily publicized punch figured in his punishment. He received the biggest penalty for a fight since Carlos Quentin was also suspended for eight games in 2013 after charging the mound and tackling pitcher Zack Greinke, breaking his collarbone.

“I think they draw a fine line at actually throwing a punch,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “Whether we agree with it or not does not matter. That seems to be the litmus test for a suspension, at least in this case.”

Odor’s representatives, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, and the Major League Baseball Players Association will handle the mlb jerseys from china
appeal. Bob Lenaghan, the union’s assistant general counsel, will direct the process. MLB has 14 days to schedule an appeal hearing, which can be held in person or by video conferencing.

The appeal is likely to point out that unlike Quentin, Odor did not injure Bautista to the point that he missed games. There also could be a mention that Garagiola gave Martin Maldonado a five game suspension in 2013 for a blatant “sucker punch” of Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider.

Odor is unfamiliar with the appeal process and will put his fate in the hands of his representatives and the union. He declined to comment on Bautista’s penalty but is unhappy with the possibility of having to miss an extended period.

“I want to be with my team,” Odor said. “I don’t want to be out for eight games.”

The Rangers acknowledge this is a stressful situation for a 22 year old player like Odor. The organization is coming to his defense, offering support at a tenuous time. The Rangers will do all they can to keep this episode from scarring Odor.

“He’s a competitor,” Banister said. “I take it harder when I read the comments that have ‘dirty player’ attached to Rougned Odor. Rougie is such a team player. He plays with passion for the team. I know what’s in his heart. I know what’s in his mind.”

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What is so majestic about going to the ballpark? Is it the smell of a hot dog, maybe the crack of the bat, or maybe just enjoying watching your favorite team play. All of those things come secondary to why most people go to the ballpark for the ballpark. In this list, I will give you the top ten existing baseball parks that must be visited by everyone before they go out of this grand ole park called Earth.

10. Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA) This new facility for the Phillies is a newbie but a goodie. The sight lines are compared as some of the best in the majors, not to mention being a great hitters park and the promise of an authentic philly cheesesteak.

9. Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Baltimore, MD) The model for the latest generation of ballparks is set with great ambience that brings back reminiscent memories of the old days of baseball.

8. AT Park (San Francisco, CA) One of the most famous ballparks of late, this bayside monument to the greatness of cheap jerseys
the ’50s and ’60s Giants gives fans a chance to see games from the stands or in a kayak waiting for long flys to fly into McCovey Cove.

7. New Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO) Built right next to the site of the Old Busch, New Busch is a testament to the glory of the St. Louis Cardinals that is built in to the downtown area perfectly and allows great vision of the field from any seat or section, not to mention having a good Budweiser and a rack of St. Louis ribs.

6. Minute Maid Park (Houston, TX) A great idea for those hot and humid summer days in southeast Texas, Minute Maid Park brings the fans closer into the game with seats right up close to the warning tracks and the home run magnet, the Crawford Box.

5. Miller Park (Milwaukee, WI) truly a sight to see, especially if it is a weather game just to see the magnificent roof close in around you, not to mention the great seating and family features that they allow for Brew Crew fans.

4. US Cellular Field (Chicago, IL) This stomping ground of the White Sox is overlooked in the city for another great ballpark, but there is no missing in the delight of sitting down with a kielbasa and a beer and watching the scoreboard go crazy with each score.

3. Fenway Park (Boston, MA) A real baseball institution, Fenway Park, like its tenants the Red Sox, were for years overlooked and looked away. Now with Sox Resurgency, people are flocking to see the park that is home to Pesky Pole, low right center seats, and that Green Monster.

2. Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL) The Friendly Confines is truly just that, a warm crowd that just loves the game and likes watching a baseball game like their in the 1920s with its manual scoreboard, win/lose flags, and lack of modern technology. Plus, where else would you rather sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”

1. Yankee Stadium (Bronx, New York, NY) With its departure after this season, it only seems right that the “House that Ruth Built” should headline the list. 26 world championships have been won by its tenants and it is one of the last three great stadiums left. Nothing could be better than watching the pinstripes go out and win another one for the Yankee Universe. Plus, no other field has a short right field porch for lefties and a narrow gap for righties to left. A real experience to sit with 60,000 other fans and yell, ” Yankees win, Yaaa ankees win!!!”

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They sit across the negotiating table as adversaries, but Rob Manfred and Tony Clark are also partners.As the commissioner of Major League Baseballand the head of its players union, respectively, cheap mlb jerseys
Manfred and Clark have significant differences, but also common goals. There’s little they agree on more than the need to bring the game to younger audiences, to increase baseball’s appeal to the next generation.They need to get through to the kids, which is why eight months ago they got together on a conference call and appealed to The Kid for help.Ken Griffey Jr. goes by many names. He’ll always be Junior to many, and he’ll always be Uncle Griffey to some.But he’s also The Kid, a nickname that made sense when he was a 19 year old rookie with the Seattle Mariners and still makes sense now as he closes in on 50 and heads into the Hall of Fame.”We’re trying to engage young people,” Clark said. “Having my face on it isn’t going to do it. No disrespect to the commissioner, but his face isn’t going to do it, either. Who can do that?”Who else but The Kid? Who else but the guy who managed to stay young through a 22 year career in the major leagues, the guy kids were always drawn to, the guy whose many charitable ventures always involved reaching out to children?”It was too natural a fit,” Clark said. “To me, it was the perfect marriage.”From Griffey, there was a simple answer.”I was like, let’s do it,” he said.So even as he prepared for this weekend in Cooperstown, and the ceremony that will make him a Hall of Famer, Griffey made plans for the next stage of his baseball life, the one that will see him serve the game as Major League Baseball’s first “youth ambassador.”The job seems open ended, which suits Griffey well. He’ll make videos and appearances, and if all goes well, he’ll encourage a new generation of kids to choose baseball. “He’s going to open doors or kick some doors down.”But more than that, he’ll be in charge of proving to another generation that baseball is for them, that baseball can be cool.”Before it was cool to be cool, Junior was cool,” Clark said.He still is.Griffey has been a magnet for years, without even trying to be one.Andrew McCutchen grew up in Fort Meade, Florida, all the way across the country from Seattle. But it was Griffey who drew him to baseball, making such an impression that the young McCutchen wore a Mariners jersey he still has to this day.”He was one of the main reasons I played baseball,” said McCutchen, the 2013 National League MVP with the Pittsburgh Pirates. “When the TV was on and he was playing, I was watching. I didn’t care what he did, I just wanted to watch him.”McCutchen wasn’t alone. Players all over baseball speak of Griffey in glowing terms.”That was my idol growing up,” Kansas City Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson said. “Just a special player.”Griffey played the game well, but he also played it with flair. He’d wear his cap backward at a time when no one else did, and he had a constant smile on his face at a time when so many thought it was more important to look serious.He was fun to watch, but more than that, he would make baseball look like fun.”I wouldn’t be a baseball player if I didn’t think it was fun,” McCutchen said.The Kid made it look fun.Griffey’s connection to kids goes far beyond how he played the game. From his early years with the Mariners, his charity of choice was the Boys Girls Clubs, and his contributions went far beyond handing out money.

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A total of 18 players whose primary position was catcher have been voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. They range from the superlative Johnny Bench to the misplaced Rick Ferrell, who was not even the best player in his family. Brother Wes, a pitcher, claimed that distinction. To mark the occasion, a look at the top catchers of all time:

1. Johnny BenchBench hit cheap baseball jerseys from china
389 homers, second highest total among players whose primary position was catcher. He hit in the middle of the order for the powerful “Big Red Machine” teams that went to the World Series four times in the 1970s and won twice.

Opponents rarely ran against the Reds. From 1968 79, Bench had a caught stealing rate of 45.4 percent.

Bench won the first of 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in 1968, as a 20 year old rookie.

In 1975 76, his first seasons with Montreal, Carter started almost as many games in right field as catcher. He was a wild horse and incurred several injuries, including a broken thumb in a frightening collision with center fielder Pepe Mangual.

In 1977, new manager Dick Williams pulled Carter from the outfield and made him the front line catcher. Known as “The Kid” for his unbridled enthusiasm, Carter became the first legitimate star of the expansion Expos.

Carter was one of the first players with a muscular upper body and generated tremendous bat speed with his powerful forearms. He is tied for sixth in homers among catchers with 324 and ranks sixth in RBIs with 1,225. In 1984, he led the National League with 106 RBIs.

Carter also had a powerful arm and had a 40.5 percent caught stealing rate from 1977 84. What separated Carter from his peers was that he did not try to protect himself by calling all fastballs with men on base. He helped his pitchers by going with breaking pitches, even thought that gave an advantage to the runner.

Carter won one World Series, with the 1986 New York Mets. Teammate Ron Darling has said Carter was the “moral compass” on that rambunctious team.

3. Yogi BerraAWARDS: 15 All Star appearances, 3 MVP awards.

At 5 7 and 170 pounds, Berra did not fit the image of a stout catcher He was kind of dumpy and had an odd walk. His swing was an awkward looking hack.

Berra made it all work. He had three MVP awards and received MVP votes in 15 consecutive seasons.

The most telling fact about Berra’s career is that his team, the New York Yankees, won eight World Series with him as the primary catcher. Manager Casey Stengel liked to say “I never play a game without my man,” who was Berra.

Berra was a superb bad ball hitter, handling pitches that most batters could not reach. He leads catchers in RBIs with 1,430, is second for homers with 358 and seventh in OPS at .830. He had more walks than strikeouts (704 414) for his career.

Berra was a self made catcher whose overall defense gradually improved. He was always nimble behind the plate. From 1947 58, the Yankees had the fewest wild pitches in the majors.

4. Mickey CochraneAWARDS: 2 MVP awards, 2 All Star appearances. He was so popular during his career that many families named a son after him. That included the Mantles of Commerce, Okla.

Cochrane was the quintessential catcher as team leader. He was considered exceptional at working with the pitching staff.

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As Jon Daniels prepares for the 10th anniversary of his first draft as the Rangers’ general manager, we look back at the best and worst of his picks from the first decade. In rating drafts, particularly baseball drafts, a few things stand out.

First, the first rounder who is a discount jerseys
home run pick for the organization is a rarity. Second, the “best” picks seem to always be lower round picks who succeeded. And the worst, high picks that failed. So with that in mind, here’s our look at the worst:

Where to start on this pick? It was made at the height of the Rangers’ financial problems when the team had to run financial decisions by an MLB overseer, giving it less latitude to negotiate. Then the Rangers thought they had a deal negotiated between Nolan Ryan the Purke family. Then it fell apart and MLB would not approve more money. Then he went unsigned. And they chose Purke over fellow Texas high schooler Shelby Miller, who has gone on to have a solid major league career. Oh, should we mention Mike Trout went in that first round, too, 11 picks later? We shouldn’t? OK. Never mind.

Kevin Matthews, starting pitcher (first round, 2011)

An undersized lefty taken with the 33rd overall pick as part of the compensation package for Cliff Lee signing with Philadelphia, he was plagued by shoulder injuries, missed all of 2013 and never advanced beyond low Class A. Post surgery, he had a 7.28 ERA in 29.2 innings and almost as many walks (21) as strikeouts (23) before being stopped and charged with driving while under the influence last year. He was released. The Rangers released the other player, Zach Cone, who represented the second compensation pick received for Lee last week. No players from the top 10 rounds of the 2011 draft remain in the system, but the Rangers did strike it big in international scouting in 2011 with Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman.

Jake Skole, outfielder (first round, 2010)

Wanna know what makes the Purke pick look even worse? Skole was the compensation pick they got for not signing him. Skole, the 15th overall pick, was hit with a 50 game suspension for amphetamine use in 2012. He hit .228 over six seasons in the Rangers system and never reached double figures in homers. He has caught on with the New York Yankees, but is 24 and is an old player for the Class A Florida State League.

Kasey Kiker, starting pitcher (first round, 2006)Jon Daniels first’ pick as GM was something of a letdown. The Rangers had their hearts set on Tim Lincecum, but San Francisco took him two picks ahead of Texas. The Rangers were left to choose between Kiker and right hander Kyle Drabek, son of former pitcher Doug Drabek. Both came with rumored off the field issues. The Rangers chose Kiker, partly because he was left handed. While the remainder of the first round didn’t produce any stars, the Rangers got nothing out of Kiker. He’s been out of baseball since 2012.

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Former MLB general manager and current ESPN MLB analyst Jim Bowden joined the Dennis Friedo Show on KESN FM 103.3 ESPN Radio to talk about the Rangers’ season. Here are some highlights:

On Ian Desmond getting paid after his bounce back year:

Bowden: He’s going to get paid. I don’t think he’ll ever get quite what the Washington Nationals offered him, but what a great year he’s putting together. A good bounceback year. I don’t think the batting average and on base percentage will continue the rest of the year, but certainly I think the home runs and stolen bases will. I think it’s been tremendous watching him, how he’s improved in the outfield defensively. How about that throw to the plate at 95 miles an hour and 256 feet. That was pretty impressive.

On Jon Daniels’ plan with Desmond after the year:

Bowden: I think it’s changed from when I talked to him back in March. JD in March, I think the plan all along was he would take advantage of getting Desmond at this bargain basement price and that he and Moreland would be free agents at the end of the year and they would turn their sights then to Mazara and Gallo and the young kids that would be ready. Well a lot has happened since then. Mazara obviously has shown to be one of the best rookies in the game and was ready a little bit early. Jurickson Profar has come back and he looks healthy and looks like the top prospect we remember. Mitch Moreland is having a bad year but Ian Desmond is completely back.

I think the one great thing about Jon Daniels is that his plans are always flexible. He’s always open to opportunity. Ian Desmond has found a home down there in Texas. He’s well liked in the clubhouse. He’s extremely happy with the group of players that he is playing with right now. I do think although I would have told you that it is very unlikely in March that he would be able to be re signed and kept after this year I do think cheap mlb jerseys
now that there is a possibility that the Rangers could be able to keep him. It all depends of course what happens on the open market. I don’t expect him to extend Desmond until he gets to free agency. But I do think there is a chance he could return because he is really happy out there.

On the strength of Jon Daniels:

Bowden: The goal is you want to draft, sign international players and enjoy the free years that you get in years 0 3. All we have to do is look over at Kansas City. They are the team that has won the World Series and been in the World Series the last two years filled with what? Mostly home grown players. That’s what you want to do, that’s the goal. It can’t always happen that way, so free agency is a good vehicle to add a piece or two when you need a piece or two. Trade obviously always help. But I think Jon Daniels has proven over the years that whether he’s developing players they drafted to use for himself or to trade, or whether he scores home runs in international signings like he did in the case of Yu Darvish, I think the track record is pretty impressive and very well balanced in every area.

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He instead headed to Dallas Baptist, where he has been a rotation mainstay since the first weekend of his college career. Like his brother, Sneed relies mainly on his arm strength. He maintains a 90 92 mph fastball deep into games and is capable of reaching 95, though his heater is a bit straight. For now, the rest of Sneed’s arsenal is ordinary. He has some feel for using a three pitch mix, though neither his curveball nor his changeup is a consistently average pitch. He throws a decent amount of strikes, but his command isn’t terribly reliable, so he could wind up as a reliever down the road. He began 2014 as Rice’s closer once again, but when projected ace Jordan Stephens blew out his elbow, Lemond moved to the rotation in March. Because he pitched so well and didn’t see any dropoff in stuff in much longer outings, Lemond put himself in position to go in the top 50 picks of the Draft. But because the Owls didn’t exactly ease him into his new role, he was sidelined with elbow inflammation after five starts. Before he went out, Lemond operated with a 92 96 mph fastball with some arm side run on a nice downward plane. His spike curveball can climb as high as 85 mph and makes batters look silly, though it also can be tough to command. He had no problem working his fading changeup into his mix and continued to throw strikes. After batting a combined .238 as a part time player in his first two years at Rice, he won the Cape Cod League home run derby last summer and took a huge step forward as a junior. Ewing’s strength always has been evident, and he finally found success at the plate this spring by shortening his swing and improving pitch recognition. He can crush the best of fastballs and while he still can struggle against offspeed pitches, he’s making adjustments. Ewing hasn’t caught regularly for the Owls, so it’s hard to know whether he’ll be able to stick behind the plate in pro ball. His marginal authentic jerseys wholesale
athleticism and slow release mitigate his arm strength, and he’s a bit stiff as a receiver. Scouts laud his work ethic, which should help as he tries to make the transition to a full time backstop. His record wasn’t indicative of the quality of his stuff or the way he pitched, however. His stuff has ticked up a notch this spring, and he has been one of the most consistently dominant pitchers in college baseball. Though he’s a 5 foot 11, 185 pound left hander, he can blow his fastball by most hitters. As a starter, Finnegan usually deals at 93 95 mph and reaches the upper 90s with his heater. He made strides with his low 80s slider during the summer while pitching in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA, and it has developed into a second weapon for him. He also uses a changeup, though he could scrap that pitch if he becomes a reliever in pro ball. There’s some effort in his delivery, which sometimes hampers his ability to throw strikes and leads to questions about his durability, so the bullpen could be his destination.

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“We’ve talked over the last six to eight months about how critical the development of this group is for the long term health here,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “What are some of the things that we can do to not accelerate it but to ensure that we get the most out of the group?

“Some of that is just patience and organizationally embracing that we are going to do things step by step and get these guys right. When I say that, I’m probably the one who needs that lesson most. . It’s more me and the front office group who want to tap the brakes and not ask for updates on a week to week basis. It’s going to take time.”

In 2015, the Rangers took right hander Dillon Tate from UC Santa Barbara with the fourth pick overall. He was an uncoachable disaster. The Rangers included him in last year’s deal with the New York Yankees for two months of hitter Carlos Beltran.

(The fourth overall pick is supposed to bring a bigger return than two months of Carlos Beltran.)

In 2016, the Rangers went with high school pitchers with the first two picks: left hander Cole Ragans and Alex Speas. Rather than let a college mold these pitchers, the Rangers can develop them with their own instructors.

It will be a go slow approach throughout the system, Clark said.

“We’re going to slow play some things with a lot of guys,” Clark said. “You’re going to see guys cheap authentic jerseys
repeating levels. You’re going to see guys taking one step at a time. It’s not going to be that they’re at Hickory [of the Low A South Atlantic League] because of where they came out in the draft. It’s going to be step by step.”

To that end, all pitchers in the minor league camp went back to the basics this spring. The emphasis was on repeatable deliveries and fastball command. Everything was about throwing fastballs for strikes.

The Rangers are close to creating a department of pitching. It starts two coordinator types, with Clark and Andrews, instead of the usual one.

“Danny Clark and Jeff Andrews, these guys are really good,” Daniels said. “If we give them time, we’re going to do well.”

The Rangers also have veteran Mark Connor in the role of special assistant guru and Keith Comstock handling rehabilitation at the club’s base in Surprise, Ariz. Connor and Comstock have a combined 75 years in the game.

Each of the eight minor league affiliates has a pitching coach and strength and conditioning coach. There are extra coaches at the academy in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

The Rangers in the offseason added Todd Walthier as director of pitching research and development. Walthier will deal with the explosion of information related to pitching.

“The best way to put his job is to ask questions and start conversations,” Daniels said.

Pitcher Age Comment LH Yohander Mendez 22 Closest to being major league ready RHP Ariel Jurado 21 Should open season at Double A Frisco LHP Brett Martin 21 On the rise despite diabetes RHP Connor Sadzeck 25 Starter or reliever? LHP Joe Palumbo 22 Breakthrough at Low A level last season LHP Cole Ragans 19 First round pick in last year’s draft RHP Alex Speas 19 Rated one spot ahead of Ragans as amateur RH Edgar Arredondo 19 Had Tommy John surgery at age 16 LHP Kenny Mendoza 19 Late bloomer a 24th round draft pick in ’16 RHP Tyree Thompson 19 Highly recruited point guard in high school

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MIAMI Cuban baseball players paid a South Florida based smuggling ring more than $15 million to leave the communist island in secretive ventures that included phony documents, false identities and surreptitious boat voyages to Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, federal prosecutors say.

A recently unsealed grand jury indictment against three men provides fresh details about the smuggling of 17 Cuban players, among them Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Leonys Martin of the Seattle Mariners. Martin signed with the Rangers in 2011 and was traded to the Mariners in November 2015. custody and remains in Haiti.

Estrada, who was arrested last week, has pleaded not guilty and is free on $225,000 bail. Hernandez pleaded not guilty when originally charged in February and is also free on bond.

Estrada’s lawyer, Sabrina Puglisi, said in an email Tuesday that he has never been involved in illegal human smuggling.

“He has always taken care of his players, training them so that they could achieve their dream of playing MLB in the United States,” she said.

The case is an outgrowth of the previous prosecution in Miami of four people for the smuggling of Martin out of Cuba, one of whom is serving a 14 year prison sentence. Martin is among the players named in the new indictment as well. None of the players have been charged.

Prosecutors have said the investigation is focused on the smuggling organizations and not on the players. soil. without having to sneak away at international tournaments or risk high seas defections with smugglers.

But beginning in April 2009, prosecutors say, the South Florida based smugglers ran a flourishing and lucrative illegal pipeline for Cuban players who must establish third country residency in order to sign as MLB free agents.

The indictment says that Hernandez, Estrada and Latouff “recruited and paid” boat captains to smuggle players from Cuba to Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The case of Abreu, who set a White Sox rookie record with 36 home runs in 2014 and was named American League rookie of the year, is fairly typical although the money involved is higher than most.

According to the indictment, Latouff paid $160,000 in August 2013 to a boat captain to smuggle Abreu from cheap authentic jerseys
Cuba to Haiti. There a fraudulent visa and false name were provided so that Abreu could fly from Port au Prince to Miami.

A short time later, Chicago announced Abreu had signed a five year, $68 million MLB contract. But the court documents show he still owed the smugglers millions and sent them several wire transfers in 2014 totaling at least $5.8 million.

Prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of more than $15.5 million in total payments from ballplayers to the smugglers, as well as forfeiture of four pieces of property in South Florida, four Mercedes Benz vehicles and a Honda motorcycle.

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HOUSTON Major League Baseball told Houston businessman Jim Crane it would not approve his purchase of the Astros unless he agreed to move the team to the American League, The Associated Press has learned.

Crane was forced to agree to move the sale along, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made by MLB or the Astros. Approval of the sale could be announced as early as Thursday at a meeting of baseball executives in Milwaukee.

Crane reportedly agreed to the move in exchange for a drop in the sales price valued earlier this year at $680 million. The person who spoke to the AP could not confirm the sales price.

The MLB Players Association believes two 15 team leagues would create a more proportionate schedule and has urged baseball to make the switch. With schedules for next season already completed, the earliest such a move could take place is 2013.

Time is running out for approval of the deal: Crane has said that his offer, which was announced on May 16 expires Nov. 30.

An MLB spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment, though Commissioner Bud Selig addressed an Astros’ move during a Twitter chat on Monday.

“For 15/15 realignment, discount jerseys
Houston would be the team moving to AL West. Would create more fairness in baseball,” Selig tweeted via the Colorado Rockies Twitter feed. He also added that “15 teams in each league would necessitate interleague play every day but it will be better schedule overall.”

The Astros currently play in the six team NL Central. The AL West is the only league in the majors with four teams (Rangers, Angels, Athletics and Mariners).

The Astros would be in a division with in state rival Texas. But fans are unhappy that the other three teams are all on the West Coast, meaning many road games would routinely end past midnight Central time.

Drayton McLane bought the team in November 1992 for about $117 million and put the franchise up for sale in November. He turned down an offer from Crane to buy the team in 2008.

The $680 million sale price is the second highest in major league history, trailing the $845 million purchase of the Chicago Cubs by the Ricketts family two years ago. The $660 million sale of the Boston Red Sox in 2002 currently is second. Like the Astros’ deal, the Cubs and Red Sox transactions included related entities.

A major selling point in Houston was the Astros’ share in a new deal with the NBA’s Houston Rockets to create a regional sports network that will begin airing Rockets games in 2012 and the Astros in 2013.

Crane, who founded a Houston based logistics company in 2008, is also the chairman and chief executive of Crane Capital, a private equity fund company. In 2009, he was in the running to buy the Cubs and last summer teamed with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in an unsuccessful bid to buy the Texas Rangers.

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