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Expansion fees for Major League Baseball teams could rise to $2.2 billion range

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball would consider expansion fees in the range of $2.2 billion for new franchises, though there are no current plans to add teams.

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke Tuesday during SporticoLive’s online discussion of its estimates to baseball franchise valuations. The company estimated the average MLB franchise value is $2.2 billion, led the New York Yankees at $6.75 billion.

Colorado and Miami paid $95 million each to join in 1993, and Arizona and Tampa Bay paid $130 million to join in 1998.

Manfred has said repeatedly that MLB will not consider expansion until the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays get new ballparks. The Athletics have proposed a stadium in the Howard Terminal area of downtown Oakland, and the Rays have said they will pursue splitting seasons between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal starting in 2028, after the expiration of their lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

No plans for those cities have been finalized.

Manfred has mentioned as possible expansion candidates: Charlotte, North Carolina; Las Vegas; Montreal; Nashville, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

“If in fact these assets are worth an average $2.2 billion, I think that’s kind of a lodestar in terms of where you would start in terms of evaluating expansion opportunity,” Manfred said. “Expansion is not purely additive, right, from the perspective of the existing owners. There are huge shared revenue streams that are diluted as a result of having 32 as opposed to 30 as your denominator, and if that was in fact the expansion number, and that has to be taken into account, as well.”

Manfred also said MLB made the correct decision on April 2 to relocate its All-Star Game from Atlanta’s Truist Park over the league’s objections to changes to Georgia voting laws that critics have condemned as being too restrictive. MLB announced four days later than the July 13 game will be played at Coors Field in Denver.

“We were injected into a very politicized situation. I think we did the right thing,” Manfred said. “We thought our players were going to be in an extraordinarily difficult situation given how politically charged it was. And we think that the decision we made will actually be player protective.”

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With game on line, and a slump to end, Los Angeles Angels rely on Shohei Ohtani’s Fenway feat

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BOSTON — Shohei Ohtani stepped to the plate, trying to keep his slumping team in the game.

He did more than that, delivering what he called the most important home run of his four-season career in the majors.

Ohtani hit a two-out, two-run drive in the ninth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied past the Boston Red Sox 6-5 Sunday, ending a four-game losing streak.

“Coming off a losing streak and the first two games of the series, the way we lost, it wasn’t a good way to lose,” Ohtani said through a team interpreter. “So, it was huge for us and the team to come up with this. We showed that we can beat any team.”

Boston closer Matt Barnes (1-1) retired the first two batters in the ninth before giving up a bloop single to Mike Trout.

Ohtani followed with his major league high-tying 12th home run, tucked just inside the Pesky Pole in right field. It was Ohtani’s second homer of the series and stopped Boston’s three-game winning string.

“I personally think he’s the most physically gifted baseball player that we’ve ever seen,” Barnes said.

“I don’t know that you’re ever going to see someone who can throw 100, 101 and hit the ball 600 feet. He’s a special player and incredibly talented. Hopefully, he stays healthy and has a long career,” he said.

It’s been a long time since the Angels have enjoyed that kind of late drama. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the last Angels player to hit a go-ahead home run with the Angels down to their final out was Hank Conger on Aug. 31, 2013. It’s just the fourth such homer by an Angels player over the past 20 seasons.

Raisel Iglesias (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth and Mike Mayers recorded his second save of the season.

Drew Butera‘s two-run single capped a four-run second off Nathan Eovaldi that put the Angels ahead 4-0.

Rafael Devers hit a three-run drive and Kevin Plawecki hit his first homer in a four-run fifth that gave Boston a 5-4 lead.

Eovaldi allowed four runs with six strikeouts in five innings. Angels starter Jose Quintana gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven.

Ohtani’s next pitching start has been pushed back a day, to Tuesday against Cleveland, because of fatigue. The Angels will travel back home and open a 10-game homestand Monday against those Indians.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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No surgery required for Corey Seager’s hand; optimistic Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers content ‘to let it heal’

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LOS ANGELES — World Series MVP Corey Seager will miss at least a few weeks for the Los Angeles Dodgers after breaking a bone in his right hand.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the star shortstop does not need surgery on his broken fifth metacarpal _ the bone closest to the palm in his pinky finger. Seager’s hand was in a splint and a wrap Sunday morning while he chatted with his agent, Scott Boras, in the Dodger Stadium stands before the defending champions’ series finale against Miami.

“I think we dodged a bullet,” Roberts said. “No surgery required. He’s in a splint, and we’re just going to let it heal. With a broken hand, the timeline is pretty vague, so that’s where it’s at.”

Roberts said the “floor” for Seager’s return likely was four weeks, but it was impossible to assign a definite timetable.

“I don’t know,” Roberts said. “You’ve just got to let it happen.”

Seager was hit by a pitch from Miami’s Ross Detwiler in the fifth inning of Los Angeles’ 7-0 victory Saturday night. The Dodgers placed Seager on the 10-day injured list Sunday and recalled catcher Keibert Ruiz from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Seager became the 13th player on Los Angeles’ dismaying injured list, joining regular position players Cody Bellinger, AJ Pollock and Zach McKinstry. They’ve already lost powerful starter Dustin May and infielder Edwin Rios for the entire season.

Seager is batting .265 with four homers and 22 RBIs this season, his last before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency. The two-time All-Star and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year was both the NLCS MVP and the World Series MVP last season, batting .347 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in the two series combined during the Dodgers’ run to their first World Series title since 1988.

Roberts will fill Seager’s spot in the lineup with a combination of strategies, many dependent on each day’s pitching matchup. Gavin Lux moved from second base to shortstop Sunday, while Chris Taylor came in from the outfield to play second base.

First baseman Max Muncy moved up to take Seager’s customary No. 2 spot in the Dodgers’ batting order against Miami.

Lux will be LA’s primary shortstop with Seager out. The Dodgers also will use Muncy at other infield positions during Seager’s absence, while newcomers Albert Pujols and Yoshi Tsutsugo will play first base along with Bellinger when the former NL MVP returns.

Tsutsugo is joining the Dodgers on Monday after they acquired him from Tampa Bay, and Pujols’ signing is expected to be announced Monday.

The Dodgers are finally getting a bit of good injury news as well: Former Cy Young Award winner David Price is expected to be activated Monday after his hamstring injury, while Bellinger is optimistic he will return next weekend from a hairline leg fracture incurred in the Dodgers’ season-opening series.

Sunday’s play began with the Dodgers, at 22-17, one game back of San Francisco in the National League West.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager out with broken right hand

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Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager suffered a fractured right hand when he was hit by an up-and-in fastball from Miami Marlins pitcher Ross Detwiler in the fifth inning Saturday.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke to the media moments before the team announced the diagnosis and didn’t go into specifics, saying only that Seager’s hand was swollen and that he was still “in some pain” after the Dodgers’ 7-0 victory at home.

Seager was hit in the back of his right hand as he went to swing at a 90 mph sinker from Detwiler. He was in noticeable pain and came out of the game shortly after being looked at by Roberts and one of the Dodgers’ trainers.

Seager will be placed on the injured list Sunday, and the team is expected to call up another infielder to replace him. Earlier, the Dodgers acquired veteran infielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo from the Tampa Bay Rays. But Roberts said Tsutsugo, who mostly plays the corner-infield spots, won’t be available to join the team just yet.

Seager joins a growing list of key Dodgers players on the shelf, alongside center fielder Cody Bellinger, left fielder AJ Pollock, starting pitcher Dustin May and relief pitchers Corey Knebel, David Price and Brusdar Graterol.

The Dodgers will probably play Gavin Lux at shortstop in Seager’s absence, but his void in the No. 2 spot of the lineup — between Mookie Betts and Justin Turner — will be difficult to replace.

Seager, a free agent at season’s end, returned to prime form in 2020, batting .307/.358/.585 with 28 extra-base hits in 52 regular-season games, then winning MVP honors after each of the final two postseason rounds. His slash line was .265/.361/.422 in 169 plate appearances this season.

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