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NEW YORK — The Major League Baseball Players Association is keeping media out of its free-agent training camp at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Union spokesman Chris Dahl said Monday that reporters and photographers will not be allowed to enter the facility, which is open to the approximately 100 players who exercised the right to become free agents in November and remain unsigned. Players are allowed to report Tuesday, a day ahead of the first workout.

Union head Tony Clark declined comment.

Media was allowed at the union’s previous free-agent training camp, in Homestead, Florida, in April 1995 following a 7-plus-month strike.

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Reliever Pedro Baez reaches 2-year deal with Houston Astros, per reports

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Right-handed reliever Pedro Baez has agreed to a two-year contract with the Houston Astros, according to multiple reports.

The deal is pending a physical.

Baez finished the 2020 season as the third-longest-tenured member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, behind only Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Baez posted a 3.03 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.08 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 355 career appearances while having what felt like a love-hate relationship with Dodgers fans because of some dramatic highs and lows.

Baez, 32, missed nearly a month with a groin injury in 2020 but still managed 3.18 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 17 regular-season innings.

Baez’s agreement with the Astros was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.

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MLB suspends all political contributions in wake of Washington, D.C., invasion

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NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is suspending all political contributions in the wake of last week’s invasion of the U.S. Capitol by a mob loyal to President Donald Trump, joining a wave of major corporations rethinking their efforts to lobby Washington.

“In light of the unprecedented events last week at the U.S. Capitol, MLB is suspending contributions from its Political Action Committee pending a review of our political contribution policy going forward,” the league said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Following the insurrection last week by Trump supporters while Congress attempted to certify the results of the presidential election, many companies have said they will avoid making donations to members of the House and Senate who voted to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Others, like MLB, have postponed political giving to both political parties altogether.

MLB is the first of the major professional sports leagues to say it would alter its lobbying strategy in the wake of the deadly Capitol riots.

The Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Political Action Committee has donated $669,375 to Senate and House candidates since the 2016 election cycle, with 52.4% of that money going to Republican candidates, according to The Center for Responsive Politics.

Among its lobbying successes was a bill in 2018 that exempted minor league baseball players making as little as $5,500 per season from federal minimum wage laws, preempting a lawsuit from three players filed four years earlier. The “Save America’s Pastime Act” appeared on Page 1,967 of a $1.3 trillion spending bill.

Since the 2016 election cycle, MLB has made contributions to two senators and nine representatives who were among those opposing certification of Biden’s victory.

The Senate Republicans are Ted Cruz (Texas) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (Mississippi), and the House Republicans are Roger Williams (Texas), Kevin McCarthy (California), David Schweikert (Arizona), Steve Chabot (Ohio), Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma), Adrian Smith (Nebraska), Michael Burgess (Texas), Rick Crawford (Arkansas) and Elise Stefanik (New York).

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Mark Shapiro gets 5-year extension as Toronto Blue Jays CEO

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TORONTO — Mark Shapiro has been given a five-year contract extension as the Toronto Blue Jays‘ president and chief executive officer.

Rogers Communications, which owns the team, made the announcement Wednesday.

Shapiro worked for the Cleveland Indians before becoming the Blue Jays’ president on Oct. 31, 2015.

Rogers chairman Edward Rogers said Shapiro’s leadership and commitment over the last five years have been critical to the team’s growth and development.

The Blue Jays returned to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016.

Toronto was 32-28 during the pandemic-shortened season, earning a wild card in the expanded playoffs. The Blue Jays were swept over two games in the first round by eventual AL champion Tampa Bay.



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