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    The St. Louis Cardinals are last in the NL Central with a 13-25 record in a surprisingly lackluster start for one of baseball's winningest franchises. It's the worst 38-game start for the team since it was 13-25 in 1925, according to Sportradar. The Cardinals haven't finished with a losing record since they were 78-84 in 2007, and the franchise has just two losing seasons in the past 25 years. Alongside the losing, St. Louis also has experienced a bit of dysfunctiona departure for a franchise that typically sails along with very little of the choppy water it has publicly navigated already.

      The streaking Tampa Bay Rays are running out of superlatives to describe baseball’s best start in more than three decades. Remarkable, incredible and unbelievable are words players have used to describe the dominant, all-around team effort that’s carried them to a 10-0 record that’s the toast of the big leagues two weeks into the season.

        A new study finds that climate change is making major league sluggers into even hotter hitters, sending an extra 50 or so home runs a year over the fences. A study published Friday by Dartmouth College scientists did a statistical analysis of more than 200,000 balls put into play in the last few years. They say climate change added about 1% to the homer totals. 

          A major shift is coming to Major League Baseball, starting on opening day this Thursday. New rules are now in effect. There will be clocks at stadiums to hurry along pitchers and hitters, and there are restrictions on defensive shifts for fielders. The full slate of 15 games includes matchups at Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. 

            Major league pitchers and batters aren’t the only ones going on the clock this season. Big league broadcasters have also been using spring training to adjust to baseball’s new rhythm amid a series of rules changes. When the season opens Thursday, MLB will usher in an age of sharper, quicker and more concise commentary.

            The Cleveland Guardians are close to signing a long-term contract with All-Star second baseman Andrés Giménez. The 24-year-old batted .297 and won a Gold Glove for the AL Central champions last season. He could sign the deal within days, according to an AP source. The person added that the Guardians are also nearing a deal with reliever Trevor Stephan.

            Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was ejected Monday in a spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays for an awkward ball exchange that followed a pitch-clock violation. The home plate umpire had just finished calling a ball on Phillies pitcher Craig Kimbrel for taking too long on the mound when the at-bat devolved into the bizarre ejection.

            Baseball has transformed in the 145 days since Dusty Baker and the Houston Astros sealed the franchise’s second title in six seasons. As New York Mets owner Steve Cohen dominated an offseason that saw billions spent, the sport braced for a new world that includes pitch clocks, bigger bases, limits on defensive shifts and pickoff throws, and an overarching attempt to reverse decades of lengthening games and the Analytics Era domination of the Three True Outcomes — strikeouts, walks and home runs. 

            Anthony Volpe is getting an opportunity to live a lifelong dream. The 21-year-old who grew up idolizing Hall of Famer Derek Jeter will be the New York Yankees' opening day shortstop after winning the job in spring training. Manager Aaron Boone, general manager Brian Cashman, hitting coach Dillon Lawson and bench coach Carlos Mendoza delivered the news after a 6-2 Grapefruit League win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

            New York Yankees right-hander Luis Severino has a low-grade lat strain. Manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism this wouldn’t be a long-term issue but acknowledged that Severino “most likely” would get placed on the injured list to start the season. The Yankees already won’t have right-hander Frankie Montas or left-hander Carlos Rodón for the start of the season. Rodón has a left forearm strain. Montas is recovering from shoulder surgery.

            The Trevor Bauer era in Japan began Friday at an introductory news conference, where he pulled a blue and white Yokohama DeNA BayStars jersey over a white shirt and red tie. he 2020 Cy Young Award winner is in Japan on a one-year deal that could let him prove himself and return to Major League Baseball, where he was unable to find work this season even after an arbitrator reduced his unprecedented 324-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

            A trio of NL pennant hopefuls are dealing with injuries to some pretty important players. St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright has a groin injury and Atlanta Braves closer Raisel Iglesias an inflamed shoulder. Philadelphia first baseman Rhys Hoskins hurt his left knee Thursday in a spring training game while fielding a grounder and was carted off the field.


            Content by Salem Tourism. For pickers and antiques aficionados, everything old is new again, and there’s certainly plenty of charming territory to explore in the welcoming town of Salem on the northwest outskirts of Roanoke, Virginia.

            Need gift ideas to help with the ladies in your life? This list will surely help you make the grade.

            Shohei Ohtani emerged from the bullpen and fanned Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout for the final out in a matchup the whole baseball world wanted to see, leading Japan over the defending champion United States 3-2 for its first World Baseball Classic title since 2009.

            The Philadelphia Phillies aren't putting Bryce Harper on the 60-day injured list at the start of the season. That leaves open the possibility for Harper to return to their lineup much sooner than the All-Star break in mid-July. But that doesn't necessarily mean the slugger will return quicker than expected from reconstructive right elbow surgery. Plus more news from around the league on Tuesday.

            Hundreds gathered outside Miami Marlins' home ballpark in Little Havana on Sunday to protest for the Cuban national baseball team played the United States in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. It's the first time the Cuban team has played in Miami, a landing spot for many who fled the country to escape the Soviet-style communist government of late leader Fidel Castro. The Cuban team is comprised of major league stars who defected from the island nation along with current Cubans, who are technically government employees. While some fans wanted to separate sports from politics, others wanted no part.

            Houston Astros star Jose Altuve has a broken right thumb and needs surgery after getting hurt in Venezuela’s 9-7 quarterfinal loss to the United States at the World Baseball Classic. The second baseman fell to the field after he was struck by the 95.9 mph sinker from Colorado reliever Daniel Bard in the fifth inning Saturday night. 

            Many of Major League Baseball’s biggest stars like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Shohei Ohtani aren’t playing in spring training these days. They're in the World Baseball Classic. And people are watching. The fifth WBC tournament drew just over one million fans in the first round, up from about 500,000 in 2017.

            The start of the season can’t come soon enough for teams looking to keep their pitching staffs as healthy as possible. A tough spring for pitchers continued Thursday with the announcements that New York Mets star closer Edwin Díaz and Washington Nationals prospect Cade Cavalli were expected to miss the entire season.

            Shohei Ohtani pitched shutout ball into the fifth inning and sparked a four-run third with a bunt single, leading Japan over Italy 9-3 and into its fifth straight World Baseball Classic semifinal. Boston’s Masataka Yoshida homered and drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder, giving him a tournament-leading 10 RBIs.

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