Arab Times

Royals teammates win Gold Gloves

Manfred hopeful for Cuba game

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NEW YORK, Nov 11, (Agencies): World Series Most Valuable Player Salvador Perez and Kansas City Royals teammates Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar have won Gold Gloves awards.

The awards for fielding excellence were announced Tuesday by the Rawlings glove company.

Yoenis Cespedes won the AL prize in left field even though he was traded from Detroit to the New York Mets on July 31.

Perez was honored for the third consecutiv­e season as the AL catcher, as was Hosmer at first base. Escobar won for the first time at shortstop.

The other AL winners were second baseman Jose Altuve and pitcher Dallas Keuchel of Houston, Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado, Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun.

In the NL, catcher Yadier Molina and right fielder Jason Heyward won from St Louis. Arizona also had two winners with first baseman Paul Goldschmid­t and center fielder A.J. Pollock.

Other NL winners were Miami second baseman Dee Gordon, San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford, Colorado third baseman Nolan Arenado, Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte and Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke.

Major League Baseball teams have already started releasing their exhibition schedules for next year, but Commission­er Rob Manfred is hoping to make some alteration­s that would include spring training games in Cuba.

“We got a little time still. There isn’t really a firm cutoff,” Manfred said Tuesday during the general managers meetings. “We’re going to proceed internally and get to the point where we’ve sort of identified who would go, meaning which club would go if we can get it done. And one club maintainin­g flexibilit­y with respect to a spring training date is a lot easier than 25 clubs maintainin­g that flexibilit­y.”

The United States and Cuba reestablis­hed embassies in July, a thawing of the relationsh­ip between the countries that had been tense since Fidel Castro led a Communist party overthrow of the Cuban government in 1959.

Some major league teams held spring training in Cuba before Castro took over. The only major league team to play in Cuba since then is the

Baltimore Orioles, who took part in an exhibition game against the Cuban national team in 1999 in the capital city of Havana.

Manfred admits there are obstacles to overcome in order to be able to stage games in Cuba.

“There are a variety of issues

involved there, not all of which are wholly within baseball’s control,” he said. “Obviously, the federal government has some significan­t influence on whether that’s going to take place, and there are issues that need to be solved before that can happen.”

The United States also continues to hold a trade embargo on Cuba, which is why Cuban players must defect to another country in order to sign with a major league organizati­on. Those players often leave the island nation on dangerous journeys with the help of smugglers, who ask for as much as 50 percent of their future earnings in return.

Many baseball executives and player agents expect that eventually a system will be put in place where major league teams could purchase players directly from teams in Serie Nacional — the Cuban profession­al league — with the Cuban government getting a share of the sale price.

Manfred also reiterated that he will make a decision by the end of the year on all-time hits leader Pete Rose’s applicatio­n for reinstatem­ent, and that expanding protective netting at major league ballparks will be on the agenda at the quarterly owners’ meetings Dec 18-19 at Dallas.

Suspended by MLB for betting on

baseball in 1989, Rose met with Manfred in September at the league offices in New York.

There has been a push by some owners to increase netting after a number of fans were seriously injured by foul balls and bats entering the stands this past season. The Chicago White Sox hired Rick Renteria as their bench coach Tuesday, and no one was happier about that than Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer.

Renteria managed the Cubs in 2014, then was fired in awkward fashion. He was originally told he would return in 2015 but Chicago changed its mind when Joe Maddon became available after triggering an escape clause in his contract with Tampa Bay after Rays president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman left for the same position with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddon led the Cubs to the National League Championsh­ip Series this year, where they were swept by the New York Mets.

Hoyer said Renteria sent him congratula­tory texts after each of the Cubs’ postseason victories.

“He’s a good man and it’s good that he’s back in the game,” Hoyer said.

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