HOUSTON (AP) -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says shortening the regular season is becoming a popular topic as players and owners prepare to negotiate a new labor deal.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was ejected and then made contact with home plate umpire Chris Conroy during the third inning of Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Houston Astros outfielder George Springer missed Wednesday night's game against the Texas Rangers and was being evaluated for a possible concussion. Springer slowly came off the field under his own power and was replaced the next inning. Springer was still being evaluated, Houston manager A.J. Hinch said before Wednesday's game. ... Hopefully, we will have a decision on what's in store for him moving forward.'' The Astros had not made a determination if Springer would make the road trip to Los Angeles to play the Angels, Hinch said.
Austin Hedges finally returned to the clubhouse at pitcher Josh Johnson's urging, then was told to climb into a laundry cart for his quick ride to the bathroom. He certainly earned a celebration after a successful first start at catcher in the San Diego Padres' 9-1 victory against San Francisco on Wednesday. I didn't know what was going on.'' Hedges caught Ian Kennedy's strong outing, drove in two runs - including an RBI single in the decisive five-run third for his first major league hit - and even threw out a runner, all with his parents and an aunt and uncle in the stands at AT&T Park to see it. Kennedy struck out five in seven innings to win his second straight start as the Padres avoided a sweep and snapped the Giants' eight-game home winning streak.
Standing at the plate with a chance to make baseball history, Bryce Harper insisted his focus was on driving in the runner from third base. Harper homered three times in a game for the first time and had five RBIs in his finest day with the Nationals, leading Washington over the Miami Marlins 7-5 Wednesday for its third straight series win. Each came on the second pitch of the at-bat off Tom Koehler (2-3), and they raised Harper's season total to eight.
Josh Collmenter's latest start lasted all of seven innings. No matter, Aaron Hill aided him at the plate and Ender Inciarte in the field. Hill tied a career high with four RBIs, including a three-run homer, and Inciarte made two catches against the outfield wall to help the Diamondbacks beat the reeling Colorado Rockies 13-7 in a doubleheader opener Wednesday.
The Kansas City Royals' dominant bullpen got even tougher Wednesday when All-Star closer Greg Holland was activated from the disabled list before their game against the Cleveland Indians. Holland had been dealing with tightness in his chest muscle for a while, and the Royals finally decided to shut him down for seven days. Now, after ramping back up, Holland said he was ready to close whenever he was needed. ''That's all that matters.'' The Royals optioned reliever Yohan Pino to Triple-A Omaha to clear roster space in a series of roster moves.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has been given the go-ahead to resume throwing. ''This is a first step,'' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. The club said Wednesday that Verlander was examined by Dr. Tony Romeo, who reviewed an MRI. The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner ''was given the clearance to resume a throwing progression designed to return him to full competition.'' Verlander made about 50 throws in the outfield Wednesday before Detroit's game at the Chicago White Sox.