MLB notebook: Wild card playoff to stay one game, says Bud Selig

Cleveland Indians designated hitter Carlos Santana (left), left fielder Michael Brantley (center)...

Cleveland Indians designated hitter Carlos Santana (left), left fielder Michael Brantley (center) and second baseman Jason Kipnis react after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wild card playoff game at Progressive Field on Oct 2, 2013 in Cleveland, OH, USA. (David Richard/USA TODAY Sports)

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, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

Major League Baseball's wild card playoff system will remain a one game, play-in to the postseason, according to Commissioner Bud Selig.

Selig, in an online Town Hall meeting Tuesday with fans ahead of the All-Star Game in Minneapolis, shot down speculation that wild card showdowns might be turned into best-of-three series, saying MLB did not want the postseason to reach November.

"The playoffs take a long time," he said. "I am bound and determined to make sure that baseball is done by October 31. I'm glad where we are and will stay where we are."

Under the current playoff format, the three divisional winners in the American and National Leagues automatically earn spots in the postseason.

The two teams with the next best records in each league play a one-game "tiebreaker", with the winners advancing to the postseason proper.

With the current system, winning a division title has added value as no team wants to face a one-off wild card encounter to keep their season alive.

CABRERA NOT 100%

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is not fully recovered from offseason groin surgery.

"There are times when I feel good, but there are always muscles that are tightening, muscles that are not functioning properly," Cabrera told USA Today.

The starting cleanup batter for the American League All-Star team Tuesday, Cabrera hit .306 with 75 RBIs in the first half of the season. He smacked 30 homers in the first half in 2013, but has only 13 this season.

Cabrera is not the only Tigers star on the mend. Right-hander and former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is still bothered by a similar injury, Cabrera said. Verlander had surgery in January.

"The same thing is happening to Justin Verlander, but the difference is he pitches every five days, so you don't see it as frequently," Cabrera said.

"But as he and I talked about, we're never going to offer any excuses for our performance. We always want to be out on the field and compete, and I think that's the most important thing we can do, compete and try to get past this tough time. And the main thing is we're in first place."

Verlander is 8-8 with a 4.38 earned-run average, well above his 3.51 career ERA.

MLB TO SNUFF OUT DIP

In the wake of Tony Gwynn's death from salivary gland cancer, Major League Baseball and the players association hope to strive toward reducing and eliminating smokeless tobacco from the game.

That could take some time, but Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB Players' Association executive director Tony Clark both expressed optimism before the All-Star Game on Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Clark believes education efforts focused on the risks of smokeless tobacco is the way to go. Selig anticipates the issue to come up during negotiations for a new labor agreement in the next two years.

"We believe the numbers suggest that usage has declined significantly," Clark said. "It's declined in the minor leagues and the major leagues. Our hope is that we can continue to educate guys on the damage that dipping can do and they will continue to decide not to dip and chew.

"We give the players the opportunity to make the decision they're going to make against the backdrop of it being legal. At the end of the day, we don't condone it and they know we don't condone it."

Gwynn was an eight-time batting champion and Hall of Famer who died June 16 at age 54. He believed his cancer, which first appeared in 2010, was a result of chewing tobacco use.

ROYALS OWNER A BELIEVER

Kansas City Royals owner David Glass is optimistic his team can win the American League Central Division.

Even though the Royals, 48-46 at the all-star break and 6 1/2 games behind the Detroit Tigers, have not been to the post-season since 1985.

"It's the inconsistency that has surprised me," a candid Glass told the Kansas City Star about the team's first half. "But we're in a good position, I think, to make a run for the playoffs. If we have a good second half, there's no reason why we can't be in the playoffs."

Glass also gave general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost a vote of confidence.

"I think they've both done a good job," Glass said. "Dayton is one of the best baseball people I know, and I've been around a lot of them for the last 60 years. And I think Ned is a very good manager. I think that he continues to grow as a manager."

MARINERS RELEASE BUCK

Veteran catcher John Buck is now a free agent.

The Seattle Mariners released Buck after he went through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment last week.

The 34-year-old was hitting just .226 on the season, with one home run and six RBIs in 27 games.

Buck, an all-star with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, signed a one-year, $1 million contract in the offseason with the Mariners after playing with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates last year.

GLOVE FETCHES $287G

A signed Lou Gehrig glove, given to a fan by the New York Yankees slugger almost 80 years ago, was sold at auction for $287,500 on Tuesday as part of MLB's All-Star FanFest in Minneapolis.

Howard Brost Henderson acquired the glove in 1935 from Gehrig himself after the baseball legend visited his family's home in Bronxville, N.Y.

It's signed: "To Howard. I hope you have much luck with this glove as I did. Lou Gehrig."

"I was very lucky to have known Lou Gehrig as a young man growing up," said the 92-year-old Henderson. "He was a friend as well as a famous baseball player. For the past 80 years my family and I have enjoyed sharing the story of how I acquired the autographed glove with friends."

Also sold at auction were a Roy Campanella Hall of Fame induction ring for $86,250 and a Jackie Robinson bat that fetched $80,500.

BRIEFLY: The Cleveland Indians demoted pitcher Zach McAllister to Triple-A Columbus following his start Saturday against the Chicago White Sox ... San Francisco Giants infielder Brandon Hicks cleared waivers and was demoted to Triple-A Fresno, days after veteran Marco Scutaro was activated from the disabled list ... Former major leaguer Billy Bean -- not to be confused with Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane -- was appointed as MLB's first "ambassador for inclusion" where he will "provide provide guidance and training related to efforts to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community throughout Major League Baseball."

 


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