A U.S. appeals court appeared skeptical Tuesday about the city of San Jose’s attempt to win a court order allowing the Oakland Athletics to move to Silicon Valley.
San Jose sued Major League Baseball and league Commissioner Bud Selig last year, seeking permission for the A’s to relocate there. A lower court judge rejected the city’s argument, ruling that baseball could withhold its approval for the A’s to move under the league’s longstanding antitrust exemption.
At a hearing Tuesday before a three-judge panel in San Francisco, attorneys for the city argued that the antitrust exemption is narrow and should not apply to issues like the location of franchises. All three judges directly questioned that reasoning.
“I don’t see it,” Judge Richard Clifton said.
The Oakland A’s have struggled for years with weak ticket sales at the O.co Coliseum, which the A’s share with the Oakland Raiders of the NFL.
San Jose, the biggest city in affluent Silicon Valley, has longed for an MLB franchise for years. The city has offered the A’s land for a ballpark, while also pressing the league to have owners of the other teams vote to allow the A’s to move.
A major obstacle to that plan has been the San Francisco Giants, which has attempted to prevent the A’s move by arguing that the Giants hold territorial rights to San Jose, according to the lawsuit.
VERLANDER TO MISS START
An MRI on Justin Verlander’s sore right shoulder showed no structural damage, but the Detroit Tigers right-hander is expected to miss at least one start.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters before Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that the test found inflammation in several different spots. Team trainer Kevin Rand said the inflammation is normal for pitchers.
Robbie Ross is expected to take the 31-year-old Verlander’s missed turn in the rotation.
Verlander (10-11) departed Monday night’s 11-6 loss to the Pirates at Pittsburgh after one inning. He exited after allowing five runs — four earned — and four hits with two walks and three strikeouts as the Pirates took a 5-1 lead.
The loss ended Verlander’s streak of 14 consecutive interleague victories. He had been 4-0 both against National League teams this season and against the Pirates in his career.
Verlander said he initially had trouble getting loose during pre-game warmups then again when he took the mound to start the bottom of the first inning. He lobbied to stay in the game because the Tigers were forced to use their bullpen for 13 innings Sunday in a 19-inning loss to the Blue Jays at Toronto.
The Tigers currently are without starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who is on the disabled list.
O’S IN RUNNING FOR ALL-STAR GAME
Camden Yards remains a “prime candidate” to host the 2016 All-Star Game, according to Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
“Before I leave office, I’m going to do a number of All-Star Games, including 2016,” Selig said Tuesday. “I think Baltimore certainly is a prime candidate.”
Washington also is a viable candidate to host an All-Star Game within the next several years, he said. Selig tries to alternate leagues and the proximity of the two cities would not jeopardize their chances to each land the marquee event.
“It would be fine,” Selig said.
Selig announced in September that he planned to retire at the end of his term in January 2015.
SHOULDER SIDELINES WERTH
Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth could land on the disabled list depending on test results on his injured right shoulder.
Werth, who was replaced in the starting lineup Tuesday by rookie Michael Taylor, has complained of soreness and has some inflammation in the AC joint of his right shoulder.
Werth is hitting .279 with 12 homers and 63 RBIs this season.
The game against the New York Mets was Taylor’s major-league debut. In 102 minor-league games this season, Taylor has compiled a .315 batting average with 22 homers and 35 stolen bases.
RAYS PROSPECT BANNED AGAIN
Tampa Bay Rays minor-league outfielder Joshua Sale received a second 50-game suspension without pay Tuesday after failing another drug test.
Sale, a 2010 first-round draft pick, will begin serving the suspension immediately. The 23-year-old was batting .238 with four home runs and 46 RBIs in 90 games this season for the single-A Charlotte Stone Crabs in the Florida State League.
Sale was also suspended in 2012 for methamphetamine use.