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Baseball players are open to extending the designated hitter to the National League and to expanding the winner-take-all wild-card playoff to a multi-game series. Management has little interest.

The American League has used the DH since 1972 Ryan Dzingel Jersey , and there has been more discussion among fans and media of expanding it to the NL.

”It’s gaining momentum, I’ll offer you that,” players’ union head Tony Clark told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. ”Players are talking more about it now than they have in the past.”

DHs often are high-priced sluggers, a reason players are interested in having the rule cover both leagues.

”Fans like to see offense,” said Boston’s J.D. Martinez, who has DHed in 54 of his 92 games this year.

Not all players agree.

”I lightly lean toward no, just because I’m used to the National League style of play,” Cincinnati’s Joey Votto said. ”I find that the American League is a little more basic and the games are longer. That doesn’t excite me. On the other side, I guess I do like the idea of the occasional break and getting to DH.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said change was unlikely.

”I could have made a deal with the MLBPA on extending the DH to the National League,” he said. ”I think the most likely outcome at this point remains the status quo.”

MLB began one-game wild-card playoffs in each league in 2012, when the postseason field was expanded from eight to 10. There has been renewed scrutiny of the format because of the AL East race. Boston is 68-30 and on pace for 112 wins Malik Jackson Jersey , and the New York Yankees are at 62-33, which projects to 105 wins.

”Having series is always better … for a player in a lot of ways than a one-game playoff,” Clark said. He said complications include a schedule that can stretch from late March until early November and division winners not wanting to have three or four off days before the playoffs.

Manfred said this year’s AL East race is proof of the current format’s success.

”Under the old system the Yankees and the Red Sox wouldn’t care who won the American League East,” he said. ”In contrast, under the new system we are all going to be treated to a pennant race that goes all the way through the end of September and they’re going to be trying to win every single game to avoid that one-game wild card.”

He maintained that if the same circumstances occurred in the NL Central, if it were ”the Brewers and the Reds that might be winning 100 games, that the uproar would probably be a little less.”

In an era when most calls are subject to video review, Clark said it was not yet clear whether computers could replace umpires in calling balls and strikes.

”Electronic strike zones have been bantered about quite a bit,” he said. ”The discussions that we’ve had so far suggest that as much as we want that consistency, we also respect and appreciate the umpires and the human element of the game as well. I don’t know where we’re going to end up at this point. We have a lot more conversations to have with players.”

AP freelance writer Ben Standig contributed to this report.

Stuck in an 11-game losing streak, the Detroit Tigers cleared the air with a pregame meeting. Then Nick Castellanos went out and cleared the bases with an important home run that helped stop Detroit’s slide.

Castellanos hit his fourth career grand slam Youth Daryl Worley Jersey , Jordan Zimmermann pitched seven strong innings and the Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-1 on Sunday.

Manager Ron Gardenhire scheduled the pregame meeting, a relaxed session in which players were invited to say whatever was on their mind. Castellanos called it an opportunity to ”just kind of address the elephant in the room.”

”It gave anybody a chance that wanted to speak up to speak up,” said Castellanos, adding that Victor Martinez, James McCann and Gardenhire were among those who talked.

JaCoby Jones hit a two-run homer as the Tigers won for the first time since June 17, when they completed a three-game road sweep of the Chicago White Sox.

Castellanos nearly hit another home run in the ninth but Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar made a leaping catch at the wall.

”I felt like I was going to have a chance to make a play,” Pillar said. ”A ball like that hit as high as it is it allows me time to kind of track the ball and track the fence and go up to try to make a play. ”

Castellanos stopped on the basepaths to applaud Pillar’s catch before turning and heading back to the dugout.

”What else can you say the end of the day besides `What a play,”’ Castellanos said. ”It sucks it had to happen to me but plays like that have to happen to somebody.”

Niko Goodrum had a career-high four hits and Jose Iglesias had two hits and two RBIs for Detroit, which had lost 12 of 14 at Rogers Centre.

”That was a fun win, a really fun with with a lot of great swings,” Gardenire said.

Zimmermann (3-0) allowed one run and five hits in his third start since returning from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss more than a month.

”He had a great curveball today Youth Jaden Schwartz Jersey ,” Gardenhire said. ”That’s probably the best curveball I’ve seen all year out of him.”

Wearing red jerseys and caps for Canada Day, the Blue Jays couldn’t deliver a win for the holiday crowd of 37,445.

Tigers outfielder Leonys Martin left with a sore left hamstring after his bases-loaded bunt single in the fifth brought home Detroit’s first run. Martin was replaced by Victor Reyes.

Following the game, Gardenhire said Martin would be placed on the 10-day disabled list. A corresponding roster move will be made before Monday afternoon’s series finale.

Castellanos followed with his 13th home run, a shot that bounced off the top of the wall in right. It was his first grand slam since Sept. 8, 2017, also against Toronto.

Castellanos also made a fine catch in right, reaching back to grab Russell Martin’s line drive for the final out of the fourth.

Iglesias chased Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (10-4) with a two-out, two-run single in the sixth.

Happ matched season-worsts by allowing seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.

”It’s not a pretty outing and I own that,” Happ said.

Happ had won six consecutive decisions since his previous defeat, May 10 against Seattle.

Teoscar Hernandez tripled in the first and scored on a two-out double by Justin Smoak Youth Jordan Weal Jersey , but Zimmermann recovered to retire the next nine Blue Jays batters.

For the second straight game, the roof was closed at Rogers Centre because of high heat and humidity.

MUSIC MAN

Blue Jays RHP John Axford complied a list of more than 500 songs by Canadian artists and has been playing his mix in the clubhouse all weekend. Axford’s `Oh Canada!’ playlist can be streamed using the online music service Spotify.

NOT YOUR DAY

The Blue Jays are 14-26 on Canada Day, including a 12-17 mark at home.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: RHP Alex Wilson, who left in the eighth inning Saturday because of a sore left calf, was not available. … RHP Drew VerHagen (nasal fracture) pitched one scoreless inning for Triple-A Toledo Saturday night, his first rehab appearance. VerHagen has been out since June 20.

Blue Jays: Toronto optioned utilityman Darnell Sweeney to Triple-A Buffalo after the game and will make a corresponding roster move Monday.

UP NEXT

Tigers RHP Mike Fiers (5-4, 4.04) faces Blue Jays LHP Ryan Borucki (0-1, 3.00) in Monday afternoon’s series finale. Fiers is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in two career starts at Rogers Centre. Borucki made his major league debut at Houston last Tuesday, allowing two runs in six innings.

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