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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred visits Dodgers spring-training camp

Commissioner Rob Manfred answers players' questions during spring-training visits

New Commissioner Rob Manfred stopped in Camelback Ranch on Monday to visit with the Dodgers, part of a whirlwind tour that will take him to spring-training camps in Arizona and Florida.

"I want players to have an opportunity to see who I am, to hear me talk a little bit in person in an atmosphere where we don't have a crisis," he said. "It's not some particular issue I'm trying to get resolved. They all have their livelihood wrapped up in the game and obviously things that I do and decide can have an effect on that."

Manfred attended the Dodgers' regular morning clubhouse meeting, during which he took questions from the team. Afterward he met with a group of reporters who, the commissioner said, asked basically the same questions as the players.

Among the most frequent involve the status of Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader who was banned in 1989 for betting on games.

Manfred said Monday he has received a formal reinstatement request from Rose and will soon reach out to the ex-player's representatives to determine how to proceed. "I'm prepared to review that request on its merits," Manfred said. "I want to hear what Pete has to say. And I'll make a decision once I'm done with that."

Rose, 73, has previously applied for reinstatement to former commissioners Fay Vincent and Bud Selig.

"I don't think people should read any predisposition into what I'm saying about this," Manfred said. "I see it as he's made a request; part of my obligations under the major league constitution is to deal with those requests. I don't have any previous position with respect to it."

Manfred touched on a number of other subjects during his brief visit to the Dodgers camp:

•On the All-Star game: He's had preliminary discussions with team President Stan Kasten about bringing the event back to Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980: "A market like L.A., you can't ask for a better showcase for the game. So more to follow on that one," he said.

•On the players' reaction to rule changes to speed up the game: "In general, players are positive," he said. "Change is always difficult. Our players are very cognizant of the need of this sport to be responsive to fan concerns on topics such as this."

•On baseball's evolving relationship with Cuba and the fate of Cuban defectors: "Everything baseball does — and can do — is driven by the federal government's regulations and policies in this area. We are having ongoing dialogue with a number of federal agencies about regularizing that process. ... The issues of how players are getting in and out of Cuba is obviously a concern for us."

League sidelined

Reliever Brandon League has been shut down for the second time in a week because of inflammation in his right shoulder. League, who hasn't pitched since March 9, was examined by team physician Neal ElAttrache and given an injection Monday but an MRI exam was not performed.

"He'll be down a couple of days and then kind of back to the program," said Manager Don Mattingly, who thinks League's problem is a result of overuse and not due to any kind of structural damage. "At this point there's no reason to push him through something when we've still got time. He's thrown enough. He's still got arm strength.

"We're going to be patient. Because he's a valuable guy for us."

League had similar troubles last spring and did not accompany the team on its season-opening trip to Australia. But he rebounded to post a 2.57 earned-run average in 63 games.


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