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Out as prez, advisor Hart leaves Braves

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

ATLANTA (AP) John Hart left the Atlanta Braves on Friday, less than a week after being stripped of his role as president of baseball operations.

The decision was not unexpected given the hiring of general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who is now in charge of all baseball-related decisions. Hart was bumped to the role of senior adviser, but clearly had no real power.

A former general manager in Cleveland and Texas, the 69-year-old Hart took on a leading role with the Braves at the end of the 2014 season after the firing of general manager Frank Wren.

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Yanks interview ESPN's Boone for manager

NEW YORK (AP) Having never managed or coached at any level, Aaron Boone believes his provenance prepared him to lead the New York Yankees.

"I would say in a way I've been preparing for this job for the last 44 years," Boone said Friday after becoming the fourth person to interview for the job that opened when Joe Girardi was let go Oct. 26.

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A's hire Matt Williams as 3rd base coach

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Athletics have hired former San Francisco Giants star Matt Williams as their new third base coach.

The A's announced Friday that Williams will join manager Bob Melvin's staff. Melvin was a coach in Arizona for two seasons late in Williams' career with the Diamondbacks.

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5 minor leaguers receive drug bans

NEW YORK (AP) Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Angel Nesbitt is among five players who have been suspended for violations of the minor league drug program.

The penalties were announced Friday by the commissioner's office. Three players from the Toronto Blue Jays were suspended.

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Astros' Altuve, Miami's Stanton win MVPs

NEW YORK (AP) Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros have grown together, enduring an arduous rebuild and coming out the other side among baseball's best.

These days, nobody is standing taller.

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Manfred: MLB pace changes coming in 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

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Manfred: Don't be upset if Stanton dealt

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks Miami Marlins fans should be understanding if the team's new owners trade All-Star slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

Former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter became the team's chief executive officer when a group headed by venture capitalist Bruce Sherman bought the team last month in a $1.2 billion deal. Jeter said this week the Marlins must cut payroll and are listening to offers for Stanton, who won his first NL MVP award Thursday.

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Yanks interview Meulens for manager job

Hensley Meulens thinks he has the communication skills the New York Yankees want in their next manager, and he can display his prowess in five languages.

A former Yankees player and current San Francisco Giants coach, Meulens was born in Curacao and speaks English, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and Papiamento.

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Mariners make trade with Otani in mind

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

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