MLB notes: Efforts to speed pace of game going slowly –

Even talks to speed the pace of Major League Baseball games are going slowly. Commissioner Rob Manfred said management will hold further talks with the players’ association before deciding whether to push ahead with initiatives to speed games in 2018.

The average time of a nine-inning game is a record 3 hours, 5 minutes so far this season, up from 3 hours last year and 2:56 in 2015, Manfred’s first season as commissioner.

MLB made proposals last offseason that players refused to accept for 2017, but management can unilaterally implement them for 2018. They include a pitch clock, limits on visits to the pitcher’s mound by catchers, and restoring the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap.

Union head Tony Clark and his members agreed only to one of the proposed changes for 2017: the pitchless intentional walk.

“We remain committed to the idea … there are things that can be done to try to improve on the pace-of-game topic,” Manfred said. “And we will continue to purse that agenda with Tony over the course of the season.”

Clark has said previously that players think changes to on-field rules rarely are simple.

Hamstring sidelines Pujols • Albert Pujols was out of the Los Angeles Angels’ starting lineup Friday at the New York Mets because of a sore right hamstring. He left Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox in the seventh, one inning after he was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols had an MRI, which showed tendinitis in the hamstring.

Los Angeles is starting a 10-game trip that includes a pair of three-game series at National League ballparks, where there is no designated hitter.

“We’re just

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