MLB Approves 10-Team Playoff, Will Begin HGH Testing

MLB Approves 10-Team Playoff, Will Begin HGH Testing

Major League Baseball is heading for collective bargaining oblivion, and there is going to be a work stoppage, and we could miss games and...

Wait, what? They're done?

They struck a new deal before the old one expired?

There was minimal acrimony?

This is still possible?

Oh...well...that's cool. Uh, wanna talk about it?

Major League Baseball announced that its players and owners came to a settlement Tuesday afternoon on a new collective bargaining agreement that will expand the league's playoff format to include two extra wild card qualifiers and drug program to include blood testing.

The expanded playoff will see the two wild card teams in each league meet in a one-game playoff immediately following the end of the regular season, with the winners moving on to the division series. Unlike what was speculated earlier in the week, there has been no additional information released regarding the stripping of those rules that currently prohibit division rivals from meeting in the LDS.

As for the drug program, the deal certifies the MLB as the very first North American sporting league to authorize blood testing so as to check for HGH. Violations are expected to be met with the same suspension scale as for other performance-enhancing drugs (50 games for the first failed test, etc...).

No timetable has been announced for when the blood tests will begin nor when the new playoff format will take effect. Commissioner Bud Selig remains nonetheless hopeful that fans will be watching a new version of the Wild Card race in the Fall of 2012. Other updates to the agreement allegedly include an expanded use of replay and some other ancillary notes that very few of you will actually care about.

One parting thought, though it's sort of generally accepted that the aforementioned Selig is somewhat of a (insert your preferred insult of choice here), this deal now guarantees 21-consecutive years of labor peace for baseball, dating back to the 94-95 strike. After all the issues throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, if someone would have told you in 1995 that there would not be a single missed event in baseball as a result of a labor dispute over the next 21 years, would you have believed it?

Thoughts on the extra wild card? Like it? Don't like it? Wish guys were still on steroids? Just happy some rich dudes got together and decided to just be all rich together and not have to see who could piss farther into a headwind?

Add a thumbnail to your comment handle and tell us about it.

Safety Malcolm Jenkins ready to man the slot with Ron Brooks out

Safety Malcolm Jenkins ready to man the slot with Ron Brooks out

With slot cornerback Ron Brooks out for the year, the Eagles have a big hole in their secondary.

And safety Malcolm Jenkins is happy to fill it.

Jenkins, the Eagles’ Pro Bowl safety, said he hopes to replace Brooks as the Eagles’ slot corner. Brooks went on injured reserve Monday after rupturing his quad during the win over the Vikings Sunday.

Jenkins spoke Monday evening on CSN's Quick Slants from his Malcolm Jenkins Foundation fundraiser at Union Trust.

“I played 60 percent of my snaps last year in the slot so it's a position that I'm very, very comfortable with and that I prefer as opposed to playing deep,” Jenkins said. “So I'm comfortable in that role.”

With Brooks out, the Eagles are thin at cornerback, with only Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and rookies Jalen Mills and recently activated C.J. Smith.

Carroll can play in the slot, but Doug Pederson indicated Monday that he’s leaning toward using Jenkins to cover the opposing slot receiver, like he did Sunday, after Brooks got hurt.

“Yeah, I would think that it would be very similar to what we've seen with Jalen on the outside and then Malcolm coming down inside and playing the nickel spot, and Jaylen Watkins being back there a little bit.

“And with Leo being healthy now, (it) gives you a little more depth. But we've got to continue to look at getting C.J. some more reps probably during the week to have a full complement of secondary help.”

Mills is a rookie seventh-round pick, and Smith is an undrafted rookie who spent the first seven weeks of the season on the practice squad.

McKelvin has missed three games this year but appears healthy now. Mills started Sunday but McKelvin played the bulk of the snaps.

Sunday will present a huge challenge for whoever mans the spot since Cowboys slot receiver Cole Beasley is so dangerous. He’s the Cowboys’ leading receiver with 33 catches for 390 yards and three touchdowns.

Beasley caught nine passes for a career-high 112 yards against the Eagles in the second meeting last year. He’s one of six receivers in the league this year with at least 50 yards in six games.

Jenkins said there are a number of ways the Eagles can defend the slot this weekend in Dallas.

“Now that we’ve got Leodis McKelvin back, it's another option,” he said. “We could put Jalen Mills in there. Just basically depends on matchups and what we want to do.

“I think the coaching staff right now is weighing those options and we'll see [Tuesday] or Wednesday what that package is really gonna look like.”

Brooks played 228 snaps in the Eagles’ first five games, or about 46 per game. That was fourth-most in the secondary before he got hurt.

“It's a tough loss,” Jenkins said. “But we've got so many guys that are interchangeable on our defense that it won't affect anything that we're doing.”

Flyers recall forward Taylor Leier from Lehigh Valley

Flyers recall forward Taylor Leier from Lehigh Valley

The Flyers on Tuesday made an unexpected roster move as they have recalled forward Taylor Leier from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, general manager Ron Hextall announced. The 22-year-old will be available for Tuesday night's game against the visiting Buffalo Sabres (see game notes).

Now the question is why the call-up?

There were no reports of injuries following Monday's 3-1 loss to the Canadiens. But knowing the secretive nature of hockey injuries, it's possible a Flyer was indeed nicked up in Montreal.

It's also entirely possible that the upper-body injury to Michael Raffl, who hasn't played in a week's time since leaving the 7-4 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago, is more serious than originally thought and needs more time to heal. The Flyers could place Raffl on long-term injury reserve retroactive to last Tuesday. That would free up a roster spot and make room for Leier.

This will not be Leier's first stint with the Flyers. Along with Shayne Gostisbehere, he was called up last November and made his debut in a Nov. 14 win in Carolina. He played six games in the NHL before he was sent back down to Lehigh Valley for the rest of season. He did not record a point with the Flyers last season and averaged 7:43 of ice time a night.

In three games with the Phantoms this season, the 2012 fourth-round draft pick of the Flyers has three assists. He scored 20 goals for the Phantoms last season, including a team-high 10 power-play goals.

Leier will wear No. 58 for the Flyers. It remains to be seen if he will crack Tuesday's lineup.