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Bud Selig: Change a comin'

A condensed postseason schedule? Expansion of instant replay? Best-of-seven division series? Limits on how often catchers can visit the pitcher? The end of the designated hitter?

Commissioner Bud Selig pledged today that changes are coming to baseball, but he wouldn't say what those changes might be. Selig met for the first time with a 14-man committee, including Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, and spent more than three hours discussing "15 or 20" areas of possible reform.

"I have a sense action will come out of it," Selig said, "some very quickly."

Selig in particular has resisted the expanded use of instant replay as well as a best-of-seven division series.

"I'm always open to changing my mind," he said. "I don't do it very often, but I'm always open."

The designated hitter has been in use in the American League since 1973, and the AL clubs never have expressed much interest in rescinding its use. The players' union undoubtedly would fight any effort to get rid of the DH, since the position tends to be filled by higher-paid veterans. So could the elimination of the DH really be on the table?

"Everything is on the table," Selig said.

Scioscia has been particularly outspoken about the need to condense the postseason schedule, but he declined to comment after the meeting because Selig told the committee members not to speak to the media.

Before the meeting, Torre expressed his support for a best-of-seven first round, even though his Dodgers have won the best-of-five series in each of the past two seasons.

In 2008, Torre noted, the Angels had the best record in the AL and the Chicago Cubs had the best record in the National League. The Angels won their division by 21 games, the Cubs won theirs by 7 1/2 games, and yet both teams lost in the first round of the playoffs.

"You work all season to get there and the chances are the better team loses," Torre said. "Those two teams were not really challenged. You don't have that emotional thing in trying to win a division because you have such a big lead."

The Cubs were swept by the Dodgers. The Angels lost the first two games of their series against the Boston Red Sox and were eliminated in four games.

"By the time you get your legs under you," Torre said, "it's gotten away from you."

-- Bill Shaikin in Phoenix

 
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