Manfred hopes for exhibition games in Cuba in 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Rob Manfred believes Major League Baseball can engage in some fastball diplomacy.

Following President Barack Obama's announcement in December that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, the new baseball commissioner hopes his sport can assist in improving ties in the same manner the U.S. table tennis team did during its 1971 trip to China - so-called ''pingpong diplomacy.''

Manfred told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday ''I'm hopeful that the situation in terms of actual changes in federal policy clarifies in time to put us in a position to play some exhibition games in Cuba next spring.''

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