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Manfred: Sit-down with Pete Rose is coming

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
Commissioner of baseball, Rob Manfred speaks to the media before the Jackie Robinson Day game against the Seattle Mariners at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on April 15, 2015. Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/62df15981cf48208792319e734ddc07f/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Commissioner of baseball, Rob Manfred speaks to the media before the Jackie Robinson Day game against the Seattle Mariners at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on April 15, 2015. Photo by Lori Shepler/UPI | License Photo

CINCINNATI -- Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred met Pete Rose for the first time prior to Tuesday night's All-Star Game.

According to Rose's account, Manfred told baseball's all-time hits leader, "I've never talked so much about a guy I've never met".

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With this year's All-Star Game in Cincinnati, it was nearly impossible for Manfred to avoid questions about Rose's pending case for reinstatement from his permanent ban from baseball.

Although they have yet to meet formally about Rose's status, the pair met in a holding room on the field level of Great American Ball Park. Moments later, Rose was honored on the field prior to the game as one of the Reds' "Franchise Four" as voted by the fans as one of the most impactful players in franchise history. He was joined by shortstop Barry Larkin, catcher Johnny Bench and second baseman Joe Morgan.

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Rose received a thunderous ovation from the crowd when his name was announced during the ceremony. He walked slowly from the dugout and waved to the fans before joining Bench, Morgan and Larkin on the infield grass.

"There's no change with respect to the process with Pete Rose," Manfred said at a Baseball Writers' Association of America luncheon Tuesday afternoon. "The review of the original investigatory material is ongoing. We're taking a fresh look at all of that. I remain committed to the idea that Mr. Rose deserves an opportunity to tell me ... whatever he wants me to know about the issue."

Rose, who amassed a record 4,256 hits during his 24-year playing career, which included 19 seasons with the Reds.

He was banned from baseball in 1989 after an extensive investigation showed he bet on baseball while serving as the Reds' manager, a violation of Rule 21 that carries a penalty of permanent banishment.

"I'm sure there will be an in-person meeting," Manfred said. "I want to schedule it at a time when I'm comfortable I have a good grasp of all the factual material."

Rose's bid for reinstatement sustained a blow last month when new evidence surfaced that he bet on baseball extensively while he was a player, something Rose vehemently has denied.

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"Well, there's no doubt that the vast majority of the mail that I get is from people who live in Cincinnati or who were big Pete Rose fans," Manfred said. "I get mail from people all around the country on the topic. It is a topic that's of interest to people, and it's one that we'll deal with going forward."

National League All-Star manager Bruce Bochy was looking forward to seeing Rose honored prior to Tuesday night's game.

"I know Pete," Bochy said. "I grew up a Reds fan, to be honest. I was a big fan of the Big Red Machine, and I was here in Cincinnati and I know how popular Pete is here. He's part of the city here. He's part of the history of Cincinnati, the Reds."

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