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Bisons ready for spring

The Buffalo Bisons announced their spring training schedule Friday, a 12-game run against the Triple-A affiliates of the Miami Marlins (New Orleans Zephyrs) and the St. Louis Cardinals (Memphis Redbirds).

The games will be played March 17-April 1, with the six home games at the New York Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and the six road contests at the combined St. Louis/Miami complex in Jupiter. All games start at 1 p.m.

The Mets open spring training when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 20. The full squad arrives Feb. 25. Players on minor-league contracts hit town in early March.

The full spring training schedule:

March 17, Memphis; March 18, at New Orleans; March 20, New Orleans; March 21, at Memphis; March 22, at New Orleans; March 24, Memphis; March 25, New Orleans; March 26, at Memphis; March 28, New Orleans; March 30, at Memphis; March 31, at New Orleans; April 1, Memphis.

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Ties to be played off

NEW YORK -- A little more than two months before opening day, Major League Baseball still doesn't know whether there will be eight playoff teams this year or 10.

While MLB and the players' association still are discussing whether the expanded playoffs will start in 2012 or 2013, they've reached a consensus that ties for division titles will be broken on the field under the new playoff format, a source told the Associated Press.

Since 1995, head-to-head record has been used to determine first place if both teams are going to the postseason. But with the start of a one-game, winner-take-all wild-card round, the sides agreed that the difference between first place and a wild-card berth is too important to decide with a formula and a tiebreaker game would be played.

In other baseball news, right fielder Hunter Pence and Philadelphia agreed to a $10.4 million, one-year contract.