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2018 MLB Spring Training Look At All Teams-Trades-Rumours-Injuries ETC. !

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  • #16
    Bryce Harper returns to Nats' lineup
    March 3, 2018

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) Bryce Harper returned to Washington's lineup following surgery to remove an ingrown toenail, striking out twice and walking in the Nationals' 8-1 exhibition victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

    Stephen Strasburg pitched two innings in his first spring start for the Nationals. Coming off back-to-back 15-win seasons, Strasburg gave up a run on three hits and struck out two.

    Houston starter Justin Verlander pitched three shutout innings and allowed two hits, while striking out five. Verlander has struck out nine in five shutout innings to begin Grapefruit League play.

    RAYS 7, TIGERS 4

    Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer didn't make it out of the second inning in his second start. Archer set down just four batters and allowed two runs on two hits and two walks. C.J. Cron doubled in a run and scored for the Rays. Victor Martinez and Nicholas Castellanos both hit two-run home runs for Detroit. The Tigers announced ace Michel Fulmer will miss Sunday's start against the Nationals with soreness in his right elbow. According to Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, Fulmer's issue is unrelated to the offseason surgery he had to move the ulnar nerve to a different part of his elbow to alleviate numbness that bothered him last season.


    Xander Bogaerts had two hits, including a double, and scored a run for Boston. Jackie Bradley Jr. swiped his first base for the Red Sox. New York's top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield pitched two innings and gave up a run on two hits and two walks. Aaron Hicks had a solo home run for the Yankees, while top prospect Miguel Andujar capped New York's three-run rally in the eighth with a two-out RBI single.


    Kevin Pillar and Yangervis Solarte homered for the first time and Russell Martin added a three-run shot for Toronto. Pillar and Solarte both went deep off Minnesota starter Phil Hughes, who pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits and a walk in his second start. Aaron Sanchez pitched three shutout innings and allowed one hit while striking out two in his second start for the Blue Jays.


    Baltimore ace Kevin Gausman put a rough first start behind and pitched three perfect innings while striking out five. The right-hander retired just four batters and allowed four runs in his first outing. Gausman and the bullpen held a Philadelphia split squad hitless until Ryan Flaherty's one-out single in the eighth.


    Pittsburgh ace Ivan Nova made his second start and pitched three innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out two. Jose Osuna hit his first home run in his only at-bat, a pinch-hit two-run shot in the seventh as the Pirates scored three times to win for just the second time this spring. Brandon Leibrandt, the son of former major league pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, retired just two batters and gave up three runs on four hits in his first appearance for Philadelphia.


    Noah Syndergaard pitched three innings in his second start for New York. He allowed one run on a hit and a walk and struck out four. His fastball once again topped 100 mph. Mets closer Jeurys Familia allowed one hit in a scoreless fifth inning. Wilmer Flores had two hits and Juan Lagares picked up his first hit in his second straight start in center field for the Mets. Miami starter Jose Urena pitched two shutout innings. He allowed a hit and a walk while striking out two. Justin Bour drove in the Marlins' run.


    Nick Markakis had two hits for Atlanta, giving him five in his first seven at-bats, and Freddie Freeman added two doubles. Braves ace Julio Tehran pitched three scoreless innings, striking out three. Miles Mikolas, in the running for the back of the St. Louis starting rotation, didn't fare well in his first start. The right-hander pitched three innings and allowed four runs on six hits.


    Johnny Cueto pitched two innings in his first start for San Francisco, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. Joe Panik led off the game with his first home run for the Giants. San Francisco's split squad roughed up Texas ace Cole Hamels in his first start. Hamels pitched 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out two. The Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo hit his first home run to account for both runs off Cueto. Delino DeShields, Jurickson Profar and Choo all had two hits for Texas.


    Chicago's top pitching prospect Michael Kopech made his second start and pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing only an unearned run. Kopech gave up two hits and a walk, while striking out three. Kansas City's No. 2 starter Ian Kennedy pitched two innings in his second start and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out five. Matt Davidson had two hits and two RBIs for the White Sox. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez both drove in runs for the Royals.

    CUBS 7, REDS 4

    Starting rotation hopeful Tyler Chatwood pitched two innings and allowed only a walk in his second outing for Chicago. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber all had hits for the Cubs. Luis Castillo pitched 2 2/3 innings in his second start for Cincinnati. Castillo gave up a run on five hits, while striking out four. Reds' slugger Joey Votto walked in three at-bats and remains hitless this spring.


    Hunter Renfroe homered for the second time and added an RBI single for San Diego, while top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. walked twice and stole his first two bases. The Padres boast the top farm system according to MLB rankings. Stephen Piscotty hit his first spring homer for Oakland, a two-run shot. Kendall Graveman, the Athletics' No. 1 starter, struggled again. Graveman got just four outs and gave up four runs on four hits and two walks. His ERA rose to 13.50 after two starts.


    Austin Jackson had two hits, including a double, drove in a run and scored twice leading off for San Francisco. Mac Williamson had three hits, including his third home run, and drove in three runs for the Giants' split squad. Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin pitched two innings in his second start. He allowed five runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. Edwin Encarnacion homered for the first time for the Indians - a two-run shot.


    Justin Turner doubled and scored on a Matt Kemp home run as Los Angeles roughed up Arizona starter Robbie Ray in his second start. Ray got just two outs, while giving up five runs on four hits and two walks. Dodgers starter Alex Wood pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on three hits and a walk. Yasmany Tomas had three hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks.


    Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon both homered for the first time for Colorado. Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, who is vying for a spot in the back of the rotation, pitched three innings and allowed three runs on five hits and a walk. Milwaukee slugger Eric Thames had a double and his first spring home run, while Brewers ace Zach Davies pitched two innings in his second start. Davies allowed a run on two hits and a walk. Chase Anderson, who slots in at No. 3 in Milwaukee's rotation, followed Davies and pitched three innings. He gave up a run on four hits and a walk.


    • #17
      Sunday’s 6-pack

      Baseball betting: over/unders on pitcher’s win this year:

      Stephen Strasbug, 15.5

      Zach Greinke, 14.5

      Yu Darvish, 13.5

      Sonny Gray, 13.5

      Noah Syndergaard, 13.5

      Shohei Ohtani, 10.5

      Quote of the Day
      “We’ve definitely been turned off from (drafting) a guy if a number of his teammates don’t like him.”
      Kyle Shanahan

      Sunday’s quiz
      Which Division I college basketball is known as the Gauchos?

      Saturday’s quiz

      Matt Doherty was basketball coach at North Carolina before Roy Williams.

      Friday’s quiz
      NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have traded their first round draft pick four of the last five years; the one player they did draft, they later traded to Sacramento— Buddy Hield.


      • #18
        March MLB Record: ( Opinions Only )


        03/03/2018 7-8-0 46.67% -7.85
        03/02/2018 13-5-0 72.22% +40.50
        03/01/2018 9-8-2 52.94% -1.45


        • #19
          SUNDAY, MARCH 4

          PIT at MIN 01:05 PM
          MIN -147
          U 8.5

          TOR at PHI 01:05 PM
          TOR -111
          O 8.5

          HOU at STL 01:05 PM
          HOU -125
          O 8.5

          BOS at BAL 01:05 PM
          O 8.5

          TB at NYY 01:05 PM
          TB +150
          U 8.5

          MIA at ATL 01:05 PM
          ATL -125

          CLE at MIL 03:05 PM
          CLE -111

          LAD at SF 03:05 PM
          SF -120
          O 9.5

          KC at CIN 03:05 PM
          CIN -120

          SEA at TEX 03:05 PM
          TEX -125

          CHC at ARI 03:10 PM
          CHC -105

          COL at LAA 03:10 PM
          LAA -125


          • #20
            Not so sunny for Stanton in left field, Kipnis homers again
            March 4, 2018

            Giancarlo Stanton got off to a sunny start at a new position for the New York Yankees.

            Making his first start in left field for his new team, the NL MVP lost two flyballs in the sun and both fell for hits Sunday in a 9-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

            Stanton never played left field in his eight seasons with the Marlins, instead spending his time in right.

            Asked how someone should work on catching balls in the glare, the smiling slugger said: ''Get sun vision gloves, see right through the sun.''


            ORIOLES 10, RED SOX 8

            Adam Jones hit a pair of RBI doubles and a single and Manny Machado added a two-run double for Baltimore. Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers hit back-to-back homers for Boston off Gabriel Ynoa, who allowed six runs in two innings.

            The Orioles announced first baseman Chris Davis had an MRI on his sore right elbow and no structural damage was found. Manager Buck Showalter estimated Davis would be out another three to five days. Showalter also noted top prospect Austin Hays should be ready to play next week after missing time with a sore right shoulder.

            NATIONALS (SS) 7, METS 3

            Trea Turner got two hits and scored for a Washington split squad. Steven Matz was again tagged in his second start for New York, giving up five hits and two walks while retiring just two batters. Matz, returning from surgery on his left elbow that cut last season short, has allowed up 10 runs in 1 2/3 innings this spring. Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier both hit their first spring home runs for New York.

            The Mets announced that expected opening day starter Jacob deGrom threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and felt no ill effects from the back stiffness that sidelined him for several days.

            PIRATES 9, TWINS 3

            Josh Harrison had two hits after an 0-for-9 start for Pittsburgh. Jameson Taillon made his second start for the Pirates and pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk.

            Minnesota ace Jose Berrios allowed three hits while striking out two in 2 1/3 innings. Joe Mauer drove in two runs.

            RAYS 9, YANKEES 1

            Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge got his first hit of the spring, a first-inning single against Tampa Bay starter Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched two shutout innings.

            Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman made his first appearance and retired one of the three batters he faced. Mallex Smith had three hits, including a single off Chapman.

            PHILLIES 4, BLUE JAYS 2

            Toronto ace Marco Estrada made his second start and pitched three shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out three. Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna fanned one in a perfect fifth in his first appearance.

            Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up two hits in 2 2/3 shutout innings. Phillies prospect Scott Kingery got two hits and is batting .389 in exhibition play.

            ASTROS 4, CARDINALS 1

            AL MVP Jose Altuve hit his first home run - a solo shot off St. Louis starter Michael Wacha - and Carlos Correa had two hits for Houston. Wacha pitched three innings and allowed two runs on five hits.

            NATIONALS (SS) 6, TIGERS 2

            Bryce Harper hit his first spring homer, singled and drove in three runs for a Washington split squad. Matt Adams added three hits. Gio Gonzalez gave up two runs and six hits in three innings.

            Jeimer Candelario tripled in a run for Detroit.

            BRAVES 5, MARLINS 2

            Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz gave up one hit in three scoreless innings. Freddie Freeman had two hits for the Braves.

            Dan Straily allowed one hit in three shutout innings for Atlanta.

            INDIANS 6, BREWERS 2

            Jason Kipnis hit his fifth home run for Cleveland. He leads all big leaguers in homers and RBIs (10) this spring. Kipnis hit 12 homers in an injury-interrupted season after hitting 23 the year before.

            Indians ace Corey Kluber pitched three innings and allowed one run and four hits while striking out five. Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacin pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up one earned run. Brewers newcomers Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain each had two hits.

            DODGERS 9, GIANTS 3

            Yasiel Puig had two hits, Yasmani Grandal homered and Chase Utley ended a 0-for-10 start with an RBI double for Los Angeles. Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda struck out three in 2 1/3 innings.

            San Francisco starter Jeff Samardzija gave up three hits and three walks in two innings. Giants prospect Steven Duggar homered for the third time this spring and is batting .412.

            PADRES (SS) 7, WHITE SOX 6

            Top San Diego prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. had four hits and five RBIs. He also stole his third base this spring.

            Chicago starter Carson Fulmer, hoping to earn a back-of-the-rotation spot, lasted just one inning in his second start. He gave up four runs on four hits and four walks. Welington Castillo and Adam Engel homered for the White Sox.

            MARINERS 10, RANGERS 7

            Seattle starter James Paxton struggled, giving up seven runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings. Robinson Chirinos homered to lead off the second for Texas and Ryan Rua capped the six-run inning with a three-run drive.

            Doug Fister debuted on the mound for the Rangers and pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk.

            ATHLETICS 12, PADRES (SS) 4

            San Diego newcomer Eric Hosmer hit his first home run. Shortstop Franklin Barreto, Oakland's top prospect, connected off Clayton Richard for his second homer. The A's designated power-hitting Brandon Moss for assignment.

            DIAMONDBACKS 2, CUBS 0

            Taijuan Walker pitched three perfect innings, striking out four, in his second start for Arizona. Jon Lester pitched 2 2/3 innings in his second start for Chicago and gave up a home run to Nick Ahmed.

            ROYALS 10, REDS 3

            Jason Hammel made his first start for Kansas City, striking out two in two perfect innings. Jorge Bonifacio had two hits and drove in two runs.

            Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani gave up five hits in the first inning. Adam Duvall homered for Cincinnati.

            ANGELS 7, ROCKIES 6

            Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both went 0 for 3 and are still looking for their first hit this spring. Justin Upton homered and drove in three runs for Los Angeles. Matt Shoemaker allowed three runs on four hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings.

            Nolan Arenado had a hit and stole a base for Colorado.


            • #21
              Blue Jays manager doesn't expect Tulowitzki OK for opener
              March 4, 2018

              DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says he isn't counting on having shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the lineup for opening day.

              Tulowitzki has been slowed by a bone spur in his right heel and hasn't played in any spring training games. The five-time All-Star didn't play after July 28 last year after injuring his right ankle.

              ''I don't expect he'll be ready,'' Gibbons said Sunday. ''But he's moving in the right direction, so who knows?''

              The Blue Jays open on March 29 at home against the New York Yankees. If Tulowitzki can't play, Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte are potential replacements.

              The 33-year-old Tulowitzki batted .249 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs in 66 games last season. Sidelined by injuries, he hasn't played more than 131 games in any of the last six seasons.


              Stats don't tell story of Cards starters
              March 4, 2018

              JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Early inconsistent outings from St. Louis starting pitchers don't have manager Mike Matheny pushing the panic button.

              The statistics, he says, don't tell the whole story.

              ''Obviously guys are trying to get ready for the season,'' Matheny said. ''You want to see them compete. You want to see some glimpses of things that they have been working on over the winter or are currently working on.''

              Take Michael Wacha's outing on Sunday, which wasn't a statistical work of art, but wasn't as bad as the final line might indicate, either.

              The 26-year old righty allowed two runs and five hits in three innings against Houston.

              With runners on first and second and one out in the second, Evan Gattis hit a comebacker that caught Wacha in the right shin and bounded away for an infield hit. What could have been an inning-ending double play instead prolonged an inning, leading to the Astros' first run.

              ''I felt good,'' Wacha said. ''Just missed a few spots where I let them put it in play.''

              One out away from his ending his day, Wacha tried to sneak a 2-2 fastball past Jose Altuve. The American League MVP lofted a deep fly ball to right field that would have been the third out of the inning on most days, but on Sunday it rode a brisk win over the right field wall for Altuve's first homer of the spring.

              ''The scoreboard really didn't translate,'' Matheny said. ''A lot of ground balls that kind of found their way through. Pop up that made its way out.''

              Wacha's outing came on the heels of the second consecutive poor outing from free agent signee Miles Mikolas, who has now allowed 10 earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in his first two starts with the Cardinals.

              In search of a fifth starter, St. Louis signed Mikolas to two-year, $15.5 million contract, opting to sign a player who spent the previous three seasons in Japan over the likes of bigger name, higher price tag free agents like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, or even re-signing Lance Lynn.

              ''I thought yesterday was better,'' Matheny said of Mikolas' outing on Saturday. ''We saw less mistakes at the middle of the plate, middle of the zone and height. He was better at the top. I thought the breaking ball looked sharper. Featured some good curve balls.''

              In his first spring appearance, expected opening day starter Carlos Martinez allowed one run and walked three in 1 1/3 innings. He then skipped Friday's scheduled start for what was termed personal reasons. Martinez is expected to take is next turn this week.

              Veteran Adam Wainwright also battled through an inconsistent start in his first outing. He didn't surrender a run, but walked three and allowed two hits.

              Looking to break camp with the major league club for the first time in his young career, Luke Weaver won't make his second outing of the spring until Monday against Washington. Weaver allowed allowed one earned run in two innings of work his first time out.

              ''It's not wise for us around here to make any kind of wholesale conclusions of what we've seen so far,'' Matheny said. ''We've seen some really good things and we've seen some things that we want to improve on.''


              A's designate Brandon Moss for assignment
              March 4, 2018

              MESA, Ariz. (AP) The Oakland Athletics designated Brandon Moss for assignment Sunday and claimed left-hander Jairo Labourt off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

              Oakland had acquired Moss from Kansas City in January for a second stint with the club after playing for the A's from 2012-14, but it wound up being a short return.

              Moss played in 118 games for the Royals last season.

              Labourt had been claimed off waivers by the Reds on Friday from Detroit. He made six relief appearances for the Tigers last season, going 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in six innings.


              Eovaldi looking good in comeback
              March 4, 2018

              TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Nate Eovaldi allowed two hits and struck out two over two scoreless innings against the New York Yankees in his second outing since undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.

              Eovaldi, who was with the Yankees when he was hurt two years ago, threw 21 of 28 pitches for strikes Sunday in the Rays' 9-1 win.

              ''I'm very pleased with where I'm at,'' Eovaldi said. ''Right now it's just continue to build the innings and be ready for the season.''

              Eovaldi is looking to become the 32nd player to pitch in the big leagues during the regular season after two Tommy John surgeries and the 12th to start a game. He most recently had the surgery in August 2016.

              ''I feel good, I feel strong,'' Eovaldi said. ''I just want to go out there and compete.''

              After allowing a one-out single in the first to Aaron Judge, Eovaldi got a grounder from Giancarlo Stanton and struck out Gary Sanchez.

              ''Control felt good,'' said Eovaldi, known for a good fastball. ''I gave up a couple hits but I was able to work out of it and that was the main thing.''

              Eovaldi went 23-11 over two seasons with the Yankees, including a 14-3 record in 2015. He spent last year rehabbing the elbow injury before appearing in two minor league playoff games.

              Eovaldi went 1 1/3 hitless innings with two strikeouts in an appearance Feb. 27 against Baltimore.


              • #22
                Yanks' Stanton loses 2 flyballs in sun
                March 4, 2018

                TAMPA, Fla. (AP) This wasn't the kind of sun-day Giancarlo Stanton hoped for.

                Making his first start in left field for the New York Yankees, the slugger lost two flyballs in the sun and both fell for hits Sunday in a 9-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

                ''They were in the sun but doesn't matter, it's still part of the game,'' Stanton said.

                Stanton never played left field in his eight seasons with the Marlins. The reigning NL MVP always started in right, the spot where Yankees star Aaron Judge plays. With Brett Gardner getting a day off, Stanton took over in left.

                In the second inning, Stanton was moving toward the warning track when Jake Bauers' drive went off his glove for a double.

                Asked how someone should work on catching balls in the sun, a smiling Stanton said: ''Get sun vision gloves, see right through the sun.''

                Stanton went 0 for 3 at the plate.

                ''I felt worse in the box my first ABs than I did my first time in left,'' he said. ''It's a process.''

                Stanton, acquired in December from Miami, and Judge both will get time at designated hitter as the Yankees look for ways to keep all their big bats in the lineup.

                ''You know what, I honestly look at it as kind of a positive,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ''Picked about as tough a day to play the outfield as you could have in Florida. There's a lot of balls falling out there. It was just one of those sun days.''

                ''We thought it's a good first step,'' he said. ''Frankly, I saw nothing that keeps me from feeling good about him out there going forward.''

                Stanton will play left again in Tuesday's game against Detroit.

                Judge, coming back from offseason left shoulder surgery, made his second start in right field. He has been working out in left and could get some playing time there before spring training ends.

                Also, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman struggled with his control during his first outing, throwing 10 of 18 pitches for strikes. The left-hander hit a batter, allowed a single and got a grounder in the third before departing due to pitch count.

                Chapman, through a translator, said he feels fine physically.

                NOTES: OF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) still has soreness and is undergoing treatment. ... OF Clint Frazier (concussion) rode a stationary bike but didn't hit.


                DeGrom may not get Mets' opening day nod
                March 4, 2018

                PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) With at least five necessary hurdles ahead of him, Jacob deGrom is running out of time to be the New York Mets' starting pitcher on opening day.

                The right-hander tossed a 40-pitch bullpen alongside Rafael Montero, A.J. Griffin and Zack Wheeler on Sunday before the Mets' home game against Washington. He did not, as way anticipated, face any hitters.

                DeGrom said two days ago he would be facing batters on Sunday, but somewhere along the line that plan changed. Instead, rehabbing Michael Conforto stepped into the batter's box and tracked pitches without swinging in the bullpen outside the stadium.

                ''I honestly did not know what I was doing today. I thought I would probably face batters, but the plan was, I guess, to throw a bullpen. I think the plan is not to anything dumb and make sure everything's right,'' deGrom said.

                ''I'm looking to feel good, and that's been the case so far,'' said deGrom, who flashed an impressive fastball and didn't hold anything back as he faced Conforto.

                DeGrom was the team's most consistent and reliable pitcher last year. He went 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 31 starts on a club that went 70-92 in Terry Collins' last season as manager.

                The 29-year-old deGrom has been sidelined with lower back stiffness and missed time in camp due to the birth of his daughter. That's hampered his drive toward getting the nod for the Mets' first game, at home against St. Louis on March 29, an appearance new pitching coach Dave Eiland said deGrom deserves.

                ''Absolutely, he's earned it. Whether he pitches opening day or not, he's earned it, but we've got to be smart about this,'' Eiland said.

                Eiland said deGrom has ''hurdles'' to go through and that there's no good reason to rush him.

                He added there are no exceptions on the staff and deGrom will have to face hitters five different times in March before the club opens the season at Citi Field.

                ''With Jacob deGrom we will not make an exception. That's stupid,'' Eiland said. ''We're not going to be careless just so he can pitch opening day. If it falls where he can, he will because he earned it. He deserves that start.

                ''But we're not going to push the envelope and be careless and he starts opening day and doesn't start again until June. That would be pretty ignorant on our part,'' he said.

                The plan is for deGrom to get back into a game on Tuesday, but that could be a simulated game facing batters on a back field.

                He'll then need to build up to a higher pitch-count over subsequent spring training starts.

                ''We've got to see where it leads. If he can't get out there and get built up to 80, 90 pitches, then it's not going to happen. But is there still time for him to do that? Yes,'' Eiland said.

                ''Every day's a hurdle. Today we crossed a big hurdle.''

                Conforto appreciated the chance to see ''electric stuff'' as he recovers from shoulder surgery to repair a torn posterior capsule in his left shoulder.

                ''It looks effortless, and at the same time it has late life to it. His breaking stuff is pretty sharp. Sometimes you can see the hump in the breaking ball, but from Jake today there was no hump,'' he said.

                ''I don't get to see deGrom on a daily basis, so whenever he's throwing a side I try to get out there.''

                NOTES: LHP Steven Matz struggled again in his second start, giving up five runs on five singles and two walks while getting only two outs vs. Washington. He threw 34 pitches. ''My ball was just up really, and I was missing my spot by a few inches. It's frustrating because I feel healthy,'' said Matz, who has 10 earned runs this spring. ... SS Amed Rosario, who left Saturday's game with knee irritation, checked out fine. Manager Mickey Callaway said he should be back in the lineup Tuesday against Houston. . RHP Corey Taylor relieved Matz and recorded an out without a pitch by picking off Rafael Bautista to end the top of the first. . RF Jay Bruce hit his first homer, a shot to right field off RHP Edwin Jackson in the first. ''I'm not necessarily concerned with home runs in spring training. I'm never really concerned with home runs at all, to be honest with you. They just kind of happen,'' Bruce said. . DH Tim Tebow went 0 for 3 and struck out twice.


                Indians' Brantley progressing in recovery
                March 4, 2018

                GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley knows all about the grind of recovering from a major injury. Way too much about the slow process back to the field.

                At least this time around, he gets to put that experience to good use.

                The 30-year-old Brantley has progressed to lateral agility drills as he works his way back from right ankle surgery in October with an eye toward playing as much as possible this season. If that means he isn't ready for Cleveland's opener at Seattle, so be it.

                ''I think I'm getting older and I think I'm starting to understand it more, that I need to make sure that I'm 100 percent healthy when I come back,'' Brantley said Sunday. ''It takes time. It's not going to happen overnight, but put in the hard work that you need to get done and everything comes out good in the end.''

                Brantley hasn't always had that big-picture approach as he worked his way back from an injury. Manager Terry Francona has noticed a difference this spring.

                ''Because he's been through so much, I think we haven't had to put the reins around him as much as maybe in the past,'' Francona said. ''I think he's trying to look at this thing logically also. But if hard work means anything, which it does, he's going to be just fine.''

                If Brantley can stay on the field, he could provide a huge boost for Cleveland as it tries to recover from last year's disappointing loss to the New York Yankees in the AL Division Series. Before his recent run of injury woes, Brantley was one of the majors' best all-around players, capable of making a key play at the plate, on the bases or in the field.

                He had a breakout season in 2014, batting .327 with 20 homers, 97 RBIs and 23 steals in 156 games. He was working on another good year in 2015 when he hurt his right shoulder diving for a ball in Minnesota.

                The two-time All-Star needed two surgeries to fix his shoulder and played in just 11 games in 2016, missing Cleveland's run to the World Series. He appeared to be back on track last year before he injured his ankle while chasing a fly ball to left during a game on Aug. 8.

                Brantley made a surprising return late last season and was selected for the playoff roster against New York, but went just 1 for 11 in the five-game series. Despite the string of injuries, Cleveland decided to pick up his $11.5 million option for 2018.

                ''Whether it's second week of April, whenever, we're going to be really happy to have him back,'' Francona said, ''because that's a position then that you don't have to platoon, you just kind of wind him up and let him go play.''

                Brantley said everything has gone smoothly so far this spring. There is no public timetable for his first appearance in the Cactus League, and he said he has no number in mind in terms of how many exhibition games he needs to be ready for opening day.

                ''It's more how I personally feel and respond every day,'' he said. ''I just want to get out there and get the reps when I'm needed and if I'm ready to go, I'm ready to go. If I'm not, I'll be there when I'm 100 percent healthy and get back to helping this team win.''

                Brantley spent part of his Sunday morning peering over the shoulder of Mike Napoli while he played cribbage with pitchers Josh Tomlin and Adam Plutko. There was a hearty round of laughs as the game broke up and the players headed off to their rest of their day.

                Brantley, who was acquired by Cleveland in the CC Sabathia deal with Milwaukee in 2008, also is drawing strength from his teammates as he looks to rejoin them on the field when he can.

                ''They help me. They keep me positive and keep me going,'' he said. ''I can't thank them enough for what they do for me. Just picking me up every day if you're not healthy and telling how much they miss you and then at the same time, I'm doing anything I can to help them. It's a team effort all the way around.''


                Bo Jackson returns to work with Royals
                March 4, 2018

                SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Bo Jackson slipped into a Kansas City Royals uniform Sunday for the first time since 1990.

                A little bigger, but still a comfortable fit with his old team.

                ''I just had to go up a size, that's about it,'' he said.

                Jackson chatted with former teammate and Royals Hall of Famer George Brett and discussed bow hunting with manager Ned Yost. At 55, the two-sport star is a guest coach for the Royals in spring training.

                His duties?

                ''Anything I want to do,'' Jackson said, laughing. ''I've been told I have diplomatic immunity.''

                ''It's fun being back here because this is where it all started for me,'' he said.

                The Royals drafted Jackson in the fourth round in 1986, but few thought they had a chance to sign the Heisman Trophy-winning running back from Auburn. He chose the Royals over the Tampa Bay Bucs, who picked him first overall in the 1986 NFL draft.

                A year later, the Los Angeles Raiders took Jackson in the seventh round and he signed.

                Jackson last played baseball on Aug. 10, 1994, with the Angels. He got two hits and stole a base against the Royals in that final game - the same week, MLB players went on strike and the season was lost.

                Jackson's career was shortened after he was injured in January 1991 in a playoff game for the Raiders. The setback required hip replacement surgery.

                ''Most of these players probably weren't even born when I played or they were babies,'' Jackson said.

                But they likely know the aura of Bo Knows, his popular ad campaign.

                ''I hope so,'' he said.

                Jackson plans on mingling with minor league players.

                ''Giving what advice I can, tricks of the trade on how to get from over there to over here,'' he said.

                Jackson said the game has changed drastically since he retired.

                ''Players aren't the same. The game is not the same. The players are bigger, stronger, faster. The players look like they should be playing for the Chiefs, instead of the Royals.''

                ''Not only that, the technical side of the game has changed a lot. Everything is done on computers now. Computers were in their infancy when we were playing. Everything is analyzed now from the computer,'' he said.

                Jackson was an eye-popping combination of speed and strength. He showed off those talents in the 1989 All-Star Game, when he led off the bottom of the first inning with a 450-foot home run and later stole a base in becoming the MVP.

                ''I would love to say, if I could go back 25 years from now to get out here to compete with these guys I would wear'' them out, Jackson said. ''I'm sure if you ask any player that played 25 years ago, they'd probably say the same thing. That's just us old folk talking and reminiscing about our younger days.''

                In 1990, Jackson homered in four straight at-bats. He hit three on July 17 at Yankee Stadium, but dislocated his left shoulder diving in the outfield for a line drive by Deion Sanders and didn't come up again.

                Jackson returned on Aug. 26 and homered in his first at-bat.

                ''I did it over a six-week period, but I got it,'' he said.

                Jackson had shoulder replacement surgery last year, the delayed result from diving for Sanders' hit.

                ''That finally caught up with me,'' Jackson said. ''I kind of felt something bugging me about 2 1/2 years ago. Within 2 1/2 years, it went from just a little bug to I couldn't lift my arm to put on deodorant.''


                • #23
                  March MLB Record: ( Opinions Only )

                  DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

                  03/04/2018 7-10-0 41.18% -20.90
                  03/03/2018 7-8-0 46.67% -7.85
                  03/02/2018 13-5-0 72.22% +40.50
                  03/01/2018 9-8-2 52.94% -1.45


                  Monday’s 6-pack

                  — Last five years, five different teams have won the World Series.

                  — Guy that played Mr Chow in the Hangover movies was at the Duke-UNC game Saturday, wearing a Duke sweatshirt.

                  — Michigan 75, Purdue 66— Wolverines win Big 14 tourney for second year in a row.

                  — Tampa Bay Rays signed Carlos Gomez for $4M to play right field this year.

                  — For the record, Phil Mickelson’s last PGA win was 97 starts ago.

                  — Tickets to sit on the hill behind the OF fence at Braves-Cardinals spring training game Saturday were $25. Wow. $25 to sit on a grassy hill and watch an exhibition game.

                  Quote of the Day

                  “It’s important … we pick the right guy. If we don’t, I probably will get fired.”
                  Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer, talking about his QB situation

                  Monday’s quiz

                  Where is Vanderbilt University located?

                  Sunday’s quiz
                  Cal-Santa Barbara’s teams are known as the Gauchos.

                  Saturday’s quiz

                  Matt Doherty was basketball coach at North Carolina before Roy Williams


                  • #24
                    MONDAY, MARCH 5
                    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

                    MIN at PHI 01:05 PM
                    O 8.5

                    PIT at ATL 01:05 PM
                    PIT +105

                    WAS at STL 01:05 PM
                    WAS +110
                    O 8.5

                    MIA at HOU 01:05 PM
                    U 8.5

                    DET at NYM 01:10 PM
                    DET +120
                    U 8.5

                    CLE at LAD 03:05 PM
                    CLE +115

                    SF at TEX 03:05 PM
                    SF +115

                    LAA at CIN 03:05 PM
                    O 9.5

                    CHW at OAK 03:05 PM
                    OAK -120

                    CHC at COL 03:10 PM
                    CHC -111

                    ARI at SD 08:40 PM
                    SD -116


                    • #25
                      Gamel out, Mariners thin in outfield, Ichiro could return
                      March 5, 2018

                      The Seattle Mariners are running out of healthy outfielders. To the rescue - Ichiro?

                      Ben Gamel will miss opening day, the Mariners said Monday, because of a strained oblique muscle that's expected to sideline him four to six weeks.

                      That could open a spot for Ichiro Suzuki, and a deal with the Mariners might be close.

                      Suzuki was the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year for Seattle in 2001 and remained a fan favorite until he was traded away in 2012. The 44-year-old Suzuki spent the past three seasons in Miami, batting .255 last year and starting 23 times in the outfield.

                      Gamel hit .275 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs in 134 games last year during his first full season in the majors.

                      The Mariners were hopeful Gamel would miss only a few days, but an MRI showed a more extensive problem. He first felt the injury after batting practice late last week.

                      Gamel joined a growing list of banged-up Mariners. Seattle has already seen first baseman Ryon Healy (hand), outfielder Mitch Haniger (hand) and pitcher Felix Hernandez (bruised forearm) slowed by injuries during spring training.

                      Outfielder Guillermo Heredia is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, leaving Seattle thin at the position.

                      ASTROS 5, MARLINS 3

                      Houston ace Dallas Keuchel was pulled in the second inning after giving up four hits. Lance McCullers worked 2 2/3 innings in relief, allowing a hit and walking two. Miami starter Dillon Peters gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings.

                      PHILLIES 4, TWINS 3

                      Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson worked three innings and gave up two hits, including a home run by Rhys Hoskins. Mark Leiter Jr. threw three clean innings in relief for Philadelphia, striking out a pair.

                      BRAVES 7, PIRATES 5

                      Atlanta starter Brandon McCarthy went 3 2/3 innings and the lone run he permitted came on a homer by Starling Marte. Danny Santana homered and had four hits for Atlanta. Chad Kuhl had a shaky start for Pittsburgh, giving up five hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings.

                      CARDINALS 2, NATIONALS 1

                      Tanner Roark pitched four shutout innings for Washington, allowing one hit. Joaquin Benoit followed and had a rough outing, giving up two doubles and a single in one inning. Andrew Stevenson, a second-round pick by the Nationals in 2015 out of LSU, homered off starter Luke Weaver, who permitted three hits over three innings and struck out four.

                      METS 4, TIGERS 2

                      New York starter Matt Harvey threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits. Brandon Nimmo hit a leadoff home run, his second of the spring. Detroit starter Mike Fiers worked 2 1/3 innings, giving up two runs and two hits. Derek Norris doubled and singled, raising his batting average this spring to .556.

                      ANGELS 7, REDS 5

                      Cincinnati center fielder Billy Hamilton sprinted to make a diving, backhanded catch in the gap to rob Shohei Ohtani of an extra-base hit. Ohtani went 0 for 3 as the Angels' DH and is batting .143.

                      WHITE SOX 9, ATHLETICS 9, 9 INNINGS

                      Yoan Moncada got two hits and scored three runs for Chicago. Joakim Soria pitched a scoreless inning. Jed Lowrie homered for Oakland. A's reliever Santiago Casilla gave up five runs and got just two outs.

                      DODGERS 8, INDIANS 1

                      Rich Hill worked three innings of one-hit ball in the start, striking out four. Matt Kemp hit his third spring home run for Los Angeles and Yasmani Grandal hit his second. Yonder Alonso doubled twice for Cleveland. Andrew Miller threw a hitless inning of relief.

                      RANGERS 5, GIANTS 4

                      Matt Moore, acquired by the Rangers in a January trade with the Giants, gave up one hit in 2 2/3 innings against his former team. Adrian Beltre doubled and singled in his first two at-bats this spring. San Francisco starter Ty Blach worked 3 1/3 innings for the Giants, scattering five hits and allowing a run. Austin Jackson had a hit, walked and drove in a run.

                      CUBS 5, ROCKIES 4

                      Ian Happ hit his fourth spring homer, doubled and singled for Chicago and Anthony Rizzo hit his second home run. Kyle Hendricks struck out four in his three-inning start. Charlie Blackmon, batting third for Colorado, hit a home run.


                      • #26
                        Rays trade INF Ryan Schimpf to Braves
                        March 5, 2018

                        PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays have traded infielder Ryan Schimpf to the Atlanta Braves in for a player to be named or cash.

                        The Rays announced the deal Monday, two days after Schimpf was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for free agent outfielder Carlos Gomez, who signed a $4 million, one-year contract.

                        The 29-year-old Schimpf began last season as San Diego's starting third baseman and batted .158 with 14 homers and 25 RBIs in 53 games. The Rays acquired him in December for a minor league prospect.


                        Polanco is ready to fulfill potential
                        March 5, 2018

                        BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) Gregory Polanco thought the best way to boost his power numbers was by bulking up his body.

                        The Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder quickly found out last year that was not the case. He said he ''didn't feel right'' at the beginning of spring training and throughout the season following a winter of heavy weight training.

                        ''I felt like I couldn't move,'' Polanco said.

                        Polanco wound up hitting .251 with 11 home runs in 108 games. He also spent three stints on the disabled list because of a strained left hamstring.

                        The Pirates' training staff came up with a different workout plan for Polanco to follow this past offseason and he reported to spring training leaner and feeling more flexible.

                        ''I lost some weight, so my hips and hands are faster,'' Polanco said. ''If your hands are slow, you get jammed a lot. That's why I focused on that. That was my main focus, getting a strong core, lower body and legs so I can go quick, go fast.''

                        Polanco's bat has looked quicker in his limited playing time so far this spring training. He homered in his first game and entered Monday 3 for 8 with a double.

                        ''You've got to get the in the rhythm right from the start and I feel like I'm in a good rhythm,'' Polanco said. ''Hitting a home run on the first day was a good start. I just want to carry what I'm doing this spring into the season then all the way through the season.''

                        The 26-year-old is a .252 hitter with 66 home runs.

                        ''He's a guy that's got a swing that will play,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''Home runs are thrown more than they're hit. As he continues to mature as a hitter, I think there's situations he can hunt them. There's power in the bat. If he's on the field consistently, you'll see more power.''

                        Polanco vows he will be on the field more often this year.

                        ''I feel great,'' he said. ''As good as I've ever felt. I'm excited about what I can do this season.''

                        The Pirates need to fill the offensive void created when they traded five-time All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen to San Francisco.

                        ''A lot of people said it is time for me to take charge,'' Polanco said. ''I use that to get better and show what I can do for the team and me, too. I know I can do more than I've done so far. It motivates me to work hard and be a better a player. I know my team needs me more than ever now and it's time I start to be the type of player I know I can be.''


                        Cubs hoping Wilson can regain his form
                        March 5, 2018

                        MESA, Ariz. (AP) For all the talk about the Chicago Cubs' new-look bullpen, the biggest key to its success might be the return of Justin Wilson.

                        Not the Justin Wilson who struggled for the last couple months of last season. The one who pitched for the Detroit Tigers.

                        If Wilson finds his form, he would give manager Joe Maddon another left-handed option for high-leverage situations late in games. If Wilson struggles again, Maddon would have to employ him very carefully.

                        ''It just permits us to dole out the work in a way that we should not get anybody overtly tired, so that's what I look at,'' Maddon said Monday. ''But I mean, listen, you've seen good, I've heard good, you know, work-wise and the stuff that he's been doing. They're reporting back, he did something today that the guys are just raving about, so let's see how it plays out.''

                        The 30-year-old Wilson has made two appearances so far this spring training, tossing a scoreless inning against Oakland and Cincinnati with two strikeouts total. He also sounds optimistic coming off the disappointing finish to last year.

                        ''I'm very excited,'' Wilson said. ''I'm just excited to get going. Played well so far. Good vibe around here.''

                        Wilson began last season with Detroit and was widely regarded as the top reliever on the trade market after he posted a 2.68 ERA with 13 saves in 42 games with the lowly Tigers. He also had 55 strikeouts and 16 walks in 40 1/3 innings.

                        The Cubs were picking up speed in July when they got Wilson and veteran catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers for minor league infielders Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes and $250,000. An elated Wilson quickly joined his new team at Wrigley Field, but he was never quite able to establish himself with his new club.

                        He walked two, threw a wild pitch and yielded a run-scoring double to Arizona's Jake Lamb in his debut with Chicago. He had a 6.75 ERA over his first seven games after the trade.

                        ''A little bit of everything really,'' he said when asked what went wrong. ''Mainly it was inconsistency. That was probably the biggest thing. ... You try to change things when you're not going well as well. It was just a battle, kind of like an uphill battle the whole way. Just excited for a fresh start.''

                        Wilson showed glimpses of his potential down the stretch, but they were usually followed by some shaky outings. He had a 5.09 ERA in 23 games with the Cubs with 25 strikeouts and 19 walks in 17 2/3 innings.

                        Despite the tough finish, Chicago put him on the playoff roster for the first round of the playoffs and he retired the only two batters he faced against Washington. He was inactive for the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Cubs' bullpen faltered while the defending World Series champions were eliminated in five games.

                        Wilson's absence was particularly noticeable when John Lackey made a rare relief appearance in Game 2 in Los Angeles and surrendered Justin Turner's tiebreaking three-run homer with two outs in the ninth. Maddon was criticized for not going to All-Star closer Wade Davis at the time, but he might have approached the situation differently had Wilson played his way on the roster.

                        ''Just want to feel and do what I did before I came over,'' Wilson said.

                        The Cubs want the same thing. After the bullpen issues against Los Angeles, Chicago signed Brandon Morrow and Steve Cishek in free agency and Davis departed for a big contract with Colorado. Morrow steps in at closer and Cishek will get some of the late-inning duties, but a rejuvenated Wilson could provide a big lift.

                        ''It would be spectacular, obviously,'' Maddon said. ''He's got closing ability. We've got several guys with that kind of ability. The matchups, the thing about him is he gets out righties really well, too. So you've got the lefty coming in that's very tough on righties also.''


                        • #27
                          Red Sox lefty Price makes spring debut
                          March 5, 2018

                          FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) David Price and the rest of the Boston Red Sox staff are learning a whole new pitch this spring.

                          Price faced Red Sox minor leaguers on a back field Monday in his first camp outing, throwing three innings under controlled circumstances.

                          ''It feels good to be able to stand here and feel as good as I feel,'' he said. ''It's different than any other spring trainings. Easing into it has been great.''

                          ''The way my arm feels and my body feels is great. To have a laid-back spring training, I think everybody is benefiting from it. Take it nice and slow and do it the right way,'' he said.

                          Price expects to make his Grapefruit League debut on Saturday against Minnesota.

                          The AL East champions are slowly bringing along the 32-year-old Price. But it's not because of the injury to his left elbow that sidelined him in 2017, when he made just 11 starts and went 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA.

                          New manager Alex Cora and first-year pitching coach Dana LeVangie are monitoring the spring workload for some of their starting pitchers.

                          One of the new rules, Price said, is that when pitchers throw bullpen sessions, they aren't responsible for other activities that day, such as pitchers' fielding practice and side drills.

                          ''This is different for all of us,'' Price said. ''I don't think it's very common, not just in our camp. I know a lot of pitchers and I never heard of what we're doing.''

                          ''Alex said when it's your day for bullpen, come to team meeting the days you're throwing your bullpen and you focus on the bullpen and don't worry about PFPs or doing cover drills. To be able to take it lighter, it's got to help us down the road,'' he said.

                          Price made his final start last year on July 22. The five-time All-Star and former AL Cy Young Award winner returned in mid-September and pitched five times out of the bullpen.

                          Price was a reliever in the playoffs, too, throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings against Houston during two games of the AL Division Series.

                          Going against Boston minor leaguers, Price threw 31 of 39 pitches for strikes and used only fastballs and cutters. He gave up four hits, walked none and struck out three of 13 batters. Innings ended when he reached he reached a pitch count.

                          Price signed a seven-year, $217 million contract before the 2106 season to be the team's ace. But with the acquisition of left-hander Chris Sale last season, his role changed.

                          Price doesn't feel the burden of the expectations on him to be the ace.

                          ''I don't,'' he said. ''I don't view myself that way. I'm a piece to this puzzle. If I do my job, I'm going to help us win baseball games, but I'm no more important than Mookie (Betts), or Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) or anyone else. Everyone needs to come out here and do our part and if we do that, at the end of the day we'll be satisfied.''


                          Mets' Matt Harvey thinks he's on right track to regain form
                          March 5, 2018

                          PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Matt Harvey thinks he is on the right track as he tries to regain the form that made him an All-Star in 2013.

                          The oft-injured New York Mets pitcher allowed two hits over three scoreless innings against Detroit on Monday in his second spring training appearance.

                          ''I was pleased with putting up zeroes but also to be able to throw my pitches and keep guys guessing,'' the 28-year-old right-hander said. ''I didn't go late into the game because we're only going three innings, but I finished the outing strong and came out with zeroes.''

                          An All-Star who started the 2013 game at the Mets' Citi Field, Harvey has struggled since tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow that August. He was 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA over 29 starts when he returned in 2015 following Tommy John surgery, then slumped to 4-10 with a 4.86 ERA, when he didn't start after July 4 because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which required another operation.

                          He wound up 5-7 with a 6.70 ERA last year, when he was sidelined from mid-June until September because of a stress fracture in his scapula, which connects the arm with the collarbone.

                          Harvey, who is eligible for free agency after this season, threw in the mid-90 mph range against the Tigers. Not quite the level he reached in his youth but enough to be effective.

                          ''I think the third inning I felt better than the first two innings,'' he said. ''Usually it's the other way around. That's a good sign. I was able to get in trouble and get out of it.''

                          Harvey had one strikeout and one walk in a 46-pitch outing.

                          ''He pitched with not his best stuff today,'' new Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. ''Throughout the season you're going to have a handful of those. If you can get through those, that's huge. He did a good job of throwing strike one and maybe fell behind after that, but he knew he had good stuff, made a pitch and got out of it. He can be very good for us.''

                          Harvey faced a batting order that included Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez

                          ''Being able to go three against that lineup was a good test,'' Harvey said. ''There were a couple of pitches that were here or there that weren't mechanically as I wanted, but I was able to bounce back pretty quickly and get it under control.''

                          Notes: Brandon Nimmo hit his second homer of the spring training leading off the first inning against RHP Mike Fiers, a drive just right of the batter's eye. ... Jose Reyes drove in a pair of runs with a double in the seventh, while Travis d'Arnaud doubled in a run in the first. ... LHP Jason Vargas is to start Tuesday against Houston and RHP Collin McHugh, and RHP Zack Wheeler is to pitch Wednesday against the New York Yankees.


                          Cubs LHP Jon Lester working on unusual bounce throw to bases
                          March 5, 2018

                          MESA, Ariz. (AP) Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester is trying a new approach when it comes to his biggest weakness.

                          One bounce at a time.

                          Lester is working with new third base coach Brian Butterfield on bouncing his throw to the bases when he has to make a play on defense. He got a chance to use the technique during Sunday's 2-0 loss to Arizona in spring training, and the ball skipped past minor league first baseman Efren Navarro for an error.

                          Lester has struggled with throwing to bases for years, but the three-time World Series winner remains one of the game's most effective pitchers. The 34-year-old left-hander is slated to start on opening day on March 29 at Miami.

                          ''It's just a different thing for him,'' Butterfield said Monday. ''Throwing a ball to a base for him in a quiet setting is far different than when he's got to cock his arm in a game setting. You know, that's understandable, just because pitchers for the most part, it's probably a little bit more difficult for them to throw to the bases because they've made a living out of long arm action.

                          ''Infielders, we try to shorten their backswing when they throw to the bases to become more accurate, so they're a little bit more in tune throwing to the bases. Outfielders have trouble throwing batting practice when they become coaches because they've had that long arm swing.''

                          Lester and Butterfield have been working on the bounce throw on the backfields of Chicago's spring training complex. They also tinkered with the concept while the two were in Boston.

                          On the play that resulted in the error , Lester knocked down David Peralta's comebacker in the third inning before bouncing the throw from right in front of the mound. Butterfield said they hadn't practiced the play from that particular spot.

                          ''We've worked the skip pass on the third base side, where there's a little bit more distance,'' he said, ''and we've also worked it on the first base side, where he can get his body turned around and just short arm stroke, almost like throwing a dart and getting that skip. We've also worked the comebacker throwing the ball to second base with a skip.''

                          Lester also was working with Navarro instead of regular first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

                          If the concept is successful, it would give manager Joe Maddon more options when it comes to aligning his defense in certain situations. It also would make life easier on Rizzo, third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras while Lester is on the mound.

                          ''I really don't even want him to worry about it, I really don't,'' Maddon said. ''They're handling it. Like I said, that's what we wanted to do is what he did yesterday. It's going to work. It works.''


                          • #28
                            March MLB Record: ( Opinions Only )

                            DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

                            03/05/2018 4-8-1 33.33% -21.80
                            03/04/2018 7-10-0 41.18% -20.90
                            03/03/2018 7-8-0 46.67% -7.85
                            03/02/2018 13-5-0 72.22% +40.50
                            03/01/2018 9-8-2 52.94% -1.45



                            • #29
                              Rangers' Moore looks to make rebound
                              March 6, 2018

                              SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Early in spring training, many pitchers take the same approach to starts. The basic work-on-stuff, build-innings-and-conditioning, reach-pitch-limit kind of thing.

                              For Matt Moore, it was a little different.

                              After a poor year with the San Francisco Giants last season, the Texas lefty faced them Monday in his second outing. He allowed a run on one hit, a pair of walks and a wild pitch over 2 2/3 innings, striking out two. Moore left after giving up an RBI single to Austin Jackson.

                              ''I was looking forward to it, absolutely,'' Moore said. ''Not like I have anything out for them, it's just that those are the guys that I sat in the dugout with for the last year and a half, and got to know them pretty well. It was fun to just compete against them.''

                              The Giants traded Moore to the Rangers for prospects in the offseason after he spent part of 2016 and all of 2017 in the Bay Area. He's in his seventh season in the majors at only 28 years old, and is coming off a season of career lows.

                              Those included 15 losses, 107 earned runs allowed and a 5.52 ERA. The Giants exercised his contract option last September, and Moore thought he'd still be around.

                              ''I was surprised. You only know what people are writing in the paper and such,'' Moore said. ''I hadn't heard my name out there and then kind of just got a call one day and this might happen, might not.''

                              Moore has no hard feelings, and was able to smile again after a tough year when he learned he was going to Texas. He's on his third team in three years.

                              ''Last year I felt like I fell short in too many of those games where the deciding runs, deciding situations, too many times was I not coming through for the guys for whatever reason,'' Moore said. ''Being on a team, that's all you want to do. You want to feel like you're contributing in a positive fashion and you're pulling on the same side of the rope as everybody else is.''

                              Moore, a 2013 AL All-Star with Tampa Bay, figures to be in a Rangers rotation that could open the season with six pitchers. Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister and Moore are penciled in for four spots.

                              In trying to fix what didn't work last season, Moore is keeping his back foot on the rubber as long as possible to keep the direction of his pitches true. He's also not trying to rely as much on a cut fastball.

                              ''We think that he's primed to have one of those strike back-type years, trend upwards,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ''We feel good about it. Still young, still got a good lively arm.''


                              • #30
                                TUESDAY, MARCH 6
                                GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

                                BAL at MIN 01:05 PM
                                MIN -135

                                NYY at DET 01:05 PM
                                DET +135

                                BOS at TB 01:05 PM
                                BOS -120

                                STL at MIA 01:05 PM
                                STL -135

                                ATL at TOR 01:07 PM
                                ATL +105

                                CLE at CIN 03:05 PM
                                CLE -125

                                LAD at CHC 03:05 PM
                                CHC -125

                                MIL at CHW 03:05 PM
                                MIL +100

                                TEX at OAK 03:05 PM
                                OAK -105

                                LAA at ARI 03:10 PM
                                LAA +110

                                SD at KC 08:05 PM
                                SD +100

                                COL at SEA 08:40 PM
                                COL +105