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

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  • #46
    B]Red Sox LHP Sale pitches 4 innings in spring debut
    March 9, 2018

    FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) The Boston Red Sox want Chris Sale to go slowly this spring. The ace left-hander is getting used to the plan.

    Sale pitched four innings of one-run ball in his first spring training game Friday against Miami. He allowed two hits, struck out five and walked none in Boston's 5-4 loss.

    The Red Sox are monitoring Sale's workload this spring, so he began his preparations for the season in minor league games on the backfields of the team's training complex. He got into the upper 90s in the first inning against the Marlins, and manager Alex Cora and pitching coach Dana LeVangie suggested it might be a good idea to dial it down.

    ''Had to change it up after that,'' Sale said. ''I'm still working on that build up. You get out there the first time in front of a crowd and you want to go out there and compete. But you have to understand the end goal. We kind of came to that together. It's not easy to dial it back and trust the process.

    ''I have 100 percent trust in our coaching staff, medical staff, strength staff. These guys know what they're doing. I trust them. They have information and hard facts to back up what it is. We're all pulling from the same rope.''

    But it's a slightly different approach.

    ''Game management, tempo, rhythm and keeping my head on my shoulders,'' Sale said while addressing what he is working on. ''When things go south, I tend to rear back and try to throw harder. We're trying to eliminate waste pitches and maybe things between starts.''

    Sale threw 58 pitches. He allowed his only run on Justin Bour's sacrifice fly in his final inning.

    For the most part, Cora liked what he saw in Sale's first Grapefruit League start.

    ''I saw a few things that I talked to him about and a few adjustments I think he should make, but at the end of the day his stuff is unreal,'' Cora said. ''Wow, this is 96 mph and the slider. He gets the ball and he doesn't let you breath. He's on that elite level. The fact he's accepted what we wanted to do is great because he understands it's 162 games and that we might have to pitch him until November.''

    Cora has not named an opening-day starter, but Sale is on schedule to start March 29 against Tampa Bay. And after his performance in his first season in Boston, Sale is the logical choice.

    Sale, who was acquired in a December 2016 trade with the White Sox, went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA in 32 starts last year, leading the majors with 214 1/3 innings and 308 strikeouts. He started for the American League in the All-Star Game and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award race.

    But Sale, who turns 29 on March 30, struggled late in the season. In 11 August and September starts, he went 7-4 with a 4.09 ERA, averaging six innings. The Red Sox want to make sure he is strong for the stretch run and possibly another postseason.


    • #47
      Boone already making strong impression
      March 9, 2018

      TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner is impressed with Aaron Boone without seeing him manage a regular-season game.

      Boone was hired to replace the fired Joe Girardi on Dec. 4. He went to the broadcast booth after his career ended in 2009 and has no major league managing or coaching experience.

      Steinbrenner likes what he has seen from Boone during spring training.

      ''Calm, cool, collect, got a good sense of humor,'' Steinbrenner said. ''Has a really good rapport in a group setting or individual setting with the players.''

      Boone is part of the first family to produce three generations of major league players. His father, Bob, had a 19-year career and his grandfather, Ray, spent 13 years playing. His older brother, Bret, was on the field for 14 years.

      Bob Boone also managed Kansas City (1995-97) and Cincinnati (2001-03).

      ''He's a knowledgeable guy,'' Steinbrenner said. ''He's had a lot of help along the way from grandfathers, fathers and his own experience. I think he's going to be great.''

      Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia had no doubt that Boone had what it takes to manage when they were teammates with Cleveland in 2005-06.

      Boone, who celebrated his 45th birthday on Friday, dissected the game like a manager while sitting on the bench.

      ''He was serious with it,'' Sabathia said. ''He was really good at it. I'm just happy people are going to get to know his personality like I do. I think we just hit it off right away.''

      Sabathia's leadership will play a key role in the clubhouse as the Yankees look to reach the World Series one year after losing Game 7 of the ALCS to Houston.

      ''Just now being here with him and as the elder statesman, as the veteran that he is, his impact in our room is enormous,'' Boone said. ''I think he touches a lot of guys in there with his professionalism and his willingness to be a mentor. I think it's important you have guys in a clubhouse where messages don't always have to come from me or my coaching staff.''

      It's a role Sabathia accepts.

      ''I think that's what I'm here to do,'' Sabathia said. ''Obviously perform and try to pitch well, but to also try to be that presence and be here for guys. I can't say I was the leader when Derek (Jeter) and Andy (Pettitte) and those guys were here, but I felt like I was one. But it naturally happened when those guys starting retiring.''


      • #48
        Saltalamacchia, Tigers agree to deal
        March 9, 2018

        LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed to a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers and will report to big league spring training.

        Detroit's move Friday adds depth behind James McCann and John Hicks. If added to the 40-man roster Saltalamacchia would receive a one-year contract with salaries of $650,000 while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors.

        Saltalamacchia has hit .233 with 110 homers and 381 RBIs over an 11-year big league career. He played in 10 games last season for Toronto and had one hit in 25 at-bats.

        The 32-year-old played in 93 games with the Tigers in 2016, hitting .171 with 38 RBIs. He began his career in 2007 with Atlanta and has also played for Boston, Miami and Arizona.


        Clark faults Marlins for breaking up team
        March 9, 2018

        JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Baseball players' union head Tony Clark claims the Marlins' rebuilding decision is different from the ones that led to World Series titles for the Chicago Cubs and Houston because Miami broke up a competitive club.

        ''Those teams didn't tear themselves down,'' Clark said Friday. ''Those teams went through rough stretches. And then they added, too. When you start with a team that has a number of talented players and you tear that down, it's a different conversation than starting from scratch and building up.''

        The union filed a grievance two weeks ago against Miami, Pittsburgh, Oakland and Tampa Bay, accusing them of not properly using money received in revenue sharing to improve their team's ability to win.

        After the Marlins were sold in October to Bruce Sherman's ownership group, the management team headed by former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter traded NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and Dee Gordon for prospects.

        Clark said those decisions impacted the free agent market and ''can be a detriment to the industry as a whole.''

        Miami went 77-85 last season with payroll of about $117 million for its 40-man roster. The Marlins last had a winning season in 2009 and have not reached the playoffs since winning the 2003 World Series.

        Miami's home attendance of 1.65 million last season was 28th among the 30 teams, ahead of only Oakland and Tampa Bay.

        Clark played 15 major league seasons, including a 2004 stint with the New York Yankees when he was a teammate of Jeter, who says the low-drawing Marlins have been losing money at an unsustainable level.

        ''Do I respect the fact that Derek wore a uniform and accomplished what he accomplished on the field? Without question,'' Clark said. ''My concern are those players in those locker rooms and the 1,160 that are in the other 29.''


        March MLB Record: ( Opinions Only )


        03/09/2018 7-9-1 43.75% -14.95
        03/07/2018 6-3-1 66.67% +14.90
        03/07/2018 6-3-1 66.67% +14.90
        03/06/2018 7-4-1 63.64% +14.25
        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


        • #49
          SATURDAY, MARCH 10

          BOS at MIN 01:05 PM
          MIN +105

          TB at PHI 01:05 PM
          TB +100

          WAS at HOU 01:05 PM
          HOU -147

          NYM at NYY 01:05 PM
          NYM +150
          U 9.5

          MIA at STL 01:05 PM
          STL -152

          DET at TOR 01:07 PM
          DET +130
          O 10.5

          COL at MIL 03:05 PM
          COL +110
          O 11.0

          OAK at TEX 03:05 PM
          TEX -125

          CLE at SD 03:10 PM
          CLE -132
          U 11.5

          KC at ARI 03:10 PM
          KC +120
          U 11.0

          SEA at CIN 08:06 PM
          SEA +110
          O 10.5


          • #50
            March MLB Record: ( Opinions Only )

            DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

            03/10/2018 4-10-3 28.57% -34.60
            03/09/2018 7-9-1 43.75% -14.95
            03/07/2018 6-3-1 66.67% +14.90
            03/07/2018 6-3-1 66.67% +14.90
            03/06/2018 7-4-1 63.64% +14.25
            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


            Moustakas rejoins Royals, Bonifacio draws drug suspension
            March 10, 2018

            On the day the Kansas City Royals welcomed back Mike Moustakas, they found out Jorge Bonifacio will miss half the season.

            Bonifacio was suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball on Saturday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

            The outfielder was banned after a positive test for Boldenone. The ban will begin on opening day.

            ''It really kind of made me sick to my stomach,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

            The 24-year-old Bonifacio made his major league debut last season, hitting .255 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs in 113 games.

            Bonifacio's suspension cleared a roster spot for Moustakas, who re-signed with the Royals this week after becoming a free agent last fall.

            Moustakas set a Royals record with 38 home runs last season, then rejected a $17.4 million offer from the team. But the third baseman never received the multiyear, mega-million dollar contract he and his agent Scott Boras anticipated.

            The Royals signed Moustakas to a one-year $6.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2019. He can make another $2.2 million in incentives this year based on plate appearances.

            ''It feels like I never left,'' he said. ''It feels great to be back home. I'm excited to be back with the organization I grew up with. I got to see some familiar faces.''

            ''It's always great to come into a clubhouse and everybody give you a hug. To have an opportunity to come back to Kansas City and play baseball again, it was a no-doubter, a no-brainer for me,'' he said.

            ASTROS 2, NATIONALS 2, 9 INNINGS

            Houston starter Dallas Keuchel allowed one hit in 3 2/3 innings, striking out five. Jose Altuve went 0 for 3 but stole his first base. Washington managed only two hits - singles by Bryce Harper and Ryan Raburn - until the ninth.

            Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy moved along in his recovery from offseason knee surgery, taking batting practice on the field for the first time this spring.

            YANKEES 10, METS 3

            Giancarlo Stanton hit his first home run of the spring - a two-run drive off Mets starter Matt Harvey - and Aaron Judge doubled, singled and scored twice. Harvey gave up five runs on six hits and a walk, pitching 4 2/3 innings. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a scoreless inning and setup man Dellin Betances allowed one run on two hits in an inning.

            Jose Reyes had two hits and stole two bases for the Mets, while Tim Tebow struck out twice in a 0-for-3 day and saw his average drop to .071.

            BRAVES 15, PIRATES (SS) 1

            Atlanta top prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. had two hits to raise his average to .433, walked and scored a run while Dansby Swanson homered for the second time. Starter Mike Foltynewicz pitched four shutout innings.

            Jordy Mercer hit his first home run for Pittsburgh's split squad. Starter Trevor Williams gave up three runs in four innings. Felipe Rivero pitched the fifth and allowed two runs on two hits and a walk.

            MARLINS 7, CARDINALS 3

            Starlin Castro hit his first home run for Miami. Michael Wacha started for St. Louis, pitching four innings and allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Projected starter Odrisamer Despaigne pitched the final three innings for the Marlins, allowing one run on two hits and a walk.

            RAYS 5, PHILLIES 3

            Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez threw four scoreless innings and Odubel Herrera got two hits for the second straight day. Nathan Eovaldi started for Tampa Bay, pitching three innings and allowing one run on four hits. David Olmedo-Barrera homered twice for the Rays.

            ORIOLES 13, PIRATES (SS) 5

            Manny Machado and Trey Mancini both homered for the third time and Jonathan Schoop added his second for Baltimore. Colby Rasmus had two hits, two RBIs and scored twice.

            Chad Kuhl was knocked around in a start for Pittsburgh's split squad, pitching 2 1/3 innings and allowing eight runs on seven hits and three walks. Starling Marte had two hits, including an RBI triple, to raise his average to .526.

            BLUE JAYS 6, TIGERS 3

            Curtis Granderson hit his fourth home run and tripled for the second time this spring for Toronto. Teoscar Hernandez capped a five-run first inning with a grand slam off Detroit starter Mike Fiers. Jaime Garcia started for the Blue Jays, pitching three scoreless innings and striking out two. Miguel Cabrera doubled and walked for Detroit.

            RED SOX-TWINS, PPD.

            Brian Dozier singled and scored, then hit a two-run homer during Minnesota's nine-run first inning against Boston in a game that started late before being rained out.

            GIANTS (SS) 9, ANGELS (SS) 8

            Mike Trout homered, doubled and singled for Los Angeles, driving in two runs and scoring twice. Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun both added two-run singles the Angels' split-squad team.

            Pablo Sandoval drove in two runs for a second straight day for San Francisco's split squad.

            GIANTS (SS) 11, ANGELS (SS) 7

            Brandon Belt hit a solo home run and an RBI double and Jarrett Parker and Nick Hundley also homered for San Francisco. Luis Valbuena had two hits, including a three-run homer, and Eric Young Jr. added two hits and a stolen base for Los Angeles' split squad.

            WHITE SOX 4, CUBS (SS) 4, 9 INNINGS

            Lucas Giolito struck out eight in four innings for the White Sox, allowing one run and two hits. Top prospect Eloy Jimenez hit a two-run homer.

            Kyle Schwarber doubled and scored for the Cubs' split squad. Kyle Hendricks started, pitching four innings and allowing two runs on five hits while striking out seven.

            INDIANS 8, PADRES 8, 9 INNINGS

            Jose Ramirez got his first home run for Cleveland, finishing with two hits and two RBIs. Yandy Diaz added a grand slam in the seventh inning. Francisco Lindor had two hits and swiped his first base for the Indians.

            Jose Pirela had three hits for San Diego, including his first spring homer, and is batting .458. Travis Jankowski hit a three-run homer.

            BREWERS 9, ROCKIES 2

            Lorenzo Cain had two hits for Milwaukee, raising his average to .458, and scored a run on Ryan Braun's first-inning double. Eric Thames and Jonathan Villar drove in runs and Domingo Santana hit his first home run for the Brewers. Tyler Anderson started for Colorado, pitching three innings and allowing four runs - one earned - on five hits and a walk. David Dahl had a two-run triple.

            RANGERS 8, ATHLETICS 2

            Elvis Andrus had his first home run and finished with two hits and three RBIs for Texas. Joey Gallo had a two-run single for the Rangers and starter Mike Minor allowed just one hit, pitching four shutout innings. Paul Blackburn started for Oakland, pitching three innings and allowing two runs on two hits and two walks. Jake Smolinski hit his third home run for the Athletics.

            DIAMONDBACKS 10, ROYALS 3

            David Peralta and Ketel Marte both had three hits for Arizona. Taijuan Walker started for the Diamondbacks, pitching two innings and allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. Jason Hammel also lasted just two innings in his second start for Kansas City, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. Paulo Orlando drove in a run with his fifth double of the spring for the Royals.


            • #51
              B]Braun slowly getting used to 1st base, concerned about move
              March 10, 2018

              PHOENIX (AP) Ryan Braun is willing to play first base if that helps the Milwaukee Brewers strengthen their lineup.

              That doesn't mean he thinks it will be an easy transition after playing the outfield for the past decade - and Braun expressed some serious reservations about the move on Saturday.

              The slugger started in left field for the first time this spring when the Brewers faced the Colorado Rockies. He made his first four Cactus League starts at first base.

              ''It's enjoyable,'' Braun said, ''taking ground balls for the first time in a long time. But it's also stressful. I've never done it at all. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.''

              Braun is getting time at first base after the Brewers acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain during the offseason. If the transition goes well, Braun would likely split time between left field and first.

              Assignments on bunt plays and shifts are among the tasks that Braun is trying to master.

              ''I definitely don't feel comfortable at all,'' he said. ''I'm doing the best I can with it. Guys have to make sacrifices. I think ultimately if we want to get to where we want to get as a team, based on the roster we've put together, it obviously helps make us a better team if I'm able to play multiple positions.''

              Braun came up as a third baseman with the Brewers and played there in 2007 before moving to the outfield in 2008. He has primarily played left field since then, except for a two-year stint in right that ended in 2015.

              Braun, who has had back trouble during his career, said he has to bend down and squat more while playing the infield.

              ''So generally you're putting your back in more vulnerable positions, which for me is a challenge,'' he said. ''My back is the biggest thing health-wise I've focused on for a few years now. ... I think in the long run I have no doubt first base would be easier. But to this point it's definitely been a lot harder on my back than the outfield was, so we'll see.''

              Braun went 1 for 3 with a double and scored a run in four innings before leaving the Brewers' 9-2 win. Left-hander Brent Suter, competing for a spot in the rotation, pitched four shutout innings and allowed two hits.

              Suter was 3-2 with a 3.42 ERA in 22 appearances with Milwaukee last season, making 14 starts. He hopes the 15 pounds he gained in the offseason will keep him stronger throughout the year.

              ''There's no fatigue in my legs,'' he said. ''I'm able to stay on top of pitches later in the counts, later in the game. I'm more on top of the ball. So far it feels like it's paying off.''


              • #52
                Royals OF Bonifacio banned 80 games for positive drug test
                March 10, 2018

                NEW YORK (AP) Kansas City Royals outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

                The commissioner's office made the announcement Saturday.

                Bonifacio was banned after a positive test for Boldenone. The ban will begin on opening day.

                ''It really kind of made me sick to my stomach,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

                The 24-year-old Bonifacio made his major league debut last season, hitting .255 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs in 113 games.

                ''He is an incredible person who just made a mistake,'' general manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. ''Jorge will have our full support as he deals with the consequences of this violation.''

                Kansas City was reshuffling its outfield this spring after Lorenzo Cain left as a free agent, and Bonifacio was competing for playing time in the field and at designated hitter.

                The Royals recently signed free agent outfielder Jon Jay. Paulo Orlando and several others are also trying to earn time.

                Bonifacio's suspension cleared a roster spot for third baseman Mike Moustakas, who re-signed with the Royals this week after becoming a free agent last fall.

                Bonifacio is the fourth player suspended this year under the major league drug program. Houston pitcher Dean Deetz, Washington catcher Raudy Read and Pittsburgh pitcher Nik Turley previously were penalized.


                • #53
                  D-backs face decisions at closer, middle infield
                  March 10, 2018

                  SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) With two weeks left of spring training, the Arizona Diamondbacks still are grappling with a pair of significant unresolved issues.

                  One, who is the closer? Two, how to sort out the crowd at middle infield?

                  There is still plenty of time to work things out, manager Torey Lovullo said.

                  ''I feel like it's still a little bit too early,'' he said, ''but everybody is paying a lot of attention to some very key spots and you hit on a couple of them.''

                  The closer competition a three-way competition with Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano.

                  Bradley, the bearded fan favorite, was one of the game's best setup men last season with a 1.73 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched. Boxberger had an AL-leading 41 saves in 2015 but battled injuries the past two seasons. Hirano arrived from Japan a 33-year-old seasoned closer.

                  Bradley insists he doesn't want the job.

                  ''Really not at all, and not in a bad way. I'm not scared of it,'' he said. ''I just want to win. I found so much fun and success in my role last year that it kind of taught me whatever the situation is, let's just role with it. I don't need the title `save' to feel accomplished. I just want to win ballgames.''

                  But, of course, Bradley will willingly accept the job.

                  ''The role is kind of up in the air,'' he said. ''There's a lot that has to play out on both sides. Guys have to stay healthy, guys have to continue to throw the ball well and hopefully that last week we''ll be able to kind of slide stuff in place and really set up how we're going to pitch for the season.''

                  Bradley threw two shutout innings and got the win Friday against the Royals. The team has indicated a desire to have him throw more than one inning.

                  Lovullo likes the open competition.

                  ''I think it's that type of competitive atmosphere that we're watching these guys operate in every single day and they've been successful,'' Lovullo said. ''They're all throwing the ball well. We're doing our jobs offensively and defensively. That creates some tough conversations for the staff to have.''

                  A vacancy opened at second base, and backup at third, when Arizona sent Brandon Drury to the New York Yankees in a three-tame trade that brought outfielder Steven Souza Jr. from Tampa.

                  Daniel Descalso played second frequently, especially late last season, and can play any other spot, too. Chris Owings, like Descalso, is being counted on as a do-everything utility infield player. So that could mean regular stints at second base for Ketel Marte to allow slick-fielding Nick Ahmed to play shortstop.

                  ''You see `C.O' (Owings) and myself bounce around a little bit,'' Descalso said. ''Ketel's playing some second. Obviously, Nick is as good a shortstop as there is in the big leagues. So it's probably nice for the manager to be able to plug guys in different spots.''

                  Marte had a strong season filling in for the injured Ahmed and Owings at shortstop last season and said he has no problem moving to second. He was at shortstop on Saturday but said he'd started three other games at second.

                  Shortstop, Marte said, is ''the hardest position on the field. If you can play shortstop, you're going to be good anywhere.''

                  On Friday, Lovullo had Descalso in place of Jake Lamb at third, Ahmed at shortstop and Owings at second.

                  The crowd up the middle is a plus, not a minus, Lovullo said.

                  ''I feel like we have a very, very deep team that is showing up every single day,'' the manager said. `We're going to have some tough decisions to make down the road. We know that.''

                  Another lingering question is what to do with Yasmany Tomas. The everyday outfield spots are filled by Souza, A.J. Pollock and David Peralta. Newcomer Jarrod Dyson provides speed and experience as the fourth outfielder. Tomas, the second-highest player on the team behind Zack Greinke, could wind up in the minors.

                  Tomas doubled and walked in Saturday's spring training game against Kansas City in Scottsdale and is batting .409 this spring.

                  The Diamondbacks open March 29 at home against Colorado.


                  • #54
                    SUNDAY, MARCH 11
                    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

                    MIN at TB 01:05 PM
                    MIN +100
                    O 8.5

                    STL at WAS 01:05 PM
                    STL +125
                    U 8.5

                    ATL at DET 01:05 PM
                    ATL +105

                    NYY at MIA 01:05 PM
                    MIA +150

                    PIT at TOR 01:07 PM
                    PIT +140

                    HOU at NYM 01:10 PM
                    NYM +110

                    ARI at CHW 04:05 PM
                    ARI -105

                    CHC at OAK 04:05 PM
                    OAK +100

                    LAD at COL 04:10 PM
                    COL +100
                    U 9.5

                    CIN at SEA 04:10 PM
                    CIN +110
                    U 9.5

                    TEX at LAA 04:10 PM
                    TEX +115

                    SD at SF 06:05 PM
                    SD +125
                    O 9.5


                    • #55
                      TOP ROOKIES TO WATCH IN THE 2018 MLB SEASON

                      The 2017 MLB season was memorable for a number of reasons. At or near the top of the list was the impact that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger had. The two rookies took the baseball world by storm. With spring training now right around the corner, it’s only fair to wonder. Who might do that in the 2018 MLB season?

                      Looking at the pool, there are some strong candidates. The Chicago Cubs have dominated baseball in the Windy City over the last three season. But their crosstown rivals have two rookies that we expect will make a huge impact in the 2018 season.

                      On the other side of the spectrum, we have already great teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees. Those teams all have a rookie that we think should be watched closely. Heck, one of them has two such rookies. Of course, no talk of rookies in the 2018 season would be complete without the guy who could be the most unique player MLB has seen in decades.

                      The pool of first-year players is vast. From that vast pool, these are the rookies that need to be watched during the 2018 MLB season.

                      Shohei Ohtani, pitcher/outfielder, Los Angeles Angels

                      In recent years, we’ve seen Japanese pitchers like Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka and Kenta Maeda come to MLB and make a fairly large impact early on. Ohtani posted a 2.52 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and struck out 10.3 hitters per nine innings during his Japanese career. That alone is enough to make us excited to see what he can bring the Halos in 2018.

                      Of course, we’re also excited to see what he can do at the plate. In Japan, Ohtani hit .286/.358/.500 with 48 home runs in 1,035 at-bats. By comparison, Madison Bumgarner — one of the best hitting pitchers we’ve seen in a while — has a career .185/.232/.322 slash line with 17 home runs in 487 at-bats.

                      The Angels have a solid outfield Albert Pujols mans the DH position. As such, don’t expect Ohtani to get a full season’s worth of at-bats. But when he does step into the box, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do, much like it will be when he toes the rubber.

                      Lewis Brinson, centerfielder, Miami Marlins

                      Not only was Brinson the best player that Miami received when it traded Christian Yelich, but he’s likely the star acquisition of the Marlins’ entire controversial offseason.

                      We saw him in limited playing time for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. But Brinson struggled to a .106/.236/.277 line with two homers at the Major League level. The thing is, though, that that came in only 47 at-bats. That works out to about two weeks worth of games, which isn’t much at the MLB level. In AAA, Brinson hit .331/.400/.562 with 13 home runs and 11 steals in 299 at-bats. That’s a much greater sample size. But it’s also small enough to wonder how much better it could have been over 500 a-bats.

                      Miami is going to be terrible. That’s a given. It would be quite surprising to see the Marlins even get to 70-92. For Miami’s fans, that’s unfortunate. But one of the positives is that it should net Brinson a full season of at-bats.

                      Gleyber Torres, third baseman, New York Yankees

                      While Torres has played shortstop throughout his Minor League career, we figure that he’ll play third in the Bronx. New York isn’t exactly looking to trade Didi Gregorius and the hot corner job is there to be had. Torres has been one of the best prospects in baseball in recent seasons. Now is the time to see what he can do in pinstripes.

                      With a lineup featuring players like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez, Yankees games figure to feature a lot of home runs, walks, and strikeouts. Torres will be a bit of a break from that. In 1,349 MiLB at-bats, he hit .282/.360/.416 with 23 home runs and stole 60 bases. That stat line opens many doors for where Torres might fit in the lineup.

                      If he’s a table setter, the steals are going to be irrelevant. The Yankees simply aren’t going to risk running into outs on the bases with the power in the middle of the order coming up. But he will score a lot of runs batting that high. Additionally, the power numbers might increase as pitchers will challenge Torres, not wanting to walk him with the thunder coming up. If Torres bats at the bottom of the order, he’ll be a nice lengthening the lineup guy. Then, he may be inclined to run a little more as well. Either way, we like the potential that Torres has heading into 2018.

                      Ronald Acuna, outfielder, Atlanta Braves

                      Let’s take a look at what Acuna did in 2017, as a 19-year-old.

                      In Advanced-A ball, Acuna hit .287/.336/.478 with three homers and 14 steals. In AA, he hit .326/.374/.520 with nine home runs and 19 stolen bases. Finally, he hit .344/.393/.548 with nine homers and 11 steals in AAA. That translates to an impressive stat line of .325/.374/.522, 21 home run, and 44 steals. But better yet, Acuna didn’t simply avoid a drop at each level of the minors, he got better. That’s rare for anyone. For a 19-year-old, it’s essentially unheard of.

                      At 20, Acuna is young enough that he may not make the Opening Day roster. But realistically speaking, the Braves just don’t have the outfield to justify keeping this kid in the minors for long. We’re not necessarily going to say that Acuna will keep improving his overall stats when he gets to the majors. But he has enough of an overall game for us to think that he’ll make a big impact on the field.

                      Walker Buehler, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers

                      At the Minor League level, he has a career 3.17 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and has struck out 12.6 hitters per nine innings. He has a blazing fastball, backed up with a solid curve and slider. Many relief pitchers have only two good pitches. So, if Buehler is used out of the bullpen, he’ll already be ahead of the curve.

                      His changeup is also steadily improving. Should that continue, we’d be looking at a guy with one great pitch, two good ones, and another decent one (at worst). That would make him a slam dunk starter. As a right hander, he’d provide balance to a rotation that’s a little left-hand heavy.

                      The Dodgers have the luxury of being able to use him in either role. But whatever is decided, expect Buehler to be a prominent part of Los Angeles’ pitching plans in 2018.

                      Eloy Jimenez, outfielder, Chicago White Sox

                      Since the end of the 2016 season, the White Sox have been steadily rebuilding. We’re not exactly expecting Chicago to be competing for a playoff spot in 2018. But we are expecting to see more of those acquired prospects making an impact at the Major League level. With Yoan Moncada already up, the focus now shifts to Michael Kopech (more on him later) and Jimenez — the White Sox main haul in the Jose Quintana deal.

                      There’s not a lot left for Jimenez to do at the Minor League level. He hit .329/.369/.532 with 14 home runs in 2016. He backed that up in 2017 with a .312/.379/.568, and added to his power with 19 home runs.

                      Jimenez is 21, so there isn’t a huge hurry to bring him up. But much like Acuna in Atlanta, the White Sox outfield just doesn’t have the players to justify keeping him down. Financial reasons may force Chicago to wait on activating Jimenez. But at some point in the first half of the season, we expect to see him in the South Siders lineup. Once there, Jimenez is not going anywhere.

                      J.P. Crawford, shortstop, Philadelphia Phillies

                      In Crawford, we have something of a unique rookie. Even before spring training has begun, there’s absolutely no reason to think that he won’t start on Opening Day.

                      Crawford grades as a solid defender at a premium position. That, alone, makes him someone to watch very closely. But Crawford’s bat is also worth mentioning. He hit .243/.351/.405 with 15 home runs while in Triple-A in 2017. If he can bring those numbers to the majors, Crawford will definitely be an above-average hitting shortstop.

                      When we look at Crawford’s position and the potential of his overall game, he’s definitely a rookie worthy of our attention in 2017.

                      Alex Verdugo, outfielder, Los Angeles Dodgers

                      The Dodgers just missed winning the World Series in 2017, and it would surprise absolutely nobody if they won it all in 2018. One problem that Los Angeles had was that it was a bit too dependent on the home run ball. With that in mind, Verdugo can provide something of a different look in the lineup.

                      Verdugo has some pop. But his Minor League career has shown that he fits into the “good hitter who can occasionally take you deep” mold. Verdugo has a .305/.362/.438 career slash line in the minors and hit .314/.389/.436 in AAA in 2017. Also, while he’s never topped 13 home runs in a single Minor League season, Verdugo has struck out only 200 times in 1,612 MiLB at-bats. By contrast, Cody Bellinger struck out 146 times in only 480 at-bats for the Dodgers in 2016.

                      It’s important to have guys like Bellinger, who can change a game with one swing. But it’s also important to have guys like Verdugo. While maybe not as spectacular, they will be more solid. With that in mind, we expect to see a lot of Verdugo in the Los Angeles outfield in 2018.

                      Forrest Whitley, pitcher, Houston Astros

                      Whitley is similar to the aforementioned Buehler in that we’re not sure if he’ll be a starter or reliever. But either way, he should spend much of 2018 with he Astros. If that does happen, he’ll make Houston’s pitching better.

                      Whitley pitched in three separate levels on Minor League ball in 2017, posting a 2.83 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. If we’re being really picky, we could point out that the WHIP is a touch high for a 20-year-old vying for a roster spot on the reigning World Series champions. But we can’t say that without mentioning that it was 1.36 in Single-A, 1.18 in Advanced-A, and 0.82 in AA. He got better as the season progressed and as he climbed the ladder.

                      His control got much better as the season progressed. But if he’s struggling with his secondary pitches in spring training, he can start in the bullpen while refining those. As soon as those pitches are ready, though, he can join the starting rotation. That would put two of Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock, and Collin McHugh in the bullpen. Either way, Whitley’s presence will go a long way in solidifying the bullpen, which was really the only weakness of 2017’s championship squad.

                      Ryan McMahon, first baseman, Colorado Rockies

                      In truth, McMahon can play first, second, or third base. But with DJ LeMahieu at second and Nolan Arenado at third, first base is where McMahon will likely see the most playing time.

                      Minor League pitchers are certainly hoping that McMahon gets the call. He hit .355/.403/.583 with 20 home runs between AA and AAA in 2017. Mind you, he did all of that without the benefit of Coors Field. Imagine how good this guy will be once he steps into that hitter’s paradise.

                      With McMahon essentially already Major League ready and Brendan Rodgers not that far behind him, the future is quite bright in Colorado.

                      Victor Robles, outfielder, Washington Nationals

                      Like Verdugo, Robles certainly has pop. But also like Verdugo with Los Angeles, Robles’ value to Washington will come more from the fact that his game is a little different than the rest of the guys on his team.

                      Robles hit .300/.382/.493 in the minors in 2017, hitting 10 home runs. He also stole 27 bases, although much like Torres with the Yankees, that will be largely kept in check if he’s hitting in front of Bryce Harper.

                      Robles certainly can compete for the NL Rookie of the Year. But in terms of potential numbers, we like some of the other players on this list a little more. But Robles plays for a team that’s won back-to-back National League East crowns. So, even if he’s not winning the Rookie of the Year, he’ll be a rookie playing in some meaningful games down the stretch.

                      Brent Honeywell, pitcher, Tampa Bay Rays

                      Honeywell posted a 3.49 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with 172 strikeouts in 136.2 innings between AA and AAA a season ago. The numbers are certainly good, even if they’re not quite as eye-popping as some of the other pitchers that we’ve gone over.

                      Where Honeywell really gets our attention is with what he throws. He features five pitches, which is rare enough. Making matters even better is that one of those pitches is a screwball, something Major League hitters just don’t see a lot of. The pitchers that do throw screwballs usually don’t back them up with a fastball that can touch 95.

                      We’re certainly looking forward to seeing what kind of impact he’ll make at the Major League level.

                      Scott Kingery, second baseman, Philadelphia Phillies

                      We’ve already looked at Philadelphia’s shortstop of the future. Now, we look at the keystone.

                      Unlike Crawford, Kingery isn’t quite assured of a spot on the Opening Day roster. But he’s coming off a season in which he hit .304/.359/.530 with 26 home runs and 29 steals. Even better, he did that between AA and AAA, so he’s not just dominating the lower levels of the minors.

                      César Hernández is not a bad player by any means. We certainly can see him holding Kingery off through spring training and the early season. But Kingery has just shown too much promise to be kept down in the minors for a long time. If he stays healthy, he’ll be up with the Phillies before July 4. Once he’s up, don’t expect him to go anywhere.

                      Francisco Mejia, catcher, Cleveland Indians

                      Catching is still, by and large, a defensive position. There are exceptions now and throughout MLB history. But for the most part, the offense you get from the backstop is a bonus. Mejia is the kind of player who can provide that bonus and then some.

                      He hit .297/.346/.490 in the minors a season ago, adding 14 home runs and even seven steals. Additionally, while his overall fielding still needs some work, Mejia has a rocket arm behind the dish. So, we’re going to be really intrigued when the Indians face the league’s best base stealers.

                      Good, young catchers are always exciting. We’re especially excited to see what kind of an impact Mejia can make on one of baseball’s best teams.

                      A.J. Puk, pitcher, Oakland Athletics

                      If you’re in a fantasy dynasty league or a regular league with a deep bench, do yourself a favor and give Puk a close look.

                      Puk finished 2017 with a 4.03 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 184 strikeouts in 125 innings. The strikeout total is staggering. Even still, you can certainly look at those numbers and say that they can be a lot be a lot better. And you’d be right. But consider that he put up those numbers working primarily as a starter, with only a fastball and slider that can really be depended on. Imagine how good Puk can be when his curveball and changeup are developed.

                      Now, just for fun, let’s say that that won’t happen. That would leave Puk essentially as a pitcher with a strong fastball and slider, but little else. That sounds like a bad thing. But that’s essentially the exact kind of pitcher that Andrew Miller is. Like Miller, Puk is also six-foot-seven. We’re not saying that Puk will be that good. But even if starting doesn’t work out, he does have essentially all of the chops needed to be an elite reliever. All things considered, that’s not a bad fallback option.

                      Willie Calhoun, outfielder, Texas Rangers

                      If you’re thinking about placing a friendly wager for American League Rookie of the Year, you can do a lot worse than Calhoun.

                      Barring an absolutely disastrous spring, we’re expecting to see him in the Texas outfield on opening day. So, the playing time will be there. It’s hard to predict numbers but based on 2017, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. Calhoun hit 31 home runs in the minors a season ago, and backed it up with a .300/.355/.572 slash line. Even better is that he had only 61 strikeouts in 482 at-bats. So, this isn’t exactly a power hungry prospect with big holes in the swing. Calhoun is just a good hitter.

                      Remembering that, as well as the fact that Globe Life Park in Arlington is a great place to hit, and we’re pretty intrigued to see what Calhoun can do in 2018.

                      Nick Senzel, third baseman, Cincinnati Reds

                      Cincinnati’s defense could be something of a puzzle in 2018. Senzel should end up as Cincinnati’s third baseman. That said, we could justify him playing somewhere else on the diamond as other battles fall into place. But one way or another, Senzel has to be in the majors in 2018.

                      He hit .321/.391/.514 in 2017, adding 14 home runs and 14 steals. Quite frankly, the Reds are just not a good enough team to keep him in the minors beyond maybe the early portions of the 2018 season. It’s also worth mentioning that he grades out as a plus defender, although that could change if he moves away from the hot corner.

                      Senzel definitely belongs in the majors. And when we factor in how hitter-friendly The Great American Ballpark is, Senzel will be primed to put up some solid numbers once he gets to the show.

                      Michael Kopech, pitcher, Chicago White Sox

                      Remember everything that we already said about Puk. Kopech is, more or less, the right-handed equivalent of that. He has an even better fastball than Puk and backs it up with a solid slider. His change needs to be developed a little more and we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing a curve added to the repertoire. But as things presently stand, he’s got more than enough to at least make it as a Major League reliever.

                      Kopech posted a 2.88 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 2017, backing it up with 172 strikeouts in only 134.1 innings. He did walk 4.4 hitters per nine. While that’s a big total, he got significantly better in that regard as the season went along, dropping to a respectable 2.8 per nine in the second half.

                      We should absolutely expect to see Kopech with the White Sox in 2018. Really, we should expect to see that sooner rather than later.


                      • #56
                        Jake Arrieta gets a deal he likes, ace set to join Phillies
                        March 11, 2018

                        Jake Arrieta finally found a deal he liked.

                        The free agent ace and the Philadelphia Phillies have reached agreement on a three-year contract, two people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

                        Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the deal, reportedly worth $75 million, is pending a physical. Arrieta is joining the Phillies just 2 + weeks before opening day.

                        The 32-year-old Arrieta was among several top free agents who didn't get a contract for six or seven seasons in a changing market. The Phillies, who have plenty of money to spend, waited until the price was right for them.

                        Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series the next season. The right-hander was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last year.

                        The Phillies went 66-96 and finished last in the NL East, and haven't had a winning season since 2011. But they've added veteran slugger Carlos Santana, Arrieta and quality relievers to a young nucleus that could show considerable improvement.


                        ASTROS 5, METS 2

                        Jacob deGrom made his spring debut for New York, pitching 2 2/3 innings and allowing two hits and a walk. DeGrom, who has been bothered by back stiffness since the start of camp, had his fastball reach 98 mph and struck out the side in the first. Yoenis Cespedes hit his third home run for the Mets.

                        Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. went 3 2/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out five.

                        MARLINS 7, YANKEES 5

                        Aaron Judge homered for the first time this spring and Didi Gregorius hit his second for New York. Both home runs came against Miami prospect Sandy Alcantara, who pitched the last four innings in relief.

                        Jordan Montgomery got the start for the Yankees, pitching 2 1/3 innings and allowing four runs on five hits and two walks. Brian Anderson hit a three-run homer for the Marlins and Cameron Maybin added a two-run shot.

                        CARDINALS 4, NATIONALS 3

                        Luke Weaver pitched four perfect innings and struck out four in his third start for St. Louis. Jose Martinez had two hits for the Cardinals, driving in a pair with a home run.

                        Anthony Rendon doubled and scored for Washington, while Matt Reynolds homered for the first time. Tanner Roark started for the Nationals, pitching four innings and allowing three runs on five hits and two walks.

                        ORIOLES (SS) 7, RED SOX 3

                        Colby Rasmus and Chance Sisco drove in first-inning runs against Boston starter Rick Porcello, who pitched four innings, allowing four runs and seven hits.

                        Mookie Betts homered for the first time this spring and walked twice for the Red Sox and Hanley Ramirez had two hits and an RBI.

                        TWINS 6, RAYS 5

                        Three-time batting champion Joe Mauer doubled, drew a bases-loaded walk and scored while leading off for Minnesota.

                        Jake Faria, slotted as the No. 3 starter as Tampa Bay experiments with a four-man rotation, struggled in his third outing. His ERA climbed to 16.62 after retiring just five batters and surrendering five runs - four earned - on seven hits and two walks.

                        TIGERS 6, BRAVES 3

                        Miguel Cabrera had two hits, including a three-run double, and Victor Martinez had his fourth homer for Detroit. Francisco Liriano, in the mix for a back-of-the-rotation spot, started for the Tigers and pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four.

                        Ender Inciarte doubled and singled for Atlanta.

                        PIRATES 5, BLUE JAYS 0

                        Gregory Polanco and Adam Frazier homered for Pittsburgh. Toronto starter Joe Biagini gave up five runs on four hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings.

                        REDS 6, MARINERS 5

                        Ichiro Suzuki went 0 for 3, striking out twice while leading off for Seattle in his first spring appearance. Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano exited early with tightness in his left hamstring. Reds starter Brandon Finnegan left after two batters with a forearm spasm. Billy Hamilton singled to snap a 0-for-18 start for Cincinnati.

                        The Reds said pitcher Anthony DeSclafani has an oblique injury. No timetable has been set for his return.

                        ATHLETICS 7, CUBS 2

                        Yu Darvish breezed through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. He left after Jed Lowrie doubled and scored on Matt Olson's single.

                        Kyle Schwarber and Chris Gimenez hit back-to-back home runs off Oakland starter Sean Manea.

                        INDIANS (SS) 3, ROYALS 1

                        Roberto Perez and Brandon Barnes homered for Cleveland's split squad. Nathan Karns started for Kansas City, pitching three innings and allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five. Alex Gordon and newly signed Jon Jay combined to go 0-for-6 with three strikeouts at the top of the Royals' lineup.

                        BREWERS 5, INDIANS (SS) 4

                        Jason Kipnis tripled and singled for a Cleveland split squad, raising his batting average to .520. Carlos Carrasco got the start for the Indians, giving up just one hit in three shutout innings while striking out six.

                        Keon Broxton singled and scored and swiped his fifth base for Milwaukee. Wade Miley started for the Brewers, pitching five innings and giving up two runs on three hits and three walks.

                        ANGELS 4, RANGERS 3

                        Bartolo Colon, trying to earn a rotation spot with Texas at 44, allowed one unearned run in four innings, giving up two hits and striking out three. Justin Upton hit a three-run homer for Los Angeles. JC Ramirez started for the Angels, pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up one hit - Nomar Mazara's home run - while striking out six.

                        DODGERS 13, ROCKIES 7

                        Chris Taylor drove in three runs with two hits and Matt Kemp and Yasmani Grandal homered for Los Angeles. Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu didn't fare well in his first start, pitching 2 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on two hits and two walks.

                        Trevor Story had a two-run double for Colorado and Chris Iannetta hit his third home run. Rockies starter German Marquez was roughed up in 2 2/3 innings, tagged for eight runs on nine hits and two walks.

                        WHITE SOX 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5

                        Chicago top prospect Eloy Jimenez had two more hits, giving him two home runs and a triple in his first four at-bats of the spring. Jose Abreu homered for the second time and Yoan Moncada hit his first for the White Sox. Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez pitched 4 1/3 shutout innings. Patrick Corbin allowed three runs on five hits and two walks, going four innings in a start for Arizona.


                        • #57
                          DeGrom sharp in spring debut, uncertain about opening day
                          March 11, 2018

                          PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) The question whether or not Jacob deGrom will be the New York Mets' starting pitcher on opening day wasn't resolved on Sunday. But if he isn't, it likely won't be because of his stuff.

                          Making his spring debut after being sidelined with back stiffness and leaving camp for his daughter's birth, deGrom overpowered the Houston Astros at times in his two-plus innings of work. He struck out the side in the top of the first, and hit 98 mph during his 47-pitch outing.

                          Overall, he allowed two runs on two hits and one walk in 2 2/3 innings, fanning four in a 5-2 loss.

                          DeGrom worked two innings Tuesday in a simulated game. The right-hander said facing opposing hitters other than his teammates or prospects resulted in a rush that had him ramping up his fastball.

                          ''You go face your own hitters and live BP and sim games, whatever, you want to get them out. But when you go face another team and you're actually in a game game, then it's definitely different,'' deGrom said.

                          DeGrom fanned Jake Marisnick and Tony Kemp looking before finishing Alex Bregman with a swing-and-miss fastball. Many fans stood as deGrom walked to the dugout.

                          ''I had some nerves, some adrenaline,'' he said, smiling.

                          Mets manager Mickey Callaway was impressed with the start.

                          ''He looked fine. He came out of it healthy. We know who Jacob deGrom is,'' Callaway said.

                          ''You saw the stuff, the velo. He wasn't holding anything back. He was letting it go, and it was good to see. And he pitched a good amount of pitches for his first time out in a real game,'' he said.

                          DeGrom said it felt a little strange making his first start this late in camp, and the time spent in bullpens and sim games resulted in one big problem - working from the stretch.

                          The Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning on a pair of singles and a walk. Having to work from the stretch was a first-time encounter this spring, much like taking the mound.

                          ''I think in that second inning I think I just got quick, my arm wasn't catching up and I was missing a lot high,'' he said. ''I feel like it was when I got to the stretch - that was my first time in the stretch with a runner on. In live BP, no one was running and in the sim game no one was running.''

                          The big question in camp has been whether deGrom will get enough work in time to be ready for opening day at Citi Field against St. Louis in 2 + weeks.

                          Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland feel the honor of starting the first game should go to deGrom, who was 15-10 with a 3.53 ERA over a career-high 31 starts last season for the Mets.

                          But at a point in spring training when starting pitchers are going four innings - lefty starter Jason Vargas relieved and worked four -- Callaway wouldn't speculate on the opening day fate of deGrom.

                          ''We're just taking it day-by-day and going from there,'' Callaway said.

                          The 29-year-old deGrom isn't worried about when he makes his first start in the regular season.

                          ''I haven't even thought about it, really. The goal is to get in a game here first and go from there. That'll be a discussion between Mickey, Dave and probably myself,'' said deGrom, who added he was in line for his next start in five days.

                          ''We don't want to do anything dumb and push it. Today was a big step and everything went fine,'' he said.

                          NOTES: LF Yoenis Cespedes homered in the second spot in the order, a position Callaway has had him in often this spring. Cespedes says he has no preference on where he bats. Callaway added he isn't worried about Cespedes' shoulder strength when it comes to throwing, saying, ''He made some pretty good throws today.'' . SS Amed Rosario may go seven or eight innings in his next start.


                          • #58
                            Reds' Anthony DeSclafani has another strained oblique
                            March 11, 2018

                            GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Anthony DeSclafani has a strained left oblique, the third year in a row that the Cincinnati Reds starter has been hurt during spring training.

                            Manager Bryan Price said DeScalfani felt discomfort during his last spring appearance and an exam found the problem. It's unclear how long he might be sidelined. The Reds open the season in a little over two weeks.

                            ''I say that with nothing but frustration for Anthony and our club,'' Price said Sunday. ''I feel bad for the kid. He worked his tail off to get ready. He did everything we asked of him and more.''

                            DeSclafani also suffered a strained left oblique before the 2016 season and was sidelined until June. The right-hander finished that season with a 9-5 record with a 3.28 ERA. He missed all of last season with a sprained elbow.

                            The Reds were counting on him, Homer Bailey and left-hander Brandon Finnegan to recover from injuries and anchor a rotation that struggled without them last year. Instead, they're heading toward opening day with questions about two of them.

                            Finnegan was removed from his appearance on Sunday after only two batters because of a sore forearm. It's unclear how long he'll be limited. Finnegan was limited to four starts last season because of back and shoulder injuries.

                            DeSclafani won't be allowed to do any baseball activities until the injured muscle is healed, making it unlikely he'll be ready to start the season.

                            ''They want to get all the soreness out,'' Price said. ''I'm sure there will be MRIs and ultrasounds to check his progress before he gets back to baseball activity.''


                            Twins drop Sanchez; linked to Lance Lynn
                            March 11, 2018

                            FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) The Minnesota Twins have unconditionally released right-hander Anibal Sanchez after a three-week stint with the club.

                            The move was made Sunday, clearing a space on the 40-man roster. The Twins, according to multiple reports Saturday, agreed to terms on a one-year, $12 million contract with free agent right-hander Lance Lynn to further upgrade their rotation. The team has not confirmed the reported deal with the Lynn, who went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in 33 starts for the St. Louis Cardinals last season.

                            Sanchez signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Twins in attempt to revitalize his career after struggling through the last three years with the Detroit Tigers. He gave up six runs on five hits in four innings over two Grapefruit League exhibition game appearances for the Twins.


                            AP sources: Free agent ace Arrieta, Phillies reach 3-yr deal
                            March 11, 2018

                            CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) The Philadelphia Phillies made their boldest move yet.

                            Two people familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press that free-agent ace Jake Arrieta and the Phillies have agreed to a three-year deal.

                            Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract is pending a physical. The deal is reportedly worth $75 million. NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the agreement.

                            The 32-year-old righty was among several top free agents who didn't get a deal for six or seven years in a changing offseason market. The Phillies, who have plenty of money to spend, waited until the price was right for them.

                            Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series the next season. He was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last year.

                            Arrieta was 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in five seasons in Chicago after starting his career in Baltimore. He'll join Aaron Nola atop the Phillies' rotation on a team that finished last in the NL East.

                            The Phillies haven't had a winning season since 2011, but now have added veteran slugger Carlos Santana, Arrieta and quality relievers to a young nucleus that could show considerable improvement over last season's 66-96 mark.

                            New manager Gabe Kapler's motto throughout spring training has been: ''Be Bold.'' Players and coaches have been wearing T-shirts with those words on them and they've been using the phrase often in interviews.

                            Signing Arrieta is a message that management is ready to move past the rebuilding process.

                            The Phillies already have a lineup that has potential to be dynamic and a bullpen that could be formidable. Now they've added a proven No. 1 starter to a slew of young arms in the rotation.

                            Arrieta has started at least 30 games in three straight seasons, but he's only pitched more than 200 innings once - 229 in 2015.

                            Arrieta had a 4.67 ERA in first 16 starts last season, but finished strong, going 7-4 with a 2.26 ERA in his final 14 outings.