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    Player News
    Giants' Tim Lincecum strikes out seven Thursday
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (12:22 am ET) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings while racking up seven strikeouts in Thursday's spring start against the A's.

    Lincecum has dealt with neck issues and mediocre performances but has looked much better over the last week, following a one-run outing Saturday by matching his seven strikeouts in his previous four outings. He appears on track to open the season as the team's No. 5 starter.


    Rockies' Brandon Barnes displays new swing this spring
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (12:16 am ET) Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes brought a brand-new swing to spring training that features a high leg kick as he looks to cut down the strikeouts and "be the best version of me," the Denver Post reports.

    "I tried to refine who I am and what type of player I am in the box," Barnes said Thursday. "I'm not a guy who's going to hit 30 home runs. I know that. I'm the big guy who needs to be a pest, drive the ball into gaps, hit doubles, use my speed to my advantage, bunt, all those things."

    Barnes lost 10 pounds this offseason as he looked to come to camp more athletic and less stiff in the batter's box.

    "We have this tremendous athlete, and you see him in the outfield and it shows up daily," manager Walt Weiss said. "But you saw him in the box last season, and there was some stiffness to his approach. And I'm saying, 'Be that guy in the box.' It made sense to him."

    Barnes indicated that he's committed to the new approach that pulls the focus away from home runs.

    "I had to go back and do some soul-searching to figure out who I was," Barnes said. "I'm the guy who goes out and plays really hard."


    Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo goes hitless in return Thursday
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (triceps) returned to the lineup Thursday, going 0 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter in his team's 6-3 win over the Rockies.

    Choo had been sidelined since March 15 due to a triceps injury and was reported to be targeting a return Saturday, but he was able to remain in for the entire game Thursday, picking up four at-bats in his role as DH. He's managed just four hits in 22 at-bats this spring.


    Rangers' Fujikawa confident in return from Tommy John surgery
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa is scheduled to pitch Friday, and the Rangers will be keeping a close eye on the pitcher to determine if he has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery or if he'll need time in the minors to open the season, MLB.com reports.

    Fujikawa hasn't allowed a run in four Cactus League outings but has struggled a bit in two camp games. He remains confident his recovery is on track.

    "This is still spring training, not the regular season," Fujikawa said. "It's only going to get better. Coming into spring training, the surgery was out of my mind. As a player, I am really confident. I am not sure what my role will be, but I'll be confident whatever the situation is."

    Manager Jeff Banister is looking for the pitcher to build off his spring success.

    "The guy is coming off Tommy John," Banister said. "There are good days and bad days. He has logged a couple of good ones. Let's see that continue."


    Twins Trevor Plouffe wants to cement his place at third
    by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe is completely aware of the threat that Miguel Sano brings when it comes to the third base spot. Sano is considered by many to be a can't-miss player. But Plouffe is trying not to let that affect him or his play. 

    “You can’t think about anything like that,” Plouffe said. “You can’t worry about what other people are saying about you. I’m more focused on getting this organization out of this rut that we’ve dug ourselves over the last four years.”

    After moving around the infield for years, Plouffe seems to have found his place at third. The 28-year-old has a batting average of .245 with 62 home runs, 224 RBI and 398 strikeouts in five seasons.


    Rangers' Ross Ohlendorf (groin) leaves Thursday's game
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was removed from Thursday's game against the Rockies due to recurring tightness in his right groin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

    Ohlendorf tossed a scoreless inning and struck out two Thursday in his first appearance since March 15 but continued to battle groin issues. He's competing for a spot in the bullpen.


    Yankees 3B Chase Headley wants more action in the field
    by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Yankees third baseman Chase Headley has played the fourth most innings on the field for the team with 78, but he has only had 13 chances at fielding balls, reports the New York Times. He is hoping that he gets more opportunities going forward.

    “It’s crazy,” Headley said. “I’m begging for ground balls.”

    Headley came over from the Padres last spring having spent his entire career there. He seemed to suffer the same circumstances there with limited chances to field balls. He spoke to some of his current teammates and his infield coach.

    “I’ve talked with Joe Espada,” Headley said of the Yankees’ new infield coach. “And Didi and Stephen — I just want a routine, easy ground ball.”

    Headley, who won a National League Gold Glove in 2012, has been using his practice time to stay sharp.

    “Sometimes you’ll do a drill where the coach will flip the ball so you’re reading the swing and it’s a little bit more gamelike,” Headley said. “But there’s really no substitute for getting ground balls, and unfortunately that’s out of your control in spring training, so you do the best you can with it. The good thing is I’ve done it for a long time, so I’ll be fine.”


    Rangers' Nick Martinez tosses six scoreless innings Thursday
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez allowed just five hits and one walk in six scoreless innings while striking out four in Thursday's spring start against the Rockies.

    Martinez is battling for the final spot in the team's rotation and did a good job making his case Thursday, limiting the Rockies to just one extra-base hit. He allowed a run in his spring debut but has delivered 8 2/3 scoreless innings in his last two appearances to lower his spring ERA to 0.84.


    Rockies' Christian Friedrich impressing with slider
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Rockies pitcher Christian Friedrich has hit his stride with his slider as he continues to build upon a strong performance from last season after being moved to the bullpen, MLB.com reports.

    "I saw a real good slider, the slider we saw last September -- the one that disappears, especially to left-handed hitters," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's in a good place. Maybe the velocity is not quite what it was when we saw him in September. It's ticking up. But the slider is a swing-and-miss pitch."

    Friedrich has surrendered just one earned run in six innings while striking out two batters and walking two.

    "The hard thing that every pitcher does when they feel they've got the stuff is, they want to show everybody they've got the stuff," Friedrich said. "I've had games where I was teetering on the edge of, 'I feel really good tonight; let's see what comes out,' then there's a lack of execution. As a starter, some days the two-seamer was 87, 88 [mph]. Now it's coming out harder, 90 [or] 91."


    Diamondbacks' Peter O'Brien seeing time in outfield
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (3/26/2015) Diamondbacks catcher Peter O'Brien spent his second consecutive day in the outfield during a minor-league game Thursday, and he hasn't been behind the plate since developing throwing problems earlier in March, the Arizona Republic reports.

    "I think he's going to play some outfield (once the minor league season starts) and catching isn't out of the question, but we're still talking internally to figure out what's best for him," farm director Mike Bell said.

    While the team has been reluctant to publicly acknowledge O'Brien's catching issues, he's unlikely to be the long-term answer behind the plate, as general manager Dave O'Brien reportedly indicated in January. The Diamondbacks figure to roll with Tuffy Gosewisch as the team's primary catcher unless an addition is made.


     
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