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Still trust Rodney?
Fernando Rodney ((USATSI))
Fernando Rodney has been a frustration this season but many of his stats don't explain why. Chris Towers dives into the latest Closer Stock Watch. Full Story
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Player News
Royals lefty Brandon Finnegan to join rotation at Triple-A
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo has revealed that promosing left-hander Brandon Finnegan is set to join the starting rotation at Triple-A Omaha, per the Kansas City Star. It can be assumed that the team is grooming him for the same role in the majors.

Finnegan had been serving as a reliever in the big leagues, including a stunning stint in 2014 in which he helped the team win the American League pennant.

He had started eight of 19 games in the minors, including three of six this season. But all 12 of his appearances in the majors have been out of the bullpen.


Cody Ross receiving interest for minor-league deals
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:24 am ET) Outfielder Cody Ross is getting interest from teams about a minor-league deal, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. However, at this stage, the veteran outfielder can afford to wait for the right team, per Heyman.

Ross was designated for assignment by the Athletics in early May. He was also released by the Diamondbacks in early April.


Orioles C Matt Wieters might pass target date to return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) The absence of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters following Tommy John surgery is approaching 13 months, so one might think a few extra days would be no big deal, especially considering that replacement Caleb Joseph has performed surprisingly well at the plate.

But the team definitely misses Wieters and his return could take a bit longer than expected, per CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, who is reporting that the Orioles were targeting June 5 for him to come back.

Wieters has caught two games for Double-A Bowie, but took a day off between them. He is 2-for-9 with one RBI.


Mets promote OF prospect Michael Conforto to Double-A
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:06 am ET) Mets outfield prospect Michael Conforto was promoted from Class A St. Luice to Double-A Binghamton, the team announced Friday.

The 2014 first-round pick hit .283 with seven home runs, 12 doubles and 28 RBI in 46 games for St. Lucie. He has a career .305/.375/.455/.830 slash line.


Yankees SP Ivan Nova getting closer to rehab assignment
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:53 am ET) Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova (elbow) threw 63 pitches in his sixth extended spring start Thursday, according to the New York Daily News. Nova is slated to make one more extended spring start before beginning a rehab assignment.

Mariners SP Hisashi Iwakuma continues to progress with rehab
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (lat) played catch again Thursday and is inching closer to throwing off a mound, per The News Tribune.

"He feels real good," manager Lloyd McClendon said, "and we’ll continue to progress with his rehab and see how that goes."

McClendon added, however, he would be "surprised" if Iwakuma can throw a bullpen session within 7-8 days.


Rays RP Kirby Yates makes appearance in extended spring game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) Rays reliever Kirby Yates (strained right pectoral) threw 16 pitches in one inning during an extended spring game Thursday, according to The Tampa Tribune.

Rays SP Nathan Karns focused on not giving away at-bats
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:32 am ET) Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns might have taken a loss in his last start Saturday against the A's, but he hasn't allowed more than two runs in his last five starts and he's really happy he has gotten his walk rate under control.

The right-hander had walked 14 batters in his first four starts, which included three outings of four walks. However, he hasn't walked more than two batters in his last five starts. He has a 2.30 ERA in his last five outings after posting a 5.32 ERA in his first four starts.

"I’m not making the mistakes that I made at the beginning of the year," he said, per The Tampa Tribune. "I’m kind of growing and understanding how the game works at this level. I’m just trying to stay on top of throwing strikes and limiting my walks.

"There’s still a lot to work on, but those are the things I’ve focused on: to challenge hitters and not give away free at-bats."


Padres' Bud Black: Ian Kennedy 'bummed' about Thursday's loss
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) After it appeared Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy turned the corner in his previous start against the Dodgers, his issues resurfaced in a loss Thursday against the Padres, as he allowed seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.

"He is bummed because he was looking forward to this one,'' manager Bud Black said, per MLB.com. "He got some pitches elevated and they didn't miss them.''

Kennedy has now lost his last four starts and has seen his ERA balloon to 7.15.

"I'm falling behind hitters and it's tough to pitch like that,'' Kennedy said.

The right-hander said the strained left hamstring that landed him on the disabled list is not the reason for his woes. 

"There is definitely no pain,'' he said. 

Kennedy struggled with his fastball command Thursday.

"I don't know if I'm yanking the ball, pushing the ball,'' he said. "I've been up and down and it's very frustrating. My fastball command was all over the place."

Kennedy, who did record his 1,000th career strikeout on Thursday, said he will work with pitching coach Darren Balsley to figure out how to end this slide.

"You have to be as consistent as possible and my career has been about that,'' Kennedy said. "This has been a real test with the way I've pitched."


Pirates SP A.J. Burnett on 5-1 start: 'I'm sticking to the things I do'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:58 am ET) Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett won a fifth straight start Thursday at San Diego, improving to 5-1 with a 1.81 ERA through 10 starts.

Thursday was actually the first time all season the 38-year-old veteran allowed more than two runs in a start, but he's enjoyed a nice turnaround after totaling a career-worst 18 losses in 2014 with the Phillies.

"I'm throwing the same stuff I threw when I was here before, or even last year," Burnett said, per MLB.com. "People are saying I'm doing more because I'm executing more. The difference between the last couple of years and this year is that I'm executing more pitches than I'm not, that's the bottom line. I'm just sticking to the things I do."


 
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