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Closer power rankings
Closers 320
Knowing which closers to avoid is as important as knowing which to target. That's why our Al Melchior ranks the closer situation for all 30 teams. Full Story
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• Spring Observations: A Hosmer homer
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    Most Viewed Players
    PlayerTotal
    1Marcus Semien, OAK, 3B1867
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    5Chris Davis, BAL, 1B1260
    6Yasmany Tomas, ARI, RF1256
    7Josh Harrison, PIT, 3B1236
    8Troy Tulowitzki, COL, SS1162
    9Corey Kluber, CLE, SP1110
    10Giancarlo Stanton, MIA, RF1068
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    Player News
    Giants' Ryan Vogelsong happy after first spring outing
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (6:01 pm ET) Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong was satisfied after his first outing of the spring, according to MLB.com.

    "All of my pitches are close to being where I want them already, so from that standpoint it was good," Vogelsong said. "Just [need to] work on the mental side a little bit."

    Vogelsong had an iffy start. He was able to get through the first inning quickly, but allowed four runs in the second. Vogelsong explained that he lost his focus during the inning. "I just lost my focus a little bit, just got in the stretch and started rushing a little bit, just never slowed myself down."

    The 37-year-old posted a 4.00 ERA over 184 2/3 innings last season. He's expected to open the year in the Giants bullpen. 


    Braves P Eric Stults impresses in Grapefruit League win against Tigers
    by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
    (5:59 pm ET) Braves pitcher Eric Stults logged two scoreless innings during Thursday's 6-4 Grapefruit League win over the Tigers.

    Stults gave up two hits but also got two Tigers players to hit into double plays. 

    “The first time out in spring you don’t know what to expect,” Stults said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “so my mindset is, I want to stay down in the zone and make them put the ball on the ground. For the most part, I was able to do that. Guys made some plays behind me to turn two, so that was nice.”

    Stults, 35, is competing with Wandy Rodriguez for the fifth spot in the Braves' pitching rotation. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was pleased with what he saw in Stults Thursday. 

    “You can never have too much pitching, like we know from the past," Gonzalez said. "And all of a sudden we get bad news, or possibility of bad news with Mikey, and you feel good that you have some depth in the rotation.”


    Angels' Mike Trout to be more aggressive early in count
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (5:56 pm ET) Angels outfielder Mike Trout said Thursday that he plans to be more aggressive early in the count this spring, the Los Angeles Times reports.

    "Gonna be locked and loaded on the first pitch," Trout said.

    Trout made contact on the first pitch 24 times last season, hitting six singles and a double and posting a .292/.286/.333 line. He hit .287/.377/.561 in 602 at-bats overall in 2014.


    Astros' Mark Appel goes two innings in spring debut
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (5:54 pm ET) Astros pitcher Mark Appel tossed two innings in his spring debut on Thursday.

    Appel allowed one run on three hits during the outing. He struck out two batters. The 23-year-old is expected to begin the season in the minors, but is considered one of the team's top prospects. The former top overall pick experienced some struggles last season, posting a 6.91 ERA over two minor-league levels. 

    Appel made it clear that every inning counts this spring. "It's two innings in spring training, so I'm going to need innings if I want to show why I deserve to be here and hopefully have a shot at being in Houston at some point this season," he said. 


    Indians SP Carlos Carrasco throws in 'B' game Thursday
    by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
    (5:54 pm ET) Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco threw two innings in a "B" game against the Reds on Thursday morning. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway was pleased with what he saw from the right-handed pitcher.

    "He had a good tempo. He wasn't overdoing it," Callaway said, per MLB.com. "The thing that worried me coming into spring was we talked about intent and letting it go and pitching like you're out of the 'pen. Well, we don't want him doing that right now. We don't want him averaging 97 yet. He did a really good job of controlling his effort level."


    Phils' Sandberg on Gonzalez's spring debut: Best I've seen him throw
    by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
    (5:47 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez didn't make a strong impression Thursday against the Astros in his first attempt to win a spot in the team's rotation. However, manager Ryne Sandberg wasn't just focused on the results of Gonzalez's spring debut.

    “The best stuff I’ve seen since he’s come over here [from Cuba],” Sandberg said, per The Journal News. “It looks like he’s healthy. Looks like he has some zip on his fastball. That can get better as he goes here. Compared to last year, night and day.”

    The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits in two relief innings. He entered the game after Cliff Lee threw two scoreless innings. Gonzalez struck out one and gave up a home run.

    “It doesn’t matter about the line,” Gonzalez said through a translator. “My plan that I had all along was to show my work ethic today. I don’t look at the numbers.”


    MLBPA on Josh Hamilton leaks: 'Cowardly'
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (5:43 pm ET) The Major League Baseball Players Association issued a statement about leaked information regarding Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, MLB.com reports.

    "It is regrettable that people who want to see Josh Hamilton hurt personally and professionally have started leaking information about the status of his treatment program and the confidential processes under our Joint Drug Agreement," the statement read. "These anonymous leaks are cowardly, undermine the integrity of our collectively bargained agreements and in some instances have been wholly inaccurate. The Major League Baseball Players Association will use every right we have under the collective bargaining agreement to make sure Josh gets the help he needs, and the fair and confidential process to which he is entitled."

    The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that an arbitrator would be needed to break the league's split on whether Hamilton should enter a rehab program for substance abuse. It was reported early Thursday that the decision on whether the league will suspend the outfielder could come as early as next week.


    Giants' Hunter Pence exits after HBP
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (5:43 pm ET) Giants outfielder Hunter Pence left Thursday's game after being hit in the hand with a pitch, according to CSN.

    Pence walked down to first base, but a team trainer took him out of the game. The team will send Pence for X-rays on his hand. It's unclear how much time he'll miss, if any, due to the issue.

    The 31-year-old hit .277/.332/.445 over 650 at-bats last season. 


    Phillies' Sandberg: Elvis Araujo 'impressive' in two spring outings
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (5:35 pm ET) Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Thursday that pitcher Elvis Araujo has impressed in his two outings this spring, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

    "He was a bright spot today once again," Sandberg said after Araujo pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning Thursday. "He just has that angle coming in with his height and he seems to pitch down in the zone. But that ball has a real nice angle to it, so he's been impressive the two times we've seen him."

    Araujo made his spring debut in Sunday's exhibition loss to the University of Tampa, striking out the side in his one inning of action. He went 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and 50:28 K:BB ratio in 50 innings with high Class A Carolina and Double-A Akron.


    Padres' James Shields to make spring debut on Saturday
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (5:33 pm ET) Padres pitcher James Shields will make his spring debut on Saturday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune

    After Shields pitched deep into the postseason, the Padres wanted to bring him along slowly during camp. He'll make his first start against the Giants on Saturday. It's unclear how long Shields will pitch.

    The 33-year-old posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings last season. 


     
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