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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
Related Links:
• Spring Observations: A Hosmer homer
• Fantasy Dilemmas: Wacha | Robertson
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    Most Viewed Players
    PlayerTotal
    1Marcus Semien, OAK, 3B1849
    2Miguel Cabrera, DET, 1B1476
    3Anthony Rendon, WAS, 3B1319
    4Carlos Santana, CLE, 1B1273
    5Yasmany Tomas, ARI, RF1238
    6Chris Davis, BAL, 1B1238
    7Josh Harrison, PIT, 3B1220
    8Troy Tulowitzki, COL, SS1146
    9Corey Kluber, CLE, SP1094
    10Giancarlo Stanton, MIA, RF1048
    Average Draft Position
     
     
    Player News
    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. Pence will likely be evaluated by the club in order to determine the severity of the injury. 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. 


    Braves 3B Chris Johnson to play at 1B when Freeman needs rest
    by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
    (5:30 pm ET) Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Thursday third baseman Chris Johnson would move over to first base during the regular season on the days he wants to rest first baseman Freddie Freeman, particularly against a tough left-handed pitcher.

    “Chris Johnson will be that guy, and you’re going to see him play some first base in spring training,” Gonzalez said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He took some ground balls there the last couple of years, and ended up moving over there in that one game (last season) where Freddie got thrown out. I’m not going to carry a guy (just to) be a backup (to Freeman).

    “CJ can do it. And depending on the makeup of the club, Kelly Johnson is a guy who can do it, too. But he’s (another left-handed) hitter, so if you want to give Freeman a day off against a tough left-hander you don’t want to run Kelly Johnson in there. You could run CJ in there and utilize him that way.”


    Cubs' Travis Wood looking to bounce back after down 2014
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (5:29 pm ET) After earning an All-Star bid in 2013, Cubs pitcher Travis Wood struggled last season, going 8-13 with a 5.03 ERA and 146:76 K:BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings.

    "You always learn more when you fail than when you succeed, and I learned a lot last year about how to go about when you fail, picking yourself back up and getting back after it," Wood said Thursday, per MLB.com. "That’s what we took into the offseason."

    Wood is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation after he was not included in the quartet manager Joe Maddon initially named to the rotation.

    "There is [a purpose] — the purpose is to not have a year like last year," Wood said. "I know I’m a good pitcher and just have to get back to the basics of attacking the zone and trusting your stuff."

    Wood pitched two perfect innings in his spring debut Thursday, striking out two batters.


    Cardinals' Carlos Martinez dominates in early start
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (5:26 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez dominated on Thursday against the Marlins.

    Martinez tossed two perfect innings, striking out three batters in the process. The 23-year-old is considered a strong favorite for the fifth spot in the rotation, but must beat out Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales for the role. 

    Following the start, Martinez said throwing strikes was his main goal. "I tried to focus on every pitch and be on the zone," Martinez said. "That's basically my main focus right now, to concentrate on the strike zone. That's how I want to work until the end."

    Martinez posted a 4.03 ERA over 89 1/3 innings last season. 


    Brewers' Garza: 'I had a new fire awaken in me this offseason'
    by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
    (5:21 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Matt Garza indicated Thursday that the "growing pains" of joining a new organization are gone in his second spring with the team, MLB.com reports.

    "I think my world is settled, and it helps a lot," Garza said. "Last year I was still in a transitional period with taking care of the family, moving them around, and we made the decision to stay home [in California]. We bought a new place back home and set up shop, and now that huge world is in place. Everything else is fine. Financial security, job security. All I have to do is go play, and it's fun.

    "I had a new fire awaken in me this offseason, which I haven't had in a while. The past couple years have kind of led me down that road. It's my fault, nobody else's. But things happen for a reason, and I think I found my reason."

    Garza delivered his eighth straight season with an ERA under 4.00 in 2014, going 8-8 with a 3.64 ERA and 126:50 K:BB ratio in 163 1/3 innings.


    Mariners' Jesus Montero: I'm 100 percent about first base
    by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
    (5:20 pm ET) Mariners first baseman Jesus Montero, who lost 45 pounds in the offseason, went 2 for 2 during Seattle's spring opener Wednesday against the Padres. 

    "I felt really good yesterday," Montero said Thursday morning, per MLB.com. "I've been working so hard for this. I've been thinking positive every single day. The work I'm putting in with [strength coach James Clifford] and all the guys in the gym has been awesome because you see the good results right away. Just being in shape, just being at this weight and feeling good, it's a change and it's fabulous.

    "I feel so much better. Just running around the bases, feeling good, being in shape and moving and all that, it was fun."

    Montero added he is fully dedicated to playing first base, and his improved agility was on notice Wednesday when he made a nice stretch at first to complete a nice defensive play by third baseman Carlos Rivero.

    "Last year I was still thinking as a catcher," he said. "Now I'm 100 percent about first base. That's what they want me to do and I'm putting all my heart, all my honesty, all my love into first base and it's been coming good. When you're playing first, you want to do your best for your teammates in the infield and help make things easier for them and that's what I'm trying to do."


    Mariners' Felix Hernandez pleased after live batting practice
    by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
    (5:17 pm ET) Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez was pleased with his performance after throwing live batting practice, according to the Seattle Times

    Hernandez got through the session on Wednesday, and said he "looked pretty good." His goal for the session was simple, work on fastball command and make sure he could still throw all of his breaking pitches effectively. Hernandez said he wasn't sure what the next step was this spring. He may toss another live batting practice session, or he may take part in a long bullpen session.

    The 28-year-old Hernandez posted a 2.14 ERA over 236 innings last year. 


     
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