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Yasiel Puig eyeing return on homestand, Dodgers not as optimistic


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:00 pm ET) Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, will soon be at the team's spring complex in Arizona to continue his rehab, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Puig hopes to come off the DL and begin playing in games again when the Dodgers come off their road trip next week. The team opens a seven-game homestand June 4 vs. St. Louis.

However, the team doesn't seem as optimistic about Puig's timetable and won't put a timeframe on his return.


Orioles shut door on long-term deal with SP Chris Tillman


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:59 am ET) The window might be shut tight permanently on any possibility that the Orioles and starting pitcher Chris Tillman come to a long-term agreement, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman is reporting.

The two sides never came close to hammering out a contract. And Tillman seems to be wiping out any opportunity with his performance on the mound. He opened the season as the ace but hasn't pitched like one.

Tillman is 2-6 with a 5.59 ERA and has walked 25 in 48 1/3 innings. He has lost his last five decisions, though his last start against Houston was arguably his best of the year.


Trade market limited for Orioles OF Alejandro De Aza


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:51 am ET) The trade market for fading Orioles outfielder Alejandro De Aza is limited, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has reported. Even the Angels, who would appear to be an ideal fit, are not interested.

De Aza was designated for assignment Wednesday after a miserable start to this season in which he compiled a slash line of .214/.277/.359. He has been especially unproductive recently with one hit in his last 14 at-bats.


Scouts anticipate Dodgers' Hector Olivera will be big star in majors


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:45 am ET) Scouts who have seen prospect Hector Olivera believe he is going to be a big star, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

"He's a terrific hitter," one scout said.

The Cuban slugger signed a six-year, $62.5 million deal with the Dodgers in mid-May. The 29-year-old Olivera had a .323/.407/.505/.912 slash line over 10 seasons in Cuba. He had 96 home runs and 433 RBI in 642 career games.


Cody Asche back with Phillies after playing in LF at Triple-A


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:41 am ET) The Phillies recalled outfield/third baseman Cody Asche from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.

Asche was sent to the minors on May 11 to work in the outfield. He hit .295 with one home run, three doubles, three RBI, six walks and nine strikeouts in 15 games. He played all 15 games in left field.


Reds closer Aroldis Chapman could be available at trade deadline


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:36 am ET) Rival teams are salivating over the possibility of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman being available at the trade deadline, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

"Most days he's unhittable," an AL scout said.

The lefty reliever is in the final year of his contract and will be arbitration eligible after the season. He won't be a free agent until after the 2016 season, per Baseball-Reference.com.


Royals prospect Sean Manaea has setback in rehab


by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) A groin issue has Royals pitching prospect Sean Manaea stalled in his rehab from an abdomen strain, the Kansas City Star has reported.

He must now wait until third week of June to join Double-A Northern Arkansas.

Manaea has not pitched since last August. He put up some impressive numbers at Class A Wilmington a year ago, allowing just 102 hits and fanning 146 in 121 2/3 innings despite a 7-8 record.


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, but he remains a bullpen option if promoted this season.

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."


Blue Jays recall RP Bo Schultz from Triple-A


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:39 am ET) The Blue Jays recalled reliever Bo Schultz from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday to take the roster spot of Scott Copeland, who was optioned to the minors on Thursday.

Schultz has not made an appearance for Toronto this season. He went 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in four relief outings for Arizona in 2014.


Tigers' Ausmus expecting Miguel Cabrera (foot) to play Friday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:34 am ET) Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson gave Tigers personnel and fans a scare Thursday night when he plunked star Miguel Cabrera with a pitch on his surgically repaired right foot.

Cabrera did hobble around after getting hit and was checked out by trainer Doug Teter, but the veteran slugger remained in the game and gave a thumbs up to manager Brad Ausmus.

"It stings him at first, and it's in an area that's been a problem for him," Ausmus said, per MLB.com. "But I think he realized relatively quickly that his ankle was fine, relatively speaking."

Ausmus said the pitch hit Cabrera around the middle of the foot, and it was closer to the toes than the area where he had offseason surgery to repair a stress fracture that bothered him for most of the second half during the 2014 season. 

Cabrera had one more at-bat in the fifth inning before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. However, it was more because the Tigers were trailing 12-2 than because Cabrera was hurting, per MLB.com.

Ausmus said he expects Cabrera to start Friday, and he will likely be in the lineup at first base.

"He doesn't really like DHing," Ausmus said. "As a matter of fact, he says it's more beneficial for him to be playing first because it keeps the ankle loose."


Indians 2B Jason Kipnis up to 48 hits in May


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:16 am ET) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis collected two more hits Thursday against the Mariners, giving him 15 multihit games and 48 total hits in May. The 48 hits are the most in May by a Cleveland player since at least 1914, surpassing Bobby Avila's 1954 record of 47, per MLB.com.

Kipnis is the first Indians player to have 48 hits, 28 runs and 20 extra-base hits in a month since July 1936.

Kipnis has a .449/.532/.738/1.270 slash line in 26 May games. He also has three triples, four home runs, 13 doubles, 16 RBI, 14 walks, 28 runs and three stolen bases.

"All winter, I think I kept telling you that he was going to come out with a vengeance," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "And that's exactly what it looks like. He's attacking every game. He's in the middle of everything."


Pirates' Gregory Polanco smacks second home run of season Thursday


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco connected off Padres starter Ian Kennedy for his second home run of the season during Thursday's 11-5 win over the Padres.

Polanco hit the solo home run in the second inning. He finished the game 2 for 5 with one RBI and one run scored. He is now hitting .247 on the season.

Prior to his performance Thursday, Polanco was hitting .333 with one RBI in his last five games.


Pirates C Francisco Cervelli collects three hits in Thursday's win


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:49 am ET) Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli had three more hits during Thursday's 11-5 win over the Padres to raise his batting average to .320 on the season.

During Thursday's contest, Cervelli went 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Over his last five games, Cervelli is 9 for 17 with four RBI and six runs scored.


Pirates OF Starling Marte hits 10th home run of season Thursday


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:44 am ET) Pirates outfielder Starling Marte smacked his 10th home run of the season during Thursday's 11-5 win over the Padres.

Marte hit the two-run home run off Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Marte finished the game 1 for 3 with two RBI, two runs scored and one walk.

Prior to Thursday's contest, Marte was hitting .167 with one home run and four RBI in his last six games.


Angels' Erick Aybar (hamstring) not expected to need DL stint


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:40 am ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Thursday's win over the Tigers that shortstop Erick Aybar (hamstring) is not expected to need a trip to the disabled list, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Aybar left Thursday's game due to hamstring tightness. He suffered the injury while trying to beat a bunt to first base. The team could call up a capable replacement at shortstop even if the Angels believe Aybar will only miss a few games with the injury. He was replaced Thursday by Taylor Featherston, who had played a total of six innings across four games at the position this season.


Pirates' Andrew McCutchen collects three hits in Thursday's win


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:37 am ET) Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 5 at the plate to help lead the Pirates to an 11-5 victory over the Padres on Thursday.

McCutchen drove in two runs and scored two during the contest. Prior to his three-hit game Thursday, McCutchen was hitting .382 with three home runs and five RBI in his last nine games.