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Report: Orioles in 'continuous dialogue' with pitcher Chris Tillman


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Orioles and pitcher Chris Tillman are reportedly engaged in "continuous dialogue" for a long-term extension and have been for the past several weeks, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Tillman signed a one-year, $4.315 million deal in January to avoid arbitration and the discussions for a new deal are still considered preliminary, according to the report.

Tillman posted a 13-6 record in 2014 with a 3.34 ERA in 34 starts.


Tigers bullpen decision coming down to Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is running out of time to finish off his bullpen for Opening Day. The final bullpen role will likely be a left-handed pitcher and is expected to come down to Kyle Ryan and Ian Krol, according to MLB.com.

"If I'm there, hopefully it's a good situation, whether it's long or short," Ryan said. "For them to have enough confidence in me to go into Spring Training as a reliever, and actually for them to believe that I might be able to make the team as a reliever, that makes me proud."

Ryan has given up seven runs on seven hits in 11 innings of work this spring. 

"When he throws it right, it's good," Ausmus said of Krol. "He has a tendency to occasionally slow his arm down on his cutter and curveball. He did it a couple times today. But when he doesn't slow his arm down, it's very good."


Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson continues to make his case


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson still doesn't know what his role will be when Opening Day rolls around, but he's showing he belongs on the roster, reports MLB.com.

"There's always stuff I need to work on, and I need to continue to impress," Pederson said after launching his fifth home run of the spring Saturday, boosting his batting average to .373.

Manager Don Mattingly remains quiet on what he will do when the decision has to be made, but Pederson is doing what he can to impress.

"[Opening Day] is out of my control," Pederson said. "It's something you dream about as a kid, playing in the big leagues, and you do anything you can to make that dream come true."


Angels P Matt Shoemaker gives up three runs in loss to Dodgers


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After pitching six scoreless innings in his last start, Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker struggled a bit in the team's 5-4 to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Shoemaker gave up three runs on four hits in six innings, striking out two. One of the hits he surrended was to Joc Pederson on a two-run homer.

The 28-year-old completed last season with a 3.04 ERA, 124 strikeouts and only 24 walks.


Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels ready for Opening Day


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels his swing has come back and is ready to tackle the long haul ahead of the regular season, reports MLB.com.

"It comes quick, like usual," Frazier said on Saturday morning. "I get goose bumps thinking about it right now -- another year, it's crazy."

Frazier struggled early in spring training, but has rebounded to go 8 for 23 in his last seven games.

"I hit in the Minor Leagues for about 10 at-bats [on Friday], just to try and feel it back-to-back. I do, and I feel really well," said Frazier, who is batting .262 in 14 games this spring. "I feel like if I had to play tomorrow [in the regular season], I'd be ready to go. It's all about preparation, and offseason stuff. I feel like it's so far, so good."


Angels OF Mike Trout homers in loss to Dodgers


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Angels outfielder Mike Trout homered in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Trout, 23, robbed the Dodgers' Alex Guerrero of an extra-base hit in the first inning, making it a successful day for him, despite the loss. 

This spring he has a batting average of .477 with four home runs and 14 RBI. 


White Sox hope to have Robertson, Petricka back by Opening Day


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Two key members of the White Sox bullpen are working their way back from forearm injuries, but manager Robin Ventura is confident he'll have both back by opening day. 

Closer David Robertson is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. 

"We're trying to make sure we’re extra careful with him," Ventura said, per Comcast's Dan Hayes. "He doesn’t seem to be concerned about it as much as we do."

Setup man Jake Petricka isn't as far along as Robertson. He played catch on Saturday for the first time in five days.

The Sox are taking it slow, so that the team will have both pitchers for Opening Day as well as the rest of the season. 

"You’re just making sure you’re cautious enough that you feel good about when (they go) out there that there won’t be any setbacks,” Ventura said. 


Indians pitcher Zach McAllister fans nine in outing Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Indians pitcher Zach McAllister went five innings Saturday against the Brewers, allowing two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts. McAllister, who is expected to make one more start before Opening Day, touched 97 mph with his fastball in the appearance, according to Cleveland.com.

"He's been impressive and he's been doing it all spring," said Francona. "He's not just throwing strikes, he's down in the zone when he wants to and then he can elevate with some velocity. I think his hard work is really paying off."

McAllister has felt he always had the added velocity.

"Throughout my career I've always felt I've had a little more (velocity) in there if I could maintain it," said McAllister. "For whatever reason, whether it's being more consistent with my delivery or my arm action, I'm just trusting that when I let it go it's going to go where I want it to go. I'm not trying to place anything."


Pirates Pedro Alvarez looking to stick at first base


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez is hoping to stick at his new position after converting from third base, reports triblive.com.

On opening day, Alvarez will be the team's 54th first baseman in its 129-year history.

“It's a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view,” Alvarez said. “I need to get the reps in so the responsibilities that come with playing that position become second nature to me.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington talked about the team's past efforts of platooning the position.

“You can't develop something you don't have. You can't buy something you can't afford,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “That's why we've tried to platoon. Over the last couple of years, we've realized that's a challenge for a National League manager. Platoons are much harder here than they are in the American League, especially with a one-dimensional player who can only play one position.”

The hope around the organization is that they can get quality production from Alvarez.

“Our hope that is between Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart, we'll get quality major league production,” Huntington said.

The 28-year-old is batting .306 with two home runs, nine RBI and eight strikeouts this spring.


Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton can't find a rhythm Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton tossed six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing six hits, including two home runs and no strikeouts. Morton, who is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation, is still recovering from labrum surgery six months ago.

"Physically, Charlie is in a good place," manager Clint Hurdle said to MLB.com. "He is trying to make some mechanical adjustments in his delivery, but we don't have any health concerns about him."

Morton isn't worried about fixing mechanical issues just yet.

"Now is a tough time to put a lot of emphasis on mechanics," said Morton. "I gotta go pitch, adjustments or no adjustments."


Angels' Garrett Richards tosses five scoreless in minor league game


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Angels pitcher Garrett Richards was able to throw five scoreless innings Saturday in a Triple-A outing as a part of his rehab from left-knee surgery. Richards was happy to get back to normal activities, according to the L.A. Times.

"When you're sidelined for so long, getting back to normalcy is really comforting, it's reassuring mentally for me," Richards said.

He gave up just one hit with five strikeouts in the outing.

"When you get hurt, you initially have these questions running through your head. 'Am I going to be the same? How is this thing going to respond? Where am I going to be in my career?' But everything is really clicking. My leg is getting stronger every week."

Rehab continues to progress slow and hopes to be ready by mid-April.

"This is something we want to do right the first time," Richards said. "We want to make sure this thing is ready to go when they put me in there, when the lights are on and the games mean something. I want to be 100%."


Diamondbacks pitcher Jeremy Hellickson tosses 75 pitches Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Jeremy Hellickson tossed 75 pitches Saturday after getting an extra few days of rest for arm fatigue. He feels his arm is ready to go for the start of the season, reports MLB.com.

"I thought his stuff was good," manager Chip Hale said. "Used his offspeed stuff and looked like he confused some hitters, so that's what we're looking for."

Hellickson allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched Saturday.

"I'd like to not give up as many hits as I've given up two of the four starts anyway," said Hellickson. "The good thing is I don't think too many of them were hard hit. Curveball still has a ways to go, but I think the fastball and fastball command is pretty much where I want it. The changeup wasn't bad today. It was a little better last time, but for the most part it was down today which is all I can ask for."


Cardinals' Lance Lynn surrenders two runs in outing Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn gave up two runs on six hits, including a home run, in five innings of work Saturday against the Tigers.

Lynn added five strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 4.50.

"It was good to get out there and face hitters and get your pitches in and get your work done and come out of it healthy," Lynn said to MLB.com. "That's all that really matters right now. I've felt good the last two times out with everything. I'm just going to keep going that direction."


Rockies pitching prospect Jon Gray struggles in rout


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Rockies top pitching prospect Jon Gray lasted just 2/3 of an inning Saturday against the Cubs, allowing seven runs, six earned, on four hits with two strikeouts.

Gray, who's ERA is now 5.93 this spring, is happy it happened now instead of during the regular season, according to the Denver Post.

"I would rather have a bad game the first outing, but it can't always be that way," Gray said. "This was unfortunate, but it's all about how you respond. I've responded well in the past, and I think I will be able to again."

Manager Walt Weiss still doesn't put all the blame on Gray for the struggles.

"We made it tough on him, and I think he made it tough on himself with a couple of bunts back to him," Weiss said. "We didn’t play well behind him. We looked up and he was 40 pitches in, and you don't want that in the first inning. So we got him out of there."


Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada open to different role this season


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada knows it's unlikely he will end up with a job in the starting rotation, but he's willing to accept any role this year, reports MLB.com.

"If that's what I'm going to do, that's fine," Estrada said. "I told these guys I just want to be out there to help this team win. That's all I care about. If it's starting, awesome. If it's relieving, that's fine. I just want to help, I want to win, I want to get into the playoffs and that's all that matters."

Estrada gave up one run on five hits with three strikeouts in three innings of work Saturday against the Braves.

"I'll be honest, I felt a little weird out there, being out there again," Estrada said. "I just haven't seen a hitter in a couple of weeks almost. Timing was a little off, rushed a few pitches that I left up, a few changeups that I missed up, but other than that, I felt pretty good other than missing two weeks."

He is also feeling healthier after battling an ankle injury at the beginning of spring training.

"The ankle is much better. It's getting there, I can go out there and pitch, it's not a big deal anymore. Just every day it has been feeling much better. There's not much we can do right now. Need another day or two and it will probably be gone."


Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma allows four runs in start


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma gave up four earned runs on five hits in five innings of work Saturday against the Giants. Iwakuma added four strikeouts and two walks on 85 pitches.

"I felt pretty good," Iwakuma said to MLB.com. "I feel like I can enter the season right now physically. From here on, it's all mental. I feel like I have a lot of life on my fastball, and that's a good sign."


Mariners catcher Mike Zunino rips pair of home runs Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Mariners catcher Mike Zunino ripped two solo home runs Saturday against the Giants, going 2 for 3 and boasting his average to .310 in 16 spring training games.

"I was just looking for pitches early in the count to drive," said Zunino to MLB.com. "I'm feeling all right. Just continuing to try to make adjustments and seeing a little bit of improvement. It's something to keep building on."


Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir goes five scoreless Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Athletics pitcher Scott Kazmir posted another dominant performance Saturday, going 5 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and just two hits allowed against the White Sox.

Kazmir lowered his ERA to 0.75 with just one start left before the season begins.

"Every pitch felt like I had good feel with it," Kazmir said to Bay Area News Group. "I was able to lock everything down. My changeup was the pitch today.I could get it to either corner. And if it started out down the middle it would wind up in the dirt."

Manager Bob Melvin continues to gush over Kazmir's performances.

"Everything was working, side to side," Melvin said. "He had cadence and rhythm. We wanted to get him to 80 pitches, and we did."


Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances continues to struggle on the mound


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances is still not quite right on the mound. Betances gave up another run Saturday, his fifth in seven appearances this spring.

"At the end of the day, you've got to try to prepare yourself," Betances said to MLB.com. "But I guess it's better to happen now in Spring Training where I can fix it before we leave and head up north. I'd rather it happen now than in season, when it's a little tougher there when the games count more."

Betances is working to fix his leg kick on the mound with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

"It's not like I'm missing as bad as I once was," Betances said. "I'm around the zone. I felt way better even before I came in. I felt like my direction was better, something I'll try to work on more. As that gets better, I think I'll be able to throw more strikes and put guys away."


Braves pitcher Alex Wood surrenders three runs in outing


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Braves pitcher Alex Wood went six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.

"I thought it was good for the most part. I think I'm getting closer," Wood said to MLB.com. "I think they hit a lot of weak ground balls. Hit a couple hard, but overall I thought it was good. ... Get that next [start] done, and I'll be right where I need to be."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez liked that Wood was able to see some real game scenarios in his appearance.

"You know what was good about it today? He got himself in a couple jams," Gonzalez said. "It was nice to see that he had to get out of those jams, working through those things.

"Because sometimes you go 1-2-3, 1-2-3 every single time, it's a little different. You don't get the adrenaline, the juices flowing. Today he faced a really, really good right-handed dominant lineup and he did great."


Royals pitcher Danny Duffy posts uneasy start Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Royals pitcher Danny Duffy gave up four runs in five innings of work with seven strikeouts against the Diamondbacks Saturday. Duffy was dominant early on, striking out six in three scoreless innings. Duffy likes his progression through spring training, reports MLB.com.

"I feel like it's building perfectly," he said. "The ball has been popping for me. I feel the best I have in years [springs]. I got a little fastball happy [today]. I tried to double-up with fastballs to Pollock and Goldschmidt and it hurt me. You get happy you throw one by them, and then the next thing you leave one over the plate."

Manager Ned Yost was so-so about the outing.

"He was OK," Yost said. "He had a very good first three innings and then just started getting the ball up a little. The slider he threw to Pollock for the homer wasn't a real sharp slider."


Athletics pitcher Jarrod Parker tosses 20 pitches in simulated game


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Athletics pitcher Jarrod Parker was able to throw 20 pitches in a simulated game Saturday, touching 92 mph on his fastball, reports Bay Area News Group.

Manager Bob Melvin "pumped" about the good news on Parker, who is expected to start the season with an extended spring training. Parker is still recovering his elbow from Tommy John surgery.


Royals grant infielder Ryan Roberts release


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Royals have decided to part ways with infielder Ryan Roberts and given him his unconditional release, the team announced Saturday.

Roberts, 34, hit .219 with a double and a triple in 18 spring training games this season.


Diamondbacks pitcher Rubby De La Rosa could be No. 2 starter


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale has named his Opening Day starter, Josh Collmenter, but has yet to unveil the rest of his starting rotation. Because Collmenter and another starter, Jeremy Hellickson, have similar styles, Hale is considering Rubby De La Rosa as the No. 2 when the season begins, reports MLB.com.

"We are in serious discussion about doing something like that," Hale said.

De La Rosa has a 3.75 ERA in four appearances this spring. He's recorded 11 strikeouts with five earned runs allowed in 12 innings pitched.


Padres P Tyson Ross feeling good, ready for start of season


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross is feeling ready to get the season under way, according to the Press-Enterprise.

“Physically I felt good,” he said. “It’s been a good spring so far, another step in the right direction … I had a good feel for my sinker today and I was able to get some strikeouts with that, running it back away from right-handed hitters and not just using my slider.”

Ross is working on his changeup and he wants to use it more often.

“It’s kind of hard when the other pitches are working well, but it’s going to be a pitch I need to use the third time through the lineup, to get a little separation (in speed) off the fastball and slider,” he said. “I mixed in a couple today and I’m going to keep working it in.”

Manager Bud Black said that could be what he needs to get to the next level.

“It’s tough, because if you take a regular season game and he’s fighting like heck to keep the other team from scoring, you never want to get beat on your third or fourth pitch,” Black said. “The other two are so devastating, it’s tough not to go in that direction.”

On Saturday, the right-hander struck out 12 batters in six innings while giving up six hits and one run.

Ross, 27, has a career ERA of 3.70 with 416 stirkeouts and 186 walks in five years of play.