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Astros trade IF Dan Johnson to Reds


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) The Reds acquired infielder Dan Johnson from the Astros on Thursday, the teams announced.

In exchange for Johnson, the Astros will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Johnson said he would welcomed the trade if it meant more playing time, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"I mean if the opportunity wasn't going to be here, then I'm probably thankful for it," Johnson said.


Rockies' Weiss expecting great year from Justin Morneau


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Justin Morneau won the NL batting title (.319) in his first year with the Rockies in 2014 and as the start of the 2015 season nears, the 33-year-old first baseman believes he has even more left in the tank now that his health issues are behind him.

"I feel good. I feel strong," he said, per The Denver Post. "My swing feels consistent, and I feel like I can wait for the pitch I want. I feel like I am going up there with the best version of myself, as opposed to somebody who's just patched together."

Morneau is not the only person expecting lofty expectations in 2015. Manager Walt Weiss predicts a banner year from Morneau, who has averaged 118 games over the last six seasons.

"Justin's showing no signs of age," Weiss said Wednesday. "He's not as old as maybe some people think he is. He missed some time there for a while, and missed some time coming back, so I think some people think he's 40 years old. He's not. Plus, he's in great shape."


Tanaka's two-seamer not fast enough as Yankees fall to Mets


(3/25/2015) After not allowing a run in his first two spring starts, Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was touched for three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings against the Mets on Wednesday.

Tanaka gave up a home run to Mets left fielder John Mayberry in the fourth inning.

Tanaka has been working on a two-seam fastball this spring which has resulted in a lower velocity.

“The reason I’m not throwing much is that a lot of the four-seamers have been hit last year during the regular season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m doing this on purpose, I’m working on the two-seamers purposely.”

While Tanaka said he’s basically throwing all two-seam fastballs this spring, he still intends to use his four-seamer during the regular season.

“I think there’s room for both [fastballs],” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Phillies 1B Ryan Howard helped in his efforts to be traded


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) While the Phillies were unable to trade first baseman Ryan Howard this offseason, it wasn't because of a lack of effort on Howard's part, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Howard, who was trying to accommodate the Phillies' wishes, redid his approved trade list of nine teams by replacing NL teams that has been on his list for a long time.

The Orioles, Royals and Rays were among the new nine-team list Howard provided. All three teams are believed to have contacted the Phillies, but all three teams went in different directions. The Royals signed Kendrys Morales, the Orioles re-signed Delmon Young and the Rays traded for John Jaso to help with their DH needs.

The remaining organizations on Howard's list of nine teams he could be traded without approval include Tigers, Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox, as ESPN first reported.

Howard is batting .217 (10 for 46) with one double, three home runs and eight RBI in 16 spring games. He also has 13 strikeouts and one walk.


Astros' Dan Johnson may not make Opening Day roster


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Astros veteran infielder Dan Johnson could miss out on making the Opening Day roster, according to the Houston Chronicle. Johnson was signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason before Houston picked up Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus.

"He's a real pro," manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday. "He's done and seen everything in his career, including (playing) overseas, so he realizes the situation here, and I talked to him before camp started. (I told him) that he was going to see a revolving door at first base and I think he sees, but his at-bats are really good. There’s a reason a guy like him sticks around for a long time.

"You root for a guy like him, but it is awfully crowded at first for us."


Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard hits third home run of spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard went 1 for 4 with a solo home run Tuesday against the Braves. It was Howard's third home run of spring training and eighth RBI.

Howard, who also struck out once, is now hitting .217 with 13 strikeouts this spring.


Cubs' Rizzo not concerned about lack of HRs during spring training


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hit a career-best 32 home runs in 2014, has yet to hit a home run in 12 spring games. He is batting just .129 (4 for 31) with one double and four RBI.

“I feel great,” Rizzo said, per MLB.com. “It’s really weird. I hit some good balls but they haven’t found a hole. Overall, I feel like I’m having really good at-bats."

Hitting home runs in spring training seems to elude Rizzo every year. He had no home runs in 18 spring games in 2013 and hit just two last year in 18 spring games.

“I haven’t hit a homer in two years in spring training,” Rizzo said, apparently forgetting the pair of home runs he hit in 2014. “It’s just not in my cards. All I care about is I’m seeing the ball real well.”


Marlins option Capps to Triple-A, reassign five to minor-league camp


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) The Marlins announced Tuesday they optioned pitcher Carter Capps to Triple-A New Orleans. They also reassigned first baseman Vinny Rottino, pitcher Pat Misch, pitcher Vin Mazzaro, pitcher Patrick Urckfitz and pitcher Ryan Chaffee to minor-league camp.

Cardinals trying Mark Reynolds in left field


by Eric Kay | CBSSports.com Staff
(3/23/2015) The Cardinals are looking for creative ways to get Mark Reynolds into the lineup, and left field might be an option.

The Cardinals played Reynolds in left on Monday, his first outfield appearance of the spring.

"He's done some things, as far as run production goes, that not many people have done," manager Mike Matheny said, per MLB.com's Andrew Simon. "So obviously we view that as a weapon and we have to figure out how to maximize it and just keep our eyes and mind open to what that could possibly look like and not have it figured out ahead of time." 

Reynolds has played five career games in the outfield, all in right field, starting one and catching two fly balls. 


Padres first baseman Tommy Medica continues to tear through spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) Padres first baseman Tommy Medica has been tearing up spring training pitching for the last two seasons. Medica hit .324/.387/.544 last year and so far this spring is at .560/.607/1.000 with three home runs in 25 plate appearances.

But the reserve player knows he needs to keep his head on straight, reports MLB.com.

"I don't know if it's not thinking about too much when you are at the plate, you're almost just trying to make contact and see what happens," he said. "I think throughout the year you try to do too much at the plate. In spring, stats don't matter. You're up there not trying to do too much."

Manager Bud Black knows Medica's bat can come and go from time to time.

"Tommy, it's been documented, can be a little streaky," Black said. "Tommy comes advertised as a hitter through our Minor League system. But we have seen flashes of Tommy swinging the bat well in the big leagues."


Brewers' Matt Clark, Jason Rogers vie for final spot


by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/22/2015) With the majority of the roster set, one of the Brewers' most interesting personnel decisions will come down to the 25th man, which is a battle between Matt Clark and Jason Rogers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Clark, an outfielder/first baseman, and Rogers, who plays both corner positions, have impressed during spring and the final decision may come down to whether the Brewers want a lefty (Clark) or righty (Rogers) bat off the bench. 

"We're trying to figure out what's the better fit for us," manager Ron Roenicke said. "There's a lot of ways we could go this year."


Mets' Lucas Duda in line to play 1B against lefties


by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/22/2015) Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday that first baseman Lucas Duda will be his starting first baseman against left-handed pitching until proven otherwise, per The Wall Street Journal.

Duda hit .180 with two homers in 111 at-bats against lefties in 2014, but told ESPN that the narrative of him struggling against left-handers was "overplayed" and "monotonous."

Duda hit a home run Sunday off Yankess lefty CC Sabathia in the Mets' 6-0 victory. 


Rockies option Chad Bettis, Ben Paulsen to minors


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) The Rockies optioned three players and reassigned nine other to their minor league camp on Sunday. 

Optioned to the minors were

RHP Chad Bettis, who is converting from relief to a starting pitcher. He didn't allow a run in five spring innings. "He's in a good place," manager Walt Weiss said, per the Denver Post. "There's some clarity in his role and what he needs to do. It was a positive camp for him."

First baseman Ben Paulsen, who had a .108 spring average. "He hasn't had a great spring," Weiss said. "But that doesn't diminish what I think of the guy."

LHP Chris Rusin, who had a 6.43 spring ERA. 

Reassigned to minor league camp were: LHP Kraig Sitton, LHP Aaron Laffey, LHP John Lannan, RHP Jair Jurrjens, RHP Brett Marshall, catcher Audry Perez, infielders Trevor Story and Omar Quintanilla, and outfielder Roger Bernadina.


Pete O'Brien, Danny Worth among seven Diamondbacks' cuts


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) The Diamondbacks reassigned seven players to minor league camp on Sunday. 

Players cut from the Major League team included: 

Catcher/infielder Peter O'Brien, a former second-round draft pick acquired by the D-Backs from the Yankees last season. O'Brien hit .250 in 13 spring games. 

Infielder Danny Worth, signed as an offseason free agent after five years with the Tigers. Worth hit .286 this spring.

RHP Jake Barrett, a third-round pick in 2012. He had a 9.00 ERA in four spring games.

OF Danny Dorn, who hit .194.

OF Nick Evans, who hit .211

RHP J.C. Ramirez, who had a 6.00 ERA in five games. 

Utility man Jamie Romak, who hit .286. 


Mets first baseman Lucas Duda progressing well in camp


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/21/2015) Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is showing some improvements after going 1 for 3 in Saturday's game. Manager Terry Collins likes what he's seen from Duda so far, reports NJ.com.

"He doesn't have very many at-bats period, so I'm cutting him a little slack," Collins said. "I actually was going to have him DH over in the minor league camp to get a bunch of at bats today, but he came to me and said he wanted to face [David] Price."


Rockies 1B Justin Morneau sidelined due to minor elbow injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/21/2015) Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau hasn't played since Wednesday due to a minor left elbow injury, per MLB.com. Although, he is hoping to play Monday.

Morneau is batting .167 (3 for 18) with one home run and three RBI through nine spring games.

"It's more of a feeling than it is a number," Morneau said of his spring numbers. "I just want to feel like I don't need to cheat to get to the ball inside. I can go down the street [to minor league camp] and get 10 at-bats in a day if I want to when they're playing intrasquad games.

"It's getting to that pitch without thinking about getting to it. It takes a little while. It's a trust thing."


Giants mull using Belt, Duffy, Duvall in outfield


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/21/2015) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said having first baseman Brandon Belt play in the outfield is "currently being discussed" as Hunter Pence is nursing a broken arm and Angel Pagan is dealing with a sore back, per SFGate.com.

“I’m down, for sure. I’m here to do whatever they need me to do,” Belt said. “If they want me to go the outfield, I’m ready to do it. If they want me to go on the mound and pitch, I’m ready to do that.”

Bochy also said Matt Duffy and Adam Duvall could be options to play in the outfield as well.

“We have coverage. It’s going to be up to us to decide which way we’re going to go,” Bochy said. “A lot depends on where we’re at with Angel before I jump to any conclusions.”


Brewers 1B Matt Clark making strong push for roster spot


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/20/2015) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Friday first baseman Matt Clark is making a strong bid to be on the opening day roster, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Roenicke added he is not concerned Clark is also a left-handed hitter like starting first baseman Adam Lind.

"If that bat is something you really think is important, you can (have two left-handed hitting first baseman on the roster)," Roenicke said. "In an emergency, he can go out (to the outfield).

"If you had Prince (Fielder) out there playing first base, then you don't need him. But we don't know with Lind how many games he's going to be out there. You want a guy to replace him that you feel good about. But the main thing is you need good pinch-hitters on the bench, and more left-handers than you do right-handers.

"He's got more experience than a lot of other guys. He went over to Japan (in 2013) and he's a smart hitter. He knows what he's doing. I think he'd be able to do it. He'll hit the ball all over the park. That's part of being a smart hitter."


 
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