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Angels could use combination of players at 2B


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:10 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia hinted that the second base job is wide open, and did not close the door on the possibility of using a combination of players, including Josh Rutledge, Grant Green, Johnny Giavotella and Taylor Featherston for the position, per the Orange County Register.

"If it's a combination, it's a combination," Scioscia said. "If it's one guy, it's one guy."


Royals' Infante having no health issues at start of spring training


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Royals second baseman Omar Infante dealt with some injury issues in 2014, including soreness in his elbow, back and shoulder. However, after two days of throwing and hitting at camp, Infante is feeling fine, per MLB.com.

"Everything's good," Infante said on Thursday. "I'm trying to take it a little slow, but right now it all feels fine.

"The shoulder is fine now. I don't really feel anything with [the elbow] either, maybe just a little bit. Not worried."


Healthy Tim Beckham to compete for middle-infield spot


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Rays infielder Tim Beckham is in the mix to claim a middle-infield spot this spring after missing most of the 2014 season while rehabbing from knee surgery, MLB.com reports.

Beckham, selected first overall in the 2008 draft, tore his right ACL and underwent sugery on Dec. 17, 2013. He was able to make it back late last season and contribute to a playoff push by Triple-A Durham, hitting .258/.281/.290 in 62 at-bats.

"Coming back and playing last year, playing that month and a half, producing and helping the team out a lot," Beckham said. "And we went pretty far in the playoffs. So that brought a lot of confidence back my way. Just sliding, jumping, those are big hurdles. Just doing stuff you don't do every day off the baseball field. I wouldn't be sliding if I wasn't in a game. So that month and a half was big for me."

Beckham also said the past "not anything I think about," adding, "That's not anything I want to think about right now. I'm here, I'm healthy, and I'll take it one day at a time. Just to be able to be out there with the guys, laughing and taking ground balls, swinging, that's what the game's about, having fun. That's what we started out doing as kids. This is the game we love."

Prior to his ACL injury, Beckham hit .276/.342/.387 with four home runs, 51 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 460 at-bats with Durham in 2013. If he makes the team this spring, the infielder could see time at second base and shortstop.


Mariners to platoon Rickie Weeks and Dustin Ackley


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) The Mariners plan on using a platoon in left field this season, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed the news, saying Rickie Weeks would mostly play left field this season. While that means Dustin Ackley's playing time will be reduced, McClendon said the club wasn't trying to send a message when it signed Weeks. "We’re trying to get better, and Rickie Weeks is a good player that can help us win ballgames," he said. "So I think the combination of both of those guys out there should produce a very productive left field."

Weeks was used as a platoon player last season, and put up strong numbers. The 32-year-old hit .274/.357/.452 over 252 at-bats. 

Ackley, 26, hit .245/.293/.398 over 502 at-bats. 


Blue Jays' Maicer Izturis feels 'very good' heading into 2B battle


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis said Wednesday that he's back to full health after being limited to just 11 games in 2014 due to knee surgery, MLB.com reports.

"I'm feeling very good," Izturis said Wednesday. "Just trying to do my thing and do much better. ... I've been taking ground balls, hitting. When everybody gets here, we'll see how I turn double plays, run the bases, that kind of stuff."

If Izturis can prove his knee is no longer a concern, he could be the favorite to emerge from a crowded competition for the team's starting role at second base.

"I'm used to a lot of competition from when I was in Anaheim, and this is kind of similar," Izturis said. "Every year I had to compete, had to get a job, and to me there's no pressure, just try to do my best, try to help my team, and that's the goal."

Manager John Gibbons indicated Wednesday that he likes what he's seen of the infielder during the very early stages of camp.

"He looks good, he looks the best I've seen him in three years, physically," Gibbons said. "He's moving better, and you never know coming off an injury like that what's going to happen."

Prior to his lost season, Izturis hit .236/.288/.310 with five home runs and 32 RBI in 365 at-bats in 2013, his first season in Toronto.


White Sox's Micah Johnson looking to be smart on the bases


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) White Sox infielder Micah Johnson is looking to be smart on the bases this season, according to MLB.com.

Johnson stole 87 bases in the minors back in 2013, and said he believes major-leaguers can still post high stolen base totals today. "I don't think those days are over at all," Johnson said. "Athletes are faster, stronger now than ever." 

Johnson has worked with White Sox instructor Vince Coleman on the finer aspects of base-stealing. Coleman was the last player in the majors to steal 100 bases during a season. 

Johnson said he knows he has a physical skills to swipe a bag, but said he needs to be smarter. "I have to use my mind and my desire to learn and study information to help me steal bases. It's just more information here both ways."

Johnson is expected to compete for the starting job at second this spring. The 24-year-old hit .294/.351/.403 over two minor-league levels last year. 


Rangers claim pitcher Edgar Olmos off waivers


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) The Rangers have claimed relief pitcher Edgar Olmos on waivers from the Mariners, reports MLB.com. To make room, the team placed Jurickson Profar on the 60-day DL.

"He had a good year in Triple-A last year," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We'll bring him in, let our pitching coaches work with him and see what we've got."

Olmos went 3-3 with a 4.06 ERA between two stints in the minors in 2014. He added 60 strikeouts and allowed 71 hits over 77 2/3 innings.

"His fastball really rides and gets in on hitters pretty good," Rangers scouting director Josh Boyd said. "Harnessing his command is something we hope to get over the hump. Stuff-wise, the ability to have that kind of velocity is something we want to take a look at."


Mariners' Robinson Cano sporting slimmer look in camp


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano came into camp sporting a slimmer look, according to MLB.com.

Cano said he lost 13 pounds during the offseason, and weighs 212 pounds now. Cano was extra motivated to get in shape after the team missed out on the playoffs by one game in 2014, according to the Tacoma News Tribune

The 32-year-old hit .314/.382/.454 over 595 at-bats last year. 


Astros' Hinch: No pressure on Jose Altuve to repeat


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Astros manager A.J. Hinch doesn't think they'll be any pressure on Jose Altuve this season, according to MLB.com.

Altuve hit an astounding .341, winning a batting title last year. Despite that, Hinch stressed that every year is different, and Altuve will be fine as long as he plays.  "I don't think there's any pressure on him as much as it's the pressure he puts on himself to be an elite player at the highest level," Hinch said. "And he just needs to play."

Hinch also pointed out that teams have had multiple seasons to adjust to Altuve at this point, and haven't been able to do so. "People have been trying to figure him out, and he's a tough out," he said. "He knows his strengths, he uses his strengths. He doesn't carry a lot of baggage with him, positive or negative, at least [that's] the early impression." 

Just like last season, Altuve is expected to hit first or second in the team's batting order. The 24-year-old hit .341/.377/.453 over 660 at-bats last year.


Rangers place Profar on 60-day DL, claim Olmos off waivers


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) The Rangers announced a pair roster moves on Tuesday. Infielder Jurickson Profar, who is expected to miss the 2015 season with a shoulder injury, was officially placed on the 60-day disabled list. In order to make roster space, the Rangers received left-hander Edgar Olmos on waivers from Seattle, per the team's official website.

Rays might use Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and second base


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Although Rays infielder Asdrubal Cabrera has primarily played shortstop in his career, manager Kevin Cash is open to the idea of having Cabrera play at both shortstop and second base in 2015, per MLB.com.

"I think coming in right now, we're going to be versatile," Cash said. "And he's going to be versatile going back and forth, getting his work in at both spots. I know that we would like to have the [decision made]. [The] earlier the better. Because it gives the guys a better sense going into the season. That doesn't always play out that way. But Cabby, his conversations in the offseason with everybody, he's been very open minded. We're ecstatic to have him in there every day."

Cabrera, who fielded grounders at second and short Monday, said he would prefer to play one position instead of constantly bouncing back and forth.

"Yeah, I would like to stay at one position," Cabrera said. "I think it's hard for anyone to play short then come back at second. It's not the same."


M's McClendon wants to limit Cano, Seager to 150 starts in field


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon would like to limit second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager to around 150 defensive starts in 2015, per the Tacoma News Tribune.

Cano played 150 games at second base in 2014, while Seager played 157 games at third base.

“Robby (who is 32) is at the point now where he’s not going to play 162 games anymore,” McClendon said. “I’d like to see (Seager) in the 150-range as well.

“Quite frankly, I played (Seager) too much down the stretch, but I had no choice. Bloomy (Willie Bloomquist) was down.”


Rangers sign Elliot Johnson


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) The Rangers signed infielder Elliot Johnson to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League camp, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson reported on Monday. 

Johnson has played 318 MLB games with four organizations. He appeared in seven games with the Indians last year, hitting .105.  


Daniels: Jurickson Profar (shoulder) likely to miss 2015 season


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Rangers general manager Jon Daniels announced infielder Jurickson Profar will likely miss the 2015 season after undergoing surgery Monday to repair the labrum in his shoulder, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Rangers were encouraged following Profar's surgery since Dr. Keith Meister found no additional damage to the shoulder.

“The expectation is this will resolve the problem, which has bothered him and frustrated all of us for the last year,” Daniels said, per The Dallas Morning News.


Avila, Gose among options to bat second for Tigers vs. RHPs


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Monday he is "seriously considering" batting catcher Alex Avila second in the order against right-handed pitchers, per MLive.com. Anthony Gose appears to be the other main option, but Gose could also lead off, which would allow Ian Kinsler to bat second.

Ausmus added Jose Iglesias could also work into the mix, but he doesn't see Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez or Nick Castellanos as options to bat second.


Gordon Beckham plans to win White Sox second-base job


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/21/2015) The White Sox wanted Gordon Beckham back, because he could play several positions. 

Beckham doesn't want to be a utility man, however. He plans to win back the starting second-base spot. 

“Listen, I plan to compete for a starting job, and if that’s not where I’m meant to be then I’ll do whatever I need to do,” Beckham told ESPN Chicago's Doug Padilla. “If I didn’t have that mentality, I wouldn’t be playing baseball.” 

Beckham arrived at camp three days early, to get a head start on his effort. 

"He’s coming in here to try and win a job and talking to him, that’s what he should be trying to do," manager Robin Ventura said. However, Ventura said he alreadyknows what Beckham can do at second base, so he'll get work at several other spots during the spring. 

After playing for the White Sox since 2009, Beckham was dealt to the Angels in late August. He returned to the Sox in the offseason, signing as a free agent. 


Royals INF Omar Infante deadling with inflammation in right elbow


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/21/2015) Royals infielder Omar Infante told the Kansas City Star he felt some soreness in his arm during throwing sessions before he arrived to camp. Infante also revealed he has some inflammation in his right elbow.

Infante dealt with a shoulder issue in the final stretch of the season, including the playoffs. It remains to be seen if his elbow inflammation is connected to his previous shoulder issues. He hit .252 with six home runs, 21 doubles and 66 RBI in 135 games for Kansas City last season.


Indians' Jason Kipnis to hit next week


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/19/2015) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis will resume hitting on the field next week, according to MLB.com.

Kipnis had surgery on his finger in December, and is gradually working through a hitting program. He currently has no restrictions on defense or during throwing drills. The club is hopeful that Kipnis will be cleared for games shortly after the start of spring games.

The 27-year-old hit .240/.310/.330 over 500 at-bats last season. 


Rangers IF Jurickson Profar to undergo shoulder surgery


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/19/2015) Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar is scheduled to have surgery on his injured shoulder on Monday, according to the Dallas Morning News.

The surgery could force Profar to miss the entire 2015 season. He experienced three tears in the of the teres major muscle, which cost him all of last year. An MRI this week showed a new strain in the shoulder area.

Profar was scheduled to start this season in the minors. With Profar out indefinitely, Rougned Odor is the Rangers' clear-cut starter at second base.


Indians' Jason Kipnis says oblique impacted him mentally


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/18/2015) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said last year's oblique injury impacted him more than just physically, according to MLB.com.

"I had a mental block on it," Kipnis explained. "Even in my dreams of being at the plate, I was still rolling over my pitches. My oblique was still cutting off my swing." The injury limited Kipnis to 129 games, and caused his slash line to drop to a disappointing .240/.310/.330 over 500 at-bats. 

While the issue certainly played a role in his struggles last season, Kipnis doesn't expect that to continue in 2015. "Finally, once I started swinging again, you start to realize it's good," he said. "It's full-go now and I don't feel it at all."


Indians' Jason Kipnis reports to spring training ahead of schedule


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/15/2015) Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has already reported to spring training and his ahead of schedule and Cleveland is happy with his physical condition, reports Cleveland.com.

Kipnis had surgery on his left ring finger to repair a tendon he injured in December. Kipnis also injured his hamstring at the end of the regular season, but is expected to be fully healthy for camp. He it .240 with a .330 slugging percentage and 41 RBI in 2014.


Mariners: Rickie Weeks 'will be used at multiple positions'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/13/2015) The Mariners announced the signing of infielder/outfielder Rickie Weeks to a major-league contract Friday, with general manager Jack Zduriencik indicating in a statement that the long-time second baseman will be used in multiple ways.

"Rickie is a talented player who will be used at multiple positions," said Zduriencik. "His toughness, right-handed bat and Major League experience are desirable factors for our 2015 ball club. We look forward to Rickie’s contributions this season and see him as a very nice fit, complementing the pieces we already have in place."

Weeks hit .274/.357/.452 with eight home runs and 29 RBI in 252 at-bats with the Brewers last season. He's played exclusively at second base in the majors since being selected second overall in the 2003 draft, but CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported Thursday that Weeks would see time in the outfield with the Mariners.


Mariners sign second baseman Rickie Weeks to a one-year deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/11/2015) The Mariners have signed infielder Rickie Weeks, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman, who added the plan is for Weeks to be used in the outfield. Heyman also reports Weeks will get a $2 million salary and could make $2 million in incentives.

Weeks will make $2 million next season, and could earn up to $2 million more based on incentives. The 32-year-old Weeks hit .274/.357/.452 over 252 at-bats last year. He was mainly used in a platoon role, facing left-handers. The Brewers did not pick up Weeks' $14.5 million option, making him a free-agent. 


Indians sign Michael Martinez to minor-league deal


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/11/2015) The Indians announced Wednesday they signed infielder Michael Martinez to a minor-league contract, which includes an invite to spring training. 

Martinez appeared in 26 games for the Pirates in 2014, batting .128 with two RBI. He is a career .181 hitter in 188 games at the major-league level.


Rangers GM Jon Daniels on Profar (shoulder): 'He's on schedule'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/10/2015) Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said infielder Jurickson Profar (shoulder) continues to progress in his rehab, per FOX Sports Southwest.

Profar is playing catch and taking dry swings. He will continue to undergo an MRI every three weeks.

"He's on schedule," Daniels said. "He's continued to progress both in his throwing program and in his rehab, and in the weight room and in his doctor's visits. It's all been kind of green lights so far."


 
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