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Royals' Hunter Dozier ready for bounce season in 2015


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Royals prospect Hunter Dozier had a 2014 season to forget. Kansas City's top pick in the 2013 MLB Draft hit .209/.303/.312 in 64 games at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.

"I think it would have happened anywhere, whether I was at high-A ball or Double-A," he said to MLB.com. "For some reason, I just started overthinking everything. I started looking for changeups when I shouldn't have. I should have just stayed with my normal routine."

It was the first significant time in his career that Dozier experienced struggles at the plate.

"It's good that I went through it," Dozier said. "Now I know how to snap out of one of those slumps. I know that I shouldn't change anything like my approach -- just stay with it, stay with the routine."


Twins' Molitor receiving good reports on Miguel Sano


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Twins manager Paul Molitor hasn't watched much batting practice thus far in spring training, but he keeps hearing good reports about prospect Miguel Sano, per the Pioneer Press.

“I just keep hearing how far balls are going,” Molitor said after Monday’s workout. “It’s fun for people to see. I hope he’s working on his whole game.

“He’s a young kid. But he’s doing fine. It’s good to see him healthy. He hasn’t had any issues with that (surgically repaired) elbow, and that’s what we’re trying to make sure we protect against as spring unfolds.”

While Molitor is pleased with how Sano is doing offensively, he really wants to see how Sano is progressing in the field.

“I was working today on the bunt defenses; he’s trying,” Molitor said. “There are things that are going to be a challenge for him. We’ve got to keep an eye on him. He’s a big boy. He carries it pretty well, but you’ve got to have some athleticism. He’s got to keep that … if he wants to play a corner-infield position in the big leagues, especially third base.”


Five Athletics competing to bat second in lineup


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Manager Bob Melvin indicated that five players are competing to bat second in the Athletics lineup this season, the Bay Area News Group reports.

Shortstop Ben Zobrist, second baseman Marcus Semien, third baseman Brett Lawrie and outfielders Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry are all in the mix for the second spot in the lineup.

The Athletics opened last season with third baseman Josh Donaldson slotted second, but Donaldson has since been traded to Toronto.


A-Rod will not play in Yankees' spring opener, but will DH on Wed.


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez will not play in the team's spring opener Tuesday against the Phillies. His name was not highlighted on the roster of players selected to travel to Clearwater, Fla., per NJ.com.

Rodriguez, however, will play in Wednesday's spring game against the Phillies, manager Joe Girardi announced Monday.

Rodriguez was the DH and hit fourth in Monday's intrasquad game. Hitting off a pitching machine, he grounded to third on the second pitch of the first at-bat and flied out to short right on the first pitch of the second at-bat, per the Associated Press.


Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe (illness) gets back to work Monday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe returned to workouts Monday after missing two days due to an illness, according to the Pioneer Press.

Plouffe said he made it through Monday's workout without any issue and believes he will be back to full speed Tuesday.


Yankees' Alex Rodriguez may play in spring training opener


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Yankees coach Joe Girardi said the team will decide Monday if Alex Rodriguez will play in Tuesday's spring training opener, reports the Associated Press.

Rodriguez is attempting to comeback after being suspended for the entire 2014 season and Girardi said the decision will be based on how Rodriguez is feeling.

"It's something I have to talk to him about," Girardi said. "See where he's at physically."

When asked if he'd be ready, Rodriguez was unsure if he could play, reports ESPN New York.

"I have to talk to Joe [Girardi] first," he said.


Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to minor-league deal


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) The Blue Jays signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo to a minor-league contract Sunday, the team announced.

The deal includes an invite to spring training. In 2014, Viciedo hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI.


Hinch: Astros' Torreyes has 'earned every chance to get a look'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Astros infielder Ronald Torreyes checks in at about 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds, but his success at avoiding strikeouts has manager A.J. Hinch ready to give him a chance at showing what he can do this spring, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"You like to see these guys play," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He can look to our starting lineup at the top or hitting first or second and he’ll see a guy who is pretty successful who is not the biggest guy in the world. I see a unique size for this level, but the way he’s hit and the way he’s performed he’s earned every chance to get a look."

Torreyes was added to the team's 40-man roster in November after hitting .298/.345/.376 with two home runs, 46 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 460 at-bats with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2014.

"He doesn’t look like a ballplayer because he’s little like me, but he’s a young bull," Astros second baseman Jose Altuve said. "He hits a lot and plays good defense. Last year they put him on the 40-man roster because he has a good chance to help us. There aren’t many players like him so skinny and little in the big leagues, so when you see him for the first time you say, 'You know he has to be good to be here.' Then when you see him hit you realize the organization has a good reason to give him this opportunity."

Torreyes will look for an opportunity to latch on as a utility player this spring. He's capable of seeing work at second base, shortstop and third base as well as in left field and center field.


Report: Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to minor-league deal


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Dayan Viciedo to a minor-league deal, FOXSports reports.

The White Sox designated Viciedo for assignment when the team signed Gordon Beckham and released him after he cleared waivers. Multiple teams reportedly had interest in the outfielder, who hit .231/.281/.405 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI in 523 at-bats last season.

The Blue Jays are dealing with an injury to left fielder Michael Saunders, but it was announced Friday that Saunders is only expected to miss up to six weeks after initially being thought to be out until the All-Star break. While Saunders is out, Viciedo could figure into the mix in left field if he makes the team's 25-man roster.


Trevor Plouffe misses Twins workout with illness


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe missed the team's workout on Saturday with an illness. 

Plouffe showed up for the morning meetings, and then the team sent him home. 


Yankees' Garrett Jones ready for position battle with Alex Rodriguez


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) New Yankees infielder Garrett Jones knows third base currently belongs to Alex Rodriguez. However, the 33-year-old is envisioning a scenario where he and A-Rod are both able to play equally throughout the season.

"That's what it comes down to," Jones said to NJ.com. "When he's getting his opportunity, he'll do his thing. And when I'm getting my opportunity, I'm going to do what I do. In a perfect world, we're both swinging the beat well and we're both in their on a regular basis."

Jones struggled to hit the ball well in 2014, hitting .246 with 15 homeruns and 53 RBI.

"It can mess with you," Jones said. "As a hitter, do I need to do extra? Do I need to change my swing? Do I not have as much power as I used to? A lot of things are going through your head. You try to not let it bother you but for a guy that's supposed to be driving the ball and having home runs, it's part of my game. ... I was trying to pull everything and it turned getting around too much on the ball and I just lost. I was getting pounded (with) sinkers away and I lost that approach to drive the ball to left-center."


Indians' Francona keeping a close eye on Giovanny Urshela


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona has been keeping a close eye on third-base prospect Giovanny Urshela, who was only recently cleared for a full range of activities after tweaking his knee during winter ball, MLB.com reports.

"He has a tremendous reputation of being a really good defender," Francona said. "I think I've been more wanting to watch his gait, just to make sure he's not favoring that leg. He promised us that, if he was, he'd let us know, but I also know he's a young kid in his first major-league camp."

Urshela suffered the injury on Nov. 15 and has rehabbed the injured knee at the team's spring-training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

"He's worked really hard to get himself to where he can go through a normal spring," said Indians' director of player development Carter Hawkins. "We're very excited about the spot he's in right now, given the possible outcomes of the injury."

Urshela saw his first action at the Triple-A level in 2014, hitting .276/.331/.473 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 395 at-bats with Columbus.


Report: Blue Jays, A's among teams talking to Dayan Viciedo


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) The Blue Jays and Athletics are among the teams talking to free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, sources told FOX Sports. The Indians have previously been linked to showing interest in Viciedo, who was released by the White Sox in early February.

Yankees' Mark Teixeira: A-Rod 'will be fine over there' at first base


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez shifted across the infield on Friday. The embattled slugger fielded grounders and took part in various drills including bunt defense, according to the Associated Press.

Rodriguez missed all of last season after being suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. With Chase Headley slated to be the team's starting third baseman, Rodriguez will compete for at-bats as a designated hitter and could see some time behind Headley at third and Mark Teixeira at first.

Teixeira told reporters that Rodriguez will fit just fine at first.

"I think what will make Alex have a shorter learning curve is his baseball IQ," Teixeira said, per Newsday. "He'll be fine over there."

Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July, hit .244/.348/.423 over 156 at-bats back in 2013. He will begin early workouts on Saturday.


Angels' Freese gets in shape to help improve defensive abilites


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Angels third baseman David Freese showed up to camp around the same playing weight he was last season, but he was much leaner and fit, per The Orange County Register.

Freese hopes getting in shape will allow him to be more agile at third base and avoid being pulled from games for defensive reasons.

“I want to be on the field,” Freese said. “I know I can play a full nine innings and 162 games. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited about this year, how I feel being out there. If I’m feeling good, it’s going to help me help the team.”

Angels manager Mike Scioscia also appears hopeful Freese being in better shape will pay dividends.

“There is no doubt that he looks in great shape,” Scioscia said. “He is lighter. How it translates to his play, we’re going to have to see. In drills, he’s moving very well. He’s moving better than he did last year. We’ll see how it shows up in games. I imagine it’s going to be very positive.”


GM Brian Cashman: Yankees plan to keep Alex Rodriguez on roster


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) The Yankees have no intentions of parting ways with Alex Rodriguez prior to opening day, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters on Thursday, per NJ.com.

"He's on the team. He's got a three-year contract," Cashman said.

Rodriguez missed all of last season while serving a suspension for using performance enhancing drugs. He is owed $61 million in the final three seasons of his 10-year, $275 million contract. He is expected to work as DH and may see occasional time as a corner infielder this season. Rodriguez hit .244/.348/.423 over 156 at-bats back in 2013.


White Sox prospect Matt Davidson humbled by down year in 2014


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) White Sox third base prospect Matt Davidson entered the 2014 season as a consensus top-100 prospect, but unfortunately didn't look the part, as he hit a disappointing .199 with 164 strikeouts in 130 games at Triple-A Charlotte last season.

“It was very humbling,” Davidson said Thursday, per the Chicago Tribune. “Last year, this jersey with the Sox logo on it and my name on the back felt non-existent, like I would never reach it. To kind of come back here with the same number and see it, it’s a really cool experience, to just play this game of baseball. Last year, I felt like it was gone, which was a very scary feeling that I’ve never felt before. I took things for granted for sure.”

While last spring Davidson entered camp with a chance to win the starting job at third base that won't be the case this year with Conor Gillaspie entrenched as the starter. Davidson instead will focus on mechanics and thought processes rather taking a results-based approach.

“They still believe in me,” Davidson said. “I could be in a lot worse position than I am right now, so I understand that. I take that and all the positives I can because last year, it was negative first.”


Blue Jays' Gibbons: Valencia, Colabello will see time at LF


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hinted that Danny Valencia and Chris Colabello will see some time at left field this spring, according to Sportsnet.ca. Toronto is hoping to fill a void at left field after the team announced Thursday that Michael Saunders will be sidelined until July with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

In his career, Valencia played left field in only five games in the minors. Colabello has logged 30 career games in the majors at left field.


Report: Indians interested in signing Viciedo on minor-league deal


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) The Indians remain interested in free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, according to The Plain Dealer. However, the Indians are still just interested in offering Viciedo a minor-league deal.

Juan Francisco took Rays offer because of chance to DH


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Juan Francisco chose to sign a minor-league deal with the Rays this offseason since he felt the team presented him with the best opportunity to make a major-league roster, according to MLB.com.

"I think here I have a better chance to play DH, a position," said Francisco, adding that he's comfortable at first or third base. "So I have better chances to play here, get some playing time with the Rays."

Francisco added his experience playing in the AL East last season with Toronto was also a factor in his decision to take the Rays offer over the other ones he had on the table.

"I feel more comfortable playing in the American League East. I know the league. I know the pitchers," Francisco said through an interpreter. "It's better for me to play in the American League because of the DH, so I have a better chance to play."


Royals prospect Cheslor Cuthbert moving from 3B to 2B


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Royals prospect Cheslor Cuthbert is making the transition to second base this spring with his path at third base blocked by Mike Moustakas at the major-league level. Cuthbert has also fallen behind prospect Hunter Dozier as a potential future third baseman for Kansas City.

"I like it," Cuthbert said of the position change, per MLB.com. "It's different. You have to really work to learn the double play at second. But it's been fun.

"I'll do whatever it takes. The main thing is just to get better overall as a player and everything else will take care of itself."

The 22-year-old Cuthbert hit .274 with 12 home runs, 24 doubles and 64 RBI in 121 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2014.


Girardi: Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is open to playing some 1B


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) When asked if Alex Rodriguez has issued him an apology, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said "that sort of thing I'll keep between us, but we had a good conversation, and he's ready to go to work," according to Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal.

Rodriguez released a hand-written apology for the mistakes he made that lead to his season-long suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal on Feb. 17.

Outside of a possible apology, Girardi indicated that he's talked to Rodriguez about playing some first base this season and that the embattled infielder open to contributing at first.

Said Rodriguez on Girardi, per NJ.com: "I would go through a wall for Joe."

The 39-year-old completed batting practice on Wednesday alingside Yankees prospect Michael O'Neil. New York's first officiall full-squad workpit is on Thursday. Rodriguez is expected to open the year as the team's designated hitter. He hit .244/.348/.423 over 156 at-bats back in 2013.


Red Sox's Brock Holt ready to show versatility again in 2015


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Red Sox infielder/outfielder Brock Holt, who started seven different positions in 2014, told reporters he's ready to prove he's just as versatile as he was last season, according to WEEI.com on Wednesday.

Holt indicated that he expects to be mostly used in the infield, despite the addition of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez in the offseason and the emergence of Mookie Betts.

"I think kind of similar spot as last year, move around, give guys days off when they need them but be ready to play all the time," Holt said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to do that again and it's something I enjoyed last year and something I'm looking forward to doing again.

The majority of my [work] is probably going to be in the infield and then I'll definitely go out in the outfield and do some stuff," Holt said. "During [batting practice] it's easy to go out there and get some reads during BP, too. I'll probably spend most of my time in the infield but move around, depending on how I feel and how the day is going, move to do some outfield."


Rays' Evan Longoria gives vote of confidence to new manager


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Rays third baseman Evan Longoria gave a vote of confidence to new manager Kevin Cash on Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times

"I just think there comes a time when it's just the right time for somebody new," Longoria said. While that may come off as an indictment of former manager Joe Maddon, Longoria stressed that is not the case. "That's no knock on Joe. Obviously he did so many great things for the franchise and so many great things for me as a player. But I guess all good things come to an end at some point."

Having Cash around should inject some excitement into the team, according to Longoria. "I think it's a great time for Kevin to be able to step in and kind of experience the sense of newness with a lot of people. And the guys who have been here are excited for what he's going to bring."

The 29-year-old hit .253/.320/.404 over 624 at-bats last year. 


Hank Aaron is rooting for Alex Rodriguez


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez has found an unlikely ally, according to the Toronto Sun.

Former Braves outfilelder Hank Aaron said he's rooting for the 39-year-old Rodriguez to have a big season. "I am rooting for him," Aaron told Newsday. "Despite all of the things that people say he had been involved in, I'm rooting for him to come back and have a great year."

Aaron did express some doubt about Rodriguez's ability to still put up numbers considering A-Rod has been away from the game for so long. "I wish him well, but I just don't know," Aaron said. "When you're (away) from playing the game the whole year and go out and then have to face kids that are throwing 90 mph, it's a tough thing."

He added that he considered A-Rod to be a "friend," and said he didn't want to blame steriods as the reason players are breaking records today. "The only thing I can say is I wish them well and that they do the best they can. They have to live and meet their own maker, not me."


 
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