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Astros ask third baseman Matt Dominguez to learn first base


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6:30 pm ET) With the Astros recently acquiring infielder Luis Valbuena, third baseman Matt Dominguez has been asked to start learning how to play first base, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"You get a bigger glove, so it can't be that hard," Dominguez said.

Dominguez has spent the last two seasons as the full-time third baseman for the Astors, but he will compete with Valbuena for the starting role this season. If Valbuena wins the third base job, the Astros want Dominguez to be able to switch to first base.

"[Astros manager A.J. Hinch] thinks I'm going to be a third baseman, but he wants to also help me try to make the team by adding a little more versatility and move around a little bit more," Dominguez said. "Do whatever I need to do."


Twins OF Byron Buxton seeking bounce-back 2015 campaign


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:14 pm ET) Although Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is likely to start the year in Double-A, general manager Terry Ryan said that seeing both Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano debut this season "would be a realistic point of view," according to the Associated Press.

Sano was sidelined in 2014 after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last March. Buxton endured a frustrating injury-riddled 2014 campaign. He has been recovering from a broken index finger and was recently cleared to resume baseball activities.

"We've got to knock off some of the rust that's built up on him, because he hasn't played all that much," Ryan said. "I don't anticipate anything that went on with him last year really affecting him in a negative way. He just didn't get enough at-bats or enough playing time to say it was a developmental year. We lost basically a year with him, and that's not what you like."


Report: Alex Rodriguez has private meeting with new commissioner


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:06 pm ET) Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez reportedly met with new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to "get on the same page" with him and the rest of the MLB, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Rodriguez came unaccompanied by any MLBPA representatives or personal attorneys, per the paper.

Rodriguez, 39, was suspended for the entire 2014 season due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. He hit .244/.348/.423 in 156 at-bats in 2013. He has been training with Barry Bonds in the Bay Area, with designs on starting at third base for the Yankees in 2015. However, New York brought in Chase Headley to play third and general manager Brian Cashman has been adamant about Rodriguez playing more of a DH role this season.

Rodriguez is due $61 million over the next three seasons, along with several home run-based performance bonuses.


Twins' Trevor Plouffe ready to bounce back from broken forearm


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe said he has fully recovered from the broken left forearm he suffered on Sept. 24 and his working out as scheduled.

"I got to take the time off that I needed to rest it and let it heal," Plouffe said. "I've been rehabbing it out in Southern California. It really didn't set me back as far as timeline, as far as the gym, weightlifting and my baseball activities. It's obviously not something you want to have happen, but it was a good time for it to happen."

Plouffe hit .258 in 2014 with 14 home runs and 80 RBI in 520 at-bats, but knows his statistics aren't the focus for the team this season.

"I'm just going to try to continue to improve in every facet of the game," Plouffe said. "The big thing for us this year is just wins, putting all the personal statistics aside. I think Mollie's going to bring that to the clubhouse. We just want to win. We want to win games. We've made some additions that are going to help that."


Report: Brock Holt not dealing with any lingering concussion issues


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Red Sox infielder/outfielder Brock Holt has not had any lingering issues after being diagnosed with a concussion in September, according to The Boston Globe. Holt, who last played in a game Sept. 5, was cleared after the season by head trauma specialist Dr. Michael Collins. 

Despite being cleared, Holt might go for a follow-up exam with Collins before the start of spring training.

Holt had his best season in the majors in 2014, batting .281 with four home runs, five triples, 23 doubles, 29 RBI and 68 runs in 106 games. He was extremely valuable to the team in the field, as Holt made an appearance at every position expect pitcher and catcher. 


Penny, Carroll among players signed to minor-league deals by ChiSox


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) The White Sox announced Thursday they signed 15 players to minor-league contracts, which included invites to spring training.

The 15 players were pitchers Jairo Asencio, Scott Carroll, Jesse Crain, Logan Kensing, Arcenio Leon, J.D. Martin, Brad Penny, Zach Phillips, Joe Savery, catchers George Kottaras and Geovany Soto, infielders Juan Diaz and Andy LaRoche, and outfielders Tony Campana and Michael Taylor


Report: Alex Rodriguez working out with HR king Barry Bonds


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who sat out in 2014 due to a season-long suspension, has been training with Barry Bonds in the Bay Area, according to SFGate.com. Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs with 762.

Rodriguez recently posted two photos on Instagram of him swinging a bat with the caption: "Starting the year in the cage.” The photos were taken in San Rafael, Calif., at the Future Prospects facility owned and run by Charles Scott, who is Bonds’ friend and former Arizona State teammate. Not only has Bonds worked with Rodriguez at this facility, but also major leaguers Michael Morse, Pablo Sandoval, Dexter Fowler and Brandon Crawford.

Sources told John Shea of SFGate.com that the 39-year-old Rodriguez looked good after training for a few weeks at the facility.


Indians' Francona believes Lonnie Chisenhall can be good defender


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/20/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday he thinks third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall can be a good defender this season.

"He has good reactions, a good body and plenty of arm," Francona said. "He also has a knack for making some untimely errors, a lot of time that's part of the maturation process."

Chisenhall committed 18 errors in 114 games in 2014. he also hit .280 with 13 home runs and 59 RBI.


Sandoval on decision to leave Giants: 'I didn't sleep for three days'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/20/2015) Before signing a five-year deal with the Red Sox in November, Pablo Sandoval was one of the most coveted free-agent third basemen and had many teams hoping to sign him. One of those teams was the Giants, who Sandoval had played for during his first seven years in the majors.

Sandoval told MLB Network Radio on Tuesday that leaving the Giants was one of the toughest decisions of his life and led to a few sleepless nights before deciding to take the Red Sox offer.

"I didn't sleep for three days," he said.

Sandoval added he didn't let the Giants make a final offer because he wanted to go to a new team and wanted a new challenge. He even admitted he "left more money on the table."

Sandoval said having the DH in the AL had nothing to do with his decision to sign with Boston.

"I want to play third base," he said. "I'll play first base some, but I don't want to DH."


Luis Valbuena, Matt Dominguez to compete for Astros' starting 3B job


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow said infielder Luis Valbuena, who was acquired Monday in a trade with the Cubs, will compete with Matt Dominguez for the starting job at third base.

“If a player isn’t helping us win games … we have other options,” Luhnow said, per the Houston Chronicle. “Valbuena will get a long hard look at third base.”

The 29-year-old Valbuena has spent the last three seasons with the Cubs. He hit .249 with a career-best 16 home runs, 33 doubles and 55 RBI in 149 games in 2014. He has a career .229 average over seven MLB seasons with the Mariners, Indians and Cubs.

The 25-year-old Dominguez hit .215 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI in 157 games in 2014. He is a career .233 hitter over four MLB seasons.

“Valbuena played every day at third … we’ve got to sort it out," manager A.J. Hinch said. "The steadiness that he brings at third base is certainly an attribute we’re going to look at.”


Marlins sign Don Kelly to minor-league deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/18/2015) The Marlins have signed outfielder Don Kelly to a minor-league deal, according to the Detroit Free Press

The 34-year-old Kelly hit .245/.332/.288 over 163 at-bats with Detroit last season. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.


Report: Orioles heading for arbitration with three players


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Orioles appear to be heading for arbitration with Zach Britton, Miguel Gonzalez and Ryan Flaherty, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Britton submitted for $4.2 million while the team offer $2.2 million for the 27-year-old. He pitched 76 1/3 innings in 2014, with 37 saves and a 1.65 ERA.

Gonzalez filed for $3.95 million while Baltimore offered $2.5 million. Gonzalez made $529K in 2014, when he posted a 10-9 record with a 3.23 ERA and 111 strikeouts.

Flaherty filed for $1.5 million and the Orioles offered $900K. The 28-year-old made $522K in 2014, when he hit .221 with a .356 slugging percentage.


Report: Angels exchange arbitration figures with three players


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Angels have exchanged arbitration figures with pitcher Garrett Richards, outfielder Matt Joyce and third baseman David Freese, MLB.com reports.

Richards, who is in the first of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $3.8 million, while the team offered $2.4 million. Joyce, who is in his final year of arbitration eligibility, filed for $5.2 million, with the team offering $4.2 million. Freese, also arbitration eligible for the final time, filed for $7.6 million, with the team offering $5.25 million.


Report: Blue Jays, Danny Valencia swap arbitration figures


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Blue Jays infielder Danny Valencia has filed for $1.675 million in arbitration, while the team has offered $1.25 million, Sportsnet reports.

Valencia is in his first season of arbitration eligibility. He hit .258/.296/.371 with four home runs and 30 RBI in 264 at-bats between Kansas City and Toronto in 2014.


Royals, Mike Moustakas exchange arbitration figures


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has filed for $3.1 million in arbitration, while the team has offered $1.85 million, CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman reports.

Moustakas is eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason. He hit .212/.271/.361 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI in 457 at-bats last season.


Rays sign five to minor-league deals


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Rays signed catcher Mayo Acosta, outfielder Joey Butler, infielder Juan Francisco, right-hander Jhan Marinez and left-hander Everett Teaford all to minor-league deals, according to the team's official Triple-A website.

Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays likely heading for arbitration


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Third baseman Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays are likely headed for arbitration after failing to agree on a deal before the deadline Friday. Donaldson reportedly submitted a $5.75 million request, while the Blue Jays submitted a $4.3 million request, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Donaldson was traded to Toronto in Novemeber for Brett Lawrie and Kendall Graveman. He hit .255 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 2014.


Athletics avoid arbitration with Cook, Lawrie, Fuld, Gentry


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Athletics announced they have agreed to one-year contracts with Ryan Cook, Brett Lawrie, Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry, according to the team's official website. The club has not disclosed the salary figures for Cook, Fuld, or Lawrie. Gentry is set to make $1.6 million in 2015, per FOX Sports.

Twins lock up Plouffe, Fien, Nunez for 2015


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Twins have avoided arbitration with third baseman Trevor Plouffe, shortstop Eduardo Nunez, and reliever Casey Fien agreeing on 2015 salaries of $4.8 million, $1.025 million and $1.275 million respectively, according to St. Paul Pioneer Press and MLB.com.

Plouffe hit .258 with 14 home runs, 40 doubles and 80 RBI in 136 games in 2014. Nunez, a first-time arbitration qualifier, hit .250/.271/.382 with four homers, 24 RBI and nine stolen bases in 213 plate appearances. Fien posted a 3.98 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP over 63 1/3 innings in 2014.


Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall avoid arbitration


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) The Indians have avoided arbitration with infielder Lonnie Chisenhall on Thursday, according CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Chisenhall is set to receive $2.25 million. The 26-year-old Chisenhall is coming off a season in which he hit .280/.343/.427 over 478 at-bats. He's set to open the year as the team's starter at third. 


Report: Yankees' Alex Rodriguez believes he has third base job


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez believes he will start at third base, according to Newsday. 

General manager Brian Cashman has been adamant about Rodriguez playing more of a DH role this year. The team even brought in Chase Headley to play the hot corner, even though Rodriguez was set to return. None of that matters to A-Rod, though. In his mind, "that job is not Headley's, it's Alex's to lose," according to the report. Cashman did admit Rodriguez could see time at third, but confirmed that Headley will be the starter. 

The 39-year-old Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 due to his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. He hit .244/.348/.423 in 156 at-bats back in 2013. 


Braves/Astros announce Evan Gattis deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) The Braves have traded catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis and pitcher James Hoyt to the Astros for three prospects, the teams announced. CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman confirmed the deal early on Wednesday. The deal was initially reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 28-year-old Gattis is coming off a season in which he hit .263/.317/.493 over 369 at-bats. Gattis dealt with back issues during the season, causing him to miss time. Gattis is under team control through the 2018 season. It's unclear where Gattis will play with his new club.

Hoyt, 27, posted a 3.17 ERA over two levels of the minors last year. 

In return, the Braves will receive pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman , and third baseman Rio Ruiz

Foltynewicz was rated as the Astros third-best prospect this year according to Baseball America. The 23-year-old pitched in 18 games with Houston last year, posting a 5.30 ERA.

Thurman, 23, posted a 5.38 ERA at Class A last year. The 20-year-old Ruiz .293/.387/.436 over 516 at-bats in High A.


Yankees' Steinbrenner: 'We're not going to be afraid to spend money'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner indicated Wednesday more offseason moves for New York could be coming, despite general manager Brian Cashman being active this offseason, according to MLB.com. The Yankees have already re-signed third baseman Chase Headley and infielder Stephen Drew, signed reliever Andrew Miller and traded for shortstop Didi Gregorius.

"It's not over until it's over. We still have a full month before spring training," Steinbrenner said. "We're always going to continue to improve. I'm not putting a cap on it. We've certainly filled some holes that we had. We'll keep going for the next few weeks."

Steinbrenner said he wants to get New York back to the postseason while trying to keep the the payroll in the same range, but left the door open to perhaps target one of the top free-agent players still available. Starting pitchers Max Scherzer and James Shields are two of the top names still on the free-agent market.

"[But] having said that, we're still the New York Yankees, all you guys know that," Steinbrenner said. "We know what the fans expect. We know what the town expects. We're not going to be afraid to spend money."


Braves agree to trade Evan Gattis to Astros


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) The Braves have agreed to deal catcher/outfielder Evan Gattis and pitcher James Hoyt to the Astros for three minor-league prospects, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. The deal was initially reported by David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Those minor-leaguers include right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, third baseman Rio Ruiz and right-hander Andrew Thurman, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Foltynewicz would be a rotation candidate for this upcoming season, Sherman notes. Both sides have agreed to the players involved in the deal, but has not been finalized. Gattis was spotted in Houston on Wednesday undergoing a physical exam in anticipation of a possible trade.

Gattis hit .263/.317/.493 over 369 at-bats, but was hindered by a back injury over the second half of the year. The trade would give Houston three right-handed power hitters in Gattis, George Springer and Chris Carter. Gattis won't be a free-agent until 2019.

The deal is currently pending physicals.


Manny Machado goes through series of drills at O's minicamp


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/14/2015) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who's recovering from knee surgery, took part in a minicamp at the team's spring training complex Wednesday and went through a series of drills, according to the Baltimore Sun. He took batting practice and did base-running drills.

For the past couple weeks, Machado has been cleared for all baseball activities fielding except fielding balls side to side. He will meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache, Machado's surgeon, one last time before the start of spring training in order to receive full clearance. Manager Buck Showalter said he liked what he saw from Machado, but noted that the speed of games will offer Machado another challenge.

"It's been a while since I've felt this healthy," Machado said. "My body feels great. My mind is clear, and I'm excited to get back out there. I'm itching actually. I haven't been itching like this for spring training since my first year of pro ball. I'm just excited to get everything rolling.

"I've been waiting to catch grounders. I could do it. I just haven't really decided to catch grounders. I've just been working on my hand-eye coordination and my glove work."

For the second year in a row, Machado's season was cut short by knee surgery. He hit .278/.324/.431 over 327 at-bats in 2014. It remains to be seen if he'll be limited come spring training.


 
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Fan Poll

Which of these third basemen would you want on your teams for the second half?

Nolan Arenado, Rockies
17%
Manny Machado, Orioles
25%
Todd Frazier, Reds
33%
Martin Prado, Diamondbacks
4%
Kyle Seager, Mariners
17%
Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
4%

Total Votes: 3,689