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Nationals' Anthony Rendon tests knee with lateral movement


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:04 pm ET) Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon tested his knee by running in the outfield on Friday. Rendon has been out with a sprained left knee since March 9. He can run straight ahead, but in his Friday workout, he tested the knee with lateral movement, per MLB.com's Jamal Collier. 

Rendon still hopes to be ready for Opening Day. 


Cubs' Kris Bryant on Opening Day status: 'Why not me?'


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:17 pm ET) Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has never started a rookie on Opening Day. Kris Bryant wants to be change that trend this season.

"I look at it as why not me?" Bryant said Friday, per MLB.com. "I think I'm the type of guy who can go out there and do it. I've made it a point of mine to show them that I can."

Epstein said Friday that no decision has been made regarding Bryant.

"It's for baseball reasons, and it hasn't been about anything else besides baseball reasons," Epstein said. "We spend a lot of time thinking about which players to draft, how to get them off to a good start in their professional careers, how to help them advance in the Minor Leagues, and how to help them make that final leap to the big leagues and when and how to do it to put them in a position to succeed."

Bryant is in the midst of a scorching hot spring, with nine homers in 32 at-bats. On Thursday, the 23-year-old prospect also showed some versatility by starting in left field against the Jered Weaver and the Angels.

"Yesterday was good for me to go out there and face a pitcher like Jered Weaver who has incredible stuff,” Bryant said. "He's a different type of pitcher and it was really good for me to go out there and struggle a little bit, see what he’s going to throw me and learn from it. I took it as a learning experience."

Bryant has three multi-home run games this spring. He is hitting .406/.472/1.313 in 12 Cactus League games.

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters that Bryant's agent, Scott Boras, should not be involved in Chicago's roster decisions, even when it comes to Bryant, per the Chicago Tribune.

"Look, I don't think the Cubs decision on what’s going to happen to Kris Bryant is really any of Mr. Boras' business," Manfred said. "I think the Cubs -- I know the Cubs -- will make decisions that are best for the long term competitiveness of the club. And focusing on whether a particular player has played, or is with a club on a day, or days, I don’t think is a fair evaluation of what the club is up to.

"The club is in the best position, and the Cubs are in the best position, to decide what's going to make them the most competitive over the longest period of time."


Jose Tabata among 12 players cut from Pirates camp Friday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:28 am ET) The Pirates announced Friday they cut 12 players from major-league camp. 

They optioned Bobby LaFromboise to Triple-A, while reassigning Deolis Guerra, Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Leesman, Brad Lincoln, Steve LombardozziBrent Morel, Gustavo Nunez , Deibinson Romero, Jose Tabata, Sebastian Valle and Josh Wall to minor-league camp.


Pirates' Josh Harrison likely to lead off, unconcerned with lineup


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison is likely to serve as the team's leadoff hitter this season but said Thursday he's unconcerned with how the lineup is put together, MLB.com reports.

"To be honest, I don't really pay attention to the lineup," said Harrison, who led off Thursday with a homer. "The lineup gets jumbled so much and we don't pay attention too much to what could be the Opening Day lineup and what could not. ... That's more [the media's] job, to look at the lineup and say maybe Opening Day, but none of us here have said, 'This may be our Opening Day lineup.' At the end of the day, we've got to worry about the task at hand and that's getting better every day."

Harrison hit .328/.359/.535 atop the lineup last season and started 83 games as the leadoff hitter.

"Your approach changes at-bat to at-bat," Harrison said. "My leadoff approach changes day to day as well. They attacked me differently throughout the course of last year. The last month and a half, guys started mixing it up on me early. My approach is to go out there and get a good pitch to hit -- so in the grand scheme of things, my approach really doesn't change."


Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber among cuts Thursday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) The Cubs announced Thursday they cut 12 players from major-league camp, including top catcher prospect Kyle Schwarber,who was reassigned to minor-league camp.

The other players reassigned to minor-league camp were pitchers Daniel Bard, Anthony Carter, Jorge De Leon, Gonzalez Germen and Francisley Bueno, infielder Chris Valaika, outfielders Albert Almora, Mike Baxter and Adron Chambers.

Pitcher Blake Parker and pitcher Joseph Ortiz were optioned to Triple-A Iowa.


Phillies 3B Cody Asche scratched Thursday due to back tightness


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Phillies third baseman Cody Asche was scratched from Thursday's spring lineup against the Blue Jays due to back tightness. Asche said he began to feel tightness in his back while the team was stretching Thursday.

Asche is batting .238 (10 for 42) with two doubles, three home runs, five runs and seven RBI in 16 spring games.


Phillies 2B Freddy Galvis to use bigger bat


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Phillies second baseman Freddy Galvis is hoping that a switch to a bigger bat will mean more hits, according to MLB.com.

Galvis has been swinging too hard and he is now using a 35 inch, 33 ounce U1 bat. The Phillies hope the new bat will stop him from over swinging.

"It's a bat that's not about being down on the nob and over swinging for home runs," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's taken to it very well. It's been a good thing for him."

After singling in the team's loss against the Astros, his batting average raised to .280. The 25-year-old plans to use the new bats during the season.

"I knew I over swung, but I didn't know with the heavy bat I'd have more control," Galvis said. "I thought with a heavy bat I'd have to do more to get to the ball. But what it showed me is if you relax your hands and let the ball come to you and throw the bat [at the ball], that's it. Because when you hit it good, it's going to go."


Nationals' Ian Stewart could open season at third base


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Nationals infielder Ian Stewart is a candidate to start at third base if Anthony Rendon (knee) isn't ready for the start of the regular season, MLB.com reports.

Stewart has shot out to a hot start this spring, going 10 for 31 with one double, three home runs and four walks. He credits his work in the offseason and the tutelage of hitting coach Rick Schu in the batting cage.

"[Schu] got my hands in a good position to fire. The rest is up to me at that point," Stewart said. "It's nice to be able to get the at-bats here, be able to play and do well at the same time, showing that I'm ready if Anthony is not."


Cubs' Kris Bryant on OF drill: 'I think it went very well'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has begun outfield drills with coach Davey Martinez, with the coach instructing the prospect without the use of a glove, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"I just started catching the ball barehanded and just going over the basics," Bryant said about Tuesday's session. "That plays a part in getting to the ball quickly and having a good first step just like an infielder. I think it went very well."

Bryant was slated for more outfield drills Wednesday. He's 13 for 28 with nine home runs this spring and is scheduled to play left field in a game for the first time Thursday, ESPNChicago.com reports.

"Talking to Kris on a one-on-one level he really wants the chance to play out there, which I kind of somewhat like," manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. "He actually wanted to. That makes it easier."


Rockies' Descalso, Culberson in minor-league game Wednesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Rockies infielder Daniel Descalso (oblique) and Charlie Culberson (back) will play four innings in a minor-league game Wednesday, MLB.com reports.

Each will also bat in each inning as they continue to recover from their injuries. Descalso has been sidelined by an oblique strain but is in line to serve as the team's primary utility infielder. Culberson will likely not make the team after dealing with a bulging disk in his lower back.


Matt Carpenter exits Cards' spring game with quad contusion


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter was forced out of Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Nationals with a right quad contusion, per the team's official website. Carpenter was hit by a pitch in the opening frame, and was replaced by Pete Kozma to start the top of the third inning. He will likely be further evaluated moving forward.

Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon's Opening Day status in jeopardy


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Chances of Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon being ready for Opening Day appear "pretty slim" after a second MRI showed that his left knee is still structurally sound, but remains sore, according to Comcast SportsNet Washington. Manager Matt Williams confirmed that his status is in jeopardy, as he remains without a timetable for return.

"It's still lingering. There is no point in pushing it right now and going back to square one during the season," Rendon said, per MLB.com. "We might as well fix it right now rather than later."


Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb expanding role to first


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/25/2015) Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb is beginning to learn the ropes at first base. Lamb, who may still be the Opening Day starter at third, could be used at first when Paul Goldschmidt gets a day off, reports MLB.com.

"The weirdest part is when a ball is not hit to me -- I know it sounds obvious -- you've got to cover the base," Lamb said. "I'm so used to when the ball is not hit to me I just watch the play develop."

Lamb is still trying to get more comfortable with his role at first.

"My biggest problem right now is I don't have a glove that I'm comfortable with," Lamb said. "So if they're going to put me over there, at some time we've got to get a glove. I'm so used to having a smaller glove. Hopefully I can stick over at third, but like I've said over and over, I'll play wherever they want me to."


Brewers third baseman Luis Jimenez struggling at the dish this spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Brewers third baseman Luis Jimenez hasn't seen the results many expected of him at the plate so far this spring. Jimenez has hit just .167 in 36 Cactus League at-bats this spring.

"He's got to swing the bat some, sure," manager RonRoenicke said. "Because if he's going to be the guy at third base to pick up [starter Aramis Ramirez], there's going to be at-bats there. So whoever that person is needs to swing the bat well."


Pirates' Josh Harrison looking to build off last season's success


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Pirates utility man Josh Harrison did it all for the team last season. Harrison played five different positions in a career-high 143 games for the Pirates. He and the coaching staff want to see him build off the success in 2014, reports the TribLive.com.

"Josh is mentally tough," Hurdle said. "He's disciplined and he's committed. So I don't foresee any of those challenges, as far as him (thinking) he's arrived and he's made it. This kid's hungry. He's worked hard and he believes he's only scratched the surface."

Harrison continues to have the same mindset he had before the best season of his career.

"My role has changed a little bit, but I don't attack the day any different than I did when I wasn't playing every day," Harrison said. "That's how I'm programmed. I keep things in perspective. Whether I'm the number one man or the 25th man (on the roster), I carry my business the same way."

Now, Harrison will be the full-time third baseman, which makes it possible for him to focus better.

"It's a little easier mentally because I can just focus on one position and get the extra work I need there," Harrison said. "I'm not rushed anymore. It's definitely a nice switch."


Mets' David Wright has three home runs in last six spring games


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Mets third baseman David Wright homered for the third time this spring and second time in three games Tuesday against the Astros. In fact, all three of his home runs have come in his last six appearances.

Wright connected Tuesday for a two-run homer off Collin McHugh in the third inning. All three of his home runs have come off major-league pitchers. He hit a two-run homer off CC Sabathia on Sunday and hit a three-run homer off Tanner Roark on March 14.

Wright is batting .303 (10 for 33) with one double and 10 RBI in 12 spring games.


Phelps pushing Hernandez for bench spot with Phillies


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Phillies infielder Cord Phelps entered play Tuesday batting .345 (10 for 29) with one double, one home run, five RBI, seven walks, four strikeouts and a .955 OPS in 12 spring games.

Thanks to a strong spring performance, he is pushing Cesar Hernandez for a spot on the Phillies' bench as a utility player.

"You want to show what you can do and try to take advantage of every opportunity," Phelps said, per MLB.com. "That's just good preparation for the season, because you never know how things are going to play out. That's a skill we try to develop. Maybe you don't know when you're going to get in there, but when you do, you try to perform at your highest level. I feel like I'm having good at-bats. I feel like I'm putting balls in play with hard contact."


Brewers reassign Pete Orr, Bryan Petersen to minor-league camp


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) The Brewers announced Tuesday infielder Pete Orr and outfielder Bryan Petersen were reassigned to minor-league camp

Cody Asche getting hot for Phillies


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/23/2015) Cody Asche is heating up as Phillies' spring training enters its home stretch. 

Asche shook off a slow start and finished Monday hitting .231. He hit a two-run homer in the second inning, giving him three on the spring, along with seven RBI. 

"Cody has a nice swing working," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's making good contact. Another thing that he's doing is laying off pitches, avoiding strikeouts and having the count come back to him for strikes to hit. He continues to do real well, a real steady bat for us."


Padres' Black: Yangervis Solarte a fit for National League


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/23/2015) Padres manager Bud Black praised the versatility, defense and switch-hitting abilility of infielder Yangervis Solarte Monday, calling him a fit for the National League, U-T San Diego reports.

"We talk about that a lot," Black said. "There really is a difference between the two leagues when you try to construct your bench. He’s a guy that fits that profile. You use two or three bench guys a night in the National League. He gives you the versatility to feel good about making a double switch and lose anything on defense. He gives you the switch hitting component offensively. Mentally he’s on board, if that is the case, where if he doesn’t start a game he’s ready to come in."

Solarte is in the mix to start at third base but should see plenty of action regardless of whether he wins the job. He is 12 for 39 with two doubles and two walks this spring.


Braves' Kelly Johnson getting on track offensively


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/23/2015) Kelly Johnson is among the players in Braves' camp this spring fighting for a roster spot. Unfortunately, he didn't help his own cause early on, batting .105 through his first seven spring games, but Johnson has settled into a groove at the plate and has put himself back in the race for a roster spot.

Johnson has hit safely in five straight spring games, batting .462 (6 for 13) with one home run, four RBI, two doubles and four walks in that span. Johnson attributes his work with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer for his turnaround.

“I feel better,” Johnson said. “It’s spring training. I’ve gone both ways before -- I’ve gone out and hit .400 for the first two weeks and not really had a clue how you’re doing it, but you’re getting hits. So there’s that. But Seitz has been really good for me. It’s been a lot of work to get back feeling good…. The approach, that’s been really good for me."


Nationals' Rendon (knee) remains without timetable for return


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/23/2015) Nationals manager Matt Williams said Monday that third baseman Anthony Rendon is still dealing with knee soreness and remains without a timetable for a return, MASNsports.com reports.

Rendon will rest the knee, and the continued issue has put his status for Opening Day in doubt. He's just 2 for 9 this spring.


Cubs 3B Kris Bryant set to begin outfield work


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (shoulder) will likely start outfield drills Tuesday, MLB.com reports.

"Speaking to him, he was all for it," manager Joe Maddon said. "I think he understands the ability to play more than one position, how that benefits you in the future as a major-league baseball player. His tools play in both spots. He’s very confident with the glove, runs well, has a fine arm."

Bryant didn't play third base for more than a week as he battled shoulder fatigue but he did test his shoulder with five throws to first base Saturday.

"He was not pushing the ball, the arm strength was where it was supposed to be," Maddon said.

Bryant leads all players with eight spring home runs.

"It’s been impressive, it’s been very impressive," Maddon said. "I give him a lot of credit because he’s coming in here with a lot of expectations, wanting to win a job, and he hasn’t blinked, man. He hasn’t blinked at all."


Nationals' 3B Anthony Rendon (knee) cleared for baseball activity


by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/22/2015) Third baseman Anthony Rendon, who has been dealing with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, has been cleared to participate in baseball activities, per ESPN, and will begin work in order to return to the Nationals' lineup. 

"He'll start to throw. He'll start to run," manager Matt Williams said. "He'll start to do the things he needs to do ... but with that type of nagging injury, it can stay around awhile."

The plan is to give Rendon at least 20 spring at-bats in order to be ready for Opening Day. 


Brent Morel returns to game action for Pirates


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) Brent Morel returned to game action for the Pirates on Sunday, entering the game as a defensive replacement at third base in the sixth inning. 

Morel had been sidelined since March 8 with a strained hamstring.


 
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