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Dodgers' Mattingly: Turner has 'put a lot of time in and it shows'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Dodgers infielder Justin Turner earned a nonroster invitation to the team's camp last year and ended up leading the team in batting average, and he's been working on his body like a fiend over the winter, MLB.com reports.

"Going into last year, we felt if he played every day, he'd get in trouble, and we found that out, but this year maybe he can handle more," manager Don Mattingly said Friday. "He's really been diligent about his work, been at Dodger Stadium almost daily. He's put a lot of time in and it shows."

Turner credited strength-and-conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel for his workout success.

"Brandon did everything. He's been a one-man wrecking crew," said Turner. "He and his family deserve the credit. I've been able to establish a routine and train consistently. Before I signed a year ago, I was on my own, going to 24 Hour Fitness, had to coordinate everything myself."

Turner added that he lost 18 pounds this winter through a healthier diet. Mattingly said that he intends to use the infielder at the corner-infield positions and also potentially up the middle.


Nationals' Matt Skole: 'I'm eating healthy and working hard'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Nationals first baseman Matt Skole missed most of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and struggled at the plate in 2014 but showed up to camp in better shape and will look to rebound in 2015, MLB.com reports.

"This offseason, I had a little more time to work on my body," Skole said. "I really got after it in the weight room. I ate right. I ate healthy. I think that was probably the biggest difference for me. I'm about the same weight as I was. I just leaned out a little bit. I'm eating healthy and working hard."

Skole worked with hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich for a month after the season and learned to keep his hands up in order to hit the ball consistently after having his hands too low during his down 2014 season.

"After taking a year off, it was more difficult than I thought it would be," the left-handed-swinging Skole said. "But coming back, I turned some corners, made some strides as far as getting to know myself as a player and know the things I need to fix. I think everything I did last year was a stepping stone for this year."

Skole hit .241/.352/.399 with 14 home runs and 68 RBI in 461 at-bats with Double-A Harrisburg last season.


Diamondbacks' Brandon Drury to split time at 2B, 3B this spring


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Diamondbacks infielder Brandon Drury will split time at second base and third base this spring, the Arizona Republic reports.

Drury will pick up work at second base after the team signed Yasmany Tomas this offseason. He saw time at the position during the Arizona Fall League and also spent two games there with Double-A Mobile last season.

"I don't feel like I need extra reps at second to be game-ready there," Drury said. "I felt good there."

Drury approached starting second baseman Aaron Hill for advice during fielding drills Friday, impressing Hill with his ability to ask for help as well as the quickness of his adjustment to the advice.

"He made the adjustments easy. Easy," Hill said. "What's great, too, is when a guy is willing to ask question. He's a sponge and he wants to learn. I think it's awesome."

Drury hit .299/.362/.510 with 23 home runs and 95 RBI in 535 at-bats between high Class A Visalia and Mobile in 2014.


Braves' Rio Ruiz 'happy' with trade, impressing Pendleton in camp


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Braves third base prospect Rio Ruiz expressed happiness about being dealt to Atlanta as part of the package the Braves received for Evan Gattis, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"Initially (the trade) was overwhelming," Ruiz said. "Then I looked at the big picture and I was happy with it. I watched the Braves growing up, and my dad just talked about the guys that came through this system and played in the big leagues."

Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton, who was named National League MVP in 1991 as a member of the Braves, likes what he's seen from Ruiz in the early stages of spring training.

"I watched him play a little defense — he’s got a little work to do," Pendleton said. "But offensively, he’s sound. Really sound offensively. Just watching him in the cage, he’s inside the ball (with his swing). He’s what you want a young kid to be coming up so all you’ve got to do is tweak here and there. That’s what he looks like anyway."

Ruiz, 20, is expected to begin the season with Double-A Mississippi. He hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs, 77 RBI and four stolen bases in 516 at-bats with high Class A Lancaster in 2014.


D-Backs might find a way to keep Jake Lamb on roster


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) While the Diamondbacks are trying to see if Yasmany Tomas can develop into a starting third baseman at the major-league level, Jake Lamb is doing his best this spring to make sure the Diamondbacks don't forget about him, per MLB.com.

"He just looks great," Diamondbacks chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said. "I didn't see him last spring so I don't have anything to compare it to. I saw him at the end of the season, he could have been worn down. His talent is oozing. Believe me, at the point we're a contending club there is room for both of those guys [Tomas and Lamb] on the team. It's not that tough to figure out. They can't both play third base, but you could be creative. Get the best players on the field."


Wil Myers among the candidates to hit leadoff for Padres


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) The Padres don't have a prototypical leadoff hitter on their 40-man roster, so manager Bud Black is already trying to pare down the potential candidates he does have at his disposal, per U-T San Diego.

Yangervis Solarte, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin and Wil Myers -- let’s start there,” Black said of the options at the top of his list.

However, of that list of players, Myers is the only one assured of playing every day. He has a career .324 on-base percentage.


Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez likely to retire after 2015 season


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez said Friday the 2015 season will likely be his last in the majors. The 36-year-old Ramirez is entering his 18th season in the majors and fourth with the Brewers.

"I don't want a multi-year deal. I wasn't looking forward to that. I'm comfortable here," he said, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

"I'm going to play this year and probably be done after this year. I don't know if I want to play after this year. I think this is it. We'll see what happens, but I don't think I'll play after this year.

"It's more of a family thing. I've got three kids, I've been playing for a long time, been away for a long time. Sometimes it's just time to do something else."

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he is not surprised by Ramirez's announcement.

"We anticipated that anyways," he said. "It's not stunning. I think when he accepted our deal to come back that was probably a message. He didn't go out on the market. He's always said it's never been about the money."

Ramirez made the All-Star team in 2014 for the third time in his career. He has a career .285 average, .344 on-base percentage, .496 slugging percentage and .840 OPS.


Brewers manager Ron Roenicke eyeing infield depth this spring


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will spend spring training judging his infielder's versatility for depth behind Jean Segura and Scooter Gennett, per MLB.com.

Milwaukee has three shortstops on its 40-man roster with the chance to break camp with the big-league club. Hector Gomez, 26, and Luis Sardinas, 21, are expected to see time at second base behind Scooter Gennett.

"We want to give Scooter a chance against lefties, but if there's a day off we want to give him, or if it works out that we need to have a [right-handed hitting] guy there more often, who's it going to be?" Roenicke said. "Is it going to be Sardinas? Jimenez, because we know he hits lefties well? Who's that other guy who's going to be there?"

Yadiel Rivera, 22, should see some work at third behind Aramis Ramirez.


Nationals' Anthony Rendon taking a status-quo approach into 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) Coming off a breakout season in 2014, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon said he doesn't plan to change anything in his game.

It should come as no surprise since he finished fifth in the NL MVP race last season after batting .287 with a .473 slugging percentage, .824 OPS, 21 home runs, 39 doubles, 83 RBI and 111 runs.

“My game is simple,” Rendon said Wednesday, per The Washington Times. “I just try to put the barrel on the ball. When I put the barrel on the ball, good things come out most of the time.

“That’s what’s awesome about this game. A guy with two years [of experience] and a guy with 20 years, he’s still trying to improve himself in every part of the game. This game, you learn something new each and every day, so take it one day at a time and try to better yourself.”


Cubs' Kris Bryant to see time in the outfield this spring


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant will learn to play the outfield this spring, according to CBSChicago.com.

Bryant met with manager Joe Maddon, and it was determined that the 23-year-old would see some time in the outfield during camp. "I think if you ask him, he would say he prefers to play third base. As a team member he is prepared to go to the outfield," Maddon said.

Bryant will continue to play third, but Maddon said playing multiple positions could open up more opportunities down the road. 

Bryant hit a ridiculous .325/.438/.661 over two minor-league levels last year. 


Cubs manager Joe Maddon: Kris Bryant 'gets it'


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Cubs manager Joe Maddon is just getting to meet all of his prospects as they stream in for spring training. The skipper seems to have taken a liking to top prospect Kris Bryant after having a conversation with him.

"He gets it," Maddon said Monday to ESPN.com. "Great body, great power, good arm. A lot of good things, but he gets it. Meaning that he understands the work involved necessary to be great. He's rather humble for me. He knows he’s good but there’s humility about it too."

Maddon went on to say he thinks Bryant is "probably a good long-term solution" at third base for the club.


Phillies not worried about Freddy Galvis' bat


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Freddy Galvis is replacing Jimmy Rollins as the Phillies shortstop this year. The team has no worries that Galvis is up to the challenge defensively. 

Galvis hit just .176 last year, however, with four home runs and 12 RBI, a far cry from the production the team has come to expect from the position. 

The Phillies don't seem to be worried. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is confident that Galvis will hit. "Because he's an intelligent player," Amaro told Philly.com's Ryan Lawrence. "He's going to learn, he's going to make adjustments and I think he has the potential to do that."

Coach Larry Bowa and manager Ryne Sandberg said that it's important for Galvis to realize what role he needs to fill. 

"He's got to recognize what kind of hitter he is - he's a singles hitter," Bowa said. Keep the ball in the middle of the field . . . Put the ball in play. ... He cannot strike out, not move runners."

"he needs to be ready to do some little things: hit-and-run, bunt and safety squeeze, put the ball in play and shorten up," Sandberg said. "That's the biggest thing is for him to stay within that approach in staying short and looking for consistent contact and using the whole field."


Mets' David Wright will avoid head-first slides


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2/22/2015) Mets third baseman David Wright knows he is unlikely to play in all 162 games this season. To help him play in as many games as possible, Wright said he will no longer slide head-first, reports MLB.com.

In 2014, Wright dealt with a shoulder issue, but he would't offer that as an excuse for his lack of home runs, reports the New York Post.

"It's kind of easy to use the shoulder as an excuse, but if I'm in the game I expect to perform," he said.

Wright added he won't argue if manager Terry Collins wants him to take a day or two off to rest.


Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez could see more time off in 2015


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/21/2015) Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez could see fewer games in order to preserve his health for the full season, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Manager Ron Roenicke said that giving Ramirez some more days off will help get the most out of his play.

Ramirez has dealt with numerous injuries the last few years and is 36 years old. Ramirez appeared in 133 games a year ago.


Maddon: Third base 'wide open' for Cubs


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/20/2015) New Cubs manager Joe Maddon met with the media at spring training on Friday and admitted he had no idea who would be playing third base for the team. 

Maddon declared the battle for the hot corner wide open

The competition seems to boil down the three options. Mike Olt played 52 games at third for the Cubs last season. He hit .160 with 12 home runs and 33 RBI. He enters spring training as the likely favorite. 

Kris Bryant is the team's third baseman of the future. The second overall pick in the 2013 draft, shot through the farm system in a year and a half. He played 70 games at Triple-A Iowa last season, hitting .295 with 21 home runs and 52 RBI. He hasn't yet made his Major League debut. 

Arismendy Alcantara is also an option. The versatile rookie played 48 games in center and 25 at second base last season and has been praised as being capable of playing anywhere on the field. He hit .205 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. 


David Wright cleared for full participation with Mets


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2/20/2015) Mets third baseman David Wright was cleared for full participation in spring training. 

Team general manager Sandy Alderson met with the media on Friday morning and said that Wright's left shoulder got a good report from the team orthopedist. Wright shouldn't have any constraints on his activities in spring training. 

Wright had a career low eight home runs and .269 average for the Mets last year, and his season was cut short by ligament damage in the shoulder. Wright avoided surgery in the offseason. 


Pedro Alvarez wins arbitration hearing over Pirates


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/19/2015) Infielder Pedro Alvarez won his arbitration hearing against the Pirates, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Alvarez will receive $5.75 million in 2015 instead of $5.25 million, which is the amount the Pirates submitted. 

Alvarez hit .231 with 18 home runs in 122 games last season. After committing 25 errors at third base in 99 of those games, the Pirates have considered moving Alvarez to first base.


Cubs' Kris Bryant not worried about service time


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/18/2015) Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant isn't going to let service time concerns bother him this season, according to MLB.com.

Bryant is considered one of the top prospects in the game, and is close to reaching the majors, but the Cubs could opt to delay a promotion in order to play around with his service time. If that happens, Bryant isn't worried about it. "I think I have a pretty good grasp of [service time issue] but I don’t look into it at all," Bryant said. "I don’t make those decisions, I make the decisions on the field for me and how hard I play and that’s all I can control."

The 23-year-old does seem to have a clear path to the majors, especially after the team dealt Luis Valbuena during the offseason. Still, the Cubs can attempt to get by with a stop gap for a few months in order to get an extra year of control on Bryant. 

Bryant obliterated the minors last year, hitting .325/.438/.661, with 43 home runs, over two levels. 


Cardinals' Holliday: Matt Carpenter should be more aggressive


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/18/2015) Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday has been pressing third baseman Matt Carpenter to be more aggressive at the plate at informal workouts before the official start of camp, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

"It’s great to walk and have long at-bats but he’s got the potential to hit 50 doubles. We’ve seen it," Holliday said. "He’s got the potential to hit 15 to 20 homers. We saw that in the postseason. It’s fine that first at-bat of the game if you want to take some pitches. But I’d like to see him be a little bit more aggressive. It’s in there. He showed it. It’s in there for all of us."

Carpenter, slugged three home runs during last year's National League Division Series after adopting a more aggressive approach, hit .272/.375/.375 with eight home runs and 59 RBI in 595 at-bats in 2014. The infielder also led the league in base on balls by drawing 95 walks.


Pirates' Pedro Alvarez to start camp in the mix at first base


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/17/2015) Pirates infielder Pedro Alvarez will start camp in the mix at first base after struggling defensively at third base last season, committing 25 errors in 99 games. He'll just need to be adequate defensively at first base due to his offensive strength, the Associated Press reports.

"He's not the first player and he's not the last player that will go through a struggle," Pirates genearl manager Neal Huntington said. "He's not going to be the first and the last to come out of that struggle. We need to get him back to hitting balls in the seats."

Alvarez hit 36 home runs in 2013 while making his first appearance in the All-Star Game. His bat cooled off amid his defensive issues last season, and he hit just .231/.312/.405 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 398 at-bats. It's possible he platoons with Corey Hart at first base this season, though manager Clint Hurdle indicated in December that the plan was to use Alvarez every day at first base.


Phillies leaning on Freddy Galvis at shortstop to start in 2015


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/13/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has a hole to fill at shortstop this season after trading Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies have Freddy Galvis on the roster in addition to a top prospect J.P. Crawford. But Philadelphia is planning to lean on Galvis at the beginning of the season.

"We can't have it both ways," Amaro Jr. said. "We have to either give young players the opportunity to play to find out if they can play or not. That's kind of where we are. Right now, Freddy is the guy that will get the opportunity to be our shortstop."

Galvis hit .176 in 2014 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 119 plate appearances.


Giants 3B Casey McGehee settles on $4.8M salary for 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/12/2015) Giants third baseman Casey McGehee avoided arbitration by settling on a $4.8 million salary for the 2015 season, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. McGehee had filed for $5.4 million and the Giants offered $4 million.

Reds sign IF Chris Dominguez, invite him to spring training


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2/11/2015) The Reds announced they signed infielder Chris Dominguez to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. He was released this month by the Giants.

Last year, Dominguez went 1 for 17 with a homer in the majors and batted .274/.307/.460 over 496 Triple-A at-bats with the Giants.


Cubs 3B Mike Olt hoping adjustments pay off in 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/10/2015) While Cubs fans might be expecting or hoping for top prospect Kris Bryant to win the starting job at third base this spring, Mike Olt still expects to be in the mix as well, per MLB.com.

"I'm just making sure I'm ready and making the adjustments I need and that I learned from last year," Olt said. "I took a lot out of last year. It took me a while to kind of get over a lot of negative things, but when I started focusing on the positive things I did and the things I can improve on, which were slightly easy adjustments, I think it'll help me."

Olt was the Cubs' opening-day starter at third base in 2014, but he struggled offensively and was even demoted to the minors for a stretch last season.

"I just lost confidence, and that's the most important thing about baseball is confidence," Olt said. "If you can get positive things out of the negatives, and build on that, you can get back on track, and that's what I'm trying to do."

Olt said he will try not to swing so hard at the plate in an effort to make him a more consistent offensive player.

"It's tough to say but when you swing hard, everything starts to fly open, and if I can be quick to the ball, I'll let the natural power take over," he said. "It's tough to tell yourself but when you can calm yourself down, you get in a good position."


Phillies GM Ruben Amaro might add shortstop, catcher during camp


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/10/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said he doesn't plan to add a veteran shortstop or catcher before spring training opens, per ESPN. However, he could add to the roster at both positions during camp.

According to the depth chart on the team's official website, Carlos Ruiz remains the starting catcher and Cameron Rupp, who has played just 22 games at the major-league level, is his backup. Freddy Galvis is listed as the only shortstop in the wake of Jimmy Rollins' trade to Los Angeles.


 
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