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Cubs' Joe Maddon impressed by Kris Bryant


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Cubs manager Joe Maddon said third baseman Kris Bryant has been one of the most impressive position players this spring, reports MLB.com

"He's solid, he's motivated," Maddon said. "He's got a really nice way about him. He's really good, he knows he's really good, but he carries that very well. I like that. False humility doesn't do anything. It's kind of a worthless quality. I think his humility is sincere, but he also knows that he's good."

Despite Maddon's endorsement of Bryant, Maddon would not commit to Bryant making the Opening Day roster.

"Somewhere," Maddon said. "There's all kinds of Opening Days."


Mets to sit Wright, Cuddyer, Murphy, Granderson for first two games


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) The Mets are planning to sit David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson during the first two games of spring training, reports ESPNNewYork.com. Their first game of the spring will be Friday.

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. 


Padres' Middlebrooks, Solarte competing, getting along at third base


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Padres thirdbasemen Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte are both battling to get the starting nod at third base during spring training, but the two are getting along just fine so far, reports UTSanDiego.com.

"I'm trying to help him, he's trying to help me," Middlebrooks said. "We're working together, we're having fun and we're competing. It's for the team, and I think it'll be good if we both push each other."

Middlebrooks hit .191 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 215 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2014.

He is also okay if he ends up playing a different position down the line.

"Third base is the priority," he said, "but wherever I can get in the lineup, wherever I can help us win some baseball games, that's what's important for me."

Meanwhile, Solarte is doing what he can to help Middlebrooks adjust to his new surroundings.

"That's competing," Solarte said. "For me, it's my teammate. I want to work hard with him and make it fun, too."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.”


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.


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."


 
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