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Giants designate Chris Dominguez for assignment


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) The Giants have designated Chris Dominguez for assignment, according to MLB.com.

The 28-year-old Dominguez received 17 at-bats in the majors last season. He spent most of the season in Triple-A, where he hit .274/.307/.460 over 496 at-bats. Dominguez had to be removed from the 40-man roster in order to make room for Ryan Vogelsong.


Angels avoid arbitration with David Freese


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Angels have avoided arbitration with third baseman David Freese, the team announced. 

Freese signed a one-year deal worth $6.425 million, according to MLB.com. The 31-year-old Freese hit .260/.321/.383 over 462 at-bats last season. Freese is set to open the season as the team's starter at third. 


Indians 3B Giovanny Urshela expected to be ready for spring training


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Indians third base prospect Giovanny Urshela, who sprained a knee ligament in a Venezuelan winter league game in November, should be ready for spring training, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Urshela, 23, is considered the most skilled defensive third baseman in the organization.

He likely will begin the season at Triple-A Columbus, but "could get a look" if Lonnie Chisenhall falters, the paper said.


Tigers' Castellanos works to be 'more comfortable' at 3B in 2015


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos struggled in his first full year playing third base at the major-league level in 2014, so he is hard at work this offseason improving his defense

"Last year was [about] the actual ground-ball catching," Castellanos said, per MLB.com. "This year is a lot more [about] quickness, working on my range, lateral movement."

On top of committing 15 errors, Castellanos' Ultimate Zone Rating of negative-18.4 was nearly twice as bad as the next-lowest rating among third-base regulars. He also had a Defensive Runs Saved of minus-30 and a plus/minus rating of minus-39, which was lowest in the majors last year.

"I'm going to be more comfortable this year," Castellanos said. "Last year, I knew nobody [in terms of hitting tendencies]. Also I was getting used to the tempo of the game. It wasn't like I was in the big leagues for a while at another position and then had to go to third base. It was pretty much me making my first year in the big leagues at pretty much a new position, or trying to relearn an old position."


Cardinals' Carpenter hoping to build off postseason power surge


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter hit just eight home runs with a .375 slugging percentage during the 2014 regular season, but had a much better power swing in the postseason, belting four home runs and slugging .722 in nine games.

“I took a more of an aggressive approach in the postseason,” Carpenter said, per STLBaseballWeekly.com. “Part of that was from the experience that I had gathered the year before. After a long season, going into the playoffs I felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I felt like I could’ve been. It kind of snowballed and my approach and the way I took the regular season at-bat in the postseason it wasn’t playing out well.”

Carpenter said his postseason success could have a positive impact on his power numbers in 2015.

"Certainly, I’m always going to be a guy who’s patient at the plate, but that was a good learning experience for me -- being aggressive," he said. "I don’t remember the exact numbers but out of the four home runs I hit, I think three of them were on the first pitch. That’s something typically I don’t do a lot of, and it was a good learning experience.”


Report: Yankees looking to void milestone bonuses for A-Rod


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Yankees are looking to void milestone bonuses in Alex Rodriguez 's contract, according to the New York Daily News.

When Rodriguez signed his deal with the club in 2007, it contained bonuses as Rodriguez tied or passed the top home run hitters. Rodriguez, who has 654 career home runs, is just six away from tying Willie Mays, which would trigger a $6 million bonus. He is also set to receive an additional $6 million once he ties Babe Ruth, and another $6 milliion if he ties Hank Aaron.

The team, however, now views those bonuses as worthless due to his 2014 suspension. The team will argue that these bonuses were signed under false pretenses. The club is apparently willing to fight the player's union over the decision should Rodriguez file a grievance. 

Rodriguez, who hasn't played since 2013, has already found it difficult to mend the fences with his team. Rodriguez proposed a meeting with the club where he would publicly apologize for his actions last season, but the team declined the offer. "This is a relationship that is never going to be repaired," one source told the Daily News.


Orioles, Ryan Flaherty avoid arbitration


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Orioles have avoided arbitration with infielder Ryan Flaherty, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. 

Flaherty will make $1.075 million next season. He can make an additional $25,000 if he receives 400 plate appearances. The 28-year-old Flaherty hit .221/.288/.356 over 281 at-bats last year.


White Sox 3B Conor Gillaspie bulks up


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) White Sox third baseman Conor Gillaspie says his offseason weight training program has enabled him to add 15-20 pounds of muscle, "which should translate into driving the ball harder," reports ESPN.com.

“Honestly I’m hoping that by taking the same swing that I did last year, because I’m stronger, I’m hoping that translates into more power,” Gillaspie said, per the website. “It may or may not. We have enough guys that do hit for power on this team now. There are quite a few of them, so truthfully, I think I might be just as valuable getting on base, drawing walks, moving runners.” 

Gillaspie hit .282 with seven homers and 57 RBI in 130 games last year.


Report: Yankees decline reconciliation with Alex Rodriguez


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) After meeting with new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred to clear the air over his year-long suspension in 2014, Alex Rodriguez also reached out to the Yankees to set up a meeting, but was turned down, reports the New York Post.

Rodriguez requested to meet with the Yankees to apologize for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but was told to wait until spring training. Reports also surfaced that Rodriguez is looking noticeably thinner compared to recent seasons, a source told the New York Post.

Rodriguez is set to report to spring training Feb. 25.


Astros ask third baseman Matt Dominguez to learn first base


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) 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
(1/24/2015) 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
(1/24/2015) 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."


Mets' Cuddyer on Wright: 'I see that spark in him again this offseason'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) New Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer has spent some time this offseason working out with third baseman David Wright. Cuddyer said he has seen a much improved Wright from the last time he saw him during a series against the Rockies in September, when Wright was plagued by a shoulder injury.

"I see that spark in him again this offseason," Cuddyer said, per NJ.com. "I see that enthusiasm, that excitement and the strength. He looks strong right now, which is good to see."

Wright, whose injury was diagnosed as a rotator cuff contusion, failed to make the All-Star team last season for just the second time since 2006. He hit .269 with a career-low eight home runs in 134 games. Wright even had 14 home runs in 69 games as a rookie in 2004.


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


Braves sign Kelly Johnson to a minor-league deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) The Braves have signed infielder Kelly Johnson to a minor-league deal, according to MLB.com.

Johnson saw time with three major-league teams last season, hitting .215/.296/.362 over 265 at-bats. The 32-year-old came up with Atlanta, and spent the first four seasons of his career with the franchise. The contract includes an invite to spring training. 


Cardinals will not try to overhaul Mark Reynolds' approach at plate


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Cardinals slugger Mark Reynolds has carved out a niche in the majors as a power hitter. He has 224 home runs and a .457 slugging percentage over eight MLB seasons.

Unfortunately, Reynolds is also known as an all-or-nothing hitter and strikes out quite a lot. He has 1,398 strikeouts in 1,118 games.

Still, the Cardinals have no plans to dramatically overhaul Reynolds' swing, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“We need to capitalize on what his strengths are and not to focus on the weaknesses,” Matheny said, “and realize that he’s got a power component that is very rare. There are going to be some swings and misses.

“But we’re not necessarily going to go up and ask him to completely overhaul that. Make some subtle changes to maybe improve, but not be afraid to drive the ball. That’s why we did bring him in, and also to give us some options against tough lefthanded pitching.”


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.”


Trade of Valbuena doesn't mean Cubs are rushing Bryant to the majors


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday the trade of third baseman Luis Valbuena to Houston and third-base prospect Kris Bryant's roster situation are "totally independent" of each other.

Hoyer added Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara could play at third base until Chicago feels Bryant is ready for the majors.

"We are not going to speed up that clock," Hoyer said, per ESPN.

Bryant, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, has developed into one of the top prospects in baseball. He hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games in the minors in 2014.


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.


Phillies GM: 'In a perfect world,' Franco would begin season in minors


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/17/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday that "in a perfect world," infielder Maikel Franco would begin the season in Lehigh Valley.

Amaro indicated that Franco will "be bounced around a little bit, and we'll see if he's ready to help us at the big-league level,"

"He may not be. I think in a perfect world he starts in Triple-A and continues to progress there and then we bring him when he's ready. But we'll see. Hopefully he creates some competition for (Cody) Asche and pushes him a little bit."

With an eye on the future, Philadelphia would get an extra year before Franco eventually hit free agency, if he spends the first month and a half of the season in the minors.

"This will be an interesting spring training for him," Amaro said. "He had a great year coming into last year's spring training, and I think he pressed a little bit. I think it was a new experience for him, to be in big-league camp, trying to hit a lot of home runs and trying to do a lot of things. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this experience. He's not a lock for our team, but he'll be competing."


 
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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