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Astros' Evan Gattis dealing with dehydration


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:59 pm ET) Astros catcher Evan Gattis is battling dehydration Monday, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Manager A.J. Hinch indicated that the issue isn't serious and shouldn't prevent Gattis from working out. Acquired this offseason from the Braves, Gattis should get work at first base and in the outfield this spring.


Orioles' Matt Wieters set for 'catcher movement' drills Monday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will get behind the plate Monday to take part in "catcher movement" drills, which involve quickly throwing to each base, MLB.com reports.

"It's got to be a little more reactive and instinctual, which is what we're going to try to accomplish with this," Wieters said. "We'll go by feel. I got into -- a little bit earlier in the rehab -- where I wanted to test it, test it, test it, then you end up pushing it too far and you can set yourself back. It's a matter of just going by feel and getting as much out of it as we can without feeling like we're fatiguing and risking injury."

Wieters caught two innings in Sunday's intrasquad game, marking his first time catching a game since undergoing Tommy John surgery. "It's definitely nice to get back there, but as far as feeling like I was rusty or anything like that, I really didn't. It felt kind of normal back there being a catcher," Wieters said.

The catcher is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut in Tuesday's home opener as the team's designated hitter.


Twins send five home due to illness before Monday workouts


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (illness) was back at workouts Monday, but the Twins sent five other players home due to illness before Monday workouts began, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Pitcher Trevor May and outfielders Byron Buxton and Jordan Schafer missed a second straight day of workouts, while catcher Kurt Suzuki and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia also had to miss the Monday session.

The Twins begin exhibition season Wednesday with a game against the University of Minnesota.


Orioles' Matt Wieters to begin last step in recovery from elbow surgery


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will take the last step in his recovery from elbow surgery when he begins catcher-movement drills Monday, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Wieters is recovering from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery and is slated to be cleared March 17 to begin throwing in games.


Tigers' Alex Avila to resume baseball activity Sunday


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) After sitting out two days to rest his back, Tigers catcher Alex Avila is feeling better and will resume baseball activities Sunday, reports the Detroit Free Press. Manger Brad Ausmus said Avila will receive some work at first base Monday. 

Twins' Kurt Suzuki fine after taking pitch off kneecap


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said he would be fine after taking a pitch off his kneecap area Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Ryan Pressly slipped while attempting to deliver a changeup during a live batting practice session Saturday, and the ball crossed up the catcher.

"It was my fault," Pressly said. "I just slipped on the mound and yanked a changeup down. The ball caught (Suzuki) in the meaty part right between the shinguard and the padding. There's a little spot where he's vulnerable."

Manager Paul Molitor said Suzuki wasn't added to the team's post-workout injury report.


Orioles' Matt Wieters to catch intrasquad game Sunday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be behind the plate in a game situation for the first time since May when he starts Sunday's intrasquad game, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"This is a day I've been waiting for about nine months now," Wieters said. "It's what I enjoy doing and even though it won't be full catching and throwing and doing everything full, it's still nice to get behind the plate and be able to get work in as a catcher at least."

Wieters, who had elbow ligament reconstruction surgery last June, is scheduled to catch two innings Sunday. He won't throw at 100 percent until March 17 but will continue to work in simulatd scenarios behind the plate in order to allow him to catch five-to-seven innings when he's ready for Grapefruit League games.


Tigers catcher Alex Avila expected to be back Sunday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Tigers catcher Alex Avila is still dealing with a back injury and will not participate in practice Saturday, reports MLive.com. It is the second consecutive day Avila will miss with the back injury.

Manager Brad Ausmus said he'd be shocked if Avila is not practicing Sunday. 


Royals' Pena thinks extra offseason reps will help him earn a spot


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Royals backup catcher Francisco Pena told reporters that his reps for the Dominican Republican in the Caribbean Series earlier in February could help him win a spot on the roster this spring, per MLB.com.

"I feel like the more games you play, the more chances you have to get better," Pena said. "I love baseball. It's what I know. I was inspired by watching the World Series, and I saw how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there. That's also something my father taught me, to work hard and be prepared."

Pena was a September callup last season, but only made one appearance in the majors in 2014. Although it's early in camp, Pena has an outside shot to make the club. The Royals have Erik Kratz currently listed as the backup to starter Salvador Perez.


Mariners catcher prospect John Hicks on the radar for MLB callup


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Mariners catcher John Hicks might not be on the radar as an elite prospect, but after posting a .288/.337/.419/.756 slash line through four minor-league seasons, he at least has the attention of the Mariners' decision makers.

“He’s a catcher who has the ability to do a lot of things,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, per The News Tribune. “His bat plays. He’s got a bright future. He’ll probably see significant playing time this spring.”

Hicks is expected to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma, but he could make his MLB debut in 2015.

“Listen, you’re on the 40-man roster,” McClendon said. “You’re on that roster for a reason. That’s to (the club to) protect you in case we have injuries. Then you move up.

“So, yeah, there’s a chance he could see time in the big leagues this year if there’s an injury.”


Twins C Josmil Pinto has eyes set on improving defensively


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Twins catcher Josmil Pinto struggled defensive last season. He was unable to throw out a base steals in all 20 attempts in 2014. Pinto, who is an early favorite to secure a backup spot behind Kurt Suzuki this season, told reporters he played Venezuela this offseason to get more reps and improve his skills defensively, according to MLB.com.

"That's the first reason I went to Venezuela," Pinto said. "I wanted to catch a couple games and improve my defense. It was the first year I played a complete season. So it was good.

"Improving my defense is the most important part to me making the team," Pinto said. "And I want to make the team."


Astros manager A.J. Hinch offers advice to C Max Stassi


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) During a batting practice session Friday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch noticed he could assist with some fundamental work behind the plate with catcher Max Stassi

With Stassi catching pitcher Chad Qualls, Hinch advised him to turn his shoulder on certain pitches, according to the Houston Chronicle

“There’s some angles you try to create both for the visual for the pitcher and also for the benefit of the umpire,” he said. “With all the talk of the framing stuff, we want to get the most strikes out of our pitchers. There’s certainly techniques to pay attention to even in side sessions and live BPs.”

For Stassi, it appears he was happy with the advice from Hinch, a former major-league catcher. 

“He’s caught in the big leagues," Stassi said. "He’s been there and done that. He was just giving me a few tips. It’s just framing and the positioning of your body too. It’s just real simple, a better presentation of the pitch for your pitcher and the umpire.


Back injury keeps Tigers' Alex Avila out of workouts Friday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said catcher Alex Avila didn't participate in workouts Friday due to a sore back. He is being listed as day to day, per MLB.com.

Vazquez on Varitek: Great teacher, the Google of baseball


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez seems to be very happy with the lessons he is learning from former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek.

"Great, great teacher," Vazquez said of Varitek, per MLB.com. "I call him the Google of baseball. It's so great to have somebody like him. It's a pleasure.

"Right now, we're working on receiving and getting the ball to travel more and just let it breathe. That's helped me. Varitek tells me I need to talk to each pitcher about what he likes, what he doesn't like. It's very important to get that trust. I'm like a manager now. I need to be in charge, calling games.

"I'm ready to help this team to win and help my teammates. We have a great group of pitchers here and we're trying to win this year and get to the playoffs. I'm here to win and helping the team. I'm excited to be here."


Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday tweaked his stance, swing


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday told reporters he has tweaked his stance and swing after experiencing an "eye-opening" 2014 campaign, according to the Detroit Free Press

"I've made a lot of adjustments; I feel better and I'm more confident," Holaday said. "I've done a little tweaking with my stance and my swing to make it more efficient. Basically shortened the swing to make my timing better."

Holaday hit .231/.266/.276 in 171 at-bats last season. Manager Brad Ausmus appears to be impressed by Holaday's adjustments at the plate early on.

"He looks good swinging the bat," Ausmus said. "It's early, but he looks good."


Orioles' Wieters will catch 5-7 innings in first game behind plate


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday catcher Matt Wieters (elbow) will catch 5-7 innings when he plays in his first spring game at catcher March 17, per MLB.com.

Blue Jays' Russell Martin, R.A. Dickey starting to develop chemistry


by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2/25/2015) After their first pitching and catching session of the spring, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said he had no issues trying to catch R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, reports MLB.com.

"I think he's probably a little bit impressed with how I'm able to catch it and not struggle too much," Martin said. "I'm not making it look too pretty back there, but I think as long as I catch the ball, I think that's the most important part."

Dickey has struggled to find a catcher over the last two seasons with the Blue Jays that can handle his knuckleball, but said Martin appears to be the perfect match.

"Russell's a great athlete, and more than that, he has a real willingness and desire to unpack what it takes to catch it well," Dickey said. "I don't anticipate us having any trouble. I think he's going to be able to do it."


Twins' Molitor: Pinto, Herrmann Fryer competing for backup catcher spot


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Twins manager Paul Molitor told reporters on Tuesday that there is a three-man race between Josmil Pinto, Chris Herrmann and Eric Fryer for the club's backup role behind Kurt Suzuki, per MLB.com.

"That's going to be an interesting competition," Molitor said. "There's different criteria you can consider. Do you want the guy that is going to be your best defender for 30-40 games or you want to have the offense and hopefully have enough defense? I'm open-minded."

At this point, Pinto may be the early favorite because of his threat at the plate. He hit 257/.339/.445 with 11 homers and 30 RBIs in 78 career games with Minnesota. Herrmann slashed .194/.264/.284 hitter in 97 games over parts of three years with the Twins. Fryer is hitting .246 in 50 career games.


Astros still believe in Jason Castro after down year offensively


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) After an All-Star campaign in 2013, Astros catcher Jason Castro suffered a bit of a drop-off, especially offensively, in 2014. He struggled to find an offensive rhythm last season, batting just .222 in a career-high 126 games.

Even though Castro is coming off a down year offensively, the Astros still have high hopes for the 27-year-old catcher.

"He's a player that's an important player on our team, and he needs to be himself. He can have an impact on both sides of the ball," Hinch said Monday, per the Associated Press. "I really believe that he's settling into an important few years of his career. ... As he's getting older and more mature and more comfortable in the league, and getting into his rhythm and game plan on catching and hitting, he's in a great spot to have a great impact."

Astros general manager Jeff Lunhow echoes Hinch's sentiments.

"He's been a key part of the team ever since I got here," Luhnow said. "He had his All-Star year a couple years ago. Last year we saw some major strides defensively with his game, which were important, and the offense slipped a little bit, but I think that if you can somehow get the offense from 2013 and the defense from 2014, you've got one of the better catchers in the game."


Blue Jays GM will try to accommodate Dioner Navarro's trade request


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/24/2015) Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said Tuesday he will try to accommodate catcher Dioner Navarro's request to be traded. Although, he indicated it could take a while.

Navarro has expressed his desire to be traded since Toronto signed Russell Martin in the offseason.


Blue Jays' Dioner Navarro hoping for trade to play every day


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Blue Jays backup catcher Dioner Navarro is aware the team is looking to deal him. He's made it publicly known he also wouldn't mind getting dealt to another team.

"Up to today (a trade) is still my goal," said Navarro, according to sportsnet.ca. "I'd like to go to a place where I can play every day, because I already know that I can do it. There was doubt on myself last year and I felt strong throughout the whole season, I think I did a pretty good job. I signed a two-year deal here to catch every day and unfortunately they felt they needed to make a move. I just would like to play every day somewhere."

The Blue Jays acquired Russell Martin this offseason, pushing Navarro into a backup role, with the chance to spell slugger Edwin Encarnacion in the DH spot. He feels he's been put in a difficult situation.

"Obviously it is," he said. "I think I put myself in a really good position last year and I expressed throughout the whole year last year how grateful I was with the Blue Jays for giving me the opportunity, and I don’t  know where or if anything did go wrong. I’m a pro, I’m going to do my job, I’m going to be ready for whatever and see what happens."

Navarro hit .274 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 69 RBI in 481 plate appearances.


Gibbons: Encarnacion starting 1B, three vying for at-bats at DH


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed Monday veteran Edwin Encarnacion will remain the starting first baseman. However, Gibbons added the 32-year-old slugger will get some games at DH to help avoid any issues with his back.

Gibbons also said Justin Smoak, Danny Valencia and Dioner Navarro are the top candidates for playing time at DH.


Avila, Gose among options to bat second for Tigers vs. RHPs


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Monday he is "seriously considering" batting catcher Alex Avila second in the order against right-handed pitchers, per MLive.com. Anthony Gose appears to be the other main option, but Gose could also lead off, which would allow Ian Kinsler to bat second.

Ausmus added Jose Iglesias could also work into the mix, but he doesn't see Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez or Nick Castellanos as options to bat second.


Athletics' Josh Phegley hoping to win starting job


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(2/22/2015) Athletics catcher Josh Phegley is hoping to win a starting job with his new club, according to MLB.com.

Phegley came over in the Jeff Samardzija trade during the offseason, and sees this as the first time he'll be seriously considered for the starting job. Manager Bob Melvin agreed, saying Phegley has "got a great opportunity to be that guy." 

The 27-year-old had chances at playing time with the White Sox over the past few seasons, but the club opted to go with Tyler Flowers instead. Coming over to the A's should speed up the process for Phegley. "I was extremely surprised, but very excited when I heard I was coming over here," he said. "Anytime you get traded, that team obviously wants you. Everything I've heard, all the feedback I've gotten, it looks like I've got a pretty good opportunity."

Phegley has hit .207/.221/.332 over 241 career at-bats in the majors. 


Orioles C Matt Wieters throwing from approximately 120 feet


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/21/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters completed a long toss session from approximately 120 feet on Saturday, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Wieters, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, has been throwing on back-to-back days, but took the day off on Friday before resuming on Saturday. He is expected to serve as a designated hitter for the first half of March while he recovers from surgery.


 
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