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Phillies' Carlos Ruiz staying fresh this spring


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz won't be used much this spring, according to MLB.com.

The 36-year-old won't catch much during camp in order to keep him fresh. Manager Ryne Sandberg confirmed that the team has a plan with Ruiz. "We kind of have a program for him," Sandberg said. "I'm going to get him behind the plate as needed the first half of Spring Training here. Get him to DH the other games. We also have a chance to get him some at-bats when they start [in the Minor League camp]."

Ruiz is on board with the move. "That's the plan until the middle of Spring Training, to be in good shape for the end of the season," Ruiz said. "I'm still catching bullpens in the morning and doing all my work. To keep fresh."

Ruiz hit .252/.347/.370 over 381 at-bats last season. 


Tigers' Alex Avila to return on Saturday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Tigers catcher Alex Avila is set to return to the club on Saturday, according to MLB.com.

Avila missed the past three days while on paternity leave. His wife gave birth to the couple's second daughter on Wednesday. Avila will return to the lineup once he arrives at camp. Manager Brad Ausmus confirmed that Avila will be in the lineup on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Avila hit .219/.327/.359 over 390 at-bats last season. 


Brewers' Lucroy could get into spring game sooner than expected


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is progressing fast enough in his recovery from a right hamstring strain that he could play in spring games sooner than expected. Lucroy wasn't expected to get into spring games until the last week or two of spring training, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"I think it’ll be a lot sooner than that," Lucroy said Friday. "I feel pretty good already but obviously we’re going to be cautiously optimistic about it and take our time. There’s no sense in rushing it because I’m sure I’ll get plenty of playing time so I’m not really too worried about it."

Manager Ron Roenicke confirmed Lucroy's new timetable.

"We talked to the minor-league side to see what they have going on, and they’ve got some simulated games or BP starting the 11th," Roenicke said. "Luc would like to see some live pitching before so we’ll try to pick some spots before to see if we can get him feeling pretty comfortable before he starts some games.

"The timing of it, the way I look at it on the schedule, we have a lot of games left once he starts playing. So I think we’ll be OK with it."


Twins' Ryan not worried about Josmil Pinto's hamstring injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Twins catcher Josmil Pinto is sidelined in camp due to a hamstring injury. However, the injury is not considered serious.

General manager Terry Ryan said Pinto tweaked his hamstring during a drill, per the Pioneer Press.

"I'm not too worried about it," Ryan said.


Tigers' Ausmus: James McCann can be very good major-league catcher


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Tigers catcher James McCann, who is vying for a spot on the roster as a backup to Alex Avila, allowed a passed ball during Thursday's spring game against the Braves. After the game, McCann was very critical of his play and vowed to make sure no more pitches skip by him. 

McCann's relentless work ethic is one trait that manager Brad Aumus likes about the 24-year-old catcher.

"I don't have to worry about him working," Ausmus said Thursday, per the Detroit Free Press. "I think Mac does an excellent job. He is very alert. His head is into the game at all times. He understands that his value is greater on the defensive side of the game than it is when he is standing in the batter's box. That's not to say he doesn't take his hitting seriously.

"I think he has a chance to be a very good major-league catcher. I'm more concerned about how he handles a staff, how he calls a game, how he blocks balls in the dirt (than his ability to throw out runners)."


Indians' Yan Gomes' first hit of spring goes for home run


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Indians catcher Yan Gomes' first hit of the spring came on a two-run home run during Cleveland's 9-3 Cactus League win over the Reds. 

Gomes went yard in the fifth inning off of Reds pitcher Burke Badenhop. 

Thursday's showing was a good sign that Gomes is picking up where he left off in 2014, when he recorded a batting average of .278 and hit 21 home runs. 


Astros catcher Hank Conger dealing with left wrist injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Astros catcher Hank Conger is dealing with a minor left wrist injury, according to the Houston Chronicle. However, he could catch in a game this weekend.

“Conger has been delayed a little bit,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “I think we’re going to get him in a game this weekend, he’s not injured. It’s just we’re delaying the start of his spring until most likely this weekend. … We’ve tried to be good to these guys on the health side and our trainers have kept him healthy.

“I think he’s catching a 'pen today. We held him off a couple days, but he’s fine. He just needed a day.”


Padres C Griff Erickson joined Padres for 'opportunity'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Padres catcher Griff Erickson is in camp as a nonroster invitee and said Wednesday he chose to join his hometown team for "the opportunity," U-T San Diego reports.

"It's not about the money," Erickson said. "I could've signed somewhere else, got paid more money. It's about the opportunity. I feel like here, not only is it just because it's my hometown, it's a great opportunity."

Erickson is in major-league camp for the third time this season. He hit .297/.384/.510 with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 155 at-bats with Triple-A Albuquerque in 2014.


Orioles' J.P. Arencibia making strides working with bench coach


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Orioles catcher J.P. Arencibia has made a favorable impression on manager Buck Showalter, per MASNsports.com. Arencibia, who is in camp on a minor-league deal, has been working with bench coach and catching instructor John Russell on improving his defense.

"He and John are working on a couple of things," Showalter said. "I've seen John do some things with guys that I didn't think was possible. I keep a real open mind about anything with a catcher here. I think John very quietly is one of the best I've ever been around, but he doesn't make everybody do it exactly the same. We'll see how it plays out.

"He's very engaged. He knows what the job description requires and he's trying to bring it. I think we all know offensively he's capable of better, but his damage has always good."


Cubs taking wait-and-see approach on Welington Castillo's future


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Although Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is on the trade block and could be dealt before opening day, manager Joe Maddon told reporters that he's going to let the Castillo rumors play out before he decides whether he'll break camp with three catchers, per Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

"Let's just play it (out)," Maddon said. "Let's get him ready. He's really good. I really mean it. I like Castillo a lot. He's really opened up also in talking to guys and among the group, which is really nice to hear. There's a lot of good stuff going on there."


Rays DH John Jaso doing well in early stages of outfield experiment


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Rays manager Kevin Cash seems pleased with how catcher/DH John Jaso is doing in his transition to the outfield, per The Tampa Tribune

“He was reading balls off the bat and he looked great,” Cash said. “(Monday) the outfielders did their first light throwing. Every ball he threw was right on line. I think from speaking with him, he’s been comfortable with it. We probably didn’t anticipate getting him out there until the end of spring, but I think we have him coming in the third or fourth game of the year and see how it goes. If he’s good we’ll keep working him out there. That’s a great asset for us to have.”

While Jaso's role will primarily be at DH, the Rays want him to learn how to play in the outfield to add versatility to the team's roster.

“I’m enjoying the outfield experience so far,” Jaso said. “I think the challenge is going to be picking up the ball and knowing where to throw, knowing where the cutoff man is going to be, and when there are runners on, knowing which base to throw to to keep the double play in order and catch yourself throwing to third base."


Blue Jays' Martin: Pirates 'were going to do everything they could'


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin says the Pirates did everything they could to try and re-sign him, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Martin signed a five-year, $82 million deal with Toronto, but said the Pirates really pushed to keep him around. "They were going to do everything they could," Martin said. "They were pretty vocal about that. But then it comes to a point where, as an organization, if you're thinking business-wise, you can't stack all your chips and then leave yourself vulnerable for later."

Martin also admitted that the opportunity to be a role model in Canada was a big reason he signed in Toronto. "The opportunity to play in Canada, for my family to be able to watch me play, to be a role model for younger Canadians and be that guy, it's a better fit for me overall for that reason," he explained.

In the end, the money and a fifth year led Martin to the Blue Jays. "[The Pirates] were pretty vocal, and I think that they definitely wanted me back. It was just a feeling that Toronto wanted me a little bit more," he said.

The 32-year-old hit .290/.402/.430 over 379 at-bats last season.


Rockies' Wilin Rosario receives positive reviews at first base


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario received positive reviews after playing first base on Tuesday, according to MLB.com.

Rosario showed off his athleticism, saving two possible errors during the appearance. The club is trying to work Rosario in at the position after signing Nick Hundley in the offseason. Rosario has been taking extra fielding practice at first during camp. Rosario is expected to see equal time at first and behind the plate this spring.

The 26-year-old hit .267/.305/.435 over 382 at-bats last year.


Yankees' Luis Torrens out for the year with shoulder injury


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Yankees catcher Luis Torrens will miss the entire season following shoulder surgery, according to MLB.com.

Torrens has a torn labrum in his shoulder, and will need surgery to repair the issue. The 18-year-old hit. 256/.331/.383 over three levels of the minors last season. 


Tigers' Alex Avila to miss three days


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Tigers catcher Alex Avila will miss the next three days in order to be with his family, according to the Detroit Free Press

Avila's wife is expected to give birth to their second daughter, so Avila will take a few days off. The 28-year-old hit .218/.327/.359 over 390 at-bats last year. He's expected to open the season as the team's starter behind the plate. 


Yankees prospect Torrens to miss 2015 season with shoulder injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) The Yankees announced Tuesday catcher prospect Luis Torrens will miss the 2015 season due to a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

He will undergo surgery Wednesday. The procedure will be performed by Dr. David Altchek.

The 18-year-old Torrens is considered the Yankees' ninth-best prospect by Baseball America. He has a .249/.338/.347/.685 slash line in 109 career minor-league games.


Padres C Wil Nieves expresses familiarity with NL West hitters


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Wil Nieves, who is competing for the Padres' backup catcher role this spring, expressed familiarity with the division's hitters after spending time with the Rockies and Diamondbacks in recent years, MLB.com reports.

"I've played so many years in the NL and have seen many of the same hitters year after year after year, I already know how to pitch most of these guys, especially guys in this division," Nieves said.

Nieves is competing with Tim Federowicz and has the edge in experience in the battle to back up Derek Norris.

"Those three guys have good heads on their shoulders," manager Bud Black said of the three catchers.

Nieves spent 2014 with the Phillies, hitting .254/.270/.344 with one home run in 122 at-bats.


Tigers C Alex Avila (back) able to play in spring opener


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Tigers catcher Alex Avila was able to play in Tuesday's spring opener against the Orioles after missing a few days last week with a sore back. He went 0 for 1 with one walk, one strikeout and two runs before being lifted from the game.

Avila could now be away from the team for a few days as his wife if scheduled to give birth Wednesday to the couple's second daughter, according to FOX Sports Detroit.


White Sox's Geovany Soto feeling good at the start of spring games


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) White Sox catcher Geovany Soto said he is feeling good after being limited to 78 games the last two seasons due to injuries. He missed time in 2014 because of arthroscopic surgery on his left foot and a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"I love where I'm at," Soto said, per The Chicago Tribune. "My legs feel great. My whole body feels great. I'm just anxious to get started and show these guys what I can do, hopefully stay healthy and break camp."


Five Twins return for workouts on Tuesday


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) All five Twins players -- Byron Buxton, Trevor May, Oswaldo Arcia, Jordan Schafer and Kurt Suzuki -- that were sent home due to illness on Monday, returned to the clubhouse on Tuesday and rejoined the club for workouts, reports the Star Tribune.

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


Report: Red Sox, Phillies haven't made progress on Hamels' deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Red Sox and Phillies have not made progress on a deal for pitcher Cole Hamels, according to the Boston Herald. 

The Red Sox have been mentioned as a contender for Hamels in the past, but the club is hesitant to give up their top prospects for the pitcher. Though Phillies' special assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld was spotted at Red Sox facilities on Monday, two sources told the Herald that no progress has been made on a deal. 

The Phillies are said to covet either Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart, but Boston has refused to include either player in a deal.

Hamels, 31, posted a 2.46 ERA over 204 2/3 innings last year.


Yankees' catcher Luis Torrens dealing with shoulder injury


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Yankees catcher Luis Torrens is dealing with a shoulder injury, according to the Journal News

Assistant general manager Billy Eppler confirmed the news, though said the team was still gathering information on the injury. The club will evaluate the issue, and should have a better idea of how much time Torrens will miss on Tuesday. The 18-year-old was ranked the team's 19th best prospect by Baseball America prior to the 2013 season. 


Astros' Evan Gattis dealing with dehydration


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) 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
(3/2/2015) 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
(3/2/2015) 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.


 
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