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Twins' Byron Buxton doubles twice on Wednesday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins outfield prospect Byron Buxton doubled twice on Wednesday against the University of Minnesota.

Buxton came into last season ranked as one of the best prospects in the minors. He had injury issues, which ended his season early. While Buxton is still considered the Twins top prospect, he was passed by other players in the overall prospect rankings due to the injuries. 

Buxton seemed to be 100 percent on Wednesday, doubling twice during the contest. He scored one run and drove in one RBI. The 21-year-old should open the season in the minors, but could debut as early as this season depending on his performance. 


Report: MLB split on whether Josh Hamilton should go to rehab


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Major League Baseball is split over whether Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton should go to rehab, according to the Los Angeles Times

The four person panel assigned to Hamilton's case are deadlocked, and the group will have to bring in an arbitrator in order to break the tie. The panel first must decide whether Hamilton violated any rules, and then must agree on a course of treatment. The panel has not been able to agree on the latter of those conditions, which is why an arbitrator is necessary. 

If Hamilton is sent to rehab, he would receive his full salary for 30 days, and then half his salary over the next 30 days. If he's suspended, but does not have to attend rehab, Hamilton would not be paid during the suspension. 

MLB is also trying to determine whether Hamilton should be charged as a fourth-time offender of the drug policy. If that's the case, Hamilton could be suspended for the entire season.

Hamilton, 33, admitted to MLB that he experienced a relapse a few months ago, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Hamilton has dealt with drug and alcohol issues throughout his career, and was suspended for three seasons after failing drug tests as a minor-leaguer. He met with officials in New York in February regarding the incident. 


Mets' Curtis Granderson re-working his swing


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson is re-working his swing with hitting coach Kevin Long, according to the New York Post

Granderson and Long have a history. The two worked together with the Yankees. Long rebuilt Granderson's swing, turning him into a massive home run hitter from 2011 to 2012. Now, they are looking to repeat the process.

"This is actually very similar to the first time we started making adjustments," Granderson said. "The idea is we want to get to the strongest position as consistently as possible with as little movement as possible."

Long went into detail, saying he's trying to get Granderson to "preset" his hands. "Get him in the perfect hitting position so the hands are ready to fire and he can go as efficiently as possible from point A to point B," Long said.

Granderson said everything is "still a work in progress," but he feels like Long's drills are getting through to him.

The 33-year-old Granderson hit .227/.326/.388 over 564 at-bats last season. 


Braves outfielder Eric Young steals two bases in spring debut


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Braves outfielder Eric Young is making his case to be a starter for the team this spring. Youn went 0-for-1 Wednesday with two walks and two stolen bases. 

"I'm pleased with the first day," Young said. "I'll just continue to get the work out there."

President of baseball operations John Hart thinks he has the speed to take the job.

"He's got the one ingredient that you want in center field in that he can fly," Hart said. "He's a [plus] runner. We've got time to get ready for him. He's eager to play center field. Somebody will be playing center field. EY got off to a good start. He has the make, and what he brings is a little different dynamic."


Indians outfielder Carlos Moncrief goes 4 for 4 in spring debut


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Indians outfielder Carlos Moncrief had a perfect day at the plate, going 4 for 4 with two runs scored in Cleveland's 4-2 win over the Reds Wednesday. Moncrief also doubled in the game. 

Diamondbacks counting on Mark Trumbo to provide offensive spark


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale knows what Mark Trumbo can bring to the lineup. So much so, that Hale tends to forget about him when worrying about different guys in the lineup, reports AZCentral.com.

"When we talk about all the potential offensive stars that we have, sometimes he gets forgotten," Hale said. "We're looking for Tomas to do this, we're looking for Goldy (Paul Goldschmidt) to do this, we're looking for Lamb to come — and all of a sudden you start thinking, Trumbo has done it. He's hit 30 home runs in Anaheim. He knows what he's doing."

Trumbo hit .235 with 14 home runs and 61 RBI in 328 plate appearances in 2014.


Phillies' Grady Sizemore fine after being plunked


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Phillies outfielder Grady Sizemore left Wednesday's game after being hit in the knee with a pitch, according to MLB.com.

Sizemore was replaced by Jordan Danks at first base. His removal from the game was deemed "precautionary" by manager Ryne Sandbery. "He got hit on the meat in the back," Sandberg said. "He felt fine."

Sizemore, 32, hit .233/.299/.354 over 347 at-bats last season.


Nationals' Jayson Werth swings bat for first time since surgery


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, who has been doing conditioning drills and running, swung a bat on Wednesday for the first time since Jan. 9 shoulder surgery, reports the Washington Post.

Werth took about 20 light swings, mostly dry with roughly five of them coming off a tee. He admitted he's pushing his recovery to be ready in time for opening day.

"We'll see how I react to it," Werth said. "I've been doing a lot. You push it as far as you can without setting yourself really setting yourself back. It's just a tedious process but stuff we got to go through. … It's a start."


Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis starts spring campaign with four hits


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Mets outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis had four singles in four at-bats during Wednesday's spring opener against the Braves. He added one RBI and one run.

Nieuwenhuis is competing for a spot on the Mets' bench as a reserve outfielder.

"I thought he had a good day," manager Terry Collins said, per NJ.com. "It's good for him. He's fighting for a big spot on this club. He's out of options so it's nice to see him have a big day."


Diamondbacks' David Peralta get hit by pitch, leaves game


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta was hit by a pitch in Wednesday's game against the Rockies, according to FoxSportsArizona.com.

Peralta was up in the sxith and was removed after getting beaned. Peralta took first before leaving the game and it appeared to not be serious. Peralta was 0 for 2 in the game.


Diamondbacks' Inciarte ready to compete for roster spot


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Outfielder Ender Inciarte was one of the Diamondbacks' top performers in the second half last season, but even a strong finish to the year couldn't secure him a starting job this season. Therefore, Inciarte will be competing for a spot on the roster this spring.

"There's a lot of competition here, but you only control what you can control," Inciarte said, per The Arizona Republic. "I know I can play defense. I know I can run. And I know I can hit. I've just got to do my job. I want to have a chance to play, but I'm ready to take any opportunity they give me or any role.

"I know whatever happens is going to be the best thing for me. I know if I go to Triple-A, I'm going to do my best and find my way back."

Inciarte shouldn't be talking about Triple-A just yet, especially not when you are on the manager's radar.

"He's the type of player you like to have because he can do so many different things," manager Chip Hale said. "He's kind of a throwback to when we played and being able to use all those different tools in a game instead of just waiting for the big home run."


Head of MLPA Tony Clark: I hope Josh Hamilton gets 'support'


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Tony Clark, the head of the MLBPA, told the Orange County Register on Wednesday that he's not sure how quickly the Josh Hamilton case will be resolved, but does hope that the embattled Angels slugger receives "support" from the people around his circle.

"There are always baseball concerns, but more important are life concerns," Clark said. "We have a process and protocols in place to handle the baseball issues. But I'm hopeful that anybody that is part of baseball family, if a player finds himself in a tough spot, he is more interested in the support he's getting as an individual than the baseball part."

Hamilton confessed to going on a binge that involved cocaine and alcohol a couple of months ago. A four-doctor panel will evaluate his case before an arbitrator makes a ruling. A verdict on a suspension could come in a few weeks.

"The process needs to play itself out, and then we'll have a decision," Clark said.


Rockies' Blackmon held out Wednesday with abdominal injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon was not in Wednesday's spring lineup against the Diamondbacks due to an abdominal injury, per MLB.com. However, Blackmon planned to take batting practice Wednesday.

Tigers OF Steven Moya (back) cleared to play Wednesday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said outfielder Steven Moya will be available off the bench for Wednesday's spring game against the Orioles after sitting out Tuesday due to back spasms.

Red Sox's Castillo out at least a week with a strained oblique


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo is expected to miss at least a week with a strained left oblique, manager John Farrell said Wednesday.

This is an unfortunate setback for Castillo, who is competing for the starting job in center field. Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts will likely see most of the reps in center field with Castillo sidelined.

Castillo told CSNNE.com on Wednesday morning that his injury wasn't serious and he was expecting to be available for Thursday's spring game against Minnesota.

However, Castillo underwent an MRI, which revealed the oblique injury, after suffering the injury in his third at-bat during Tuesday's exhibition game against Boston College, per WEEI.com.


Melvin: Coco Crisp moving to LF; Gentry, Fuld to man CF for A's


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Athletics manager Bob Melvin announced Wednesday the team has decided to move Coco Crisp from center to left field in an attempt to keep him healthy and off the disabled list. Melvin added Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry will platoon in center field for Oakland.

“By doing this we have a better chance of keeping Coco healthy,’’ Melvin said. “We’ve talked about it and he had some questions. But he’s been taking balls in left field this spring.’’

Crisp has not played more than 136 games in a season since joining Oakland in 2010. Crisp, who played in 126 games in 2014, missed time last season after collisions with outfield walls led to neck pain. Crisp said in early February he was going to try to tone down his "aggressive game" in order to avoid more injuries.


Royals' Yost: Cain, Gordon, Hosmer, Rios all candidate to bat second


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Royals manager Ned Yost listed Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Alex Rios as viable candidates to bat second in the lineup this season, reports the Kansas City Star.

Gordon, Rios never batted second last season. Cain had only only 13 plate appearances at the No. 2 spot in 2014. Hosmer played 33 games and logged 144 plate appearance at the No. 2 spot in 2014, slashing .275/.326/.344 in those appearances.


Red Sox's Castillo on injury to left side: 'Thankfully it's nothing serious'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo underwent a medical exam Wednesday for an issue on the left side of his body, according to CSNNE.com. 

"Thankfully it's nothing serious," said Castillo, who added he expects to be available for Thursday's spring game against the Twins.


D-backs' Yasmany Tomas does well in spring training debut


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Diamondbacks third baseman Yasmany Tomas went 1-for-2 in his spring training debut against Arizona State. The Cuban born player thought he did just okay for his first game.

"Everybody knows it was my first day," Tomas said. "It was a good day. I put in the hard work to see it happen, and it felt like overall a good day."

Tomas played in five innings on the day. Manager Chip Hale said he thinks Tomas is right where he expected him to be offensively.

"With the bat, I thought this was how he would look," Hale said. "He looked very comfortable. He looked very relaxed."


Athletics' Craig Gentry hoping for a fast start in 2015


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Athletics outfielder Craig Gentry is hoping for a fast start in 2015, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Gentry missed time early last year with a back injury, but feels refreshed this season. "Last year was definitely frustrating, because you want to be here with your new team, and I wasn’t healthy," Gentry said. "Now I feel great and I’m really excited about this season."

Gentry stressed that he's working on stealing bases this spring, as he plans to be aggressive once the regular season begins. "I want to be aggressive and practice is what does it. I need to work on getting jumps, trying to read the pitcher and all of that."

Gentry, 31, hit .254/.319/.289 over 232 at-bats last season. 


Diamondbacks' Ender Inciarte fighting for a spot


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Diamondbacks outfielder Ender Inciarte is hoping to prove he deserves a spot, according to azcentral.com.

Inciarte flashed potential during the second half of the season in 2014, but is on the fringes of the 25-man roster this spring. For right now, he's open to any role the team will give him.

"There's a lot of competition here, but you only control what you can control," Inciarte said. "I know I can play defense. I know I can run. And I know I can hit. I've just got to do my job. I want to have a chance to play, but I'm ready to take any opportunity they give me or any role."

Manager Chip Hale praised Inciarte's versatility, saying Inciarte is "the type of player you like to have because he can do so many different things."

Inciarte knows the odds are against him, but knows whatever decision the team makes will be for the best. "I know whatever happens is going to be the best thing for me," he said. "I know if I go to Triple-A, I'm going to do my best and find my way back."

The 24-year-old hit .278/.318/.359 over 418 at-bats last year. 


Angels' Scioscia weighing second-base options


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Angels manager Mike Scioscia is weighing how much emphasis to put on spring-training performance as he decides how to approach the second-base position this season, MLB.com reports.

"A lot of it is to see what the best fit is for your group of guys, what your lineup needs are," Scioscia said. "There's an absolute to people winning jobs at spring training. Probably not at the analysis you're looking at -- 'Oh, he hit .340 in spring training' -- but there are a lot of things we're looking at as to how a guy fits in our lineup. You can make the team in spring, for sure, with the things that you show."

Scioscia hasn't ruled out the option of using multiple players at the position as the situation dictates.

"That's one of the options," he said. "There are guys that have the ability to go out there and do what we need to do on the defensive end and the offensive end, and we'll see who emerges and who gives us the best look."

Josh Rutledge highlights a second-base competition that also includes Grant Green, Johnny Giavotella and Taylor Featherston.


Angels' Collin Cowgill not taking spot for granted


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill is not taking his spot for granted, according to MLB.com.

"I understand how the game works," Cowgill said. "I understand a lot, maybe more so than a lot of people, because I've found myself in a lot of situations. I don't take anything for granted. So I'm going to keep trying to work and earn it."

Cowgill has spent time with four different teams in his young career, and understands how often you can lose your role. With Josh Hamilton expected to miss time early in the season, it appears Cowgill's spot on the roster is safe, even though he remains skeptical. 

"If [Angels manager Mike] Scioscia's going to play me, it's because I deserve it," Cowgill said. "He's going to play me because he thinks I give him a chance to win, and that's the only way I want it to be."

The 28-year-old hit .250/.330/.354 over 260 at-bats last season. 


Red Sox OF Rusney Castillo dealing with pain in his side


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo is dealing with pain on his left side, according to the Boston Globe.

Castillo will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. Castillo came into camp as the probable starter in center. The 27-year-old hit .333 over 36 at-bats in the majors last season. 


Rangers' Leonys Martin to get long look in leadoff spot this spring


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/3/2015) Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin will get the first chance this spring to bat leadoff, as he is penciled in to the top spot in the lineup for Wednesday's spring opener against the Royals.

The Rangers intend to take a long look at Martin in the leadoff spot this spring to see if they can move Shin-Soo Choo to a more traditional “production” spot in the batting order, manager Jeff Banister said.

“I want to make sure that mentally he is prepared to be able to lock down the leadoff spot vs. both right-handers and lefties,” Banister said, per The Dallas Morning News. “He does possess the skills to jump start our offense.”

Martin had a .354 on-base percentage in 164 plate appearances in the leadoff spot last year.


 
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