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Brewers' Dontrelle Willis making a good impression in camp


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:56 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Dontrelle Willis has made a favorable impression during camp, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

In particular, Willis has impressed manager Ron Roenicke. "He's got a great attitude," Roenicke said. "The things he said are exactly what you want a player to say. He gets it." Willis has also made a strong impression on his new teammates.

Willis, 33, has not pitched in the majors since 2011. He's attempting to make a come back with the Brewers this spring. 


Giants' Madison Bumgarner to take the ball on Tuesday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:08 pm ET) Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner will take the ball when the team opens spring games on Tuesday, according to MLB.com.

While Bumgarner will start the game, he's only expected to throw one inning. "I'm looking forward to getting out there, facing some hitters and getting back into competition at game speed, playing baseball," Bumgarner said. "But right now, it's just about making sure you're ready to compete whenever the season starts."

Bumgarner is also expected to start for the team on opening day once the regular season begins. He posted a 2.98 ERA over 217 1/3 innings last year.


Christian Bergman motivated by Rockies' pitcher signings


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:04 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Christian Bergman chose not to feel slighted when the team added several rotation options this offseason, MLB.com reports.

"It motivates me in a sense, but when I achieve the goals that I want to achieve, that could go away," Bergman said Saturday. "Then you have to find new motivation. I like to motivate myself with more internal things than what other people say, because that changes -- day to day, even."

Bergman made three starts and four relief appearances during the Arizona Fall League, going 2-0 with a 4.34 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 18 2/3 innings, and chose to work on elements of his game against the quality competition.

"I worked on particularly my cutter and curveball, some basic stuff -- particularly getting back on top of the ball, getting everything going downhill," Bergman said.

Bergman, who missed two months last season due to a broken hand, went 3-5 with a 5.93 ERA and 31:10 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings over 10 starts in 2014.


Diamondbacks' Jeremy Hellickson dealing with rib cramp


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:51 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Jeremy Hellickson had to cut a bullpen session short on Saturday due to a cramp near his ribs, according to MLB.com.

Hellickson doesn't expect to miss any time due to the issue. "I feel fine. It's more of a cramp than anything. It was a precautionary thing to shut it down," Hellickson said. "It doesn't even hurt right now.

The team will evaluate Hellickson on Sunday, and that will determine whether he takes any days off. Manager Chip Hale said the team's trainers do not expect Hellickson to miss any time as of right now.

The 27-year-old posted a 4.52 ERA over 63 2/3 innings last year.


Dodgers' Erik Bedard to start spring opener


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:35 pm ET) The Dodgers will turn to Erik Bedard during their spring opener on Wednesday against the White Sox, according to MLB.com.

Bedard isn't expected to open the season in the team's rotation, but should be used as depth in case the club loses a starter at some point. The 35-year-old posted a 4.76 ERA over 75 2/3 innings with the Rays last year.


Phillies' Pettibone steadily progressing in recovery from shoulder injury


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:54 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Jonathan Pettibone is well on his way to bounce back in 2015. The 24-year-old hasn't made a major league start since 2013, when the shoulder eventually required surgery and forced him out of action, reports MLB.com.

"It's a little tight just grinding through these past couple days -- starting to throw bullpens, stretching out my long toss and everything," Pettibone said. "It's come along great. We haven't had any setbacks, so that's definitely a positive."

Now, the road to recovery begins for Pettibone.

"Anytime after surgery, you're kind of uneasy about the whole situation," said Pettibone. "But I've been kind of staying positive."


Maddon: Cubs' Wada looks 'very, very healthy' Saturday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:51 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada (hamstring) threw a live batting practice session Saturday with no issues, MLB.com reports.

"I thought he threw the ball really well," manager Joe Maddon said. "I did not see any kind of restriction. He looked very, very healthy. The ball had a lot of movement on it. He looked good for his first time out after having been restricted because of his leg."

Wada had been dealing with a tight left hamstring that caused him to miss a pitching session last weekend. He went 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA and 57:19 K:BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings in his first season with the Cubs last year.


Brewers' Jimmy Nelson (hamstring) has BP session moved again


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:53 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson didn't throw live batting practice as scheduled Saturday, with the team choosing to let his injured hamstring rest, MLB.com reports.

Manager Ron Roenicke reiterated Saturday that Nelson's hamstring injury is minor and that the pitcher is scheduled to throw Sunday. Roenicke added that he "would be surprised" if the pitcher was pushed back again.

Nelson saw his first significant action with the Brewers in 2014, going 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA and 57:19 K:BB ratio in 69 1/3 innings.


Cardinals' Adam Wainwright feels 'dramatically better'


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:56 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright told ESPN that he feels "dramatically better" in his recovery from an abdominal strain. 

Wainwright said he wasn't concerned that the injury would put him at risk of missing opening day, and he's ready to get back onto the field. 


Giants' Matt Cain won't pitch in game until mid-March


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(2:53 pm ET) Giants' starter Matt Cain won't pitch in the team's first spring-training trip through the starting rotation, manager Bruce Bochy told the media on Saturday. 

Cain is recovering from surgeries to his elbow and ankle. He'll make his spring debutin the March 10 to March 14 range. Bochy said wasn't a setback in his rehab. He just wants to "slow-play" the pitcher.  


Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu back on the mound Monday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:56 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is set to get back on the mound Monday to throw, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday.

Ryu is dealing with a back injury, but has been throwing the last couple of days without pain. He went 14-7 in 2014 with a 3.38 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched.


Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw to make spring training debut Thursday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:50 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw will make his spring training debut Thursday against the White Sox, manager Don Mattingly said Saturday.

Kershaw went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA in 2014 with 239 strikeouts in 198 1/3 innings pitched, leading the National League MVP and Cy Young awards.


Padres pitcher Casey Kelly cleared for some baseball activities


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:54 pm ET) Padres pitcher Casey Kelly has been cleared for some baseball activities, but is still not ready to resume bullpens, reports MLB.com.

Kelly, who is dealing with a groin strain, suffered the injury last weekend and is hoping to resume throwing in the next few days.


Phillies' Buchanan 'working on being a complete pitcher'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan is "working on being a complete pitcher," manager Ryan Sandberg said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The team's coaches spoke with Buchanan in the fall about command and pitch sequencing, executing bunts and thwarting would-be base-stealers, and Sandberg noted while examining the players that arrived early that the pitcher had taken the advice to heart.

"My biggest goal [this spring] is to show our front office and our coaches that I can throw the ball over the plate," Buchanan said. "That's one thing I had success with last year. I wasn't walking guys. I was throwing strikes, and that's what I'm known for. That's why I succeeded in the minor leagues; I was throwing strikes. So that's what I want to do this spring training, is continue to do that, pound the zone, force early contact and keep the ball on the ground."

Buchanan is scheduled to pitch the team's Grapefruit League opener Tuesday against the Yankees.


Stephen Strasburg wants to stay with Nationals


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Though Stephen Strasburg's agent Scott Boras denied a report that he wanted to be traded in January, the right-handed pitcher said himself that he wants to remain with the Nationals and has no issues with the organization. 

"I haven't said anything like that," Strasburg said in an interview with MLB.com. "I don't feel like that. You have to accept it because that's how the system works. It's like they pick up on any little thing and they twist it. Some people want to turn it to see how many clicks they can get on the webpage."

Strasburg is set to be the ace of a deep rotation that looks to be on of the best in baseball this coming season. With the Nationals winning their second divisional title in the past three seasons, Strasburg said he's happy with the organization. 

"It's the team that drafted me. I love the players here, I love D.C. Winning cures everything, that's for sure," Strasburg said. "I'm excited to be part of the resurgence so far. It's great to see the type of players we bring in here every year. The expectations keep going up and up. Hopefully, we can do big things this year."


Reds' Price on Johnny Cueto: 'He's special'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Reds manager Bryan Price said the instincts of Johnny Cueto on the mound are as good as any pitcher he's ever seen, highlighting his ability to make adjustments within a given at-bat, MLB.com reports.

"If there's anyone that I've ever been around that could simply go into a game and pitch it without any understanding of the lineup he was facing -- it'd be Johnny," Price said. "He cuts you up, spits you out. He's special."

Price also compared Cueto to Greg Maddux -- ""[Maddux's] ability to find that spot in the zone and the speed with which to induce that ground ball -- that's what I sense where Johnny has elevated himself" and Pedro Martinez -- "A lot [of similarities] -- enjoyment, they're so acute with their command, they're so precise."

Cueto finished second in the voting for NL Cy Young in 2014, going 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA and 242:65 K:BB ratio in 243 2/3 innings.


Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu reports no back issues after catch


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said he made about 35 throws from 60 feet in a game of light catch Friday and reported no ill effects, MLB.com reports.

Ryu, whose back stiffened up after a bullpen session Tuesday, reiterated that he should be back on a normal throwing schedule soon and was "not worried at all" about being ready for the start of the season. He went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 139:29 K:BB ratio in 152 innings last season, his second with the Dodgers.


Rockies still mulling if De La Rosa will start in season or home opener


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Rockies manager Walt Weiss hasn't decided if he will start pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the season opener April 6 at Milwaukee or the home opener April 10 against the Cubs, according to The Denver Post.

De La Rosa started the Rockies' season opener in 2014 at Miami and started the team's second game in 2013 at Milwaukee.


Phillies still hopeful Jesse Biddle will develop into MLB starter


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure has been impressed early on in camp with starting pitcher prospect Jesse Biddle, according to CSNphilly.com.

“Very impressive,” McClure said. “When you have that type of arm and you see a guy be able to control everything, it’s fun to watch. Of course, it’s not to Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels yet, but I mean, you can see it getting there someday possibly if he goes about everything right. It’s impressive to watch. The accuracy, the flow, how easy it was just to throw that hard. It looks really good.”

Biddle is coming off a down year in 2014, which included taking time off for what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. termed a "mental break, and is no longer considered one of the Phillies' top prospects.

However, the team remains hopeful he will be able to bounce back.

“I think it’s an important year for him because last year was a tough one and he’s got some things to overcome,” Amaro said. “But if and when he does, he’s going to be a quality product.

“We love his stuff. We think he’s got a chance to be a very productive major-league pitcher. It’s just a matter of getting back on track."


Phillies' Cliff Lee to start Thursday's Grapefruit League game


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure announced that pitcher Cliff Lee is slated to start in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

Lee strained his elbow in 2014 and missed the final two months of the regular season. He's scheduled to pitch two innings in Thursday's start. 

“He’s thrown well," McClure said. "He feels really good, so he’s right on schedule.”


Pirates' Clayton Richard working on changing bad delivery habits


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Pirates pitcher Clayton Richard is working with the club to correct his delivery, according to MLB.com. The 31-year-old left-hander picked up some "bad habits" in his delivery while working his way back from a shoulder injury. He's working with pitching coach Ray Searage and special assistant Jim Benedict to correct his mistakes.

"It kind of comes piece by piece, because it's a lot easier said than done," Richard said. "You think, 'Just let it go.' But there's habits that I've created for so many years trying to protect the pain that it just takes repetitions and adjustments to get back to normal.

"I'm going to have to take care of what I can take care of and make my adjustments and be a better pitcher every day," he said. "Where that takes us, I don't know -- and I'm not going to worry about where that takes us."


Brewers SP Jimmy Nelson dealing with minor hamstring injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Brewers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson rested again Friday due to a hamstring injury, according to MLB.com. However, manager Ron Roenicke continues to indicate it is not a serious injury.

Reds' Homer Bailey after 'pen session: 'It was kind of really rewarding'


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey completed a 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday without any issues, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"I've been looking forward to it, really," Bailey said. "Even in the offseason, playing catch and stuff, you see guys throw bullpens and in your mind, you think you can still do it. Getting out of a brace the first time, you think you can walk on the mound and throw, and that's not necessarily the case. It was kind of really rewarding, it felt really good."

Bailey, who is coming off September elbow surgery, is in danger of starting the season on the disabled list. The right-hander was limited to 23 starts in 2014, posting a 9-5 record with a 3.71 ERA. It was the first time in three seasons he finished with less than 10 wins.


Mets' Matt Harvey in 'compete mode' after facing live hitters


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Mets pitcher Matt Harvey told reporters he didn't hold back when he faced batters Friday for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in October 2013. Hitters were instructed to track the pitches and not swing.

"I was in 'compete mode,'" Harvey said, per Newsday. "I wasn't holding back."

Harvey, who missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to make his spring debut March 6 against Detroit. It will be his first game action since Aug. 14, 2013.


Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu (back) to play catch Friday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (back) will not throw a bullpen session Friday, according to MLB.com. However, he is expected to play catch.

 
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