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Twins pitcher Brian Duensing struggles in outing Monday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:41 am ET) Twins pitcher Brian Duensing struggled through his start Monday against the Red Sox, allowing six runs on eight hits in just one inning of work.

It was Duensing's first true rough start of spring training, after allowing just one run in his last seven appearances.

'"He couldn't make pitches, he got behind. But he's had a good spring overall. Things kind of snowballed on him," manager Paul Molitor said to the Star Tribune. "We just couldn't get him through that inning. I'm willing to let that go by. Obviously, you don't want to see that for anybody, but he’ll be back out there."


Red Sox C/1B Mike Napoli homers in win over Twins


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) Mike Napoli of the Red Sox homered Monday in the team's 14-2 win over the Twins, reports MLB.com.

Napoli's homer was a broken-bat homerun and he talked about it after the game.

"I watched the video on it," said Napoli. "It looked like I got the barrel to it. My at-bat before, when I shot the ball to right field, he kind of got in a little bit on me. That's probably where it broke there."

"It was just a weird feeling," said Napoli. "The bat exploded and it was just kind of sitting there. It's a weird feeling any time you do that. I don't know. I can't really explain it. I was just kind of running around the bases like, 'What just happened?'"

Napoli, 33, hit .248 last season with 17 home runs and 55 RBI. 

 


Rockies P Rex Brothers struggles again in loss to Athletics


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers struggled again in his latest outing against the Athletics, per MLB.com. The Rockies fell to the Athletics an 11-2 loss on Monday.

After only giving up one run and two hits in his first five appearances, Brothers has yielded six runs on five hits with five walks in his last three outings (2 2/3 innings pitched).

The 27-year-old lefty finished the 2014 season with a record of 4-6 posting a 6.07 ERA with 55 strikeouts and 39 RBI.


Report: Dodgers sign P Freddy Garcia to minor-league deal


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Dodgers have signed pitcher Freddy Garcia to a minor-league contract, according to a report from MLB.com

Garcia spent 2014 pitching in Taiwan, and was with the Braves and Orioles in 2013 before that. He has a career 4.15 ERA since entering the majors in 1999. 


Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts rips eighth double of spring training


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts continues to rip through pitchers in spring training. Bettes went 2 for 3 with a double, one RBI and three runs scored for Boston against Minnesota Monday. 

Betts now has eight doubles this spring with a blistering .467 average in 45 plate appearances.


Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson gives up one run in outing Monday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson went 5 2/3 innings Monday, allowing just one run on five hits with four strikeouts against the Twins.

Masterson is now 2-1 this spring with a 3.50 ERA in five appearances.


Royals P Jason Vargas gives up five runs in win over Rangers


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Royals pitcher Jason Vargas gave up five earned runs in five innings in Monday's 11-7 win over the Rangers. 

Vargas surrendered seven hits, one walk while striking out five batters. His ERA this spring is now 9.68. Vargas struck out five batters but gave up four home runs. 


Blue Jays pitcher Daniel Norris posts eight strikeouts Monday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Blue Jays pitcher Daniel Norris recorded eight strikeouts over six innings of work Monday against the Astros. Norris allowed four runs on five hits in the outing.

"I'm actually glad that happened tonight, just being able to bounce back and make the adjustment in-game," Norris said to MLB.com. "It was a good finish. It was one of those nights where 90 percent of the mistakes I made got hit. That's baseball, I guess."

Norris has posted a 3.28 ERA in 24 2/3 innings of work with a team-leading 29 strikeouts in spring training.


White Sox pitcher Zach Putnam tosses straight scoreless appearance


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) White Sox pitcher Zach Putnam continues to make a push for a role in the bullpen. That journey continued Monday, throwing his fourth consecutive scoreless appearances after giving up eight runs over 3 2/3 innings in his first four games of spring training.

"I feel as if it's been there since the start of camp, but what changed was the frequency with which I was throwing it," Putnam said to MLB.com. "I was going into at-bats early on trying to kind of work on my fastball and polish my cutter just a little bit.

"When you are not fine with those pitches and guys are coming in taking massive hacks trying to hit homers, as they are sometime in Spring Training, I got hurt a lot. As soon as I figured it out and started throwing it more and setting up hitters the same way I set them up during the season, things fell into place for me."


Orioles comfortable with Everth Cabrera at short


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Orioles GM Dan Duquette gave Everth Cabrera a vote of confidence on Monday. 

With expected starting shortstop J.J. Hardy missing the start of the season with a strained muscle in his shoulder, Duquette was asked if the team was in the market to acquire a shortstop. 

"We signed one just before camp opened," Duquette said, per MASN Sports. Cabrera signed with the team as a free agent in late February. 

Cabrera has hit .238 this spring. 


Angels pitcher Huston Street still hopeful to get contract extension


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Angels relief pitcher Huston Street heads towards the beginning of the season hoping to get a contract extension completed, reports MLB.com.

Street, who has posted a 3.18 ERA in 5 2/3 innings pitched this spring, will be a free agent when the season ends, but has a mutual interest to reach an extension.

"I'm not afraid of being a free agent; I think I help a team win," Street said. "But you need a team to help you win. A closer needs an organization that's committed to winning. The Angels are clearly committed to winning, year in and year out. It starts at the top, with ownership. As a player, you fall in love with an organization because they win and because they're committed to you and your teammates."


Mariners C Mike Zunino improving on hitting with two strikes


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) A year ago, Mariners catcher Mike Zunino showcased the power he can bring at the plate with 22 home runs. However, his .199 batting average did not do him much good otherwise. 

Part of the problem was Zunino's inability to put the ball in play with two strikes. This spring, Zunino has done a better job of being patient with two strikes against him. On Monday, Zunino hit a home run and a two-run double in Seattle's 5-3 win over the Angles. 

The double came with Zunino down 1-2 in the count, before working it up to 3-2. 

"That's what he's been working on all spring, the ability to put the ball in play with two strikes," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said, via MLB.com. "The knowledge and understanding to know what they're trying to do to you in those situations. He's continues to grow in that. He's gotten better this spring with it."


Blue Jays considering eight-man bullpen to begin season


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Blue Jays manager Jon Gibbons is putting the finishing touches on the team's roster for the beginning of the season. Gibbons is considering going with eight men in the bullpen, which would give pitchers Todd Redmond and Liam Hendriks spots on the rosters, reports MLB.com.

"We're looking at possibly going with eight guys in the 'pen to start the season, when your regulars don't need as much rest," Gibbons said. "Of course, we've got an off-day on the second day of the year. That's something we're debating now, too."

Redmond and Hendriks would have to clear waivers if they were sent down to the minors. Redmond has posted a 1.80 ERA in seven appearances this spring with five strikeouts in 10 innings. Hendriks has a 3.52 ERA with nine strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings pitched this spring.


No vote of confidence from Yankees on Didi Gregorius


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) In his career, Didi Gregorius has hit 34 points lower against left-handed pitchers, but the Yankees were confident he'd be able to hit southpaws well enough to be an every-day player. 

General manager Brian Cashman didn't seem as confident on Monday. Asked by MLB.com's Bryan Hoch if Gregorius had shown enough in camp to play against left-handers, Cashman said, "It’s something we could consider but (Brendan) Ryan’s also here for a reason."

Gregorius is hitting .300 this spring. Brendan Ryan is hitting .200. Over his career, Ryan hits 15 points higher against southpaws than against right-handers. 


Blaine Boyer informed he made Twins' Opening Day roster


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Twins informed pitcher Blaine Boyer that he made the team's Opening Day roster, per MLB.com.

Boyer signed a minor league contract in January that included a non-roster invitation to Twins spring training camp. The team added him to the 40-man roster earlier in the day on Monday. 

"It was a load off my shoulders," Boyer said of making the team. "It was a surreal moment for me. I'm just excited and very thankful to Terry Ryan."

Boyer had a 1.69 ERA in seven games this spring. 


P Ryan Vogelsong learning new starter/reliever role with Giants


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong is transitioning to a starter/long reliever role, which could be quite tough given his history as a starter. 

But one thing Vogelsong has going for him is a longstanding friendship with bullpen coach Mark Gardiner. The two have a long relationship, as Gardiner was a veteran pitcher with the Giants making a similar transition when Vogelsong joined the club in 2000. 

Both pitcher and coach believe that experience will help each other this season

“The biggest thing is just being accepting of it,” Gardner said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “If you’re against it, it’s going to be a tough road. So he’ll have to make sure he’s on board and I think he already made that decision. Signing with us, that was the spot that was open.”


Report: Pitcher Roberto Hernandez informed he made Astros roster


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Pitcher Roberto Hernandez has been informed that he made the Astros' Opening Day roster, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle

The 34-year-old Hernandez signed with the Astros on February 12. He went 3-0 with a 3.71 ERA in five spring games. 

"I like the dependability of Roberto, his veteran presence," manager A.J. Hinch said to MLB.com. "He can log some innings. I really like that this spring he's kept the ball on the ground, and he's very reliable. He's a guy who's been on a couple of different teams in a couple of different environments. You know what you're going to get with Roberto. He's stuck around this game a long time because he's a good pitcher."


Report: Scott Downs only interested in Major League offers


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Pitcher Scott Downs was released by the Indians on Monday, but the left hander is only interested in offers that include a spot on a team's Major League roster, according to a report by Major League Trade Rumors.

Downs had a 2.84 ERA in seven games this spring.  


Athletics' Billy Burns credits larger bat for spring hot streak


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Athletics outfielder Billy Burns is hitting .381 this spring and leads the Majors with 24 hits. 

Burns credits a change to a larger bat for the increased production. Minor league hitting coordinator Greg Sparks suggested the move, to a bat that was one ounce heavier and half an inch longer. He believed it would help improve the switch-hitting Burns' left-handed swing. 

"I was using a skinnier, more balanced model and now it’s a bigger barrel, heavier," Burns said, per the San Francisco Chronicle. "I choke up so I can handle it but have more oomph behind it. more force. Then we worked on the mental approach of attacking the baseball from the left side. Instead of being more passive and trying to go the other way, attack the ball."

Burns is hitting .432 from the left side of the plate this spring. 


Report: Astros add Joe Thatcher to MLB roster


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) The Astros are adding LHP Joe Thatcher to the Opening Day roster, according to a report by Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, citing a source.

Thatcher signed a minor league deal with the team on February 13 and was invited to Major League camp as a non-roster player. 

Thatcher had a 1.35 ERA in seven games with five strikeouts in six and two thirds innings. 


Rangers P Lisalverto Bonilla shelled in 11-7 loss to Royals


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Rangers pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla had a rough outing in which he gave up five hits and seven earned runs in just one-third inning in an 11-7 loss to the Royals. 

Bonilla retired only one batter in eight tries. He walked one batter, struck out another and surrendered a home run. 

"The inning kind of got away from Bonilla," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said, via the Associated Press. "He fell behind and his pitch count got up. It was inconsistency. The home run looked like it might have been middle-middle. It's not an outing you'd want to see."


Red Sox closer Koji Uehara likely to begin year on disabled list


by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is likely to begin the season on the disabled list, reports ESPN. After throwing 30 pitches in a bullpen session on Monday, Uehara is still having issues with his left hamstring. He hasn't taken the mound since March 14th.

Manager John Farrell said, “I don’t think there’s anything to suggest that come next Monday, he’s in our bullpen.”

“I think I’m going to start on the DL just because I haven’t had the games in,” Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. “If that is the case, if I start on the DL, it will certainly be a disappointment.”

Uehara knows that this is a process, and he is unsure of when he'll return to the mound.

“I don’t know when I’ll be back,” he said. “It’s a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready.”

Farrell was asked about how the bullpen will shape up heading into the beginning of the season.

“I don’t have seven names to give you right now,” he said. “We’ve still got some things to determine. How we’re going to determine the rotation, whether we go with an additional left-hander or right-hander, what the ramifications of Koji coming out of the mix for the short run. Does that likely move Edward [Mujica] back into the closing role?

“I do know this: We’re at a point in camp when guys are throwing the ball as expected, and that includes Robbie Ross. That’s Matt Barnes. Brandon Workman’s last time out was encouraging, so as we get to the final week of camp here, the guys we felt would be in contention for spots are moving in the right direction.”

Uehara, 40, has pitched in three games this spring, posting an ERA of 6.00, six hits given up with three strikeouts.


Cardinals' Dean Anna to work at three infield positions in minors


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Cardinals infielder Dean Anna , sent to the minor leagues on Sunday, will work at second base, third base and shortstop at Triple-A Memphis, manager Mike Matheny said, per MLB.com.

Anna hit .200 in 20 spring at bats with the Cards. 


Tigers pitcher Joba Chamberlain not worried about spring struggles


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Tigers pitcher Joba Chamberlain hasn't exactly lit it up in spring training. In eight appearances, Chamberlain has posted an 8.22 ERA with just two strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings pitched. He and his manager Brad Ausmus aren't worried, reports MLB.com.

"I've said all along that spring training, with veteran players especially, I don't put a lot of stock in it," Ausmus said. "I would go more on Joba's performance last year as an indicator than on what happens in Spring Training. I think Joba's also a guy that pitches on the adrenaline of the situation. And there's not a lot of adrenaline in spring training games, even moreso if you've been in the big leagues for a few years."

Chamberlain is throwing a bit harder this spring than previous years.

"This isn't my first rodeo. I've been in this position," Chamberlain said. "You've got to know what you have to work on. It's a neverending battle. I don't know if I've ever seen anybody with a zero-zero ERA, so there's always something to work on."


Cardinals' Tommy Pham's quad still not right after minor league test


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/30/2015) Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham had three plate appearances in a minor league game on Monday. It was his first game since March 12, when strained his left quadricep. 

Pham didn't play the field, and after batting, he reported that the quad was "still tight" and "not right", per MLB.com.