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Mets' Juan Lagares taking it easy with his elbow


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:14 pm ET) Mets outfielder Juan Lagares is taking it easy with his elbow thus far, according to MLB.com.

Lagares missed the final two weeks of 2014 due to an elbow injury, but said he doing well now. "I feel great right now," Lagares said. "I feel 100 percent. I just want to take it easy -- not easy, but I don't want to throw everything I've got right now."

Lagares has had opportunities to throw out some base-runners this spring, but has erred on the side of caution. Manager Terry Collins said he's completely fine with that strategy. 

"He did it the right way and I'm real proud of him," Collins said. "He could have sent a message to everybody -- 'Look, I'm fine.' And he was smart enough to say, 'I'll worry about it in April.'"

Lagares, 25, hit .281/.321/.382 over 416 at-bats last year. 


Tolleson, Feliz, Scheppers likely to make Rangers


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:09 pm ET) The Rangers are likely to put Shawn Tolleson, Neftali Feliz and Tanner Scheppers in the bullpen this season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Manager Jeff Banister implied that all three players would make the team out of camp. That's not necessarily a surprise for Tolleson, who led the team in relief appearances last year, but both Feliz and Scheppers had been mentioned as fringe candidates thus far. 


Padres' Wil Myers hoping to prove the doubters wrong


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:43 pm ET) Padres outfielder Wil Myers is hoping he can prove the doubters wrong this season, according to MLB.com.

Myers not only has a lot to prove at the plate, but he also wants to show that he can handle his new defensive position. "Going into this year, I have a lot of doubters out there. I not only want to prove them wrong but prove to myself that I can play a good center field," Myers said.

He continued, "I've played a lot there in the minor leagues. And hearing everyone say, 'I don't think he can play center field,' is going to motivate me to play a great center field."

Manager Bud Black seems encouraged by Myers' defensive play thus far. "He's looking good, good angles, good routes, good hands, athletic," Black said. "His speed is fine. His strides look good tracking fly balls. He's an athletic guy. From what we've seen so far [it's been] all good."

The 24-year-old hit .222/.294/.320 over 325 at-bats last season. 


Red Sox SP Kelly on spring debut: 'I know what I need to work on'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:04 pm ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly surrendered four earned runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings in his spring debut Thursday, striking out two and walking none.

"Stuff wasn't as crisp as it usually is," Kelly said after his outing. "88 mile fastball, don't think I've done that since I was 13. I know what I need to work on. ... I threw 44 pitches, will look to build up to 100 pitches. I'm not going to beat myself up. Will watch some video, work on things. ... Four-seam not as crisp as I would like. Just not there yet, but that will come. I threw all four pitches today, that's a plus."

Kelly said during the offseason that he planned on winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2015. He went 6-4 with a 4.20 ERA and 66:42 K:BB ratio in 96 1/3 innings between the Cardinals and Red Sox last season.


P Yoan Lopez to make debut for Diamondbacks on Saturday


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(9:03 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Yoan Lopez will make his spring training debut this Saturday, according to MLB.com. 

The 21-year-old Cuban right-hander is competing for a spot in Arizona's rotation this spring. Lopez signed a deal that included a signing bonus of over $8 million. 


Twins' Michael Tonkin hoping to catch on with the club


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:03 pm ET) Twins pitcher Michael Tonkin is hoping to break camp on the 25-man roster, according to MLB.com.

Tonkin has been up and down the past two seasons, but is competing for a bullpen spot this spring. He has one option year left on his contract, but he's hoping he can break camp with the major-league club.

"It would be huge," Tonkin said. "It's a pretty important year for me. Just the business side of it, having just one option left. It's important to show them I can be a big leaguer. I feel like I'm ready."

Tonkin, 25, posted a 4.74 ERA over 19 innings last season. 


Black: Shawn Kelley 'brings talent' to Padres bullpen


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:56 pm ET) Padres pitcher Shawn Kelley was traded to San Diego this offseason, and manager Bud Black spoke Thursday about the talent and experience the lefty brings to the Padres bullpen, U-T San Diego reports.

"You've got some guys now who are starting to get some tenure, some experience, in (Dale) Thayer and (Nick) Vincent and (Kevin) Quackenbush," Black said. "Shawn brings a little bit of that service time, but more importantly, he brings talent. He's got a good arm, he's got a good, live fastball, he's got a good slider, he's pitched at the backend of bullpens, he's been around some good closers, he's been in good bullpens."

Kelley threw his slider 57.7 percent of the time last season, second among all qualified relievers, but has confidence throwing his pitches in any situation.

"I have no problem throwing both pitches (fastball and slider) of the plate, up and down to lefties," Kelley said. "I think with the advanced scouting reports and all the information we have, every lefty has at least one hole or two against a righty, and I feel like I have something I'm comfortable doing to match that. ... I'll do whatever I have to do to exploit a lefty's weakness."

Set to become a free agent after the season, Kelley went 3-6 with a 4.53 ERA and 67:20 K:BB ratio in 51 2/3 innings with the Yankees last season.


Diamondbacks encouraged by Yasmany Tomas


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:54 pm ET) The Diamondbacks were encouraged by Yasmany Tomas' play at third on Thursday, according to azcentral.com.

Tomas didn't make every play, but was able to convert on five of his six chances at the hot corner. Manager Chip Hale said the team was "encouraged" by what Tomas showed during the game. 

Hale also complimented Tomas at the plate, even though the infielder doesn't have a hit yet this spring. "He's much lighter on his feet than you would think he is," Hale said. "Even running down the line, he doesn't get hits every time but when he hits it, he hustles down the line and looks like he can get down there pretty good."

Tomas is attempting to win the third base job during camp. He's expected to open the year in the majors even if the team converts him back to the outfield. 


Mariners designate Ji-Man Choi for assignment


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:46 pm ET) The Mariners have designated first baseman Ji-Man Choi for assignment on Thursday, according to MLB.com.

Choi fractured his fibula during Wednesday's game, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He will be replaced by Edgar Olmos on the 40-man roster. 


Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw pitches two perfect innings Thursday


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:40 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's first spring training game had him retire all six batters he faced in two innings. 

In Thursday's 6-1 win over the White Sox, Kershaw recorded three strikeouts. 

"It felt good. The first one is just good to get out there and make sure you feel good physically," Kershaw said, via the Associated Press. "The results are obviously something that you look for, but maybe not the most important thing.


Mariners place Edgar Olmos back on the 40-man roster


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:38 pm ET) Mariners pitcher Edgar Olmos has been placed on the team's 40-man roster, according to MLB.com.

Olmos went over to the Rangers briefly, but was sent back to the Mariners after it was revealed he had a shoulder issue. Olmos will replace Ji-Man Choi on the 40-man roster.


Braves sign Peter Moylan to minor-league deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:23 pm ET) The Braves have signed pitcher Peter Moylan to a minor-league deal, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

Moylan had Tommy John surgery last season, but is hoping to be able to pitch in games in April or May. The 36-year-old posted a 6.46 ERA over 15 1/3 innings in 2013. 


White Sox's Jesse Crain close to facing hitters


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:15 pm ET) White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain is getting close to facing hitters, according to MLB.com.

Crain is coming back from shoulder and biceps injuries, but will throw his third bullpen session on Friday. If that goes well he could throw live batting practice next week. 

"It's exciting and I've been feeling really well, but in the meantime, I'm not going to get too high until I get out there," Crain said. "When I face hitters, it will be a good test, because I'll be letting it go even more than I have. I'll wait to get too excited until I know exactly how I feel." 

Crain admitted he's taking things slow, but he's hoping to get into games this spring. "I'm not going to put any timetables on anything," he said. "But if I keep progressing like I am, there's a good chance I can hopefully get into a couple or few games."


Pirates GM Neal Huntington thinks OF Andrew Lambo is a nice fit


(8:13 pm ET) Pirates outfielder Andrew Lambo has the support of his general manager Neal Huntington, according to the team's official website.

"Andrew has put together two really strong years at Triple-A," Huntington noted. "If you look at the numbers at the end of the year, he actually outplayed [Gregory] Polanco. Most people don't remember that, they think of him like, 'At 25, he's kind of an afterthought.' But he's a player we still like and believe could fit in as a nice piece for us."

That confidence has spread as Lambo looks forward to contributing at a high level.

"This year I'm confident, physically and mentally focused and ready," Lambo said. "Last year I was unprepared, not confident."

The 26-year-old has a batting average of .280 in the minors.  He is looking to continue to make strides while in the majors.

"I'm not going to tell you I'm going to hit .700. But I'll tell you what: I'm not going to worry about it if I hit .100," said Lambo, who continues to split defensive drills between the outfield and first base. "I'm worried about just swinging well, not worried about the results."

 


White Sox release Tony Campana


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:10 pm ET) The White Sox have released outfielder Tony Campana on Thursday, according to MILB.com.

Campana signed a minor-league contract with the club in the offseason, but tore his ACL while training. He's expected to miss the entire season while he recovers. The 28-year-old hit .187 over 75 at-bats last year. 


Phillies hoping for bounce back from Domonic Brown


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:03 pm ET) The Phillies are hoping outfielder Domonic Brown can bounce back in 2015, according to MLB.com.

"One thing about Domonic is he did hit 20-some home runs one year. He has done it," club president Pat Gillick said. "I don't know if he's going to do it again, but he's one guy who has shown offensively that he's capable of it."

Gillick went on to add, "we want him to succeed, and if he's going to succeed, we want him to succeed here."

The 27-year-old Brown made Gillick look good on Thursday, going 2 for 5 with a double during the team's spring game. Manager Ryne Sandberg was impressed by the performance.

"He had four good at-bats, hit two to the warning track," said Sandberg.

Brown hit .235/.285/.349 over 473 at-bats last year. 


Pirates' Liriano showing off better health this spring


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:49 pm ET) Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano is glad to be healthy this spring, according to MLB.com.

Liriano had an abbreviated run in camp last season due to arm and groin injuries. Now that he's healthy, he's looking forward to working on his craft. In Thursday's start, Liriano looked good. He allowed two hits over two scoreless innings. Lirano walked one and struck out two during the outing. 

Afterward, Liriano said his goal was to work on his fastball. "Working on throwing the fastball in and out, and so far so good," Liriano said. "It feels a little weird, facing hitters back in a real game, but it was good to get the first one out of the way."

Manager Clint Hurdle came away impressed. "Liriano showed a good finish to his fastball, and got the ball inside. He also threw some good changeups and sliders," he said.

Liriano, 31, posted a 3.38 ERA over 162 1/3 innings last season. 


Jason Heyward hits single in spring training debut for Cardinals


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:43 pm ET) Outfielder Jason Heyward wasted no time getting his bat on the baseball in his new uniform. 

In Thursday's exhibition against the Marlins, Heyward hit a single in his first at-bat in the first inning. He scored a run, too, in St. Louis' 4-1 win. 

"It's good to play baseball," Heyward said, per MLB.com. "[It's a] fresh start in so many ways this year."

Heyward went 1-for-2 in the afternoon. He was traded to the Cardinals from the Braves last November. 


Athletics' Barry Zito gives up two runs in return


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:29 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Barry Zito allowed two runs in his return to the mound on Thursday.

Zito, who did not pitch in the majors last season, is attempting a comeback with the A's. He's considered a long shot for the rotation, but could be used in a relief role based on how he performs this spring. 

In his first start, Zito gave up two runs on two hits over two innings. He struck out two, but did not issue any walks during the outing. Zito's big mistake was a changeup to Mike Olt in the second inning. Other than that, he was solid.

Zito, 36, posted a 5.74 ERA over 133 1/3 innings in 2013. 


Marlins' Derek Dietrich (ankle) makes spring debut


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:28 pm ET) Marlins infielder Derek Dietrich made his spring debut Thursday, striking out and getting hit by a pitch in his two trips to the plate.

Dietrich was shut down in winter ball after suffering an ankle injury. He hit .228/.326/.386 with five home runs, 17 RBI and one stolen base in 158 at-bats with the Marlins last season. He'll compete for a reserve role but is blocked at second base after the team acquired Dee Gordon this offseason.


Cubs' Kyle Schwarber hits grand slam on Thursday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:24 pm ET) Cubs prospect Kyle Schwarber belted a grand slam on Thursday against the Giants.

Schwarber didn't wait long, knocking in all four runs in the second inning. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, Schwarber clobbered a pitch from Ryan Vogelsong, sending it out to right field. The 22-year-old is expected to begin the season in the minors, but is one of the team's top prospects. While he may not receive a promotion until late in the season, Schwarber could draw interest on the trade market if the Cubs decide to go all in at the deadline. 


Braves P Julio Teheran exorcises previous spring training demons


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:21 pm ET) Braves pitcher Julio Teheran still remembers the 2012 spring training game when he gave up six home runs in two innings against the Tigers. 

Therefore, scheduled to pitch against the Tigers on Thursday, he refused to use the same bullpen at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. that he did during that disastrous outing.

"I don't really think about that," Teheran said, per MLB.com. "I know some guys make fun of that, and I do too. It's just something that happened before."

On Thursday, Teheran fared much better in a 6-4 Braves victory. 

Teheran gave up one run during his first spring start of the season. He threw 36 pitches with 25 going for strikes. 

"I was controlling all of my pitches," Teheran said. "That was my goal today. I think the ball was coming out pretty good from my hands. I think that is where I want to be."


Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill shows off new mechanics


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:06 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Trevor Cahill showed off his new mechanics against the Rockies on Thursday. 

Cahill gave up two hits and one walk over two scoreless innings of work. The 27-year-old came into camp competing for a spot in the rotation, but has impressed thus far. In order to make the club, Cahill overhauled his mechanics. After his first start, he came away encouraged. 

"I could definitely tell there is some stuff," Cahill said. "Just where I have to set my sights on pitches has to change a little bit, because the ball doesn't run as much."

Cahill posted a 5.61 ERA over 110 2/3 innings last season. 


Brewers Scooter Gennett looking to prove himself


(7:05 pm ET) Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett knows that he must improve against left-handed pitching, per the team's official website.

"I'm very eager," said Gennett. "For me, I'm not eager about showing or proving [that I can hit lefties], but just for myself, being able to play and have fun every day and get in there every day and crack lefties. That's part of the game -- you don't want to [sit] out. It's back to what I'm used to, and I'm really looking forward to it." 

He didn't face one left-handed starting pitcher last year.  When batting against southpaw relievers in 2014, he went 4-for-39.  Gennett is 10-for-78 against lefties.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said this about Gennett's struggles.

"For me, you can't hit lefties unless you can get hit by them," Gennett said, "which means, if there's a guy throwing 97 [mph] and slinging it in there, the only way I'm going to hit him is if I stand in there willing to stay in there and wear one in the neck or the shoulder or the ribs. That's what you have to do to hit lefties. So that's the one thing I worry about -- don't be a scaredy cat and get out of the way, and I'll be all right."

Gennett, 24, has a career batting average of .300 going into his third season with the Brewers.


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


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:04 pm ET) 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.