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Indians outfielder Michael Brantley working on opposite-field power


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Indians outfielder Michael Brantley is battling off injury issues this spring. But, the outfielder is still working to get better. And listening to his father, reports MLB.com.

"Hitting it over the left fielder's head -- not always in front," Michael Brantley said. "Making sure that we're catching the ball still out front, but still staying through it so we could stay behind the ball and drive the ball to left-center and over the left fielder's head this year."

His dad, Mickey Brantley is now a hitting coach and continues to give his son advice. Brantley wants to continue to be aggressive at the plate.

"That's not going to change. It worked OK," Brantley said with a laugh. "I don't want to change things that work. There's no set way of going about it, but you've got to be aggressive in this game. The pitching is getting too good to not be aggressive anymore."


Royals' Alex Rios says thumb better, but problem will linger


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Royals outfielder Alex Rios said his thumb is doing better, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

Rios sat out two games after jamming the thumb, the same injury he suffered last season. 

Even though the thumb is improved, Rios said he'll likely have to manage the condition all season long. 


Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin throws bullpen session Friday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin was able to throw 50-plus pitches in a bullpen session Friday, reports MLB.com.

Manager Bob Melvin said all of his pitches were looking great. Griffin, who is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, is continuing to rehab in hopes of joining the team once the regular season begins. He went 14-10 in 2014 with a 3.83 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 200 innings pitched.


Jacoby Ellsbury taking BP for Yankees


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury continues to make progress in returning from the oblique injury that has plagued him since March 15. 

Ellsbury took indoor batting practice on Friday, and manager Joe Girardi reported that everything went well, per MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.

Ellsbury will take batting practice on the field on Saturday. 


Rangers' Ross Ohlendorf (groin) will be evaluated Friday


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf is not expected to throw or take part in any baseball activities until he is evaluated by Dr. Keith Meister Friday afternoon, per the Star-Telegram.

Ohlendorf, who is is unlikely to crack the rotation, aggravated his right groin after tossing a scoreless inning of work on Thursday. The team will likely know more about his regular-season status after he is evaluated.


Astros RP Josh Fields continues rehab with a round of catch


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Astros reliever Josh Fields continued his rehab from a groin injury on Friday with a round of catch. Fields has been sidelined since Monday -- his only appearance of the spring -- with the issue. He has been evaluated every day, and is not scheduled to play catch on Friday, according to MLB.com.

Fields' status for Opening Day remains up in the air.


Nick Swisher will play in minor-league game on Friday


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters that outfielder Nick Swisher didn't play in a minor-league game on Thursday because he felt general fatigue in his legs, according to MLB.com. The issue was unrelated to his knees. Swisher will instead play in a minor-league game on Friday.

J.J. Hardy exits spring game after collision with Jonathan Schoop


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy suffered a shoulder injury during a second-inning collision with second baseman Jonathan Schoop on Friday, according to MLB.com. Manager Buck Showalter removed him from the game and will evaluate him on Saturday.

"I was kind of falling, diving at the same time just to knock that ball down and keep it in the infield and then I think Schoopy was doing the same thing," Hardy said. "We kind of collided. It wasn't bad. My glasses came down, my hat, all that stuff, but nothing was ... It was no big deal."


Astros' Grossman, Villar due back in spring lineup Saturday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Astros outfielder Robbie Grossman (quadriceps) and infielder/outfielder Jonathan Villar (ankle) are expected back in the spring lineup Saturday, manager A.J. Hinch said Friday. Both players were involved in an outfield collision Wednesday. Both outfielders were involved in an outfield collision on Wednesday.

Angels 3B David Freese (elbow) expected back in lineup Saturday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Angels third baseman David Freese, who suffered a hyperextended elbow Tuesday, took batting practice Friday and is expected to return to the spring lineup Saturday, per The Orange County Register.

Freese is batting .282 (11 for 39) with one home run, three doubles and seven RBI in 14 spring games. 

"Night and day," Freese said Friday when asked how he feels this spring compared to last, per MLB.com. "I'm more confident in where I'm at right now. I can't explain it. I don't really know how I was thinking last year, I just know how I feel right now, mentally, physically."


Tigers SP Justin Verlander exits spring start with triceps cramping


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) With the start of the season getting closer and closer, the Tigers did not want to see starting pitcher Justin Verlander leave his spring start Friday against the Blue Jays early. Unfortunately, that is what happened.

The 32-year-old right-hander left Friday's start in the third inning due to injury after he was visited on the mound by manager Brad Ausmus, pitching coach Jeff Jones and the trainer.

The Tigers announced Verlander left the game with cramping in his right triceps. He will be re-evaluated Saturday, but the Tigers don't anticipate him missing his next spring start.

Verlander allowed one run on one hit and one walk in 2 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays got their lone run off Verlander on Dalton Pompey's solo home run in the second inning. He struck out two. Verlander has a 5.63 ERA through five spring starts.


Francona: Indians taking no chances with Brantley, out a few more days


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona said Friday the team is taking no chances with outfielder Michael Brantley, who still had back soreness Friday, per MLB.com. Francona said Brantley is likely to miss a few more spring games and has no specific game in mind for his return.

Brantley, who is coming off a breakout season in 2014, is batting .321 (9 for 28) with one double, two runs, two RBI, two walks and three strikeouts in 10 spring games.


White Sox SP Chris Sale could pitch in minors game in five days


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (foot), who threw a short bullpen on Wednesday, threw a 75-pitch simulated game on Friday, according to Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Sale is rehabbing from a broken foot, and called his outing a "big confidence builder." He could start in a minor-league game in approximately five days.

Alex Hassan available Friday; Josh Reddick could be back Sunday


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Athletics outfielder Alex Hassan was deemed available to play off the bench in Thursday's Cactus League game against the White Sox, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Hassan has been sidelined since March 11 due to the issue. Outfielder Josh Reddick, who was shut down earlier in March due to an oblique strain, could return as early as Sunday.

White Sox's Nate Jones (elbow) placed on 60-day DL


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) White Sox reliever Nate Jones was officially placed on the 60-day disabled list on Friday, per the team's official website. Jones is working his way back from Tommy John surgery last July. He is scheduled for a bullpen on Wednesday, according to Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

Jones will likely stay in extended spring training through May, and is targeting a mid-season return.


Swihart could be Opening Day catcher if Vazquez remains sidelined


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Though he was optioned to Triple-A last week, Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated that he would be open to going with catching prospect Blake Swihart if Christian Vazquez remains sidelined with an elbow issue, according to the Boston Herald. Farrell will likely wait a little over a week before he decides on his Opening Day catcher.

"Anybody in our uniform is always under consideration," Farrell said. "We'll see how things play out in the next eight or nine days."


MRI on White Sox P Jake Petricka's elbow comes back clean


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) White Sox pitcher Jake Petricka underwent an MRI on his sore elbow, which came back clean, according to the ESPN. Petricka was recently shut down a few days and told reporters he underwent an MRI "just to be safe." He's expected to resume throwing on Saturday.

Red Sox's Joe Kelly pitches three innings in intrasquad game


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Red Sox starting pitcher Joe Kelly (biceps) pitched three innings in a minor-league intrasquad games, according to Comcast SportsNet Northeast. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out five. Of his 53 pitches, 31 were strikes.

Indians OF Nick Swisher tests injured knees in minor-league game


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Indians outfielder Nick Swisher took part in sliding drills to test his injured knees before playing in a minor-league game on Thursday, according to the Plain Dealer.

"He slid on the mat," said Francona. "He needed to do that. You can't let a guy get in a game without being able to slide because you never know what can happen."


Angels OF Kole Calhoun (triceps) held out of Friday's lineup


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun was not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Diamondbacks, according to the Los Angeles Times. Calhoun was removed from Thursday's game in the second inning because of a right triceps contusion. He is 12 for 41 with one double and three walks in Cactus League play.

Tigers remove Victor Martinez from lineup due to rain in forecast


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez was removed from the starting lineup, and is no longer on the travel roster for Friday's game against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Martinez said following a 6-4 win over Baltimore on Thursday that he's experiencing some soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee. The team announced he was scratched due to rain in the forecast, per MLive.com. He remains in Detroit's tentative lineup for Saturday's home game against the Cardinals.


Twins' Josmil Pinto (concussion): I'm cleared for 'everything'


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Twins catcher Josmil Pinto told reporters he had been cleared to do "everything" in terms of baseball activity, but isn't sure when he'll see game action, per the Pioneer Press.

Pinto suffered concussion-like symptoms after he was hit on the back of the head three times by an Adam Jones backswing on Saturday. He indicated earlier in the week that he could get into a game this weekend.


Red Sox's Christian Vazquez scheduled for an MRI on Friday


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (elbow) will undergo an MRI on his injured elbow on Friday. He downplayed the issue, telling reporters that he's "going to be fine," according to WEEI. He is scheduled to catch Joe Kelly in a minor-league intrasquad game. Vazquez will be refrained from throwing to bases.

"I think I'm going to be fine, I hope I'm going be fine for Opening Day," Vazques said, per ESPN. "That's the goal here.

"I want to be 100 percent to help the team. I need to be ready to help the team win. That's my goal: Be ready, be healthy. This is the first time in my life that I got hurt. I'm, you know, a little bit sad with myself for the first time [being hurt], but I'm fine."


Rangers' Ross Ohlendorf (groin) leaves Thursday's game


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was removed from Thursday's game against the Rockies due to recurring tightness in his right groin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Ohlendorf tossed a scoreless inning and struck out two Thursday in his first appearance since March 15 but continued to battle groin issues. He's competing for a spot in the bullpen.


Angels' Kole Calhoun (triceps) removed from game Thursday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun came out of Thursday's spring matchup in the Cubs in the second inning due to a right triceps contusion, the team announced.

Calhoun was hit in his right shoulder while leading off the game and slid hard into second base on a double play in the first inning. He played the bottom of the first inning in right field but did not return to the field for the second inning. Manger Mike Scioscia said after the game that the outfielder was removed as a precaution and the injury isn't expected to be serious, MLB.com reports.

Calhoun is 12 for 41 with one double and three walks this spring.


 
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