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Rangers' Alexander Claudio hoping to earn a role


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:27 am ET) Rangers pitcher Alexander Claudio is hoping to be the team's lefty in the bullpen, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Claudio is one of three lefties in camp competing for the job. He performed well in his first taste of spring training, retiring two lefties during his inning of work. He allowed one hit, and struck out two batters. While Claudio's fastball barely registers on the radar gun, manager Jeff Banister still came away impressed.

"I like the secondary stuff," Banister said. "He's accepted the type of pitcher he is and is willing to be that guy. He’s really intriguing with the kind of deception he brings."

Claudio posted a 2.92 ERA over 12 1/3 innings last season.


Dodgers' Erik Bedard willing to go to Triple-A


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Erik Bedard is willing to go to Triple-A if he doesn't break camp with the major-league club, according to MLB.com.

Bedard allowed one run over two innings in his first taste of spring action on Wednesday. The veteran said he knows that if the Dodgers five starters are healthy, he'll be sent to the minors. "I know where I stand," Bedard said. "The game is still fun. I like to play baseball."

Bedard posted a 4.76 ERA over 75 2/3 innings last season. 


Dodgers' Alex Guerrero willing to play third base


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers infielder Alex Guerrero has been willing to learn third this spring, according to MLB.com.

Guerrero is in a bit of a unique position. With Howie Kendrick entrenched at second, Guerrero doesn't really have a spot in the team's infield. Due to his contract, however, the team can't just send him to the minors. Guerrero can block the move, and has already said he plans to do so if the team tries to send him down. If he can play third well, that may not be a problem.

For what it's worth, manager Don Mattingly believes Guerrero has looked better this spring. "I really do think the second year [in camp] he looks a lot different as far as being relaxed," Mattingly said. "He's swinging the bat well and he keeps improving."

The 28-year-old hit .333/.371/.621 over three minor-league levels last season. 


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. 


Twins' Jose Berrios strikes out four on Wednesday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins starter Jose Berrios struck out four during his first spring appearance on Wednesday.

Berrios took on the University of Minnesota, and turned in a good showing. While Berrios is a minor-leaguer, he's only 20, and was taking on players his age. Berrios allowed one hit and one unearned run over two innings of work. He struck out four batters.

Berrios is the team's third-best prospect according to Baseball America. He's expected to begin the year in the minors, but could move quickly based on how well he performs. 


Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley makes debut Wednesday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Braden Shipley pitched two innings in his spring training debut Wednesday, allowing just one baserunner and recording one strikeout. Shipley admitted he was a bit worried in his first appearance, reports AZCentral.com.

"I was a little nervous going in, but that was expected," Shipley said. "I think it was more excitement for me. That was really fun."

Manager Chip Hale said he expects Shipley to make starts in his next few appearances this spring.


Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson faces batters for first time this spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson was able to face live batters for the first time this spring since recovering from back surgery, the 27-year-old tweeted Wednesday.

Anderson was only able to pitch 43 1/3 innings in 2014 with a 1-3 record and 2.91 ERA after suffering the back injury that cut his season short. 


White Sox SS Tim Anderson looking to become long-term solution


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) White Sox prospect Tim Anderson is on a mission in spring training this year. He wants to prove that he belongs in the majors with the big boys.

"Just show them I can stay at short and my defense has come a long way and it's going to get better," Anderson said. "I want to be a shortstop for a long time. I'm going to be a shortstop. I'm going to work hard to stay there."

Anderson is currently considered Chicago's No. 2 prospect and could be just the prospect the White Sox are looking for. In his 2015 debut, Anderson smacked a two-run single.

"I'm just staying calm and trying not to do too much and just doing what I've been doing to be here," Anderson said. "It has been exciting to get in here and work with all the big leaguers and get my reps in and see how they go in the daily routine."


Reds' Kevin Gregg hoping to win a spot in the bullpen


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Reds pitcher Kevin Gregg is hoping to win a spot in the team's bullpen, according to MLB.com.

Gregg may be 36-years-old, but understands he still needs to prove himself.  "I don't mind coming in and earning a spot," he said. "I'm coming off elbow surgery. At this point in my career, it's something I need to do."

Gregg had bone chips removed from his elbow in August, but was able to hit 92 mph in a showcase in February. He believes his velocity has improved since then.

Manager Bryan Price had good things to say about Gregg thus far. "He looks great. He looks durable," Price said. "He's got hand speed. He's crisp with his location. I've been extremely impressed with Kevin to this point."

The 36-year-old tossed just nine innings in the majors last year.


Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds sidelined with oblique injury


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Reynolds was scheduled to throw batting practice Wednesday, but was unable to do so while dealing with a sore right oblique, reports MLB.com.

"I'm like, 'I'm in here again, I can't get out of this darn room,'" Reynolds said.

Reynolds missed all of 2014 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he isn't having any issues with the elbow.

"My elbow feels real good," he said. "It feels strong."


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. 


Nationals' Yunel Escobar ahead of schedule in position transition


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Nationals infielder Yunel Escobar was informed when he was traded from the Athletics he was switching from shortstop to second base for this season. Escobar has put in extra work to get himself ready for live action this spring at second, the position he's played since 2007, reports MLB.com.

"He is a big man and has real light feet. He is very bouncy, live body," defensive coordinator and advance coach Mark Weidemaier said. "He has taken to the footwork well, as far as turning double plays. There are things we have to polish a little bit, but he is way ahead of the game for me. He has taken to it like a duck to water. It's very natural to him."

Manager Matt Williams is planning to start Escobar at second Thursday.

"He is going to play. He needs to play games and get game experience and get back in the flow of [being on] the other side of the diamond," Williams said. "He is ready to go, I know that."


Athletics' Marcus Semien stays hot on Wednesday


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Athletics infielder Marcus Semien cannot be stopped this spring.

After going 3 for 3 with two home runs on Tuesday, Semien again reached in all his plate appearances on Wednesday. He wasted no time getting to work, singling in two runs in the first inning. Semien would walk in his next appearance before driving in another run on a single in his final at-bat. 

Semien, who has yet to make an out this spring, downplayed his success, saying "I'm just getting good pitches to hit right now." The 24-year-old hit .234/.300/.372 over 231 at-bats last season. 


Rockies pitcher Brooks Brown set to make spring debut Thursday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Rockies pitcher Brooks Brown is considered one of Colorado's top options this season. What has many people excited is the velocity Brown has on his fastball. But what he wants to work on the most this spring, and the pitch that kept hitters on their toes, is his changeup.

"The more success I was having with it, the more aggressiveness I had with it," said Brown. "It was a pitch I'd always had, but by the All-Star break last year, I found I could throw it to right-handed and left-handed hitters. It became a put-away pitch."

Rockies pitching coach Darren Holmes thinks his changeup should be considered as good as his fastball.

"Brooks came up last year and did a great job," Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes said. "When you look at guys that don't throw as hard, for me, my good secondary pitch is a changeup. That's a complete equalizer, I don't care if you throw 85 or you throw 105."


Yankees' Andrew Miller 'happy' with scoreless inning Wednesday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Yankees pitcher Andrew Miller made his Grapefruit League debut wednesday, giving up one hit in a scoreless inning against the Phillies while striking out two.

"I'm really happy with the way I was throwing the ball," Miller said after the outing, per MLB.com. "I'm not too concerned with things right now. It could have been absolutely horrendous and there's nothing to worry about. It's just going out there and getting it going. I felt my breaking ball was really good, so it's always nice to come back and realize it's still there after the offseason."

Miller signed a four-year, $36-million deal with the Yankees this offseason after going 5-5 with a 2.02 ERA and 103:17 K:BB ratio in 62 1/3 innings.


Rockies pitcher Jon Gray throws two scoreless innings Wednesday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Rockies pitcher Jon Gray was able to work two scoreless innings in Wednesday's 6-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. The prospect was able to get something to work off of as well: a strikeout on slugger Paul Goldschmidt.

Gray burned a 97 mph fastball past the power hitter and felt great afterward.

"I was saving that one for him," Gray said. "I knew I was going to need it. I was thinking 'grip and rip' on this one."

Gray also got back to what he knew best in his outing.

"I kind of went to the basics and focused on the target," Gray said. "At first, I was seeing the batter, the catcher, the plate, everything. But after that, I focused on the glove, got my deep breath in and threw."


Diamondbacks' Chase Anderson tosses two scoreless innings


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Chase Anderson tossed two scoreless innings on Wednesday against the Rockies. 

Anderson came into camp competing for a spot in the team's rotation, though manager Chip Hale recently said Anderson is probably set in his spot. If he has to prove himself, he got off on the right foot on Wednesday. Anderson tossed two scoreless frames, giving up two hits and a walk. He struck out two during the outing. 

Anderson, 27, posted a 4.01 ERA over 114 1/3 innings last year.


Rays sign Jim Miller to minor-league deal


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) The Rays have signed pitcher Jim Miller to a minor-league deal, according to SBNation.

Miller will report to major-league spring training as part of the contract. The 32-year-old tossed just 2 2/3 innings in the majors last season. 


Padres' Middlebrooks, Solarte competing for starting role


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Padres third basemen Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte are competing for the third base job this spring, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune

Manager Bud Black admitted third base was the "biggest" competition in camp. He said he believes both players can hack it in the majors, but was hesitant to say he would utilize them in a platoon role. 

"Possibility," Black said, "but I think any player will tell you he wants to be an everyday player -- they want to play. And they’re both young, they’re both in their mid-20s. You hope it’s a tough decision at the end, but these things have a way of working themselves out."

Middlebrooks, 26, hit .191 over 215 at-bats last season. Solarte hit .260/.336/.369 over 469 at-bats. 


Twins prospect Miguel Sano: I've been throwing 100 percent


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Twins prospect Miguel Sano is still battling to get back on the field after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Sano suffered the injury in an exhibition game in 2014 and Sano is finally starting to feel strong in the arm again.

"It's exciting," Sano said. "I feel pretty good. I feel healthy. Nothing has been bothering me. I've been throwing 100 percent every time."

Manager Paul Molitor is keeping a close eye on Sano's progress this spring.

"I was monitoring how he was doing on the drills, and he didn't have any issues with that elbow," Molitor said. "I thought it was a good day, playing the Gophers, to get some of our young guys the chance to play. And I know people want to see him play, so it's a good thing."


Yankees' Stephen Drew still learning in transition to second base


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew knew the switch from playing shortstop to second base wasn't going to be easy. Drew committed an error on the very first ball hit to him this spring.

"Coming over last year, what I was learning was that angle. Just totally different," Drew said. "The ball comes off the bat a little different on guys. That's definitely going to be something that I'm learning through this whole thing. That won't go away after I learn it. I'm going to work all through Spring Training to get those angles knocked out."

Drew is expecting to take reps exclusively at second throughout spring training, allowing Did Gregorius and Brendan Ryan to get their chances at shortstop.


Diamondbacks' Rubby De La Rosa gets off to strong start


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Rubby De La Rosa got off to a strong start on Wednesday against the Rockies. 

De La Rosa allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. He struck out two during the outing. The 26-year-old was acquired by the club during the offseason, and is expected to compete for a role in the team's rotation this spring. 

De La Rosa posted a 4.43 ERA over 101 2/3 innings last season. 


Braves' Jace Peterson to play both second base and shortstop this spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Braves infielder Jace Peterson has the inside track to start at second base for the club this season and manager Fredi Gonzalez was impressed with his play in the spring training debut Wednesday. Peterson doubled and drew two walks in the game.

"He smoked that ball," Gonzalez said. "I like his ability and that you can run him out there at shortstop and let him play that position. We'll play him back and forth on the diamond and see what happens."

Gonzalez knows he has the ability to step in and play very soon.

"You like his baseball abilities, his makeup and his character," Gonzalez said. "He's not just a throw-in [in the trade], he's a baseball player."


Athletics' Jesse Chavez tosses two scoreless innings


by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut on Wednesday.

Chavez is competing for the fifth spot in the team's rotation, and made his case during his first appearance. Chavez allowed two hits and one walk over two innings of work. He struck out one during the outing. 

Chavez said he was nervous for the start, but embraces the competition. "I like the competition," he said. "Every year there's a competition, especially for me in my situation. So I embrace it, I like it, and I think it's challenging for all of us here and will bring out the best in us."

The 31-year-old posted a 3.45 ERA over 146 innings last year.