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Mariners' Rickie Weeks will also play at first base this spring


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:38 am ET) Rickie Weeks has primarily been working in the outfield since arriving for spring training, but Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Monday that Weeks will also work at first base later this spring, per MLB.com.

“He will be that backup first baseman in case something happens,” said McClendon, noting he’s leaning more toward Weeks than fellow utility man Willie Bloomquist as a backup first baseman.


Mariners DH Nelson Cruz to see time in right field 'on occasion'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:35 am ET) Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz will see time in right field "on occasion" in order to let the team stream players through the designated-hiter slot, MLB.com reports.

"He’ll play out there in the season on occasion, because it’s nice to be able to rotate him out of that DH spot and give somebody else a day off and get him back on his feet," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "How much he’ll play in the spring, I’m not sure. But it would be safe to say he’ll play his share of games during the season in right field."

Cruz will primarly serve as a designated hitter by the Mariners but has played 744 games in right field in his career and 833 games in the outfield overall. While he's not on defense, the team is expected to use Seth Smith against most righties and Justin Ruggiano against most southpaws.


Viola: Mets' prospect Leathersich is a poor man's Sid Fernandez


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:33 am ET) Mets relief prospect Jack Leathersich has made a name for himself in the minors as a strikeout artist, as over his four-year career he is striking out 15.2 batters per nine innings. The left-hander is only 24 years old, meaning he could have a long and bright future with the Mets.

"If it all clicks, there's that lefty the Mets have been looking for in the big leagues and he's going to be there for a long time," Mets' Triple-A pitching coach Frank Viola said. "I compare him to a lesser man's Sid Fernandez."

Although, as good as Leathersich has been striking out batters, he has had his issues, particularly with his control. He has walked 4.9 batters per nine innings during his minor-league career.

"We'll give him a chance to see if he can get some left-handed hitters out in spring training," manager Terry Collins said. "You look at his numbers, he strikes people out. You look at his minor-league career, he strikes guys out. This isn't the minor leagues. I can clear that up real fast. This is a little different game. They're not going to swing at some of that stuff up here until you show me you can get them out in certain places, then they'll start to chase. But they're going to make you throw the ball over first. So we'll give him the opportunities."


Cardinals' Wainwright (abdominal) throws off mound Monday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:18 am ET) Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was back on the mound Monday to throw his first bullpen session since being sidelined last week due to an abdominal strain, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Wainwright threw 30-40 pitches and mixed in his curveball.

Monday marked the first time Wainwright was on the mound since the first official day for pitchers and catchers 10 days ago.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wainwright will have to face hitters in batting practice before being able to pitch in a game.


Cardinals' Jon Jay 'not far behind,' Bourjos has 'a different swing'


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:18 am ET) Cardinals manager Mike Matheny indicated Sunday that outfielder Peter Bourjos (hip) should be ready for the start of the exhibition season and has shown a noticeable difference in his swing, while outfielder Jon Jay (wrist) is "not far behind," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

"It’s looking like Peter is moving that direction (of being ready)," Matheny said. "Jon is going to be close. He’s getting stronger and everything is measuring out pretty well. Not far behind. He pushed it a little further."

Bourjos has had trouble keeping his hip flexible the last few seasons after having surgery to remove an impingement in the hip.

“I think right now I feel like I’m in a better position to hit more pitches," Bourjos said. "In the fast few years, I’ve been trying to work around my hip. I didn’t really know it, but I didn’t have that same range of motion."

"It’s very noticeable what he’s worked on," Matheny said of Bourjos. "We can’t get inside his body to know what it feels like, but it’s a different swing for sure. He always has moved well. He moved well last year. He’s driving balls that he couldn’t necessarily drive before."

Jay, who is working his way back from wrist surgery, is continuing to target being ready for opening night April 5. He noted that he'll be able to receive his full complement of spring-training at-bats in the last two weeks of the preseason, if necessary.

"We’re working to where I get 100 percent comfortable and then go from there," Jay said.. "I’m a cage guy. Once I feel good about my swing in the cage, I can take it anywhere. I want to get right inside."


Phillies' Ruf will be under the microscope in left field this spring


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:11 am ET) Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf will be competing with Grady Sizemore, Odubel Herrera and Jordan Danks for playing time -- and potentially the starting job -- in left field this spring. The Phillies hope Ruf will be up to the challenge and make the decision difficult as to who to keep on the roster, per The Philadelphia Daily News.

"It all depends on him," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Ruf, who has played parts of the last three seasons with the Phillies. "He's going to get opportunities to play. Sizemore looks very good. The decisions that we make will be based on performance here in spring, whether we think they can help us on a regular basis during the season. And once we break with the team, it's going to be about [manager Ryne Sandberg] trying to put the best team out there to win baseball games."

Ruf is a natural first baseman, but he has been learning to play in left field since 2012. Still, the Phillies have to see if they can trust him on a regular basis playing the position.

"I don't know," Amaro said. "He could. He could. We'll find out. We'll find out a little more about him. He's not an outfielder per se, but he seems to move fine out there and he doesn't seem to make mistakes. It's still a learning process for him . . . You can't lose sight of the defense. And we have to be aware of that. We have to win games playing all phases of the games. Defense and pitching are important. Guys have to be good enough defensively not to be liabilities out there, so they can help us win games."


Twins send five home due to illness before Monday workouts


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (illness) was back at workouts Monday, but the Twins sent five other players home due to illness before Monday workouts began, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Pitcher Trevor May and outfielders Byron Buxton and Jordan Schafer missed a second straight day of workouts, while catcher Kurt Suzuki and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia also had to miss the Monday session.

The Twins begin exhibition season Wednesday with a game against the University of Minnesota.


Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia remains upbeat coming off wrist surgery


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:57 am ET) Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who is coming off wrist surgery, said he is able to swing a bat with full confidence and hasn't had that feeling since the 2011 season, according to WEEI.com.

“I feel normal,” he said. “I can tell just picking up a bat my hand strength is back. That’s the most important part to me. When you grab a bat, how does it feel? Can you manipulate where you want to hit the ball? It’s all back.

“I knew before I got here. You could tell. Balls come off the bat different. It sounds different. If I’m fooled and I’m out in front I had the strength to flip it the other way or still turn on it. Those are the things I couldn’t do. My swing is normal. My follow through is normal. There’s finish.”

Pedroia has hit just 16 home runs the last two seasons while dealing with thumb and wrist injuries. However, Pedroia said he will gladly sacrifice power if that means another World Series win for Boston.

“I don’t care. Numbers are numbers,” he said. “We’re here to win the World Series. I don’t care about any of that. If people don’t know that by now. We won the World Series and I hit nine home runs and everyone said I lost my power. Well, I’ll lose my power if I win the World Series. What is everyone’s job here? Win. We don’t give a crap about anything else.”


McClendon: Paxton to long toss from 120 feet Mon., throw off mound Tues.


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:26 am ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said the tentative plan for starting pitcher James Paxton (forearm) is to long toss from 120 feet Monday and throw off a mound Tuesday.

Orioles' Janish not likely to make spring debut until late March


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:19 am ET) Orioles infielder Paul Janish, who underwent surgery in February to remove bone chips from his right elbow, will field grounders Tuesday for the first time since surgery and throw this weekend, per MASNsports.com.

Janish is aming to play in his first spring game either March 20 or March 21.

"Relatively speaking, it feels about as well as it can up to this point. Probably a little bit ahead of schedule, which is a difficult thing to kind of expedite on the training room side of it," Janish said. "I'm getting a little restless, but they are allowing me to start taking ground balls tomorrow. I don't start throwing until probably this weekend, so from then on it will be 10 days to two weeks of a throwing program, which will be abbreviated for me, not being a pitcher or anything of that nature. It's a completely different kind of program.

"Fortunately, I haven't had any problems at all. Everything up to this point has been really smooth, not having any residual soreness or pain or anything of that nature. It's all individual. Some people just don't react the same. Fortunately for me, it's been good up to this point, so hopefully we continue going down the right path."


Padres' Shields being held back following deep postseason run


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) Since Padres starting pitcher James Shields pitched deep into the postseason last year with the Royals, the coaching staff has him slightly behind the other starters in camp, per U-T San Diego.

"Fortunately, we don't have to start him until a little bit further -- he's not starting in the first three (spring-training) games -- but he'll be fine," pitching coach Darren Balsley said. "It's no big deal."


Nationals' Cole earns high praise from manager following BP session


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:08 am ET) The Nationals held their first live batting practice session of the spring Sunday, and starting pitcher prospect A.J. Cole earned high marks from manager Matt Williams, per MLB.com.

“He had a great live session today,” Williams said. “For me, he is growing into body. He is a young player. He is tall. He has great leverage and is getting stronger certainly by the year. This year he came into spring training looking great. Of course, we know about his fastball and curveball. Depending on the day, he can touch mid-to-high 90s with his fastball. He is a very promising prospects for us and still very young.  … I know he wants to pitch and loves taking the ball that for sure.”

Cole is considered the Nationals' second-best prospect by MLB.com.


Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia sent home Monday due to illness


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:57 am ET) Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was sent home Monday due to an illness, per the Pioneer Press. Arcia said he began to feel lightheaded Sunday near the end of workouts.

Cardinals OF Randal Grichuk (back) cleared to resume workouts


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:52 am ET) Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk got the green light to resume workouts Monday after being sidelined a few days with a back injury, per St. Louis Baseball Weekly.

Tigers RP Joel Hanrahan (arm) to visit specialist Tuesday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:50 am ET) Tigers reliever Joel Hanrahan, who has not thrown since Feb. 22 due to arm soreness, will visit a specialist in Texas on Tuesday, manager Brad Ausmus announced Monday.

Hanrahan described the soreness as some days it feels like the bones are rubbing together and other days it feels like someone is pinching his bicep, per the Detroit Free Press. Hanrahan has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013.

“I’m past the frustration part. It’s been long enough. I’m just looking for answers," Hanrahan said.


Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe (illness) gets back to work Monday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe returned to workouts Monday after missing two days due to an illness, according to the Pioneer Press.

Nationals OF Michael Taylor OK despite neck injury


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:40 am ET) Nationals manager Matt Williams said Monday outfielder Michael Taylor is dealing with a twinge in his neck, per MLB.com. However, Taylor did participate in workouts Sunday.

“Anytime that happens, especially early in the spring, we make sure that we take it easy on him. He is full go. He is ready to play,” Williams said.

Taylor is expected to see plenty of playing time this spring with right fielder Jayson Werth sidelined due to a shoulder injury. Taylor is considered the Nationals' third-best prospect by MLB.com.


Cardinals' Wainwright could throw bullpen, if cleared by doctors


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:34 am ET) Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright is meeting with trainers Monday to get the go ahead to continue in his rehab from an abdominal strain, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The team's ace is scheduled to throw a bullpen Monday.

Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch admits to pressing too hard last spring


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:41 am ET) Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch is still pushing to earn a spot on the team's starting rotation this spring, but he knows he pushed a bit too hard last year, reports the Dallas Morning News.

"I was just trying to do a little too much," said Tepesch, who threw a scoreless inning on 14 pitches in Sunday's intrasquad game. "I was trying to make perfect pitches and staying who I am. Getting sent down allowed me to look at what made me successful and try to own those types of things. It was beneficial. I also now know that I can only control what I do. If I stay focused on that, pressure takes care of itself."


Tigers' Blaine Hardy hoping to reign in his accuracy in 2015


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy is using this spring training to work on his control. Hardy struggled in 2014 with his control, walking 20 batters in 39 innings pitched.

"Last year I walked more people than I would've liked," he said to MLB.com. "That's definitely a learning point, learning the strike zone. It's a little bit different, a little bit smaller, but more consistent. With that being said, I felt like I had a good year, and hopefully I'll be able to come in and do the same thing with less walks."

Manager Brad Ausmus didn't think Hardy's season was as bad as people believe it was.

"I thought he did a good job for us, quite frankly," Ausmus said. "It kind of irks me a little bit when people want to split players' seasons up: Player X had a good year, but he really struggled in the second half. He still had a good year.

"Guys are going to struggle at some point in the season. It's probably more likely they struggle in the second half as they tire, but you can't discount what they did in the first half. Those games are just as important to win."


Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin faces hitters for first time Saturday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is feeling good about his health so far in camp. Good enough, in fact, that the 27-year-old faced hitters Saturday for the first time this spring.

Sunday, Chacin said he was without pain.

"Today I feel normal -- not like before," Chacin said. "I threw everything and felt good. I need to get into games to really feel back to normal, like it did two years ago [14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 31 starts]. I know I've got a long way to go. I don't know what my velocity was, but it'll come up a little."

Chacin injured his rotator cuff in the middle of last season, forcing him out of action for nearly half the season.


Indians P Gavin Floyd comes out of live BP session pain free


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Following his first live batting practice of spring training, Indians pitcher Gavin Floyd came away without any pain the elbow he broke last season.

With the Braves in 2014, Floyd fractured his elbow in a game against the Nationals on June 19. The injury required surgery, which ended his season. Sunday morning's batting practice marked the first time he'd thrown to a batter since that game. 

"It's just another step," Floyd said via MLB.com. "It's the first time I had a significant bullpen, cooled down for a little bit and then got back out there. I felt really good. I've just got to continue to make progress and build up strength. Usually, that's just by doing it over and over again, and using spring to do that."


White Sox's Gordon Beckham working at multiple infield positions


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Gordon Beckham's main goal this spring training is to win the White Sox's starting second baseman position. 

But for now, the White Sox are planning to use him at multiple positions in the infield during Cactus League play, according to MLB.com. This is somewhat new for Beckham, as he played second base during his first five-plus Major League seasons with the White Sox. 

Though Beckham is looking to earn the starting job at second base, he seems to be enjoying playing multiple spots so far. 

"I'm actually kind of enjoying running around," Beckham said. "I like popping around the infield. I know the coaches and the people making the decisions know I can play second base and know I can play it well. There has been an emphasis on them just telling me to get some work in other places."

Beckham actually played shortstop in college at the University of Georgia and played that position, as well as third base, after the White Sox traded him to the Angels. He was brought back to Chicago on a one-year deal. 

Beckham hit a single-season worse .226 for both the Angels and White Sox a season ago. 


Giants' Tim Lincecum to 'piggyback' starter this week


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said pitcher Tim Lincecum will see a relief appearance early this week, according to MLB.com

Lincecum is generating rave reviews for his performance early on in spring training. However, he won't be getting a start this week. Bochy said Lincecum will "piggyback" either Madison Bumgarner (Tuesday), Jake Peavy (Wednesday), Ryan Vogelsong (Thursday) or Yusmeiro Petit (Friday) this week. 

This means Lincecum will come in and get a starter's workload in relief. 


Giants' Jake Peavy to start Wednesday for Giants


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/1/2015) Following Madison Bumgarner's exhibition start on Tuesday, the Giants will go with Jake Peavy to start Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Athletics, manager Bruce Bochy announced via MLB.com

Ryan Vogelsong will pitch Thursday against the Cubs and Yusmeiro Petit will go Friday against the Rangers.