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Week 2 Fantasy Pitching Planner

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The Fantasy Baseball Pitching Planner is your guide to setting your rotations for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we'll give you the latest on all of the matchups, highlight two-start options and much more. NOTE: The Planner will be updated with the latest rotation information every Sunday prior to lineup deadlines.

Listen to our latest Fantasy Baseball Podcast!

Those of you who visited last week's Pitching Planner no doubt noticed that we've added an interactive tool to this feature. Not only did you take notice, but many of you chimed in with suggestions on how to make it better. We've incorporated a couple of those recommendations into the even-newer-and-more-improved Pitching Planner. Specifically, the tool now provides the ability to view pitchers by team and date.

Now that the universe has been restored to its natural order, and we're back to a seven-day scoring period, we are also providing a way to select pitchers by their number of scheduled starts. Finding a list of two-start pitchers is now as easy as just clicking on the "2" button under "Starts" at the top of the tool.

Every starting pitcher scheduled to make at least one start is included in the tool. We'll also look at some of the more notable hurlers in greater detail below.

Advisable Two-Start Pitchers (Standard Mixed Leagues)

Chad Billingsley, L.A. Dodgers: He's been hurt by homers so far, but that doesn't change Billingsley's status as a must-start option.

Joe Blanton, Philadelphia: Blanton just had one of those games in his season debut against the Mets. He comes into this season very underrated, and gets a couple of decent matchups against the Nationals and Marlins.

Dallas Braden, Oakland: Braden is a flyball pitcher, but he hasn't fared that much worse away from Oakland, so his start at Chicago isn't as dangerous as it might appear. A second start against Detroit certainly doesn't hurt his viability this week.

Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco: Starts against the Dodgers and D-Backs in Week 2 is a nice way for Bumgarner to put his woeful season debut against the Padres behind him. He should return to form.

A.J. Burnett, N.Y. Yankees: A pair of solid starts in Week 1 is not quite enough to convince me that A.J. Classic Version is back. His start against the Rangers could be his first real test of the year, but he could still come away with a win against inexperienced Orioles starter Chris Tillman. That Baltimore matchup is reason enough to take a chance on Burnett this week.

Trevor Cahill, Oakland: He silenced a tough Toronto lineup in his second start, providing just a little more evidence that last year was no fluke. At this point, we don't need to worry about matchups with Cahill.

Chris Carpenter, St. Louis: We've seen the same old Carpenter in his first two starts this year. He's a must-start as long as he can stay healthy.

Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs: Dempster looks like an early-season BABIP casualty (.350 BABIP, 6.59 ERA), but we can expect a lot of those over the first few weeks. Things will even out for him.

Brian Duensing, Minnesota: Giving up a pair of homers in his first start was very un-Duensing-like, even if the game was in Yankee Stadium. The fact that he settled down after the first two innings is a very good sign, and he did his usual good job of inducing grounders. Duensing should be fine for Week 2, and matchups against the Royals and Rays can only help.

Jason Hammel, Colorado: Hammel isn't always a trustworthy option in standard mixed leagues, but he's not likely to repeat the control issues he faced in his season opener against the Dodgers. Matchups against the Mets and Cubs are reasonably favorable, so Hammel is worth a shot if more reliable options are not available on waivers.

Tommy Hanson, Atlanta: Could it be that Hanson is a slow starter? Actually, his performance on Thursday against Milwaukee was not all that bad, and looking at the bigger picture, he hasn't given us any reason to view him as anything but a must-start in all formats.

Dan Haren, L.A. Angels: All signs pointed toward a bounce-back season for Haren, and he has come through in his first two starts. Even with getting moved back a day, he still lines up to get two starts. In any event, keep him active.

Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay: Hellickson was outdueled by the aforementioned Haren in his season debut, but he still managed to strike out 10 batters in 5 2/3 innings. He can back up the hype and should start in virtually any week.

Felix Hernandez, Seattle: It goes without saying, but never, ever sit Felix.

Clayton Kershaw, L.A. Dodgers: Kershaw is a must-start even with one start, so his owners will really enjoy a double-dip against the Giants and Cardinals.

Mat Latos, San Diego: His shoulder is feeling better, so Latos is expected to be activated from the DL in time for Monday's game against the Reds, and he should get a second start at Houston. Given his dominating performance last season, we can only assume that his difficult spring had something to do with his injury. We can still consider Latos a must-start.

Most Added Pitchers
* as of April 10
Player % increase
1. Jordan Walden, RP, Angels 57
2. Matt Harrison, SP, Rangers 47
3. Zach Britton, SP, Orioles 34
4. Sean Burnett, RP, Nationals 22
5. Chris Narveson, RP, Brewers 22
6. Kevin Correia, SP, Pirates 22
7. Alexi Ogando, SP, Rangers 21
8. Esmil Rogers, RP, Rockies 17
9. Chris Young, SP, Mets 15
10. Jeff Francis, SP, Royals 15

Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee: Marcum bounced back after an ineffective first start, showing his usual pinpoint control against the Braves on Thursday. If you needed any convincing to use him in Week 2, he has favorable matchups against the Pirates and Nationals.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston: Under normal circumstances, Matsuzaka is a risky play in standard mixed leagues, even as a two-start option. However, it's hard to pass up any pitcher who faces the Rays this season, at least until Evan Longoria returns.

Kyle McClellan, St. Louis: McClellan was sharp in his debut, though the Pirates are not the most formidable opponent. He will have a tough time getting a win while facing the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Saturday, but he gets a gift on Monday with the Diamondbacks and Barry Enright.

Brett Myers, Houston: Myers is off to a good start, and it's very encouraging that he did not give up a home run in either Philadephia or Cincinnati in his first two games. Looks like he is just about automatic.

Jonathon Niese, N.Y. Mets: He did not have a good second outing, facing the Phillies on Thursday, but mostly Niese just gave up a lot of singles. He has shown good command and strong ground ball tendencies, so his Fantasy owners shouldn't get hung up on this one game. The Rockies and Braves, Niese's opponents next week, are not easy matchups, but they are both winnable nonetheless.

Michael Pineda, Seattle: The rookie held his own against a tough Texas lineup in his debut, so we can have confidence in him as he faces the Blue Jays and Royals in the coming scoring period. The latter matchup in particular makes it hard to keep Pineda on the bench.

David Price, Tampa Bay: His 4.85 ERA may not show it, but Price has pitched fairly well over his first two starts. We are a long, long way from having any real reason to bench him, even in a one-start week.

Justin Verlander, Detroit: He's 2-0 with 17 strikeouts in 14 innings. So much for his history of slow starts.

Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati: He has 13 Ks in just 11 innings, but he's also given up three dingers already. As he did last season, Volquez is inducing grounders like crazy -- his rate is 65 percent after two starts -- so there should be fewer gopher balls in the future. One start at PETCO Park this week will hopefully help with that.

Other Add/Activate Targets

Brandon Beachy, Atlanta: Beachy's season hit an early snag when he faced the Phillies on Saturday, as he had some problems locating in the strike zone. Superb control had been his calling card as a minor leaguer, so don't expect those struggles to continue for long. You might as well keep Beachy active, barring any especially unfavorable matchups. Thursday's tilt with the Marlins is not one of those exceptions.

Erik Bedard, Seattle: He had a good, but not great, start against Texas this scoring period, but he should have a much easier time against Luke Hochevar and the Royals.

Zach Britton, Baltimore: Britton caught a break, having his next start moved back a day so that he will face the Indians instead of the Yankees. He's already proved that he can shut down a powerful lineup like the Rangers', so Britton should be safe to start with an easier matchup this week.

Fausto Carmona, Cleveland: The Carmona who stymied the Red Sox on Thursday is more like the resurgent pitcher we saw often in 2010. His sinker was working, and as long as that's the case, you can feel safe starting Carmona in standard mixed leagues.

R.A. Dickey, N.Y. Mets: The knuckleballer's surprisingly sound 2010 Fantasy stats were backed up by some impressive peripherals (2.2 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9). The solid control has been there in the past, but the key for Dickey is to maintain last year's high ground ball rate. He was able to do that against the Marlins last Sunday, and facing the Rockies in Citi Field instead of Coors Field, he shouldn't get burned by the long ball.

Kyle Drabek, Toronto: Drabek had little problem getting Twins and Angels hitters to ground out, so the Mariners' lineup shouldn't intimidate him. He won't always deliver a strikeout per inning like he did in his season debut, but he will always be worth starting as long as he has decent matchups.

Jeremy Guthrie, Baltimore: Guthrie pitches to contact and can be homer-prone, but as long as he is facing a mediocre lineup in a favorable pitcher's environment, he can be trusted in most formats. Next Saturday's start in Cleveland provides him with just such an opportunity. Though he spent part of Week 1 hospitalized with pneumonia, an effective start against Texas on Sunday shows us he'll be fine for Week 2.

Edwin Jackson, Chicago White Sox: His inconsistency can be a real turn-off, but when Jackson outdueled David Price on Thursday, striking out 13 batters, he showed exactly what he is capable of. The Rays were a pretty easy assignment, but the A's won't be too much tougher on Tuesday.

John Lackey, Boston: Lackey's Week 1 starts against the Rangers and Yankees were disappointing, to put it mildly, but that's about as tough a week, as far as matchups go, as there is in the American League. A start against the Rays in Week 2 is just what the veteran needs to get his season back on track.

Derek Lowe, Atlanta: After finishing off 2010 with a red-hot September, Lowe has extended his stretch of stellar pitching into the 2011 season. After a down 2009 and a difficult start to last season, Lowe appears to be back in top form.

Chris Narveson, Milwaukee: Narveson's robust skill profile from 2010 was obscured by a low strand rate – one that should improve this season. Because of last year's 4.99 ERA, the lefty is still something of a well-kept secret, but that could change very soon. Pick him up in mixed leagues for his coming start against Pittsburgh.

Jeff Niemann, Tampa Bay: His line from his first start of the year against the Angels wasn't pretty, but most of the damage was done in the first inning. After that, Niemann was pretty much his usual reliable self. He enters this season as a potential breakout candidate, as he saw his strikeout rate increase throughout last season until he was brought down with shoulder soreness. Given him another shot in Week 2.

Bud Norris, Houston: Norris is too unreliable to be trusted in standard mixed leagues most weeks, but he has a date with the punchless Padres in Week 2. It's safe to pick him up for this scoring period.

Carl Pavano, Minnesota: There aren't too many pitchers who aren't worth starting when they face the Rays these days. Certainly, Pavano isn't one of them. Even though he doesn't provide enough strikeouts to be used every week, you can start him with confidence this coming week.

Travis Wood, Cincinnati: I've been wary of recommending Wood when he pitches at home or at other homer-friendly ballparks, given his 48 percent career flyball rate. However, he should absolutely kill it in PETCO Park against the Padres on Wednesday.

Chris Young, N.Y. Mets: Speaking of flyball pitchers, Young is the major league's human launching pad. Still, he was in fine form against the Phillies and Nationals this past week and should not be too much of a home run risk pitching in Atlanta next Friday.

Jordan Zimmermann, Washington: Zimmermann wasn't particularly sharp against the Braves in his season debut, but he still limited Atlanta to two runs over six innings. A win may be hard to come by, as he will oppose Cliff Lee at Nationals Park in his Week 2 start, but he should put up good stats, as long he stays away from home run venues.

Inadvisable Two-Start Pitchers (Standard Mixed Leagues)

Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox: Buehrle does not strike out many batters, so he does not have much room for error. He has struggled in the early going, so with tough opponents this week in Dallas Braden and Dan Haren, it could easily be a winless week for the crafty vet.

Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh: The Bucs' opening day starter has looked like a world-beater in his first two games, but it's been something of a mirage. He only has six strikeouts in 13 innings, and he has been relying on getting oodles of flyball outs. That probably won't work out as well against the Brewers and Reds, especially with the latter matchup happening in homer-happy Cincinnati.

Barry Enright, Arizona: There won't be many instances where Enright will be an advisable two-start pitcher, and they certainly won't be when he has a pair of starts at home. He's a big-time home-run risk at Chase Field, and he has a pair of starts there against the Cardinals and Giants.

Nelson Figueroa, Houston: He should be owned in more than two percent of all leagues on CBSSports.com, but with Ryan Dempster and Mat Latos as his likely foes this week, his owners should keep him stashed.

Jeff Francis, Kansas City: Francis has looked sharp so far, but given the potential for low run support and his own lack of strikeouts, there are few weeks where you can trust him outside of deeper leagues.

Livan Hernandez, Washington: Only when Hernandez has very favorable matchups should he be trusted as a two-start option. With Philadelphia and Milwaukee on his agenda, this is no time to start Livan in even a deeper mixed league.

Jesse Litsch, Toronto: Litsch will be a decent option in some weeks, but he faces Felix Hernandez in one start and a Boston lineup due to bust out in another. Pass.

Mike Pelfrey, N.Y. Mets: Big Pelf has been a big mess so far. He is a borderline mixed league option in any event, so even with decent matchups in the week ahead, owners should let Pelfrey sit this one out.

Brad Penny, Detroit: Another inconsistent contact pitcher who hasn't found the strike zone yet this year. If you can punt on Pelfrey, you can certainly wait on Penny as well.

Clayton Richard, San Diego: In other weeks, Richard should be active in more than 31 percent of leagues, but even with two starts, he's a risky arm to start in Week 2. First, he faces a potent Reds' attack on Tuesday, and then on Sunday, he opposes red-hot Brett Myers in Houston.

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Esmil Rogers, Colorado: Rogers looked great against the Pirates, but a history of high walk and line drive rates leaves some questions about his trustworthiness. Let's see how Rogers does against the Mets and Cubs this week before we crank up the bandwagon.

Mitch Talbot, Cleveland: There's just not much to recommend Talbot in any format in any week. He gets very few strikeouts, but isn't especially stingy with bases on balls. Even with two starts, he's best left to owners in the deepest of leagues.

Chris Tillman, Baltimore: Tillman was sharp in his debut against the Rays but showed that he's not yet trustworthy with a mediocre showing against the Tigers. Especially with a date with the Yankees on his calendar, it's best to save the 23-year-old for deeper leagues this coming week.

Chris Volstad, Florida: Volstad is a passable option in deeper mixed leagues with good matchups. He faces the Braves and Phillies next week – not good matchups.

Other Drop/Stash Targets

Brett Cecil, Toronto: He's a viable mixed league option in certain weeks, but Cecil is not the equal of Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox's righty is likely to get the best of Cecil in their matchup next week.

Wade Davis, Tampa Bay: I was excited for Davis' breakout chances heading into this season, but at least for now, run support is going to be a major issue. He is not a standard mixed league option for the time being.

J.A. Happ, Houston: Happ's wild side has reared its ugly head. You would think that a start against the Padres this coming week would be a cure-all, but owners should wait for Happ to straighten himself out first before trusting him outside of NL-only leagues.

Matt Harrison, Texas: After two fine starts, it's still hard to trust Harrison following three years of major league mediocrity. Low walk rates and high ground ball rates were the hallmarks of his minor league career, and that's how he has achieved his early season success so far. There's nothing fishy about his 1.29 ERA; he has dominated opposing hitters, allowing only one home run and one line drive in play. Until we can be sure that he can keep this up, though, leave him on waivers outside of AL-only leagues and deeper mixed league formats.

Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh: Morton has been far worse than Harrison during his time in the bigs, so we should temper our enthusiasm over his first week that much more. Besides, he has struck out only three batters in 13 innings while walking 10. Despite a 2.08 ERA, it looks like the same old Morton.

Ivan Nova, N.Y. Yankees: The 24-year-old will pick up some wins and provide a decent ERA, but ultimately, he's another contact pitcher who doesn't do quite enough to merit a spot in mixed leagues -- even deeper ones -- most weeks.

Alexi Ogando, Texas: In his first appearance as a major league starter, Ogando looked great, though a lot of pitchers can impress when they're facing the Mariners. He draws Justin Verlander as his opponent in his Week 2 start, but we should probably wait for Ogando to build more of a resume before starting him in standard mixed leagues anyway. Also take note that Ogando, who appeared to be on track for two starts prior to Friday's rainout in Baltimore, now only gets this one start.

Tim Stauffer, San Diego: Like Ogando, Stauffer is no longer a two-start option for Week 2. With a matchup against Travis Wood and the powerful Reds in the offing, save the Padres' opening day starter for another week.

Javier Vazquez, Florida: Vazquez's dreadful season debut raised a lot of questions about his candidacy as a comeback player. With a matchup against the Phillies in store, this is not the time to roll the dice with the free agent signee.

Home Run Alerts

Phil Hughes, N.Y. Yankees: As a flyball pitcher who calls Yankee Stadium home, it's not surprising to see that he fares much better on the road. Last season, Hughes gave up 20 homers in 106 1/3 innings at home and posted a 4.66 ERA. Are those stats you want on your standard mixed league active roster? I didn't think so, and we haven't even addressed his plummeting velocity yet…

James McDonald, Pittsburgh: McDonald's impressive strikeout rate makes him the most attractive of the Pirates' pitching options for Fantasy, but because he is flyball-prone, owners still have to use him with caution. The Reds have some home run threats in their lineup, and their stadium gives them a hospitable environment, so it's best to stay away from McDonald in mixed leagues this coming week.

James Russell, Chicago Cubs: Russell is a risk first and foremost because he faces off against a tough opponent in Brett Myers. Also, a visit to Houston is probably not conducive to the lefty's Fantasy health. He has a consistent track record of allowing frequent homers, and he doesn't need the help of a hitter-friendly stadium like Minute Maid Park.

DL Watch

Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado: The Rockies' ace is eligible to return from the disabled list on April 17, but the team has not issued a timetable for his activation. He is not an advisable start, barring further news on his status. Greg Reynolds will hold his place in the Colorado rotation for now.

Jair Jurrjens, Atlanta: Jurrjens is expect to return for an April 16 start against the Mets. Even if everything goes as planned, he is not an advisable start in standard mixed leagues, as owners should see how he fares in his first start back before activating him.

Jon Garland, L.A. Dodgers: Aside from the fact that Garland is not a good mixed league option under normal circumstances, there is no guarantee that he will even start in Week 2. The Dodgers are targeting an April 15 return for Garland from the disabled list, but if he isn't ready, John Ely could wind up taking his turn against the Cardinals.

Joel Pineiro, L.A. Angels: Pineiro is hoping to make the first of at least two rehab starts towards the end of Week 2. This puts him on schedule to return no sooner than Fantasy Week 4 (April 25-May 1). In the meantime, Tyler Chatwood will hold down his spot in the rotation.

Ross Ohlendorf, Pittsburgh: Ohlendorf was placed on the DL with a strained shoulder on Saturday. Most likely, he will not return until Fantasy Week 4 (April 25-May 1) at the earliest. The Pirates have not named his successor, but Daniel McCutchen, who was just recalled, is the most probable candidate.

Scott Kazmir, L.A. Angels: The Angels put Kazmir on the DL with lower back stiffness. Because the move was made retroactive to April 3, he could possibly be back for Fantasy Week 3 (April 18-24). Matt Palmer will take his turns in the rotation for now.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Pitching Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.

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Player News
Brewers' Khris Davis to work on being a patient hitter in 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Brewers outfielder Khris Davis realizes he didn't show patience at the plate last year in his first full major-league season, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"I built a reputation in the organization of being a patient hitter," Davis said. "I felt like I wasn't a patient hitter at all last year. I was a little eager, wanting to please too much, too early. I found out I'm human."

Davis drew just 32 walks in 549 plate appearances while posting a .299 OBP in 2014, a number far away from his career .392 OBP in the minors.

"He was different last year," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Everybody goes through different phases. Guys change. (His walk total) was too low. He's a guy I think should be fairly patient. He sees pitches well. When he starts getting anxious, he becomes more aggressive and chases more. He realizes it, which is the first step. If you don't realize it and don't listen to other people when they tell you that, then you have issues. You have to have good self-awareness to be a good player. Sometimes these players don't have good self-awareness. But if they had better self-awareness they'd be a better player."

Davis is determined to fulfill the potential that caused the organization to move Ryan Braun to right field before the 2014 season and plug Davis into the regular left-field role.

"I can't thank them enough for having patience with me," Davis said. "I'm going to work it out. When you get here, you want to stay. That's the toughest part at first. I don't think this league has seen the best of me yet. I'm ready to pull that out and prove it day by day. I learned so many lessons there are too many to name."

Davis hit .244/.299/.457 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI in 501 at-bats.


Indians' Francona keeping a close eye on Giovanny Urshela
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Indians manager Terry Francona has been keeping a close eye on third-base prospect Giovanny Urshela, who was only recently cleared for a full range of activities after tweaking his knee during winter ball, MLB.com reports.

"He has a tremendous reputation of being a really good defender," Francona said. "I think I've been more wanting to watch his gait, just to make sure he's not favoring that leg. He promised us that, if he was, he'd let us know, but I also know he's a young kid in his first major-league camp."

Urshela suffered the injury on Nov. 15 and has rehabbed the injured knee at the team's spring-training facility in Goodyear, Ariz.

"He's worked really hard to get himself to where he can go through a normal spring," said Indians' director of player development Carter Hawkins. "We're very excited about the spot he's in right now, given the possible outcomes of the injury."

Urshela saw his first action at the Triple-A level in 2014, hitting .276/.331/.473 with 13 home runs and 65 RBI in 395 at-bats with Columbus.


Reds' Brennan Boesch to see time at first base this spring
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Reds manager Bryan Price indicated Friday that outfielder Brennan Boesch would see time at all three outfield spots as well as at first base as he competes for a roster spot this spring, MLB.com reports.

"We already know he's a terrific player," Price said of Boesch, who has never played first base professionally. "He kind of got banged up and lost his way a little bit, but I think he feels -- and we feel -- that he's back on top of his game, and maybe his best days are ahead of him."

Boesch said he doesn't see the battle for a reserve outfield role as a "competition."

"I only care about the competition against the pitcher, and that's really as basic as I keep it," Boesch said. "You aren't competing against other players. We're all on the same side here. We're all wearing Red jerseys. Let the chips fall where they may."

Boesch struggled in limited time with the Angels in 2014 but hit .332/.381/.636 with 25 home runs, 85 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 374 at-bats with Triple-A Salt Lake.


Dodgers' Mattingly: Turner has 'put a lot of time in and it shows'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Dodgers infielder Justin Turner earned a nonroster invitation to the team's camp last year and ended up leading the team in batting average, and he's been working on his body like a fiend over the winter, MLB.com reports.

"Going into last year, we felt if he played every day, he'd get in trouble, and we found that out, but this year maybe he can handle more," manager Don Mattingly said Friday. "He's really been diligent about his work, been at Dodger Stadium almost daily. He's put a lot of time in and it shows."

Turner credited strength-and-conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel for his workout success.

"Brandon did everything. He's been a one-man wrecking crew," said Turner. "He and his family deserve the credit. I've been able to establish a routine and train consistently. Before I signed a year ago, I was on my own, going to 24 Hour Fitness, had to coordinate everything myself."

Turner added that he lost 18 pounds this winter through a healthier diet. Mattingly said that he intends to use the infielder at the corner-infield positions and also potentially up the middle.


Nationals' Matt Skole: 'I'm eating healthy and working hard'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Nationals first baseman Matt Skole missed most of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and struggled at the plate in 2014 but showed up to camp in better shape and will look to rebound in 2015, MLB.com reports.

"This offseason, I had a little more time to work on my body," Skole said. "I really got after it in the weight room. I ate right. I ate healthy. I think that was probably the biggest difference for me. I'm about the same weight as I was. I just leaned out a little bit. I'm eating healthy and working hard."

Skole worked with hitting coordinator Troy Gingrich for a month after the season and learned to keep his hands up in order to hit the ball consistently after having his hands too low during his down 2014 season.

"After taking a year off, it was more difficult than I thought it would be," the left-handed-swinging Skole said. "But coming back, I turned some corners, made some strides as far as getting to know myself as a player and know the things I need to fix. I think everything I did last year was a stepping stone for this year."

Skole hit .241/.352/.399 with 14 home runs and 68 RBI in 461 at-bats with Double-A Harrisburg last season.


Report: Dodgers sign center fielder Travis Witherspoon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) The Dodgers signed center fielder Travis Witherspoon to their organization, according to a report from Baseball America

Witherspoon has previously been in the Angels and Mariners organizations. In six years of minor-league ball, Witherspoon has posted a career batting average of .252 with 68 home runs. He hit a minor-league single-season best 15 home runs in 2014 with the Mariners' Single-A affiliate High Desert Mavericks. 


Phillies' Buchanan 'working on being a complete pitcher'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Phillies pitcher David Buchanan is "working on being a complete pitcher," manager Ryan Sandberg said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The team's coaches spoke with Buchanan in the fall about command and pitch sequencing, executing bunts and thwarting would-be base-stealers, and Sandberg noted while examining the players that arrived early that the pitcher had taken the advice to heart.

"My biggest goal [this spring] is to show our front office and our coaches that I can throw the ball over the plate," Buchanan said. "That's one thing I had success with last year. I wasn't walking guys. I was throwing strikes, and that's what I'm known for. That's why I succeeded in the minor leagues; I was throwing strikes. So that's what I want to do this spring training, is continue to do that, pound the zone, force early contact and keep the ball on the ground."

Buchanan is scheduled to pitch the team's Grapefruit League opener Tuesday against the Yankees.


Giants' Bochy: Hunter Strickland 'needs to get a little smarter'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland is ready to learn from his mistakes from the tail end of his 2014 season.

Starting strong once he was called up from Double-A Richmond, Strickland gave up six home runs in the postseason. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the remedy to put Strickland back on track is simple. 

"He needs to get a little smarter," Bochy said, per MLB.com.  

Strickland will be competing for a spot in the bullpen during spring training. His fastball is a strength, though it's a matter of his command improving on the mound. 

"The failures are what make guys better, I feel like," Strickland said. "I feel like they made me better. Just being in tune with yourself and knowing who you are and what you've got to do. In this game, you're not going to make it too far if you don't have confidence. If you don't believe in yourself, who else is going to believe in you?"


Mets' Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker competing for roster spot
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Mets left-handed hitters Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker will be battling for one roster spot this spring, MLB.com reports.

While Nieuwenhuis is out of options, manager Terry Collins indicated that den Dekker has responded to the team's request that he reduce his strikeouts when sent to Triple-A last season.

"We'll just see how it translates this spring into what kind of an offensive player he can be," Collins said of den Dekker. "We know he's got the defensive skills."

Collins said that whichever outfielder shows the most promise will make the initial 25-man roster.

"He plays the game right. He's fearless," Collins said of Nieuwenhuis. "But right now, we've got to get some offense from one of those two guys. Which one of those two guys is going to be able to come off the bench as a pinch-hitter? The best closers in our division are all right-handed, so the left-handed hitter off that bench is going to be a big piece."


Stephen Strasburg wants to stay with Nationals
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Though Stephen Strasburg's agent Scott Boras denied a report that he wanted to be traded in January, the right-handed pitcher said himself that he wants to remain with the Nationals and has no issues with the organization. 

"I haven't said anything like that," Strasburg said in an interview with MLB.com. "I don't feel like that. You have to accept it because that's how the system works. It's like they pick up on any little thing and they twist it. Some people want to turn it to see how many clicks they can get on the webpage."

Strasburg is set to be the ace of a deep rotation that looks to be on of the best in baseball this coming season. With the Nationals winning their second divisional title in the past three seasons, Strasburg said he's happy with the organization. 

"It's the team that drafted me. I love the players here, I love D.C. Winning cures everything, that's for sure," Strasburg said. "I'm excited to be part of the resurgence so far. It's great to see the type of players we bring in here every year. The expectations keep going up and up. Hopefully, we can do big things this year."


 
 
 
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