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Hit Parade for Week 6

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Fantasy Baseball Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Each week, we'll assess Fantasy-relevant hitters based on streaks, matchups, injuries and lineup changes and divide them into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."

These designations are designed to rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole.

Any player dealing with injury will have the injury listed in parentheses after his name. His condition will most definitely influence his category designation for the week.

Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.

The information has been updated through Saturday, May 5.

Catcher

New year, same old Dusty Baker. The Reds manager continues to show his affinity for light-hitting veterans by starting Ryan Hanigan in seven of the team's last 11 games. The boost in at-bats may subtly improve Hanigan's NL-only appeal, but not nearly to the extent that it damages Devin Mesoraco's mixed-league appeal. Right now, the high-upside rookie is wasting away on the bench, so you if you own him in a non-keeper league, perhaps you should look into other options.

Worth a second look: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
Pierzynski has cooled off a bit since his mid-April power surge, but his home run Tuesday showed he may still have a little hot streak in him. The matchups certainly work in his favor this week. With the doubleheader Monday, the White Sox play seven games, including six against right-handers and all against the bottom-feeder Indians and Royals rotations. Pierzynski won't be a top-12 catcher all season, but right now, he's still Fantasy gold.
Approach with caution: Geovany Soto, Cubs
Still nothing happening for Soto, whose batting average remains in the .150 range. By now, sitting him is probably obvious in mixed leagues, but in case you're one of the few trusting him to turn it around sooner than later, you might need to do a little soul searching, especially with the Cubs facing the Braves and Brewers rotations in their six games this week.

No-brainers: Carlos Santana, Brian McCann, Mike Napoli, Miguel Montero, Matt Wieters, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Alex Avila
Advisable starts: Jesus Montero, A.J. Pierzynski, Carlos Ruiz
Shaky starts: Russell Martin, Wilson Ramos, Geovany Soto, J.P Arencibia, Jonathan Lucroy, Ryan Doumit, Chris Iannetta, John Buck, Nick Hundley, Kurt Suzuki, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ramon Hernandez, Josh Thole, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Devin Mesoraco, Rod Barajas, Wilin Rosario, Yorvit Torrealba, Ryan Hanigan, Jason Castro
Don't bother: Kelly Shoppach, Tyler Flowers, Chris Snyder, George Kottaras, Hector Sanchez, Jose Molina, Miguel Olivo (groin), Salvador Perez (knee), Victor Martinez (knee)

First base

If you're one of the many who waited three years for Mat Gamel to live up to his sleeper potential, well, keep waiting. He's done for the year with a torn ACL. Travis Ishikawa is the most logical in-house candidate to replace him, but his major-league track record is discouraging at best. Corey Hart has been taking grounders at first base, so don't be surprised if he gains eligibility at the position in the near future. Kila Ka'aihue has started six of last eight games at first base for the Athletics, seemingly overtaking the light-hitting Daric Barton for the starting job. If Ka'aihue remains unowned in your AL-only league, why not take a shot on him? He may not live up to his minor-league power numbers, but he's at least getting on base.

Worth a second look: Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
OK, first base is deep enough that you're probably not going to start a .207 hitter like Sanchez, which is why I still list him as a "shaky start," but if for some reason you're hurting for help at the position or have a corner infield spot to fill, Sanchez is still viable. He was an All-Star last year, after all. He can hit. Obviously, he's off to a dreadful start, but perhaps this week's schedule is exactly what he needs to get back on track. He has always hit lefties better than righties, producing a .901 OPS against them last year and a .917 OPS against them over his career. With three lefties on tap this week against the ace-less Astros and Mets staffs, he could surprise.
Approach with caution: Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
You like what Cuddyer's been doing in Colorado so far? Too bad it's been only in Colorado. He seems to have fallen into the same trap as every other Rockies hitter since the beginning of time, producing a .904 OPS at Coors Field and a .710 OPS everywhere else. Not only are the Rockies on the road this week, but they're in PETCO Park for three of their six games. Cuddyer is hardly an automatic start in mixed leagues.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Michael Young, Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer
Advisable starts: Eric Hosmer, Mike Napoli, Freddie Freeman, Bryan LaHair, Lucas Duda, Adam Dunn
Shaky starts: Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Pena, Kendrys Morales, Chris Davis, Ike Davis, Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoche (oblique), Gaby Sanchez, Carlos Lee, Adam Lind, Mark Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt, Todd Helton
Strictly AL/NL-only: Daniel Murphy, Justin Smoak, Matt Carpenter, James Loney, Yonder Alonso, Chris Parmelee, Mitch Moreland, Ty Wigginton, Casey Kotchman, Juan Rivera, Garrett Jones, Mike Carp, Laynce Nix, Aubrey Huff (anxiety)
Don't bother: Travis Ishikawa, Brandon Belt, Casey McGehee, Jesus Guzman, Kila Ka'aihue, Daric Barton, Brett Pill, Lance Berkman (calf), Justin Morneau (wrist), Michael Morse (back), Ryan Howard (Achilles), Anthony Rizzo

Second base

Most Added Hitters (as of 5/4)
Player % increase
1. Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles 45
2. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates 36
3. Bryan LaHair, 1B, Cubs 29
4. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox 29
5. Jed Lowrie, SS, Astros 25
6. Mike Trout, OF, Angels 23
7. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros 21
8. Gerardo Parra, OF, D-Backs 19
9. Ty Wigginton, 1B, Phillies 17
10. Tony Campana, OF, Cubs 18

Yuniesky Betancourt went on the DL with a right ankle sprain Thursday, opening the door for Chris Getz to play every day. Getz has been hitting well so far and offers enough steals potential to factor in deeper Rotisserie leagues. Because he provides nothing in the way of power, though, he's still more of a desperation option in those formats.

Worth a second look: Kelly Johnson, Blue Jays
During Johnson's career-best 2010 season, his OPS was above .900 three months and below .800 the other three. Safe to say he's a streaky player, so when you see him homer in back-to-back games, as he did Tuesday and Wednesday, you have to think more Fantasy production is on the way. His matchups certainly help his cause this week. He gets the Twins rotation for four of his six games. Hard to imagine him slowing down against Jason Marquis, Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano and Scott Diamond.
Approach with caution: Brandon Phillips, Reds
Usually when studs slump, you kind of just stick with them in Fantasy, trusting the track record. But in Phillips' case, I don't know that it's just a slump. He came back from a hamstring injury before it had completely healed, by Dusty Baker's own admission, which is sure to affect him on the base paths even if not at the plate. As a non-base stealer going against pitchers like Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson, he's hardly a slam dunk in Fantasy this week.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Dan Uggla
Advisable starts: Rickie Weeks, Howard Kendrick, Jose Altuve, Mike Aviles, Kelly Johnson, Jason Kipnis
Shaky starts: Brandon Phillips, Dustin Ackley, Aaron Hill, Daniel Murphy, Omar Infante, Jemile Weeks (groin), Neil Walker, Danny Espinosa
Strictly AL/NL-only: Marco Scutaro, Darwin Barney, Ryan Roberts, Ryan Raburn, Gordon Beckham, Mark Ellis, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Chris Getz, Alexi Casilla
Don't bother: Brandon Inge, Chris Nelson, Sean Rodriguez, Freddy Galvis, Stephen Lombardozzi, Tyler Greene, Orlando Hudson, Jeff Keppinger, Maicer Izturis, Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle), Chase Utley (knee), Brian Roberts (concussion), Freddy Sanchez (shoulder), Johnny Giavotella

Third base

The Will Middlebrooks watch didn't last long. The Red Sox called up their top prospect Wednesday, opting to put Kevin Youkilis and his balky back on the DL. How long Middlebrooks sticks around is anybody's guess, but considering he was raking at Triple-A Pawtucket, hitting nine homers in 93 at-bats, he's worth a flier if you suddenly find yourself with a hole at the hot corner.

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And chances are a good many of you do. In addition to Youkilis, Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder), Evan Longoria (hamstring) and Pablo Sandoval (hand) all had to go on the DL this week. Zimmerman will likely return early in the week, but Longoria and Sandoval are still weeks away. Longoria's replacements don't figure to help you much -- not unless a rotation of Elliot Johnson, Will Rhymes and Jeff Keppinger excites you -- but Sandoval's replacement, Conor Gillaspie, at least looks like a viable NL-only option. He doesn't have a ton of home-run power, but he has accumulated a .293 batting average and .364 on-base percentage over his minor-league career.

Worth a second look: Mike Aviles, Red Sox
Judging strictly by his .135 (5 for 37) batting average over his last eight games, Aviles' hot streak is over, but thanks to his three-run homer Monday, he has remained a productive Fantasy option during that stretch. The early-season power surge doesn't seem to be going away, and based on the Red Sox's matchups against the pitiful Royals and Indians rotations this week, a spike in batting average could soon accompany it. Three of the seven pitchers Aviles is facing this week are left-handers, and he has a 1.104 OPS against lefties this season.
Approach with caution: Mark Trumbo, Angels
Trumbo's inconsistent at-bats have finally gotten the best of him. Or maybe his poor plate discipline has. Probably both. Whatever the case, he's batting .237 (9 for 38) with 11 strikeouts over his last 11 games. With his playing time less than assured, he has an uphill battle to climb in Fantasy anyway, so you're better off avoiding him during these cold stretches.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Brett Lawrie, Michael Young, Alex Rodriguez, Edwin Encarnacion, David Freese
Advisable starts: Adrian Beltre (leg), Emilio Bonifacio, Mike Aviles, Martin Prado, Aramis Ramirez, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder), Pedro Alvarez, Mark Reynolds, Mike Moustakas, Daniel Murphy, Chase Headley, Chris Davis, Will Middlebrooks, Mark Trumbo, Chipper Jones, Kyle Seager
Strictly AL/NL-only: Matt Carpenter, Ryan Roberts, Danny Valencia, Placido Polanco, Ian Stewart (illness), Scott Rolen, Eduardo Nunez, Ty Wigginton, Chris Johnson, Jack Hannahan, Robert Andino, Alex Liddi, Conor Gillaspie, Wilson Betemit
Don't bother: Brandon Inge, Brent Morel, Sean Rodriguez, Chris Nelson, Chone Figgins, Stephen Lombardozzi, Juan Uribe (wrist), Alberto Callaspo, Juan Francisco, Casey McGehee, Maicer Izturis, Evan Longoria (hamstring), Pablo Sandoval (hand), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lonnie Chisenhall, Nolan Arenado

Shortstop

In Arizona, Cody Ransom continues to split time at third base, having started eight of the last 13 games there. And though Ryan Roberts has picked it up a little lately, Ransom is still providing the most offensively. As far as Fantasy goes, his value is greatest at shortstop, where power hitters are few and far between. He may not look like a hidden gem at age 36, but his minor-league track record suggests his .759 slugging percentage so far is at least halfway legit. If you're hurting at shortstop or need a power boost in an NL-only league, Ransom should fill your need in the short-term.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. White Sox @CLE4, KC3
2. Red Sox @KC3, CLE4
3. Indians CHW4, @BOS4
4. Tigers @SEA3, @OAK4
5. Blue Jays @OAK2, @MIN4

Worth a second look: Jed Lowrie, Astros
Lowrie-mania is back, with me once again leading the charge. I know he let us all down last year, but his combination of power and patience is still rare among shortstops. Surely, his .429 (18 for 42) batting average, four home runs and 1.286 OPS over his last 11 games have gotten your attention. The best part is the main thing that held him back last year -- his performance against right-handers -- is no longer an issue. He's batting .396 with a 1.046 OPS against them this year. And guess what? The Astros face nothing but right-handers this week. Start him. You know you want to.
Approach with caution: Marco Scutaro, Rockies
Scutaro has been productive at times in his first year in Colorado, but he still has just a .658 OPS overall. And like Michael Cuddyer, his numbers are far worse on the road, where he's batting .229 with a .486 OPS. Clearly, during a week when he's on the road for six games, including three at PETCO Park, a non-power, non-speed guy like him should be on your bench.

No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera, Elvis Andrus, Derek Jeter
Advisable starts: Jimmy Rollins, Emilio Bonifacio, Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, Rafael Furcal, Dee Gordon, J.J. Hardy
Shaky starts: Alexei Ramirez, Jhonny Peralta, Yunel Escobar, Erick Aybar, Zack Cozart, Ian Desmond, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Marco Scutaro, Cliff Pennington, Eduardo Nunez, Jamey Carroll, Robert Andino, Alexi Casilla, Cody Ransom, Tyler Pastornicky
Don't bother: Sean Rodriguez, Willie Bloomquist, Jason Bartlett, Tyler Greene, Clint Barmes, Freddy Galvis, Brandon Crawford, Brendan Ryan, Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Alex Gonzalez (knee), Stephen Drew (ankle), Yuniesky Betancourt (ankle)

Outfield

With Mike Trout now in the majors, Peter Bourjos' seems to be losing his place in the Angels' outfield rotation, with Vernon Wells remaining in left field most days and Torii Hunter still going strong in right. Bourjos' slow start had already cut into his ownership percentage, but now that his role is decreasing, he's looking like strictly an AL-only option. Shelley Duncan is right there with him. His combination of power and patience was earning him mixed-league looks when he was playing every day, but now with Johnny Damon on board, Duncan is the lesser half of a lefty-righty split. Don't expect much from either him or Damon. Logan Morrison has been sitting more and more against lefties recently, which is especially discouraging with three lefties on tap for the Marlins this week. His mixed-league appeal is rapidly slipping away.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Yankees TB3, SEA3
2. Cardinals @ARI3, ATL3
3. Reds @MIL3, WAS3
4. Braves @CHC3, @STL3
5. Cubs ATL3, @MIL3

Worth a second look: Lucas Duda, Mets and Alejandro De Aza, White Sox
Finally, finally Duda can get the sleeper hype he deserves. Instead of facing mostly lefties this week, against whom he has a .441 OPS, the Mets face mostly righties, against whom he has a .994 OPS. Four righties are on tap this week, as a matter of fact, which means the patience and power he has offered in spurts this season should be on full display. If you've stashed him all this time, don't bench him now. The splits are even more dramatic for De Aza, who has a .942 OPS against righties compared to .394 against lefties, so the six righties on tap for the White Sox this week should make him a synch to start in mixed leagues, especially since they're low-end hurlers like Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez, Felipe Paulino and Luke Hochevar.
Approach with caution: J.D. Martinez, Astros and Jon Jay, Cardinals
Martinez is still getting plenty of love in Fantasy despite his 6-for-43 (.140) slump, and hey, I like his plate discipline, too. Still, the downward trend only figures to continue this week with the Astros facing nothing but right-handers. Martinez is batting .211 with a .636 OPS against them this year. Jay, meanwhile, faces three lefties this week, and although he's not as bad against them as you'd think a young left-handed hitter would be, the matchups still give the Cardinals an excuse to bench him for the newly activated Allen Craig, especially if Lance Berkman (calf) comes off the DL late in the week and bumps Craig from first base. Even if Jay stays in the lineup, he might not provide much against high-end hurlers like Ian Kennedy, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson.

No-brainers: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Giancarlo Stanton, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Carlos Beltran, Jason Heyward, Adam Jones
Advisable starts: Matt Kemp (hamstring), Andrew McCutchen (illness), Nelson Cruz, Ben Zobrist, Emilio Bonifacio, Hunter Pence, Alex Gordon, Corey Hart, Jay Bruce, Nick Swisher, Nick Markakis, Yoenis Cespedes, Howard Kendrick, Shin-Soo Choo, Melky Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, Martin Prado, Jayson Werth, Lucas Duda, Alejandro De Aza, Josh Willingham, Bryan LaHair, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter
Shaky starts: Desmond Jennings (knee), B.J. Upton, Michael Cuddyer, Drew Stubbs, J.D. Martinez, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Logan Morrison, Luke Scott, Matt Joyce, Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur, Carlos Lee, Alex Rios, Brennan Boesch, Jason Kubel, Dexter Fowler, Vernon Wells, Jon Jay, Denard Span, Colby Rasmus, Jordan Schafer, Cody Ross, Tony Campana, Cameron Maybin, Gerardo Parra
Strictly AL/NL-only: Dayan Viciedo (elbow), Delmon Young, Allen Craig, Alfonso Soriano, David Murphy, Peter Bourjos, Yonder Alonso, Jose Tabata, Eric Thames, Michael Brantley, Alex Presley, David DeJesus, Ty Wigginton, Will Venable, Marlon Byrd, Juan Rivera, Josh Reddick, Mitch Moreland, Michael Saunders, Shelley Duncan, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Ludwick, Ryan Sweeney, Nate Schierholtz, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, Ty Wigginton), Andres Torres, Laynce Nix, Carlos Quentin (knee), Brett Gardner (elbow), Aubrey Huff (anxiety)
Don't bother: Jarrod Dyson, Ryan Raburn, Brandon Belt, John Mayberry, Juan Pierre, Mike Carp, Willie Bloomquist, Chone Figgins, Nyjer Morgan, Chris Heisey, Seth Smith, Rajai Davis, Ben Revere, Jesus Guzman, Brian Bogusevic, Lance Berkman (calf), Nolan Reimold (neck), Coco Crisp (illness), Carlos Gomez (hamstring), Jason Bay (ribs), Chris Young (shoulder), Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder), Lorenzo Cain (groin), Michael Morse (back), Carl Crawford (wrist), Grady Sizemore (back), Travis Snider

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Padres P Tyson Ross feeling good, ready for start of season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:46 pm ET) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross is feeling ready to get the season under way, according to the Press-Enterprise.

“Physically I felt good,” he said. “It’s been a good spring so far, another step in the right direction … I had a good feel for my sinker today and I was able to get some strikeouts with that, running it back away from right-handed hitters and not just using my slider.”

Ross is working on his changeup and he wants to use it more often.

“It’s kind of hard when the other pitches are working well, but it’s going to be a pitch I need to use the third time through the lineup, to get a little separation (in speed) off the fastball and slider,” he said. “I mixed in a couple today and I’m going to keep working it in.”

Manager Bud Black said that could be what he needs to get to the next level.

“It’s tough, because if you take a regular season game and he’s fighting like heck to keep the other team from scoring, you never want to get beat on your third or fourth pitch,” Black said. “The other two are so devastating, it’s tough not to go in that direction.”

Ross, 27, has a career ERA of 3.70 with 416 stirkeouts and 186 walks in five years of play.


Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta does it all in start Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:43 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta tossed five strike outs over four scoreless innings of work Saturday. Arrieta also added a three-run home run and an RBI double to help his own cause, something he simply called a good work day, reports MLB.com.

"i like it," Arrieta said. "I think it allows us to put a little speed behind me. I feel I can handle the bat well. Depending on the situation, I feel I can put a bunt down efficiently."

Arrieta feels comfortable with the bat in his hand, partially why manager Joe Maddon is considering batting the pitcher eighth in the order.

"It is the pitcher, and it seems like a break in the lineup, but we feel we can do some damage there and help us out," Arrieta said.


Astros pitcher Roberto Hernandez making final staff decision difficult
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:39 pm ET) Astros pitcher Roberto Hernandez is still in the fight for the final spot on the pitching staff. He continued to prove why he belongs Saturday, allowing one run on three hits in five innings of work against the Marlins.

Manager A.J. Hinch continues to like what he's seen from the veteran, who is battling with Asher Wojciechowski, reports MLB.com.

"He had a nice game by getting through some very difficult jams and also getting a lot of ground balls," Hinch said. "I don't know what his total was, but it felt like they were pounding the ball into the ground, which is vintage Roberto Hernandez. There's a reason he's lasted this long in the league and you know what you're going to get and he found a way today."

Hernandez threw 71 pitches Saturday with 43 going for strikes.

"I don't think about that," Hernandez said when asked about his chances of making the team. "I want to continue my work and I never think about, 'Is it my last start?' I'm happy."


Cardinals pitcher Carlos Villanueva expecting to make team
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:29 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Carlos Villanueva wants to make sure he is on the major league roster this season, reports MLB.com.

After St. Louis announced the trade of Sam Freeman earlier Saturday, it opened things up for another arm to make the team. Villanueva also has an opt-out clause in his contract to be released if he is not on the roster for Opening Day.

"My preference is to stay here with this group," Villanueva said. "After that first game out there, I felt that I've thrown the ball very well. I have no regrets about how I've pitched. It's not like they haven't seen it before. I think what they needed to see from me is what they've seen in previous years. It's a decision that's out of my hands after that."

Manager Mike Matheny still doesn't know what he plans to do.

"It's coming down to the wire," Matheny said. "We probably have more questions than most clubs do late because we've given ourselves flexibility to not have it done halfway through. We're taking our time to watch these guys compete and also allowing for the potential if something doesn't go right."


Indians Closer Cody Allen changes regimen to be ready this year
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:15 pm ET) Indians closer Cody Allen has changed his throwing routine in order be ready to go for opening day, reports MLB.com.

The team has mixed in Minor League appearances with his Cactus League play.

"I think what happened the last two springs, I was ready too far ahead in the spring," Allen said on Saturday. "So, when they'd try to pull me back a little bit, I'd lose my rhythm a little bit and then try to get it again before the season started. This year, I've been able to build up to being in that perfect spot right at Opening Day."

Allen has posted an ERA of 1.50 with two walks in six innings of work this spring. Last season he finished with an ERA of 2.07 with 24 saves, throwing 91 strikeouts and 26 walks in 69 2/3 innings pitched.


Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia not concerned with runs allowed
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:05 pm ET) Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia isn't worried about how spring training has gone so far. The former Cy Young award winner doesn't care that his numbers, an 11.57 ERA in 4 2/3 innings, look so bad, reports the New York Daily News.

"I don't give a (expletive) what stock (people) put in it," Sabathia said. "It is what it is. I've had spring trainings where I've given up a lot of runs and went out and had a good season. I've had spring trainings like last year where I didn't give up no runs and I gave up five in the first game. Y'all can put stock in whatever you want. I'm not really worried about it."

Manager Joe Girardi expressed a similar mindset.

"The bottom line is that he's right Opening Day," Girardi said. "You try to evaluate his stuff and how you feel about that. What we've seen this year is much more positive than what we’ve seen the last, you know, in velocity, the discrepancy between that and the change up and slider, so now to me it's just ironing out and being more consistent."


Braves P Shelby Miller looking forward to new start
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:00 pm ET) After being traded from the Cardinals, Braves pitcher Shelby Miller is looking forward to a new start with his new ball club, reports MLB.com. He spent his first three years with the Cardinals.

"I'm looking forward to a clean start to the season because getting traded over from St. Louis, you never really expect that," Miller said. "It's everything I've known, being drafted by them and coming through the farm system and stuff like that.

"But it's exciting. You're getting traded from a good team to another. I'm excited about the opportunity with my new teammates. I think we have a great chance to do something special here in Atlanta, and I'm looking forward to helping however I can."

Over his career, the right-hander has an ERA 3.33 with 312 strikeouts and 134 walks.


Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes shines again in outing Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:58 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes continues to impress the club with his poise and prowess on the mound, reports the Boston Herald. Barnes was called on with two runners on and two outs after previous pitcher, Stephen Wright, gave up five unearned runs.

He managed to get a groundball and get out of the inning. He finished with four strikeouts and no runs allowed  in 2 1/3 innings of work.

"It was good to be in a situation like that, coming in, especially in the middle of an inning, I haven't done that in a while, starting an inning with a guy on second and having to pitch through that," said Barnes. "I was happy with all of it."


Athletics' Tyler Ladendorf pushing for spot on Opening Day roster
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:51 pm ET) Athletics utility man Tyler Ladendorf is increasing his chances by the day of making the Opening Day roster in Oakland, reports MLB.com.

Ladendorf, who was suspended for 50 games last year after testing positive for a drug of abuse, has turned heads just about every day he's been on the field.

"Tyler's really emerged this year for us," manager Bob Melvin said this week. "To me, he looks a lot more confident here. We put him on a roster for a reason. His versatility stands out, and we're all about versatility. He has a similar versatility to Ben Zobrist. He can play any of the outfield positions, any of the infield positions, and does well defensively, and his bat emerged last year as well. He's one that's stood out."

Ladendorf just hope it translates into a roster spot.

"Any time you got them talking about you," Ladendorf said, "you're doing something right."


Tigers P Bruce Rondon not a lock for the roster
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) After spending last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon believes he'll be ready to go for the start of this season, reports MLB.com. But the pitcher is not guaranteed to make the roster.

"I know that we've been discussing it quite a bit," manager Brad Ausmus said. "I do think you have to keep in mind that he came to Spring Training and hadn't pitched in a game in a long time. Whether he makes the team or not, or whether we think he needs more development, the important thing is his strength is there, the arm strength is there. In the long term or even in the near term, you would think he's going to have some impact on the Detroit Tigers. But I think your questions are fair and they're certainly questions that we've discussed."

Rondon has yet to pitch a full season at the Major League level. This spring he has an ERA of 5.68, allowing 10 hits, two home runs while walking two batters.


 
 
 
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