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Hit Parade for Week 7

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 12..

Catcher

Wilson Ramos tore his right ACL on Saturday and will most likely miss the rest of the season. Jesus Flores figures to replace him in Washington and once was a decent hitter in his own right, but he hasn't been the same since his shoulder injury in 2009. You can leave him for NL-only leagues. Yadier Molina got hit on the bare part of his left hand by a Mitchell Boggs pitch when the two got crossed up in the ninth inning Tuesday. He didn't break anything and has been able to play through the injury so far, but its effect on his grip is enough of a concern to make him less than an automatic start in Fantasy this week. Still, as good as he's been this year, you wouldn't be able to justify sitting him in most leagues. He remains an "advisable start" despite the injury.

Worth a second look: Ryan Doumit, Twins
After a slow start, Doumit has picked it up of late, batting .300 (6 for 20) with three homers over his last seven games. Maybe it's just a hot streak or maybe it's the new expectation for him now that he's playing virtually every day with Justin Morneau on the DL. And even if the Twins are still tempted to bench him against lefties when Morneau returns, it'll be a moot point this week. They're facing nothing but righties, including low-end hurlers like Jeanmar Gomez, Derek Lowe, Rick Porcello and Marco Estrada. Doumit's catcher eligibility makes him worth starting in all leagues.
Approach with caution: Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Ruiz has seen a big spike in ownership over the last week, most likely because he was coming out of a two-week period in which he scored 53 Head-to-Head points. But as is often the case when attempting to play the hot hand, by the time you realize it's the hot hand, it may be too late. Ruiz did homer once over the weekend, but he has only one multi-hit game in his last seven. He has to slow down eventually. He's not suddenly going to become an All-Star-caliber player at age 33. Consider your alternatives before running him out there again in mixed leagues.

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

First base

Brandon Belt has started eight of last 11 games at first base for the Giants and finally seems to have emerged at the go-to guy at the position now that Aubrey Huff has been designated for outfield duty. His upside is intriguing, but he still has yet to put together a sustained hot streak in parts of two seasons in the majors. You can leave him for NL-only leagues for now. Travis Ishikawa hasn't been the only player filling in for the injured Mat Gamel in Milwaukee. Taylor Green has made a couple of starts there as well. His minor-league numbers were terrific last year, when he hit .336 with 22 homers between Double- and Triple-A, but scouts seem less than convinced of his upside. He's certainly worth watching, though, in case he overtakes Ishikawa for the majority of the at-bats.

Worth a second look: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
LaRoche has picked up where he left off after missing time with a bruised oblique, homering both Tuesday and Thursday to make him now 17 for 42 (.405) with four homers over his last 12 games. His early-season hot streak has to end eventually, but with low-end right-handers like Tim Stauffer, Anthony Bass, and Jake Arrieta on tap, he should have at least one more good week in him.
Approach with caution: Eric Hosmer, Royals
In some leagues, Hosmer remains too high-end to sit, but his cold streak has gone on long enough that you at least have to consider it when setting your lineup. His increase in homers and walks early this season is encouraging, but he's batting just .115 (6 for 52) over his last 14 games. Plus, he's scheduled to face three lefties this week, against whom he has a career .219 batting average and .557 OPS. If you have high-end alternatives at third base, feel free to use them instead.

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

Second base

Most Added Hitters (as of 5/11)
Player % increase
1. Kyle Seager, 3B, SEA 30
2. Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL 26
3. Allen Craig, OF, STL 25
4. Chris Johnson, 3B, HOU 25
5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B, BOS 23
6. Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI 20
7. Josh Reddick, OF, OAK 20
8. Cody Ransom, 3B, ARI 16
9. Robert Andino, 2B, BAL 13
10. Pedro Alvarez, 3B, PIT 12

Johnny Giavotella, who most analysts predicted would win the starting job out of spring training, gets a second chance to nail down regular at-bats at second base with Yuniesky Betancourt on the DL for the Royals. He'll start out platooning with Chris Getz, but Giavotella's minor-league numbers -- he's a career .307 hitter -- suggest he'll be getting the majority of the at-bats in due time. For now, he's not worth adding outside of AL-only leagues.

Worth a second look: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Hill's batting average has been slowly rising over the last few weeks and could be in for a big boost with his matchups this week. Not only is he at Coors Field for two games and facing the Royals rotation for three, but he has four left-handers on tap, including Jamie Moyer, Danny Duffy and Bruce Chen. He's done almost all of his damage against lefties this season, batting .290 with three homers and a 1.002 OPS.
Approach with caution: Daniel Murphy, Mets
Murphy is batting over .300, which is perhaps all his Fantasy owners expect from him, but he has shown absolutely no pop this season, posting a .381 slugging percentage. He won't amount to much in either Rotisserie or Head-to-Head leagues that way, and you can't expect anything to change against Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, Mat Latos, Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow this week. Most likely, you can do better in mixed leagues, even at a position like second base.

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

Third base

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The Twins continued to reshape their infield Wednesday by demoting Danny Valencia to the minors and calling up ... well, therein lies the problem. They don't have an exciting replacement ready to step in. Most likely, Jamey Carroll will get the majority of the at-bats there after vacating the shortstop position for newcomer Brian Dozier, but that's not exactly a win for Fantasy owners. Carroll has enough on-base ability to make him relevant in deeper Head-to-Head leagues, but he doesn't have near the pop you'd want from your third baseman. Trevor Plouffe is also an option, but he's off to such a miserable start that you're better off leaving him for AL-only leagues.

Worth a second look: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Ramirez's early struggles have made him a questionable start in shallower leagues, but keep in mind they're nothing new for him. He hit only .162 through the end of May in 2010 and had only two homers through the first two months last year. But when he does turn it around, he's a stud, and this week might be the one that allows him to make that leap. He's facing the worst part of the Mets, Astros and Twins rotations, which are three of the worst to begin with. The best pitcher he's facing is Bud Norris. The second best might be Carl Pavano. Yuck.
Approach with caution: Chipper Jones, Braves
The many Fantasy owners who rushed to add Jones after his 32-point week are learning he's probably not the best stopgap solution at the depleted third base position. He'll continue to sit every third game because of his balky knee, which means unless he's collecting three hits or homering every time out there, as was the case during his big week, his contributions will be minimal. This week, that's especially the case with pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Ricky Nolasco, James Shields and David Price on tap.

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

Shortstop

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Brewers @NYM2, @HOU2, MIN3
2. Rockies @SF2, ARI2, SEA3
3. Rangers KC2, OAK2, @HOU3
4. Nationals SD2, PIT2, BAL3
5. Mariners @BOS2, @CLE2, @COL3

Yup, Brian Dozier is in as the Twins' starting shortstop, bumping Jamey Carroll out of the lineup. But the Dozier move preceded the Danny Valencia move, which means, at least from the Twins' perspective, it was more about getting an exciting prospect in the lineup than ridding the lineup of a trouble spot. How exciting is Dozier really? Well, they're probably overhyping him a bit, but he has some speed and did post a near-.900 OPS in the minors last year. For now, you should expect numbers in the Robert Andino range, making him more of an AL-only option.

Worth a second look: Cody Ransom, Diamondbacks
Ransom's appeal remains limited to deeper leagues since he's still splitting at-bats with Ryan Roberts at third base, but he's getting the majority of those at-bats and making the most of every opportunity. He has four homers in 11 games, showing rare power for a shortstop-eligible player, and his minor-league track record suggests it's not such a fluke. With matchups this week at Colorado and at Kansas City, he'll likely be productive enough for deeper leagues.
Approach with caution: Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Ramirez isn't entirely a lost cause, but it's not like he's Troy Tulowitzki when going well. You shouldn't feel like you have to wait him out when he's going this poorly, batting .152 (14 for 92) over his last 22 games. The free-swinger has only one walk during that stretch as well, so when he's not hitting, he's not doing anything for your Fantasy team. Feel free to explore other options until he strings together a few multi-hit games.

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

Outfield

The outfield position has been relatively stable over the last week, with the biggest change coming in Los Angeles, where Bobby Abreu began splitting starts with Juan Rivera. Of course, with Rivera now on the DL, Abreu figures to see a big boost in at-bats. He no longer offers much power or speed at age 38, though, so you can leave him for NL-only leagues. Meanwhile, the platoon between Eric Thames and Rajai Davis appears to be over in Toronto, which would be much more exciting if Thames was actually performing up to his potential. Davis is still getting occasional at-bats, filling in for Colby Rasmus from time to time, but considering he has only three steals so far, he's looking like not such a useful player even in deeper Rotisserie leagues.

Worth a second look: Lucas Duda, Mets and Matt Joyce, Rays
Can we get a do-over with Duda? Last week, he looked like he finally had the righty-heavy matchups he needed to succeed in Fantasy (given his .214 batting average and .531 OPS against lefties), but the return of Cliff Lee kind of interfered with that scenario, as did Duda's slow return from an illness the week before. This week, he's healthy and facing six righties. If I own him, I'm giving him one more chance to live up to his potential. As for Joyce, he may be sitting for rookie Brandon Guyer against lefties, but he's doing plenty of damage against righties, batting .288 with a 1.046 OPS against them. Good thing the Rays have six of those on tap this week.
Approach with caution: Jason Kubel and Tony Campana, Cubs
Kubel has been in a bit of a funk lately, batting .148 (4 for 27) over his last eight games, and the four lefties on tap for the Diamondbacks this week certainly won't help his cause. He typically plays against southpaws, but he's batting only .240 with a .625 OPS against them this season and .239 with a .676 OPS against them for his career. Campana, meanwhile, hasn't exactly taken the starting job and run with it in Chicago, going without a stolen base in his last 10 games. He hasn't hit all that poorly during that stretch, but his matchups this week against hot pitchers like Jake Westbrook, Kyle Lohse, Vance Worley, Roy Halladay, John Danks and Jake Peavy could change that. If he's not getting on base, he won't be stealing bases.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Padres @WAS2, LAD2, LAA3
2. Cardinals CHC2, @SF2, @LAD3
3. Mets MIL2, CIN2, @TOR3
4. Pirates @MIA2, @WAS2, @DET3
5. Braves CIN2, MIA2, @TB3

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

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
Report: Orioles in 'continuous dialogue' with pitcher Chris Tillman
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) The Orioles and pitcher Chris Tillman are reportedly engaged in "continuous dialogue" for a long-term extension and have been for the past several weeks, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Tillman signed a one-year, $4.315 million deal in January to avoid arbitration and the discussions for a new deal are still considered preliminary, according to the report.

Tillman posted a 13-6 record in 2014 with a 3.34 ERA in 34 starts.


Tigers bullpen decision coming down to Ian Krol, Kyle Ryan
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is running out of time to finish off his bullpen for Opening Day. The final bullpen role will likely be a left-handed pitcher and is expected to come down to Kyle Ryan and Ian Krol, according to MLB.com.

"If I'm there, hopefully it's a good situation, whether it's long or short," Ryan said. "For them to have enough confidence in me to go into Spring Training as a reliever, and actually for them to believe that I might be able to make the team as a reliever, that makes me proud."

Ryan has given up seven runs on seven hits in 11 innings of work this spring. 

"When he throws it right, it's good," Ausmus said of Krol. "He has a tendency to occasionally slow his arm down on his cutter and curveball. He did it a couple times today. But when he doesn't slow his arm down, it's very good."


Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson continues to make his case
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson still doesn't know what his role will be when Opening Day rolls around, but he's showing he belongs on the roster, reports MLB.com.

"There's always stuff I need to work on, and I need to continue to impress," Pederson said after launching his fifth home run of the spring Saturday, boosting his batting average to .373.

Manager Don Mattingly remains quiet on what he will do when the decision has to be made, but Pederson is doing what he can to impress.

"[Opening Day] is out of my control," Pederson said. "It's something you dream about as a kid, playing in the big leagues, and you do anything you can to make that dream come true."


Angels P Matt Shoemaker gives up three runs in loss to Dodgers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After pitching six scoreless innings in his last start, Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker struggled a bit in the team's 5-4 to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Shoemaker gave up three runs on four hits in six innings, striking out two. One of the hits he surrended was to Joc Pederson on a two-run homer.

The 28-year-old completed last season with a 3.04 ERA, 124 strikeouts and only 24 walks.


Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels ready for Opening Day
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Reds third baseman Todd Frazier feels his swing has come back and is ready to tackle the long haul ahead of the regular season, reports MLB.com.

"It comes quick, like usual," Frazier said on Saturday morning. "I get goose bumps thinking about it right now -- another year, it's crazy."

Frazier struggled early in spring training, but has rebounded to go 8 for 23 in his last seven games.

"I hit in the Minor Leagues for about 10 at-bats [on Friday], just to try and feel it back-to-back. I do, and I feel really well," said Frazier, who is batting .262 in 14 games this spring. "I feel like if I had to play tomorrow [in the regular season], I'd be ready to go. It's all about preparation, and offseason stuff. I feel like it's so far, so good."


Angels OF Mike Trout homers in loss to Dodgers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Angels outfielder Mike Trout homered in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, reports MLB.com.

Trout, 23, robbed the Dodgers' Alex Guerrero of an extra-base hit in the first inning, making it a successful day for him, despite the loss. 

This spring he has a batting average of .477 with four home runs and 14 RBI. 


White Sox hope to have Robertson, Petricka back by Opening Day
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Two key members of the White Sox bullpen are working their way back from forearm injuries, but manager Robin Ventura is confident he'll have both back by opening day. 

Closer David Robertson is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. 

"We're trying to make sure we’re extra careful with him," Ventura said, per Comcast's Dan Hayes. "He doesn’t seem to be concerned about it as much as we do."

Setup man Jake Petricka isn't as far along as Robertson. He played catch on Saturday for the first time in five days.

The Sox are taking it slow, so that the team will have both pitchers for Opening Day as well as the rest of the season. 

"You’re just making sure you’re cautious enough that you feel good about when (they go) out there that there won’t be any setbacks,” Ventura said. 


Indians pitcher Zach McAllister fans nine in outing Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Indians pitcher Zach McAllister went five innings Saturday against the Brewers, allowing two runs on six hits with nine strikeouts. McAllister, who is expected to make one more start before Opening Day, touched 97 mph with his fastball in the appearance, according to Cleveland.com.

"He's been impressive and he's been doing it all spring," said Francona. "He's not just throwing strikes, he's down in the zone when he wants to and then he can elevate with some velocity. I think his hard work is really paying off."

McAllister has felt he always had the added velocity.

"Throughout my career I've always felt I've had a little more (velocity) in there if I could maintain it," said McAllister. "For whatever reason, whether it's being more consistent with my delivery or my arm action, I'm just trusting that when I let it go it's going to go where I want it to go. I'm not trying to place anything."


Pirates Pedro Alvarez looking to stick at first base
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez is hoping to stick at his new position after converting from third base, reports triblive.com.

On opening day, Alvarez will be the team's 54th first baseman in its 129-year history.

“It's a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view,” Alvarez said. “I need to get the reps in so the responsibilities that come with playing that position become second nature to me.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington talked about the team's past efforts of platooning the position.

“You can't develop something you don't have. You can't buy something you can't afford,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “That's why we've tried to platoon. Over the last couple of years, we've realized that's a challenge for a National League manager. Platoons are much harder here than they are in the American League, especially with a one-dimensional player who can only play one position.”

The hope around the organization is that they can get quality production from Alvarez.

“Our hope that is between Pedro Alvarez and Corey Hart, we'll get quality major league production,” Huntington said.

The 28-year-old is batting .306 with two home runs, nine RBI and eight strikeouts this spring.


Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton can't find a rhythm Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton tossed six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing six hits, including two home runs and no strikeouts. Morton, who is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation, is still recovering from labrum surgery six months ago.

"Physically, Charlie is in a good place," manager Clint Hurdle said to MLB.com. "He is trying to make some mechanical adjustments in his delivery, but we don't have any health concerns about him."

Morton isn't worried about fixing mechanical issues just yet.

"Now is a tough time to put a lot of emphasis on mechanics," said Morton. "I gotta go pitch, adjustments or no adjustments."


 
 
 
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