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Hit Parade for Week 12

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, June 12.

Catcher

Most Added Hitters (as of 6/14)
Player Name % change
1. Kyle Blanks, OF, Padres 39
2. Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres 25
3. Adam Lind, 1B, Blue Jays 22
4. Mike Carp, OF, Red Sox 17
5. Anthony Rendon, 2B, Nationals 14
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox 13
7. Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox 12
8. Mike Zunino, C, Mariners 11
9. Adam Dunn, 1B, White Sox 10
10. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees 8
Carlos Ruiz, who returned from a 25-game suspension for only about three weeks before landing on the DL with a strained hamstring, will begin a rehab assignment this weekend and should come off the DL June 21. That won't be early enough for him to help you this week, at least not in mixed leagues, but a strong return would make him an attractive pickup at a position rife with inconsistency. If nothing else, you know he'll play every day with Erik Kratz out 4-6 weeks because of knee surgery.
Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Astros
Castro's matchups aren't abnormally good this week, but he's "worth a second look" just because he's so overlooked. In Head-to-Head points leagues, he's the third-best catcher over the last 28 days, batting .309 with five home runs and a .976 OPS during that stretch, and yet he's owned in just 69 percent of leagues. Yeah, he has cooled a little in June, but not on the level that Wilin Rosario, J.P. Arencibia and Evan Gattis have.
Approach with caution: Mike Zunino, Mariners
Normally, a top prospect claiming a starting role at the major-league level is cause for celebration in Fantasy, but in this case, you have to wonder what the Mariners were thinking. At Triple-A Tacoma of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Zunino was batting just .238 overall and .215 over his last 42 games, without any of his usual plate discipline. If he was overmatched there, you have to think he'll be overmatched here. Avoid him until he gives you reason not to.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Yadier Molina, Mike Napoli, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann
Advisable starts: Jason Castro, A.J. Pierzynski, Jonathan Lucroy, Salvador Perez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Evan Gattis, Ryan Doumit
Shaky starts: Wilin Rosario, J.P. Arencibia, Russell Martin, Miguel Montero, Mike Zunino, Yasmani Grandal, John Buck, Chris Iannetta
Strictly AL/NL-only: John Jaso, A.J. Ellis (oblique), Carlos Ruiz (hamstring), Welington Castillo, Tyler Flowers, Devin Mesoraco, Yan Gomes, Kurt Suzuki, Derek Norris
Don't bother: Ryan Hanigan, Alex Avila, Rob Brantly, Chris Stewart, Michael McKenry, Hank Conger, Geovany Soto, Nick Hundley, Erik Kratz (knee), Wilson Ramos (hamstring), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero

First base

The few players who qualify only at DH now appear alongside the first basemen so that their owners might have some context for how to approach them this week. If you see an asterisk (*) next to a player's name, it means he's DH-only and not a legitimate first baseman.

Yonder Alonso is on the DL with a broken hand, but the Padres have found someone perhaps even more exciting to replace him. Kyle Blanks, a one-time top prospect derailed by Tommy John surgery just when he was emerging as one of the game's better up-and-coming power hitters, is back playing every day and doing a good job of it, batting .341 (10 for 41) with three homers and a 1.047 OPS over his last 12 games. He's not the most advisable start this week with the Padres scheduled to face the Giants and Dodgers rotations, but he's an enticing pickup for the long haul.
Worth a second look: Adam Lind, Blue Jays
Also enticing is Lind, whose resurgence was pretty easy to ignore when he was sitting against lefties, but apparently now he isn't, having started against the last three. And they haven't been able to slow him down. He's batting .447 (21 for 47) over his last 10 games and .344 overall. Now that you have some hope of him playing every day, starting him is an easy call against pitchers like Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis, Juan Nicaso, Freddy Garcia and Jason Hammel.
Approach with caution: Nick Swisher, Indians
If you've owned Swisher in previous years, you know just how streaky he can be. Last year, he hit .284 with a .972 OPS in April, .207 with a .567 OPS in May, .321 with a .954 OPS in June, .222 with a .732 OPS in July and so on. So really, it shouldn't surprise you that he's 4 for 48 (.083) over his last 13 games. And you shouldn't expect it to end overnight.

No-brainers: Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Edwin Encarnacion, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis, Allen Craig, Buster Posey, David Ortiz*, Mark Trumbo, Freddie Freeman, Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez
Advisable starts: Matt Carpenter, Billy Butler, Anthony Rizzo, Joe Mauer, Carlos Santana, Michael Cuddyer, Mike Napoli, Mark Teixeira, Adam Lind, James Loney, Adam LaRoche
Shaky starts: Adam Dunn, Mark Reynolds, Kendrys Morales (back), Brandon Belt, Brandon Moss, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez*, Kyle Blanks, Lance Berkman, Nick Swisher, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Eric Hosmer
Strictly AL/NL-only: Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner*, Michael Young, Paul Konerko, Logan Morrison, Garrett Jones, Carlos Pena, Todd Helton, Chris Carter, Chris Johnson
Don't bother: Matt Adams, Jeff Baker, Tyler Colvin, John Mayberry, Mike Carp, Gaby Sanchez, Juan Francisco, Lyle Overbay, Yan Gomes, Yuniesky Betancourt, Chris Parmelee, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Mitch Moreland (hamstring), Yonder Alonso (hand), Justin Smoak (oblique), Joe Mahoney (hamstring), Corey Hart (knee), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton, Ike Davis

Second base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. White Sox @HOU1, @MIN3, @KC3
2. Braves NYM5, @MIL3
3. Giants SD3, MIA4
4. Blue Jays COL3, BAL3
5. Athletics @TEX4, @SEA3
After missing a month with an intercostal strain, perhaps just long enough for you to forget how he was carrying your team to start the season, Ian Kinsler is aiming to return to the Rangers lineup Sunday. I won't classify him as a "no-brainer" for this week since he could obviously suffer a setback between now and then, but at a weak position, he deserves every benefit of the doubt if he appears to be all systems go at the lineup deadline.
Worth a second look: Dan Uggla, Braves
Uggla is still batting under .200 on the season, but he's also on pace for 32 home runs after an encouraging nine-game stretch in which he has hit .300 (9 for 30) with three home runs. He has also eclipsed 20 Head-to-Head points in three of the last six weeks. He's an all-or-nothing player for sure, but I have a hard time believing he'll get nothing in an eight-game week with pitchers like Jonathon Niese, Shaun Marcum, Wily Peralta, and Alfredo Figaro on tap.
Approach with caution: Kelly Johnson, Rays
Once again, Johnson has proven to be the streakiest of streakers, unable to buy a hit in his last 10 games, during which he's batting .100 (4 for 40), after looking like a world beater over the previous six weeks. Chances are he'll get hot again at some point, but this regression to the mean is exactly why you made a point to keep another second baseman on hand. You did, didn't you?

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Brandon Phillips, Matt Carpenter, Ben Zobrist, Jason Kipnis
Advisable starts: Ian Kinsler (intercostal), Howie Kendrick, Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie, Nick Franklin, Dan Uggla, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon
Shaky starts: Jurickson Profar, Martin Prado, Neil Walker, Kelly Johnson, Omar Infante, Gordon Beckham, Rickie Weeks, Derek Dietrich, Marco Scutaro (finger)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Mike Aviles, Darwin Barney, DJ LeMahieu, Mark Ellis, Emilio Bonifacio, Logan Forsythe, Willie Bloomquist, Jordany Valdespin, Brian Dozier, Omar Quintanilla
Don't bother: Jeff Keppinger, Daniel Descalso, Yuniesky Betancourt, Scooter Gennett, Nick Punto, Jamey Carroll, Ryan Raburn, Freddy Galvis, Marwin Gonzalez, Chris Getz, Eric Sogard, Maicer Izturis, Jedd Gyorko (groin), Aaron Hill (wrist), Chase Utley (ribs), Danny Espinosa (wrist), Brian Roberts (hamstring), Josh Rutledge, Jemile Weeks, Dustin Ackley, Kolten Wong

Third base

Will Middlebrooks is back after once again proving he could hit minor-league pitching, going 5 for 17 with two homers on a rehab assignment on Triple-A Pawtucket. Unfortunately, in his absence, Jose Iglesias gave the Red Sox much more consistent production than Middlebrooks was giving them before landing on the DL with a strained back. Middlebrooks is still the Red Sox's primary third baseman, but they haven't promised him everyday at-bats. You should probably avoid him with Matt Moore, Anibal Sanchez, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on tap this week.
Worth a second look: Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
Alvarez is one of those frustrating hitters who does 80 percent of his damage in 20 percent of the season, but he seems to be doing it now, batting .288 (15 for 52) with six homers over his last 15 games. Of course, you never know when it'll end, but with the Pirates facing six righties and playing seven games on the road, where Alvarez has a .257 batting average compared to .170 at home, it has a decent chance of continuing this week.
Approach with caution: Chase Headley, Padres
Benching a player as high-profile as Headley is always risky because you don't want to miss out on the week when he makes up for lost time, but I have a feeling this week won't be that week. Not only are the Padres facing the best the Giants and Dodgers pitching staffs have to offer, but they're also facing four lefties. Headley, like many switch-hitters, fares better from the left side of the plate. His OPS was about 100 points lower against lefties last year and is nearly 200 points lower against them this year. You can expect more of the .168 (20 for 119) hitter you've seen over the last month.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, David Wright, Josh Donaldson, Matt Carpenter, Ryan Zimmerman, Manny Machado
Advisable starts: Kyle Seager, Pedro Alvarez, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, David Freese
Shaky starts: Mark Reynolds, Todd Frazier, Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Martin Prado, Will Middlebrooks, Kevin Youkilis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Young, Mike Moustakas, Chris Johnson, Mike Aviles, Matt Dominguez, Trevor Plouffe (calf), Alberto Callaspo, Luis Valbuena, Jayson Nix
Don't bother: Jeff Baker, Jose Iglesias, Juan Francisco, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jeff Keppinger, Daniel Descalso, Yuniesky Betancourt, Ed Lucas, Placido Polanco (back), Nick Punto, Jamey Carroll, Jordan Pacheco, Maicer Izturis, Pablo Sandoval (foot), Jedd Gyorko (groin), Brett Lawrie (ankle), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Eric Chavez (oblique), Wilson Betemit (knee), Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Castellanos

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Padres @SF3, LAD4
2. Red Sox TB3, @DET4
3. Orioles @DET3, @TOR3
4. Diamondbacks MIA3, CIN3
5. Rangers OAK4, @STL3
Marco Scutaro, who was out of the lineup Wednesday, has tendon damage in his finger that will cost him 6-8 weeks if he goes on the DL. As of now, he's hoping to avoid it. But the pain may prove too much to bear, and management may override him anyway. Even if he makes an appearance over the weekend, you shouldn't count on him in Fantasy. The reward doesn't justify the risk.
Worth a second look: Andrelton Simmons, Braves
Like Dan Uggla, Simmons gets to take advantage of a rare eight-game week for the Braves, and though he doesn't have the same explosive potential as Uggla, he has been hitting much better of late, batting .301 (25 for 83) over his last 18 games. Judging by the pitching matchups in the final five of those games, the Braves should pile up some runs this week, and their leadoff hitter figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Approach with caution: Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks
Gregorius is batting .307 with an .843 OPS on the season, making him still nothing but a pleasant surprise for Fantasy owners. But he has begun to regress somewhat, batting .143 (2 for 14) over his last five games. With pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Mat Latos on tap for the Diamondbacks in a six-game week, you can probably do better in standard mixed leagues.

No-brainers: Jean Segura, Ben Zobrist, Ian Desmond, Everth Cabrera
Advisable starts: Troy Tulowitzki (ribs), Elvis Andrus, Jimmy Rollins, Starlin Castro, Jed Lowrie, Nick Franklin, J.J. Hardy, Andrelton Simmons
Shaky starts: Jhonny Peralta, Hanley Ramirez (hamstring), Alexei Ramirez, Didi Gregorius, Stephen Drew, Alcides Escobar, Erick Aybar, Brandon Crawford, Yunel Escobar, Derek Dietrich, Zack Cozart, Marco Scutaro (finger)
Strictly AL/NL-only: Mike Aviles, Pete Kozma, Willie Bloomquist, Brian Dozier, Munenori Kawasaki, Pedro Florimon, Omar Quintanilla, Jayson Nix
Don't bother: Daniel Descalso, Adeiny Hechavarria, Nick Punto, Marwin Gonzalez, Eric Sogard, Maicer Izturis, Clint Barmes, Asdrubal Cabrera (quadriceps), Danny Espinosa (wrist), Ruben Tejada (quadriceps), Eduardo Nunez (rib), Jose Reyes (leg), Derek Jeter (ankle), Dee Gordon, Josh Rutledge, Billy Hamilton

Outfield

Ryan Braun, who has yet to play in Fantasy Week 11 (June 10-16) because of a thumb injury that has plagued him for several weeks, hopes to return to the lineup Friday. The Brewers are skeptical that putting him on the DL would do him any good and, therefore, are reluctant to do so. Still, you have to wonder if playing through the pain is really the best thing for him considering he's batting .260 with a .682 OPS over his last 20 games. As long as he's playing, you have to start him in Fantasy, but keep an eye out for setbacks over the weekend.
Worth a second look: Alejandro De Aza, White Sox and Brandon Moss, Athletics
Neither De Aza nor Moss belongs in the "advisable starts" category for this week, but most Fantasy owners have to dig deeper than that to fill their final outfield spot anyway. The White Sox do have some enticing matchups against pitchers like Bud Norris, Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia, Scott Diamond and Wade Davis, and all seven of their games are on the road, where De Aza is a .293 hitter compared to .246 at home. Plus, he's been hot lately, batting .377 (20 for 53) over his last 13 games. Moss hasn't gotten to play much lately, but that's because the Athletics have faced five lefties in their last six games. Each of his last five hits were home runs, though, including two Wednesday. With the Athletics scheduled to face seven righties this week -- including some hittable types like Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm, Josh Lindblom, Aaron Harang and Jeremy Bonderman -- you have to hope the trend continues.
Approach with caution: Shane Victorino, Red Sox and Carlos Quentin, Padres
Victorino returned from the DL June 8 and has started three of the Red Sox's five games since. But that trip to the DL was already his second this season, with only a one-week gap in between, and the injury that put him there -- a strained hamstring -- began acting up immediately upon his return. He'll have to play a good four or five games in a row for you to trust him again in Fantasy, and the Red Sox might not even let him do that. Considering their tough matchups against the Rays and Tigers this week, what incentive do you have to start Victorino? You have plenty of incentive to start Quentin, who's having another of his patented hot streaks after a miserable start to the season, batting .400 (16 for 40) with two homers over his last 11 games. Unfortunately, with the Padres scheduled to face Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu this week, you shouldn't expect it to last.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Upton, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Allen Craig, Alex Rios, Jay Bruce, Matt Holliday, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown, Carlos Gomez, Carlos Gonzalez (foot), Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo, Ben Zobrist, Matt Carpenter
Advisable starts: Yasiel Puig, Jason Heyward, Giancarlo Stanton, Ryan Braun (thumb), Coco Crisp (heel), Dexter Fowler (hand), Nelson Cruz, Alex Gordon, Nick Markakis, Josh Hamilton, Desmond Jennings, Starling Marte, Michael Cuddyer, Brett Gardner, Norichika Aoki, Daniel Nava, Melky Cabrera, Gerardo Parra, Nate McLouth, Michael Bourn
Shaky starts: Josh Willingham, Shane Victorino, Brandon Moss, Alejandro De Aza, Yoenis Cespedes (hamstring), Matt Joyce, Kyle Blanks, Nick Swisher, Kelly Johnson, Jayson Werth, Martin Prado, Ryan Doumit, Alfonso Soriano, Austin Jackson (hamstring), Michael Morse (quadriceps), Evan Gattis, Torii Hunter, Ben Revere, Vernon Wells, Lorenzo Cain, Michael Brantley, Denard Span, Carlos Quentin, Colby Rasmus, Marcell Ozuna, Peter Bourjos, Josh Reddick, B.J. Upton, David Murphy, Logan Morrison, Jon Jay, Drew Stubbs, Lucas Duda
Strictly AL/NL-only: Garrett Jones, David DeJesus, Andre Ethier, Leonys Martin, Chris Carter, Oswaldo Arcia, J.D. Martinez, Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, Travis Snider, Chris Denorfia, Andy Dirks, Nate Schierholtz, A.J. Pollock, Cody Ross, Seth Smith, Raul Ibanez, Emilio Bonifacio, Jordany Valdespin, Will Venable, Juan Pierre, Ichiro Suzuki, Justin Ruggiano, Rajai Davis, Chris Young, Marlon Byrd, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young
Don't bother: Jeff Baker, Tyler Colvin, John Mayberry, Jeff Francoeur, Craig Gentry, Jason Bay, Mike Carp, Ryan Raburn, Avisail Garcia, Chris Parmelee, Jonny Gomes, Gutierrez (hamstring), Matt Kemp (hamstring), Bryce Harper (knee), Carl Crawford (hamstring), Curtis Granderson (hand), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Corey Hart (knee), Adam Eaton (elbow), Justin Maxwell (hand), Aaron Hicks (hamstring), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Nolan Reimold (hamstring), Wil Myers, Oscar Taveras, Christian Yelich, Jackie Bradley

The Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Looking at matchups for the week ahead and considering other factors such as streaks, injuries and lineup changes, we sort all Fantasy-relevant hitters at each position into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."

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

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

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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- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland won't play spring games until next week
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland will run the bases on Tuesday, and won't seen any spring games until next week, according to the Star-Telegram. Texas is taking a cautious approach with Moreland in camp after he underwent ankle surgery last June.

The 29-year-old Moreland hit .246/.297/.347 over 167 at-bats last year.


Blue Jays' Gibbons yet to settle on closer, could use committee
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said Tuesday that while Brett Cecil has the ability to close, he might not serve as the team's closer, the National Post reports.

"He could do it. He might not. It might be somebody else," Gibbons said.

The manager also raised the possibility of using multiple closers.

"It could be one of those deals where one night he might be closing, the other night he might have to come in at the end of the seventh or eighth inning," Gibbons said.

Despite the face that Gibbons hasn't deemed Cecil his closer, he did praise his pitching ability Tuesday.

"He’s got some overpowering stuff," Gibbons said. "He’s a lefty and I don’t think there’s a better curveball out there. He can throw it for strikes, he can bring it down low in the zone and bounce it for a strikeout. That’s kind of his go-to pitch. He doesn’t rattle. He’s pretty confident and calm when he’s out there."

Cecil went 2-3 with a 2.70 ERA, 76:27 K:BB ratio and five saves in 53 1/3 innings in 2014. He owns a 11.1 career K/9 rate in relief.


White Sox's Geovany Soto feeling good at the start of spring games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) White Sox catcher Geovany Soto said he is feeling good after being limited to 78 games the last two seasons due to injuries. He missed time in 2014 because of arthroscopic surgery on his left foot and a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"I love where I'm at," Soto said, per The Chicago Tribune. "My legs feel great. My whole body feels great. I'm just anxious to get started and show these guys what I can do, hopefully stay healthy and break camp."


Dodgers' Mattingly: Hyun-Jin Ryu's (back) next step will be BP
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters that starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu came out of Monday's bullpen session "fine," and that his next step will likely be throwing batting practice, according to SB Nation.

Ryu is dealing with a back injury, but has been throwing the last couple of days without pain. At this point, Ryu remains without a timetable for his first spring game. He went 14-7 in 2014 with a 3.38 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched last season.


Hinch: Astros 'likely' to use seven-man bullpen in 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Astros manager A.J. Hinch indicated that the team is likely to use a seven-man bullpen this season, leaving two spots open for competition this spring, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"Likely," Hinch said of a seven-man bullpen. "There’s always a chance that (changes) depending on how the schedule plays out, and there’s always a debate on how many pitchers to carry during interleague. Now interleague is pretty much year round, so I mean, in a perfect world with our roster, it’s likely to carry a seven-man ‘pen. If we feel like we need an extra pitcher or injury happens, there’s different ways to shape our roster, then we will, but likely 12."

The two open spots will likely be filled by a left-handed pitcher and a long reliever. The competition for the second lefty in the pen likely comes down to Kevin Chapman and nonroster invitees Joe Thatcher and Darin Downs. The long relief role has a broader list of candidates, including Alex White and Asher Wojciechowski, who will prepare both as starters and relievers.

"We’re going to stretch out a lot of our guys," Hinch said. "Some of them are because they’re competing in that fifth starter spot, some of them are bullpen guys. Will Harris is going to throw multiple innings. Obviously (Sam) Deduno has been a starter in the past, he’s in a competition for the fifth man spot. Wojo, White, those guys are going to need to, going to plan for the season on both fronts, whether it’s a starter or reliever. But we’re preaching multiple innings. It’s important if you have a seven-man bullpen that you have a couple of guys that can get four, five, six outs if needed and be a bridge to the rest of the bullpen."


Rangers' Tolleson: 'I'd like to be that bridge' between starters, closers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Shawn Tolleson told reporters he would like to become the link between the starting rotation and back-end relievers Tanner Scheppers and Neftali Feliz this season, according to the Dallas Morning News.

"I would like to be that bridge," Tolleson said.

Tolleson led the club with 71 2/3 innings of relief last season. He pitched more than one inning 20 times and held left-handed hitters to a .282 on-base percentage.

"He's got the skill set to be one of those that we use in the latter portions of the game," manager Jeff Banister said. "He seems to love the competition."


Nationals faced with tough decision regarding Michael Taylor
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) The Nationals are faced with a tough decision when it comes to outfield prospect Michael Taylor, who appears to be on the cusp of being ready for a regular role at the major-league level.

A major issue is playing time since the Nationals have a starting outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span. Taylor would be a solid fourth outfielder, but having him coming off the bench is not ideal for his development.

“It’s the same age-old decision that must be made regarding guys that are just on the cusp of being big-league ready and everyday players,” manager Matt Williams said, per NatsInsider.com. “And a question of depth on your team, too. … It’s a question of depth on your team, it’s a question of how much playing time they’re really going to get, and are they better served staying in the minor leagues and getting those at-bats until their opportunity arises. But Mike’s close. He’s really close.”


Nationals' Aaron Barrett: 'I'm ready for a full season'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett worked on strengthening his shoulder and legs in the offseason to improve his longevity throughout the entire season. Barrett admitted he wasn't used to a full major-league schedule, which contributed to him feeling "tired" in the middle of his rookie season.

"I'm ready for a full season," Barrett said. "Last year was a long season for me. It was my first year up. I had a lot of appearances, a lot of warm-ups and stuff like that. I think that is part of the process of coming up and working on that. I did as much training as I possibly could for this year."


Daniel Descalso brings versatility, playoff experience to Rockies
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) Rockies infielder Daniel Descalso is ready to fill the role of versatile veteran who can play second base, third base or shortstop as needed, the Denver Post reports.

"I'll be ready for whatever comes my way," Descalso said Monday. "It's been a while since I've played just one position for any length of time, so I've worked hard to reach a comfort level at all three spots. I have an idea of what it takes to stay sharp."

Another factor that piqued the interest of the Rockies this offseason was his postseason experience, as he has played in 44 postseason games and won one championship.

"All of that factored in quite a bit," manager Walt Weiss said. "I think we sometimes underestimate the value of that — guys that have played in big games, pennant races, and have won a World Series. Those types of players are valuable, and that's a big reason why we brought Danny in here."

Descalso has made 110 starts at second base, 91 at third base and 88 at shortstop in his five-year career, seeing at least 100 appearances at all three poitions. He hit .242/.333/.311 in 161 at-bats last year with the Cardinals.


Francona: Jason Kipnis likely to make spring debut this weekend
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:02 pm ET) Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday second baseman Jason Kipnis (hand) will likely make his spring debut this weekend, per MLB.com.

 
 
 
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