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Hit Parade for Week 20

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Catcher

Most Added Hitters (as of 8/9)
Player % change
1. Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves 23
2. Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox 21
3. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals 17
4. Alex Avila, C, Tigers 16
5. Michael Saunders, OF, Mariners 15
6. Kole Calhoun, OF, Angels 15
7. Junior Lake, OF, Cubs 14
8. Robbie Grossman, OF, Astros 14
9. Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees 12
10. Ryan Raburn, OF, Indians 12
Because Yan Gomes' high points this season have been mostly short-lived, Fantasy owners might be reluctant to trust in the 26-year-old even at a position depleted by injuries to Yadier Molina, Salvador Perez, Miguel Montero, John Jaso and potentially J.P. Arencibia and Ryan Doumit. But playing time has been Gomes' biggest issue. Now that the Indians have parted with Mark Reynolds, he might actually have some staying power. Even in the midst of a hot streak, he's not starter-worthy across the board, but in leagues that require the use of two catchers, he belongs in somebody's lineup.
Worth a second look: Jason Castro, Astros
Even in 10-team leagues with only one catcher spot, I can't imagine Castro going unused this week. He's been in a rut since mid-June or so but has shown signs of coming around lately, hitting safely in eight straight games. His seven games against right-handers this week -- including low-end types Sonny Gray, Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards and Tommy Hanson -- should work to his advantage. He's batting .288 with an .835 OPS against righties compared to .190 and .627 against lefties this season.
Approach with caution: Alex Avila, Tigers
With eight games on tap, the Tigers have one of the more favorable hitting schedules of any team this week, but as far as Avila is concerned, they might as well be playing only three games. That's because the other five are against left-handed pitchers, against whom he's batting .107 this season. With so many injuries at catcher right now, no doubt you'd like to ride the hot hand at the position, but Avila is probably a lost cause this week.

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

First base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Padres @COL3, NYM4
2. Tigers @CHW3, KC5
3. Angels @NYY4, HOU3
4. Athletics @TOR1, HOU3, CLE3
5. Rays SEA3, TOR3
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.

Ike Davis looks like he's an everyday player again, having started 10 of the last 11 games for the Mets. And believe it or not, he deserves it. His lack of homers since returning from the minors doesn't reflect how much better he's been, batting .284 (21 for 74) with an insane 22 walks to 19 strikeouts in 27 games. The Mets optioned Lucas Duda to Triple-A Las Vegas after he completed his rehab assignment for an intercostal strain, which shows just how much job security Davis has. Suddenly, the thought of starting him at a corner infield or utility spot isn't so far-fetched.
Worth a second look: Adam Dunn, White Sox
Dunn has been heating up with a .348 (16 for 46) batting average and two home runs in his last 14 games and has been at his best against right-handed pitchers this year, compiling an .837 OPS compared to .676 against lefties. The White Sox face six righties in their seven games this week and have mostly favorable matchups, though they have to get through the back end of the Tigers rotation before the hit parade (it's like when they say the name of the movie in the movie) begins in Minnesota.
Approach with caution: Justin Morneau, Twins
Speaking of Minnesota, Morneau has been the toast of the town (or state, whatever) so far in August, batting .333 (10 for 30) with three homers. Doesn't change the fact that he's a first baseman batting .267 with a .737 OPS on the year. In most leagues, those numbers won't cut it. Of course, you could argue he's the hot hand at the position, but his matchups this week figure to change that. The Twins are facing four left-handers -- some especially tough ones in Scott Kazmir, Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago -- and Morneau is batting just .238 with a .607 OPS against lefties this year.

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

Second base

The on-again, off-again second base platoon in Milwaukee is off again, but not in the way the Brewers had hoped. They had actually determined to go with Rickie Weeks full time, optioning Scooter Gennett back to the minors Wednesday, but then a strained hamstring forced Weeks to the DL, bringing back Gennett to play full time. Gennett has produced some underwhelming numbers over his career, but for some reason, the scouts like him. Personally, I'd have to play in a pretty deep NL-only league to give him a look.
Worth a second look: Neil Walker, Pirates
One of the many things I don't understand in Fantasy Baseball is why Walker's ownership percentage has been so slow to recover even though he's been as productive as anyone could have hoped in his two-plus weeks back from the DL, ranking fifth among all second baseman in Head-to-Head leagues during that stretch. Whatever, I'm taking advantage -- especially this week, with five righties on tap, including some cream puff matchups against Jake Westbrook, Brandon McCarthy and Randall Delgado. For the season, Walker's OPS is about twice as high against righties as lefties.
Approach with caution: Nick Franklin, Mariners
For a player eligible to play two of the weakest positions in Fantasy, Franklin shows so much promise at times that your best approach with him might be to just leave him in your lineup, taking the good with the bad, not wanting to miss out on the former because of the latter. But I see so many good alternatives at second base right now that I'll probably sit him when he's in a 1-for-28 slump and set to face Chris Archer, David Price, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish this week.

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Kipnis, Ian Kinsler, Matt Carpenter, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist, Chase Utley
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Martin Prado, Daniel Murphy, Brett Lawrie, Neil Walker, Brian Dozier, Brad Miller, Aaron Hill, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Dan Uggla, Nick Franklin, Marco Scutaro, Howie Kendrick (knee), Gordon Beckham, Jedd Gyorko, Anthony Rendon
Strictly AL/NL-only: Jurickson Profar, Ryan Raburn, Darwin Barney, Brian Roberts, Mark Ellis, DJ LeMahieu, Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Logan Forsythe, Grant Green, Scooter Gennett, Omar Infante (shin), Yuniesky Betancourt, Kelly Johnson, Dustin Ackley, Donovan Solano, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Emilio Bonifacio, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Rickie Weeks (hamstring), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Chris Getz (knee), Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich

Third base

With David Wright likely out at least a month because of a strained hamstring, Wilmer Flores takes over at third base for the Mets. He's a curious prospect, one who didn't begin to show his offensive potential until last season, his fifth in the minors, and one who has yet to find a position he can play up to major-league standards. But while he's playing third base, he should matter in Fantasy, perhaps performing like a poor man's Martin Prado with a high contact rate and plenty of doubles.
Worth a second look: Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
After missing a month and a half with a sprained ankle, Lawrie has returned from the DL a changed hitter, batting .295 (23 for 78) with four homers and only 11 strikeouts in 22 games. Word is he's learned to hit the ball the other way again after becoming too pull-conscious, perhaps because of all the home runs he hit to begin his career. He's on a team playing seven games this week and doesn't have the most imposing matchups, so I'm anxious to give him a try in Fantasy, be it at third base or second.
Approach with caution: Anthony Rendon, Nationals
Like Lawrie, Rendon had instant success in the majors, but he's fallen on hard times lately, batting .159 (10 for 63) in his last 17 games. Look, rookies slump. It's normal. In the grand scheme of his career, this cold stretch probably means nothing. But if you need to win now, Rendon is impeding that goal. In mixed leagues, I wouldn't hesitate to swap him out in a week he's set to face Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran.

No-brainers: Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre, Matt Carpenter, Evan Longoria, Kyle Seager
Advisable starts: Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez, Martin Prado, Mike Moustakas, Brett Lawrie, Pablo Sandoval
Shaky starts: Hanley Ramirez (shoulder), Chase Headley, David Freese, Wilmer Flores, Jedd Gyorko, Michael Young (hamstring), Chris Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado
Strictly AL/NL-only: Aramis Ramirez (knee), Brett Wallace, Todd Frazier, Cody Asche, Trevor Plouffe, Eric Chavez, Jurickson Profar, Conor Gillaspie, Matt Dominguez, DJ LeMahieu, Juan Francisco, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jose Iglesias (toe), Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Donnie Murphy, Yuniesky Betancourt, Alberto Callaspo (forearm), Kelly Johnson, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Mark Reynolds, Mike Aviles, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, David Wright (hamstring), Kevin Youkilis (back), Wilson Betemit (knee), Luis Valbuena (oblique), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Dodgers NYM3, @PHI3
2. Cubs CIN3, STL3
3. Brewers @TEX2, CIN4
4. Mariners @TB3, @TEX3
5. Nationals SF3, @ATL3
Hanley Ramirez jammed his right shoulder crashing into a wall Sunday, which sounds like a significant injury for a player who swings a bat for a living. He hasn't played since but says he won't need to go on the DL. I'm a bit skeptical, and apparently, the Dodgers are, too, calling up Dee Gordon Monday "just in case." Gordon has bombed in his previous chances in the majors but was hitting .307 and riding a 17-game hitting streak at Triple-A. If Ramirez continues to sit through the weekend, Gordon might be a sneaky play in Rotisserie leagues for his base-stealing potential.
Worth a second look: Brian Dozier
Not only does Dozier have four doubles, two triples and a homer already in August, but he has 18 doubles, two triples and seven homers in his last 43 games, making him the second-ranked shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues during that stretch. Granted, that's a little misleading since the stretch began with four homers in five games, but the point is Dozier is an overlooked option at an exceptionally thin position. The Twins are on the road this week and facing four lefties. He's batting .271 at home compared to .216 on the road and .311 against lefties compared to .223 against righties. Good time to use him, no?
Approach with caution: Junior Lake, Cubs
I don't mean to harp on Lake, listing him here for the second straight week, but I get the feeling his spectacular start has given his Fantasy owners unrealistic expectations. He's 14 for 57 (.246) over his last 14 games, with 16 strikeouts compared to only two walks. If not for his two-homer game Aug. 1, I'm guessing his owners wouldn't need me to talk them into benching him. Maybe his matchups against Mat Latos, Homer Bailey, Bronson Arroyo, Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller can do it for me.

No-brainers: Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Reyes, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus
Advisable starts: J.J. Hardy, Brian Dozier, Brad Miller, Andrelton Simmons, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Hanley Ramirez (shoulder), Erick Aybar, Starlin Castro, Nick Franklin, Alexei Ramirez, Junior Lake, Jimmy Rollins, Stephen Drew, Marco Scutaro, Alcides Escobar
Strictly AL/NL-only: Yunel Escobar, Zack Cozart, Jonathan Villar (thumb), Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Jurickson Profar, Dee Gordon, Jose Iglesias (toe), Eduardo Nunez, Daniel Descalso, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Pete Kozma, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Pedro Florimon, Derek Jeter (calf), Xander Bogaerts, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich, Billy Hamilton

Outfield

Oswaldo Arcia is back playing every day for the Twins, continuing his up-and-down rookie season, but with Josh Willingham wrapping up his rehabilitation from knee surgery and looking to return as early as Friday, you shouldn't put too much stock in Arcia in mixed leagues. Not that I'm especially high on Willingham the rest of the way. If I was looking for cheap power off the waiver wire, I'd be more likely to invest in Ryan Ludwick, who is also gearing up to return from surgery, his for a dislocated shoulder. Of course, neither is an advisable start this week, given the length of their absences. Ideally, you'll want to give both a chance to prove their health before activating them.
Worth a second look: Leonys Martin, Rangers and Will Venable, Padres
Though Martin's six steals over his last two games might have something to do with the Rangers facing the Angels' beleaguered catcher duo of Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger, the fact of the matter is he's been hitting well, too, batting .298 (17 for 57) with a homer and four doubles in his last 14 games, all of them starts. He's an important part of the Rangers lineup with Alex Rios now out of the picture, so you should no longer have to worry about a shortage of at-bats. Plus, he's playing five games at home, where he's batting .329, and five vs. righties, against whom he's batting .293. Venable is more of a deeper-league recommendation, but I do love the Padres' matchups this week against the Rockies and Mets. Venable is sure to start against the five righties on tap and he's upped his production with Carlos Quentin banged up, batting .386 (22 for 57) with three homers and four steals in his last 18 games.
Approach with caution: Carl Crawford, Dodgers and Michael Saunders, Mariners
The Dodgers must not entirely trust the health of Crawford's hamstring. They're sitting him about every fourth or fifth game. He's hitting well enough, but it isn't translating to much Fantasy production with all the lost at-bats, not to mention the missing steals. I wouldn't expect him to keeping hitting well with pitchers like Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels on tap this week. With six homers and 23 RBI in his last 27 games, Saunders has been a nice find off the waiver wire, but the cold streaks tend to outshine the hot streaks with him. I imagine another one is just around the corner with Chris Archer, David Price, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish on tap this week. Notice the three left-handers? Saunders is batting .202 with a .641 OPS against lefties this season.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Jose Bautista, Chris Davis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Yasiel Puig, Adam Jones, Justin Upton, Andrew McCutchen (shoulder), Jay Bruce, Giancarlo Stanton, Allen Craig, Bryce Harper, Matt Holliday, Alex Rios, Wil Myers (asthma), Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Matt Carpenter, Mark Trumbo, Michael Cuddyer, Starling Marte, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Alex Gordon, Carlos Gomez, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Hunter Pence, Domonic Brown, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Jayson Werth, Austin Jackson, Martin Prado, Shane Victorino, Alejandro De Aza, Nick Markakis, Curtis Granderson, Leonys Martin
Shaky starts: Michael Bourn, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, Eric Young, Colby Rasmus, B.J. Upton, Norichika Aoki, Marlon Byrd, Nick Swisher, Michael Brantley, Coco Crisp, Logan Morrison, Alfonso Soriano, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Christian Yelich, Raul Ibanez, Darin Ruf, Kole Calhoun, Robbie Grossman, Brandon Moss, Adam Eaton, Andre Ethier, Evan Gattis, Carl Crawford, Junior Lake, Will Venable, Josh Willingham (knee), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), Denard Span, Nate Schierholtz, Jon Jay, Gerardo Parra, Josh Reddick
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, David DeJesus, Ichiro Suzuki, Oswaldo Arcia, Ryan Doumit (concussion), Cody Ross, Carlos Quentin (knee), Chris Carter, Luke Scott, David Murphy, J.B. Shuck, Ryan Raburn, Lorenzo Cain, Rajai Davis, Garrett Jones, Seth Smith, Drew Stubbs, Jake Marisnick, Kelly Johnson, Henry Urrutia, Caleb Gindl, Daniel Nava, Matt Joyce, David Lough, John Mayberry, Delmon Young, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Gregor Blanco, Jose Tabata, Alexi Amarista, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell, Jonny Gomes, Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Chris Young
Don't bother: Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Vernon Wells, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Barnes, Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Carlos Gonzalez (finger), Matt Kemp (ankle), Desmond Jennings (finger), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), Melky Cabrera (knee), Zoilo Almonte (ankle), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), J.D. Martinez (wrist), Cameron Maybin (knee), Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oscar Taveras, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Aaron Hicks, Avisail Garcia, Anthony Gose

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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Player News
Twins' Tommy Milone awarded final rotation spot
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:18 am ET) Twins pitcher Tommy Milone has been awarded the fifth and final spot in Minnesota's rotation, according to MLB.com. He beat out Mike Pelfrey and Trevor May for the role. May was optioned down to Triple-A.

Milone has a 4.50 ERA through four spring starts. He has eight strikeouts in 14 innings.


Christian Vazquez (elbow) on MRI: They 'found something' there
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:14 am ET) Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez underwent an MRI on his injured elbow, and told reporters on Saturday that they "found something," but have to make a firm diagnosis. He's scheduled to undergo a second opinion in the Fort Myers area, according to WEEI.

"I think I'm going to be fine for it," Vazquez said, per the Boston Globe. "I hope I'm going to be fine for Opening Day. That’s the goal here, you know?"

Vazquez caught a minor-league game on Friday, but was prohibited from throwing to bases. Manager John Farrell downplayed the issue and assured that Vazquez did not suffer a setback.

"To answer questions that might be unanswered at this point and hopefully give a little peace of mind to Christian himself," Farrell said, per the Globe. "There hasn't been a setback. As a matter of fact, his throwing has increased.

"We want to answer every possible question. Once we get all the information, we'll have a better read on everything."

With eight spring games left before the start of the season, Vazquez's Opening Day status remains up in the air. The Red Sox will likely consider Ryan Hanigan and prospect Blake Swihart as possible replacements for Vazquez.

"There's a little bit there, but I've got more in my tank," Vazquez said. "I want to be 100 percent to help the team. I need to be ready to help the team win.

"That's my goal, be ready and healthy because this is my first time getting hurt. I'm a little bit sad with myself for my first time, but I'm fine."


Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers working to fix command issues
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:25 am ET) Rockies pitcher Rex Brothers gave up four runs on four hits in Thursday's game, his first rough patch of spring training. Brothers thinks his command faded when he got batters down in the count, reports the Denver Post.

"It was like an out-of-body experience," he said Friday. "Just one of those oddity nights. I was sharp until I got into put-away counts, then it was brutal. Absolutely brutal."

Manager Walt Weiss isn't concerned about his appearance and thinks it was more of an aberration.

"There's been enough positive signs in spring to feel good about where he is," Weiss said. "But fact of the matter is, that stuff is always right around the corner. Not just him, but anybody."


Seven no-hit innings for Royals' Yordano Ventura
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:56 am ET) Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura threw seven no-hit innings in Friday's start. 

Ventura walked two and struck out four, while throwing 49 of his 88 pitches for strikes. He lowered his spring ERA to 5.14.

The Royals took Ventura from the game after the seventh, as reliever Jason Frasor made it one out further before giving up a hit. 

The bullpen completed the one-hitter. 


Brewers pitcher Will Smith holds key to success out of the bullpen
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) Brewers pitcher Will Smith could be the best cog in Milwaukee's bullpen this season. Manager Ron Roenicke sure hopes so, reports MLB.com.

"I think coming into it, we're counting on him to pitch some high-leverage innings," Roenicke said Friday. "He's going to be a huge part of that bullpen and what we do and how I match up the seventh and eighth inning. He's going to be important."

Smith has a 0.87 ERA in eight appearances this spring and posted a 3.70 ERA in 78 games last season.

"My last two outings I felt really good out there, really strong," Smith said on Friday. "Me and the catchers are on the same page for everything now. I think I'm good to go now."


Still no decision between Mariners' Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon still hasn't named a winner in the battle for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. 

RHP Taijuan Walker and LHP Roenis Elias are in the running for the spot. Walker has a 0.00 ERA in 18 innings this spring, while Elias' ERA is 6.75. 

McClendon said he wouldn't announce his fifth starter until the final week of spring. Saturday marks the start of the final week, and McClendon said he'd "be close" to making the call, per MLB.com's Greg Johns.


Brewers to decide leadoff hitter Monday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) Brewers manager Ron Roenicke plans to decide between Scooter Gennett and Carlos Gomez for the leadoff spot in the lineup by Monday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Gennett hit .289 with 54 RBI and 55 runs scored in 440 plate appearances last season while Gomez hit.284 with 23 home runs and 73 RBI in 574 plate appearances.


Phillies' Jake Diekman historically bad in loss
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:33 am ET) Phillies pitcher Jake Diekman declared his Friday appearance, "the worst outing in the history of the world." 

Diekman entered a scoreless game in the fifth inning and promptly gave up a double and four singles before recording an out. He ended up allowing seven runs in one third of an inning.

"I fell behind in counts and every strike I threw they took a good swing at," Diekman said, per CSN Philly. "It’s embarrassing. ... It's unbelievable." 

Despite his 12.27 ERA, Diekman got a vote of confidence from manager Ryne Sandberg. "There’s no concern," he said. 


Brewers' Jonathan Lucroy gets first start at first base Friday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) Brewers regular catcher Jonathan Lucroy drew his first start at first base after being cleared from a strained right hamstring injury. Manager Ron Roenicke wanted to be able to see Lucroy's versatility.

"Thought we needed to do it, so hopefully we can do it at least once more,” said Roenicke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "But as much as he gets out there, it will help. There’s some pitchers that we still want him to catch and if we can get through those then maybe some other days we can get him over there again."

Lucroy was happy to finally be back on the field.

"I've been doing a little bit out there every day," Lucroy said. "Taking some grounders and stuff to stay sharp over there."


Cardinals' John Lackey ready for the regular season
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) John Lackey pitched seven innings, the longest of any Cardinals starter so far this season. 

Lackey allowed one run on six hits and didn't walk a batter, throwing 84 pitches. 

"Throwing seven innings, that was probably a little bit further than I thought I'd go today with the pitch count," said Lackey, per MLB.com's Jennifer Langosch. "But they were pretty aggressive, and I was throwing a lot of strikes. It worked out pretty good."

Lackey had his catcher call the game as if it were a regular season game, and his performance indicates that he's ready for the season to begin.

"That's what it looked like," coach David Bell said. "It looked like he was making all his pitches. The velocity was there. He probably had a little more in the tank, which is a good thing."


 
 
 
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