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Nando Di Fino chat transcript (2/5)

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Player News
Nationals' Williams on Zimmerman: 'His athleticism is key for us'
(6:54 pm ET) After playing most of his career at third base, Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman is set to serve as the team's regular first baseman in 2015, and the team has continued to be impressed with how quickly he's learning the position, Comcast SportsNet reports.

"His athleticism is key for us," manager Matt Williams said. "He catches everything. He doesn’t miss a ball."

Zimmerman's Monday workouts had a new twist, as the team timed him to see how long he takes to get to first base after the point of contact with the ball. He also continued his work on throwing to second base, specifically gauging the positioning of shortstop Ian Desmond.

"It’s just comfort level for him," Williams said. "I’m always impressed by his athleticism and what he can do with his glove. The challenge is going to be him being comfortable over there, and the throws to second base, because it’s just backwards."

Zimmerman hit .280/.342/.449 with five home runs and 38 RBI in 214 at-bats last season.


Brewers' Taylor Jungmann taking new approach into this season
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:44 pm ET) Brewers pitcher Taylor Jungmann is taking a new approach into this season, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Jungmann got off to a slow start last season, but a change in approach prompted him to reverse his fortunes. Triple-A pitching coach Fred Danby suggested Jungmann shift from the left side of the pitching rubber to the right side. Jungmann said he had always been told his stuff played better from the left side, but felt a change instantly after switching spots.

"I can’t explain it but I started throwing more strikes," he said. "My mechanics were a little more fluid. I didn’t change a whole lot; I just moved to the other side of the rubber. It felt natural. It made it a little easier to be consistent with my (pitching) motion. The biggest thing was getting my breaking ball back."

Jungmann comes into camp fighting for a spot in the team's rotation. He's already been listed as sixth on the starting pitching depth chart.


Angels' Scioscia: Kole Calhoun's 'intensity' a key strength
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:39 pm ET) Angels manager Mike Scioscia praised the intensity and enthusiasm of outfielder Kole Calhoun Monday as part of what makes him such a valuable part of the team's lineup, MLB.com reports.

"I think part of what makes Kole a good player is his intensity," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You need that focus, that intensity to know this is real and it's how you compete. With Kole, it's in him and it bubbles out. He pumps his teammates up and he does a great job setting the tone for us."

"It's how I was raised," Calhoun said. "I'm a pretty passionate person in most everything that I do. I think at this level, you've got to be. You've got to compete on every pitch because that's your livelihood. Everyone's fighting for the same thing and you want to come out on top."

Calhoun excelled as the team's leadoff batter in 2014, hitting .281/.336/.471 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI in 448 at-bats while slotted first.


Rangers' Lewis, Gallardo to throw on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:36 pm ET) The Rangers will throw both Colby Lewis and Yovani Gallardo on Wednesday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Rangers will take on the Royals during the contest. It's unclear how long either player will throw during the outing. Both players are expected to open the year in the team's rotation. 


Padres' Black on Morrow: 'We like what we've seen'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:26 pm ET) Padres manager Bud Black has been impressed by how pitcher Brandon Morrow has handled his various ailments as well as his overall approach to the mound, MLB.com reports.

"I like his delivery, I like his arm action, I like his stuff," Black said. "First of all, I think he's got a good head. We're still getting to know him. We've only known him less than two weeks. But we like what we've seen."

Morrow has made just 16 starts across the last two season while dealing with forearm and hand injuries. As a result, he says he's begun doing a "pre-hab" program, which is "basically doing what you're doing in rehab, but doing it before you get hurt."

Morrow is competing for a rotation spot, but he doesn't look at the early portion of camp as a competion.

"The last three starts are when it will be more competition mode, I guess," Morrow said. "Right now, I'm still trying to get my arm and body in shape and easing into that. I'm not going to try and go out and blow it out in live batting practice ... Rather than just trying to strike everybody out, I'm going out there and doing some pitching. It's still the same repertoire and still mostly the same approach. But it's taking some speed off here, adding it here."

Morrow posted ERAs of 5.63 and 5.67 in his last two seasons in Toronto while battling through injuries.


Cardinals' Carlos Martinez to pitch on Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:22 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez will get the start on Thursday against the Marlins, according to MLB.com.

Martinez is expected to throw around 40 pitches during the start. The club is hoping Martinez goes two innings. Martinez prepared for the start by throwing two simulated innings against the Cardinals on Monday. Martinez, who is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, said he just needs to go out and perform. 

"I need to go out and perform," he said. "I'm going to keep focused and have the same mentality to do my best even though it's the first [start]. Every time I take the mound, I'm going to feel like it's the last one."

Martinez, 23, posted a 4.03 ERA over 89 1/3 innings last year. 


White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins taking it slow this spring
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:19 pm ET) White Sox prospect Courtney Hawkins is hoping to make an impact for the club at some point, but he knows it won't happen overnight, according MLB.com.

"My only job is to go out every day and play to the best of my ability. That's what they got me here to do."

Hawkins feels like he has the patience to wait until his number gets called to the big leagues.

"When I first got drafted, I definitely thought that I had to get there fast. I had to do something more," Hawkins said. "I feel like right now, as long as I do what I'm supposed to do and play the game I know I'm able to play and they know I'm able to play, I feel like it's going to come on its own, and that's what they wanted out of me.


Yankees' Rothschild impressed with Jacob Lindgren
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:17 pm ET) Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Monday that he's been impressed with pitching prospect Jacob Lindgren so far and that he has the ability to get outs at the major-league level right now, NJ.com reports.

Rothschild said that Lindgren has to try not to be "too fine" with his location. Dubbed "The Strikeout Factory" by Yankees officials, the pitcher struck out 48 batters in 24 2/3 innings across four levels after being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft.


Astros' Luis Cruz hoping to throw on Tuesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:09 pm ET) Astros pitcher Luis Cruz is hoping to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle

Cruz jammed his fingers while fielding a ground ball on Friday, but wasn't expected to miss much time. 


Astros' Brad Peacock to throw live batting practice in 8-10 days
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:04 pm ET) Astros pitcher Brad Peacock is hoping to throw live batting practice in 8-10 days, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

Peacock had offseason hip surgery, but has been able to take part in bullpen sessions. He's still a bit behind the other pitchers in camp, but the team is aiming for mid-March for his first batting practice. Manager A.J. Hinch said Peacock will need to throw a few of those before he's ready for game action.

The 27-year-old Peacock posted a 4.72 ERA over 131 2/3 innings last season. 


 
 
 
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