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Al Melchior chat transcript (2/12)

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Player News
Diamondbacks' Brad Ziegler proving durable after knee surgery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:15 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Ziegler has shown his strength early on in 2015. The veteran pitcher has tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts so far this season, drawing the attention of manager Chip Hale, reports AZCentral.com.

"He's pitched great," Hale said. "He's come in innings and got out of them. He's started innings and finished them. So he's been very impressive."

Ziegler underwent microfracture surgery last September on his left knee and has been able to perform well despite having a limited spring training.

"I've felt all right," he said. "I feel like they've done a pretty good job of managing my workload knowing that I'm not 100 percent. I probably won't be all season, but it's not a matter of managing pain. It's more a matter of, do I have the strength to hold up? I'm still doing my rehab, still working as hard as I can, trying to be out there as often as they want me."


Reliever Ryan Cook returns to Athletics with strong inning
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:15 pm ET) Reliever Ryan Cook, who was recalled by the Athletics on Sunday, wasted no time in providing a boost to the Oakland bullpen, pitching one perfect inning during the team's loss to the Astros. 

Cook struggled mightily in spring training, with an 16.88 Cactus League ERA. That earned him a ticket to Triple-A Nashville, where he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings before being recalled. 

He retired the side in quick order in the seventh inning, with a groundout, flyout and strikeout. 

"Just getting back to being myself and throwing the baseball the way I know I can," Cook said. "I feel confident in all my pitches right now, so hopefully I can get on a roll and help the team in whatever way they see fit."


Phillies' Freddy Galvis finding success with new approach at the plate
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:05 pm ET) Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis entered this season with a goal from the coaching staff: put the ball on the ground more, according to Philly.com.

So far, it's working out. Galvis went 3 for 3 with two runs scored in Philadelphia's 5-4 win over the Braves Sunday. He's hitting .361 in 61 at-bats so far this season.

"The coaches told me in spring training that I had to stay on the ground, hit line drives, and I really like it and enjoy it," Galvis said.


Phillies pitcher Aaron Harang enjoying early season success
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) Phillies pitcher Aaron Harang is old by baseball standards. But the veteran is not letting his age effect his poise on the mound, starting the year with a 2-1 record and a blistering 1.37 ERA in four starts. He's taking the compliments as they come, reports Philly.com.

"It is nothing I think about and I am going out and having fun and trying to give us a chance to win," Harang said. "Am I shocked with how the beginning of the season is going this year?"

Harang will take his surprising record into St. Louis Wednesday. 

"I have a good feel right now for what I am doing and I am able to make pitches when I need to and the guys behind me have been making some key plays and getting key double plays when I execute a pitch," he said.


Phillies pitcher Luis Garcia becoming reliable option out of the 'pen
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:47 pm ET) Phillies reliever Luis Garcia has done well so far this season, continuing his roll Sunday. Garcia came on with a runner on first and got Freddie Freeman to groundout to short.

Garcia has worked 8 2/3 innings so far this season with a 1-1 record and nine strikeouts. Manager Ryne Sandberg continues to be impressed by the young pitcher, reports MLB.com.

"He's a power pitcher," Sandberg said about Garcia. "The biggest thing with Garcia right now is the command of the baseball. He has two power pitches, and when he's ahead of the hitters, he can be very effective."


Reds' Todd Frazier frustrated with early struggles with RISP
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:40 pm ET) The Reds have been unable to capitalize on offensive opportunities early on this season. Cincinnati is just 1 for 24 with runners in scoring position since Joey Votto picked up an RBI Wednesday.

Todd Frazier was unable to produce a run for the team Sunday with the bases loaded.

"Especially from myself. I came up there with the bases loaded, one out. You have to put the ball at least on the ground, put it in play," Frazier said. "You've got to figure it out. Bottom line, at least get one run or hit a sac fly and we still have momentum the next inning. I've got to pick myself up."


Reds' Tony Cingrani does well in return to the mound Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:36 pm ET) Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani tossed two scoreless innings in Cincinnati's 5-2 loss to the Cubs Sunday. It was Cingrani's first appearance for the Reds since April 14. 

"I've just been hanging out for a little while," said Cingrani to MLB.com. "Everything feels good. I was obviously refreshed. I like one inning, two innings. I'm good at that. It's pretty easy. Just go out there and throw as hard as you can."

Cingrani recorded two strikeouts in his two innings of work and lowered his ERA to 1.69 in 5 1/3 innings.

"Tony left it right there and I think gave us a vision of some of the things he can do to help us out of the bullpen," manager Bryan Price said. "I needed him for two innings today. We'll see where he is [Monday]. You're certainly going to run with the guys throwing the ball the best."


Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt hopes to earn starting role
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:27 pm ET) Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt knows manager Fredi Gonzalez has tough decisions to make. One of those decisions has been slotting veteran A.J. Pierzynski in the starting lineup more often this season than originally expected. Bethancourt is rolling with the punches and still thinks he can earn a starting role, according to MLB.com.

"You've got to respect the manager's decision," Bethancourt said. "He puts whoever he wants in the lineup. So, I've just got to be ready and wait for my opportunity. If he says I have to earn it, I will do my best to earn it. I have no problem with that."

Gonzalez has an idea of what he wants to do with Bethancourt.

"We want to give [Bethancourt] an opportunity, but the other guy, you put him in there every single time, and he just keeps hitting," Gonzalez said.

Bethancourt is hitting just .147 with two RBI in 34 at-bats this season.


Phillies 1B Ryan Howard taking power surge in stride
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(9:00 pm ET) Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard has been on a tear recently, registering three home runs in his last five games, but according to MLB.com, he's not taking his streak as a sign of anything other than the natural ebb and flow of the game. 

Howard is hitting .235 (4-for-17) with three home runs, seven RBIs, two walks, three strikeouts and a 1.080 OPS in his last five games, numbers much better than the ones he posted at the start of the season. 

"That's baseball," Howard said. "You just continue to go out there and swing. I feel like I've been swinging it well. The results may not necessarily show, but it's all about how you are feeling with the swings. Eventually, they will drop."


Rangers closer Neftali Feliz picks up wild win
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(8:44 pm ET) The Rangers used closer Neftali Feliz for two innings to help lock down a 5-4, 11-inning victory Sunday, with Feliz picking up his first victory of the season. 

Feliz threw 38 pitches in one of his longer outings of the year, and though he struck out four batters, he did allow a run in the 11th inning. He was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam, however, to preserve the win. 


 
 
 
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