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Al Melchior chat transcript (3/12)

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Player News
Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez to remain relievers for Cubs
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:56 pm ET) Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday pitchers Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez will remain in the bullpen next season, according to ESPN.

Grimm was 5-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 73 relief appearances this season, while Ramirez went 3-3 with a 1.44 ERA and three saves in 50 appearances.


Cubs project Javier Baez to be opening day second baseman
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:46 pm ET) Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters Tuesday the team projects Javier Baez to be their opening day second baseman in 2015, according to CSNChicago.com.

Cubs prospect Addison Russell to play at multiple positions this spring
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:43 pm ET) With shortstop prospect Addison Russell getting closer to the majors, Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday the team has no plans to move Starlin Castro off shortstop, according to ESPN.

Epstein added Russell, who is considered one of the top prospects in baseball, is expected to play at multiple positions during spring training.


Cubs planning for Starlin Castro to be starting shortstop in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:39 pm ET) Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday the team is making plans for Starlin Castro to remain the team's starting shortstop in 2015, according to WSCR-AM.

Max Scherzer to start ALDS opener for Tigers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:08 pm ET) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus announced Max Scherzer will start the first game of the AL Division Series. He will be followed by Justin Verlander, David Price and Rick Porcello in the rotation.

Indians optimistic about Nick Swisher bouncing back in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) Indians general manager Chris Antonetti talked Monday about how the team expects first baseman Nick Swisher, who finished the season on the disabled list due to problems with his knees, to bounce back next season.

"It’s important to get the surgeries out of the way, especially as we look to next year," Antonetti said, per MLB.com. "Retrospectively, I don’t think we knew what he was trying to battle through and perform through. It’s easy to look back now and wonder if we could have done it differently, done the surgeries sooner. To his credit, he worked hard and tried to play through it for the team. Encouraging: He should come in to spring training ready to go and contribute the way we all know he’s capable of contributing."


A's reliever Eric O'Flaherty left off roster for AL wild-card game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) Athletics reliever Eric O'Flaherty was left off Tuesday's roster for the AL wild-card game at Kansas City due to a reported arm injury, according to MLB.com. Yahoo! Sports reported earlier in the week O'Flaherty has a sore elbow.

Lack of lineup protection hurt Braves 1B Freddie Freeman in 2014
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:23 am ET) Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was great during clutch situations in 2013, finishing second in the majors with a .443 average with runners in scoring position. However, he wasn't nearly as productive in that area in 2014, batting .294 with runners in scoring position.

"I think the formula for Freddie is getting consistent chances," Braves hitting coach Greg Walker said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The (No.) 1 and 2 hole was up and down this year. We couldn’t find consistent answers there. We needed Jason (Heyward) in both spots, in the middle and leading off. That was not what he wanted to do. Jason views himself as a middle-of-the-lineup hitter. He’s a team player and he’s going to do whatever the manager asks him to do, but that’s what he views himself as, a middle-of-the-order hitter.

"But if you give Freddie consistent chances and they pitch to him, that’s another big key. You’ve got to have somebody behind him, that’s part of the puzzle. Yeah, Justin (Upton) had a great year hitting behind him this year, but one reason (Upton) had a lot of RBI is that Freeman walked a lot."


Ryan Zimmerman could be Nationals' starting first baseman in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:14 am ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman has come to terms with his future role likely being as a full-time first baseman since Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper appear to be the long-term options at third base and left field, respectively, for Washington.

"Do I wish some of the injuries that I've had never happened so I can continue to play Gold Glove third base that I enjoy doing? Of course I do," Zimmerman said, per MLB.com. "But things happen. They are not easy decisions. It's not easy for me to say I have the possibility of moving from third base. It's reality."

If the Nationals choose to make Zimmerman the starting first baseman in 2015, then it doesn't appear the team will bring back incumbent first baseman Adam LaRoche, who has a mutual $15 million option for next season.

"Sometimes those things are tough. That's just how it is. We'll see what happens," Zimmerman said. "But I think it's more important to look at what [LaRoche] has done while he has been here, how much he has meant, not only to the players, but the fans and the organization. He is a great guy, never complains. He is a great teammate and a great player."


Marlins SP Jose Fernandez 'progressing perfectly' post-elbow surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:52 am ET) Marlins manager Mike Redmond provided an update Tuesday on the status of starting pitcher Jose Fernandez, who missed most of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May.

"He is starting to play catch within the next few days," Redmond told MLB Network Radio. "Everything is progressing perfectly."


 
 
 
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