Astros' Kevin Chapman trying to keep hitters guessing with changeup
"[The changeup is] something I sort of messed with last year when I was sent down and I was in Triple-A," Chapman said. "I thought while I was there I'd try to throw it and get another pitch. When I came back up, I didn't use it that much, but when I did, it was effective. That's something I really wanted to explore and see what it's got for me."
He wants to be able to keep hitters on their toes for this season.
"Last year, it wasn't like key situations or a full count or something like that, but any time I had an opportunity to use it in a situation that's not vital to one pitch, I used it and I was getting good results and getting it for strikes, and when guys were putting it in play, it was weak contact," he said.
Athletics SP Barry Zito to make first spring start Thursday
The outing will be Zito's first game action since 2013. Manager Bob Melvin said earlier in February that Zito would get one shot in a Cactus League start to see whether he deserves a shot at a major-league comeback. If Thursday's start goes well, he could receive more chances with an eye on potentially making the team's rotation.
Zito won the AL Cy Young Award in 2002 as a member of the A's. He took the 2014 season off after the Giants declined his $18-million option.
"I have a fresh perspective," Zito said last week. "I've got my passion back, and I just want to continue to work hard and go out and enjoy competing. I guess you could say I'm competing against all these guys, but for me, it's more about competing against myself. If I can be as good as I know I can be every time out here, I know the rest will take care of itself."
Zito put together a 102-63 record in his time with Oakland as well as a 3.55 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 1,096 strikeouts in 1,430 1/3 innings over seven seasons. He then signed a big free-agent deal with the Giants, 63-80 with a 4.62 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 787 strikeouts in 1,139 1/3 innings over seven seasons.
Angels 2B Alex Yarbrough working at multiple positions
"Just to see if the versatility is there," Scioscia said.
Yarbrough has made all of his game appearances at second base since being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. He hit 285/.321/.397 with five home runs, 77 RBI and six stolen bases in 544 at-bats.
Indians' Jason Kipnis (finger) making progress
Kipnis underwent surgery on the finger in December and could miss the first few Cactus League games as a precaution. He hit .240/.310/.330 with six home runs, 41 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 500 at-bats last season.
Brewers' Jim Henderson to face batters for first time since surgery
"I'll be curious after live BP, because that's when hitters step in and the intensity picks up more," said Henderson. "We'll see how it feels after that, and then once the games start, I'll be curious for sure. Then I'll be able to see how far away we are. Right now, it feels good, it feels strong, it feels healthy, but I've always been a velocity guy, so [seeing those numbers] will tell me how far I need to go."
Henderson underwent shoulder surgery during early in 2014, forcing him to miss the majority of the season.
"I feel like I'd be in the low to mid-90s if I wanted to let one go right now, but I really have no idea," Henderson said. "It's hard to tell without a hitter. For me, even when we're in season, I'll throw my last warmup pitch and look at the radar gun and it says 91 [mph]. Then the first pitch to a hitter will be 95 [mph]. So it's hard to tell with me."
Twins' Mike Pelfrey faces live hitters for first time in 9 months
Pelfrey told MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger that he felt great and was able to locate his pitches.
Cardinals' Adam Wainwright feels 'dramatically better'
Wainwright said he wasn't concerned that the injury would put him at risk of missing opening day, and he's ready to get back onto the field.
Giants' Matt Cain won't pitch in game until mid-March
Cain is recovering from surgeries to his elbow and ankle. He'll make his spring debutin the March 10 to March 14 range. Bochy said wasn't a setback in his rehab. He just wants to "slow-play" the pitcher.
Trevor Plouffe misses Twins workout with illness
Plouffe showed up for the morning meetings, and then the team sent him home.
Padres' Middlebrooks, Solarte competing, getting along at third base
"I'm trying to help him, he's trying to help me," Middlebrooks said. "We're working together, we're having fun and we're competing. It's for the team, and I think it'll be good if we both push each other."
Middlebrooks hit .191 with two home runs and 19 RBI in 215 plate appearances for the Red Sox in 2014.
He is also okay if he ends up playing a different position down the line.
"Third base is the priority," he said, "but wherever I can get in the lineup, wherever I can help us win some baseball games, that's what's important for me."
Meanwhile, Solarte is doing what he can to help Middlebrooks adjust to his new surroundings.
"That's competing," Solarte said. "For me, it's my teammate. I want to work hard with him and make it fun, too."
The Nationals had probably the deepest starting rotation in baseball ... and then they signed Max Scherzer. Scott White thinks it's a shame for Fantasy owners.
The Brewers' hurler has had his inconsistencies, but Al Melchior thinks he's not that hard to figure out at all.
Justin Verlander has disappointed in back-to-back seasons. Scott White is one of the many wondering if it's time to move on
Prince Fielder missed most of last season because of neck surgery but is expected back this year. Scott White still has some lingering concerns, though.
While the Red Sox's newest prospect won't likely reach the majors this season, Al Melchior says it's not too early to explore Yoan Moncada's value in Fantasy