Joe Mauer
Twins 1B Joe Mauer happy with 'normal' offseason
Joe Mauer, 1B, MIN
2/28/2015
News: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer was happy to have a "normal" offseason after dealing with concussion-like symptoms the previous year, MLB.com reports.

"I had a very productive offseason," Mauer said Saturday. "The last couple years I had a lot of things to deal with, especially last year with the concussion. I didn't really get a good base heading into the year. I feel great this year and I hope it stays that way."

Mauer believes that his vigorous stretching exercises this offseason will help keep him healthy in 2015.

"You have to pay attention to your body. I'm getting older," Mauer said. "I'm finding out what works and doesn't work. Trying to make adjustments."

Manager Paul Molitor indicated that he's noticed a difference in Mauer this spring.

"I think it means a lot for him," Molitor said. "I think coming back last year after what had happened the previous season, you always have those questions. He's got friends that have gone through it with Corey Koskie and Justin [Morneau]. We all know how validated our concern is over concussion issues. I'm sure there was a little hesitancy there. Like I said when I had a chance to visit with him this winter, he's excited to be back and not have to be concerned about those type of things."

Mauer endured a down offensive performance last season, hitting .277/.361/.371 with just four home runs in 455 at-bats.

Analysis: 

Jon Singleton
Astros' Jon Singleton ready to fight off disappointing 2014 season
Jon Singleton, 1B, HOU
2/28/2015
News: Astros first baseman Jon Singleton is ready to put the 2014 season in his rear view mirror. Singleton hit a woeful .168 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI in 310 plate appearances in 2014.

"To be honest, I believe the only competition I have is myself," Singleton said. "I feel like I'm the only person who can prevent myself from reaching the potential I need to reach or getting out of the game what I need to get out, but if I prepare and I work and I leave it all out there, there's nothing really else to worry about."

Manager A.J. Hinch thinks Singleton is a threat to hit 30 home runs this year.

"He's done what he needs to do this offseason to come in and improve off of, not only a tremendous Minor League career, but his start to the Major League career last year, which was mixed," general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "My money's on Jon Singleton to do the things he needs to do to make this club."

Analysis: 

Albert Pujols
Angels 1B Albert Pujols: Bring on the shift
Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA
2/27/2015
News: Angels first baseman Albert Pujols found himself batting against the shift more than any other player in 2014, but he said Friday he's happy to take on the altered defensive alignment, MLB.com reports.

"They think they're screwing with your mind, but actually it's worse because they're telling you how they're going to pitch to you," Pujols said. "So actually it's the opposite. It's helping a hitter to know how they're going to pitch to you."

Pujols also said his right knee, on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery in 2012, finally feels good again.

"Just crossing my fingers," Pujols said. "It's a long season."

Pujols hit .272/.324/.466 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI in 633 at-bats in 2014.

Analysis: 

Matt Olson
Athleitcs' Matt Olson back at 100 percent from shoulder tear
Matt Olson, 1B, OAK
2/27/2015
News: Athletics first base prospect Matt Olson, who suffered a grade three tear of the AC joint in his right shoulder while playing in the Arizona Fall League, is back at 100 percent and is looking forward to his first big-league camp with the club, MLB.com reports.

"It's good, 100-percent strength," Olson said. "Occasional soreness, maybe once every two weeks, but it feels good. No setback at all."

Olson, considered the organization's top prospect, hit .262 with 37 home runs and 97 RBIs in 138 games with Class A Advanced Stockton last year. Although he played all but 10 of his 284 games in the minors at first base, Olson is showing some versatility and has seen some working in the outfield during camp.

"Whatever they want me to do," Olson said. "I feel pretty comfortable out there. Whatever gets me in the lineup."

Analysis: 

Chris Davis
Orioles' Chris Davis to see time in right field during spring training
Chris Davis, 1B, BAL
2/27/2015
News: Orioles coach Buck Showalter said first baseman Chris Davis will see some playing time in right field during the spring training season, according to The Baltimore Sun

This likely has more to do with cross-training Davis just in case he's needed to step in at right field during the regular season. Davis hasn't played in right field the previous two years but did play the position some in 2012.

Davis has made 39 starts in right field during his MLB career.  

Analysis: 

Nick Swisher
Indians' Francona: Swisher 'swinging the bat really well'
Nick Swisher, 1B, CLE
2/26/2015
News: Indians manager Terry Francona has been satisfied with Nick Swisher's performance during batting practice, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"He's swinging the bat really well," Francona said. "He's under control and he probably has to be (because of his knees). But he's using the whole field. He really looks good." 

Swisher has been working with the team's hitting coaches on trying to go up the middle more often. Francona said that strategy has already translated to his batting practice sessions. 

Running still remains an issue for Swisher, however. He was able to do some drills on Thursday, but reportedly looked uncomfortable during the session. The club expects he'll be ready for games in mid-March.

Swisher, 34, hit .208/.278/.331 over 360 at-bats last year. 

Analysis: 

Logan Morrison
Mariners' Morrison spends offseason working on improving durability
Logan Morrison, 1B, SEA
2/26/2015
News: Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison has struggled to stay healthy through his first five years in the majors. In order to improve his durability, Morrison said he hired a new trainer in the offseason, per The News Tribune.

“I think I’m a little more educated about my body,” he said. “He’s given me a program to do -- whether it’s a warm-up every day or a three-day-a-week workout program. Hopefully, that will keep me healthy.”

Morrison is confident he will be a valuable part of the lineup, as long as he can stay healthy.

“Just put me in the lineup every day,” he vowed, “and I’ll produce. It’s up to me to stay in the lineup, but if I’m in the lineup every day, I know I’m going to hit, and I know I’m going to hit well and be a force in the lineup.”

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is optimistic Morrison can reach his full potential.

“LoMo is relatively young as far as active years under his belt,” McClendon said. “He’s still maturing from that standpoint. He’s still learning. I think his ceiling is very high.

“I think, all in all, he’s got a chance to be  a guy who can hit 25 home runs for us and drive in 100. He’s a good hitter. He hits left-handers and right-handers. He takes his walks."

Analysis: 

Ike Davis
Ike Davis still bothered by 2012 report accusing him of drinking issue
Ike Davis, 1B, OAK
2/26/2015
News: When the Mets traded Ike Davis to the Pirates last April, it put an end to a disappointing tenure in New York. Davis struggled to meet the expectations of being a former first-round pick, which is something he could live with.

Apparently, however, Davis couldn't live with a 2012 report citing the Mets were concerned about his nightlife habits. Davis had to encounter the topic when he met with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle after he was traded last year.

“Clint asked me about it when I first got over there,” Davis said, per the New York Daily News. “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you, but a guy made up an article.’

“He was like, ‘I heard you’ve had issues.” And I was like, ‘Issues with what? I’ve never gotten in trouble. I’ve never gotten in a fight. I’ve never done anything to anyone. Yeah, I’ve gone out and had beers and stuff, but who hasn’t done that?’ I don’t know why I got singled out.”

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told Davis at the end of last season he would squash any rumors regarding the issue, calling the report "ridiculous" after Davis proved to be a model teammate in 2014.

Even Athletics manager Bob Melviin said Davis’ reputation in the game is now sound and is glad to have him on the roster after Oakland picked him up in November.

Still, Davis remains bothered the accusations are connected to his tenure with the Mets.

“That’s really the only thing that I still have a dirty taste in my mouth about," he said. "Because everything else, you could see it in numbers. What, am I going to argue? I didn’t play well. But as far as calling me out for drinking problems, and being a bad influence -- that was a joke. It’s ridiculous. But you can use it as a learning experience: You can’t trust people.”

Analysis: 

Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion told he will see most of his playing time at 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, TOR
2/26/2015
News: Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion said Thursday as he arrived for spring training that he is ready for whatever role the team has in store for him in 2015. The original plan was for Encarnacion to be the team's primary DH, but it now appears most of his playing time will come at first base.

"They told me I'm going to be playing more first base," Encarnacion said, per MLB.com. "I've worked hard this offseason [because] I knew I'm going to get more time at first. But I'm ready for whatever they need me, if they need more at first base, or if they need me at DH, I'm ready."

Encarnacion was plagued by a quad injury in the second half of the 2014 season. He put a lot of work in this offseason to help improve his durability, and he hopes the added effort will pay off.

"I worked a lot on my back and my stomach because I know have to get it stronger to get my back right," Encarnacion said. "And working a lot with my leg. Right now I'm 230 [pounds], that's where I want to be, under 230, that's when I feel good and I can be away from the injuries."

Analysis: 

Nate Freiman
A's Melvin: Mark Canha is ahead of Nate Freiman for backup 1B gig
Nate Freiman, 1B, OAK
2/26/2015
News: Athletics manager Bob Melvin indicated that Mark Canha is ahead of Nate Freiman for the backup first baseman job, according to the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. Melvin indicated a few days earlier that may see playing time in the outfield as well as at first base.

Canha was acquired after being selected by the Rockies in the Rule 5 draft this offseason. He spent most of his playing time in the minors at first base. He slashed 303/.384/.505 with 20 home runs and 82 RBI in 465 at-bats with Triple-A New Orleans in 2014.
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