Dan Johnson
Astros trade IF Dan Johnson to Reds
Dan Johnson, 1B, CIN
News: The Reds acquired infielder Dan Johnson from the Astros on Thursday, the teams announced.

In exchange for Johnson, the Astros will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Johnson said he would welcomed the trade if it meant more playing time, reports the Houston Chronicle.

"I mean if the opportunity wasn't going to be here, then I'm probably thankful for it," Johnson said.


Justin Morneau
Rockies' Weiss expecting great year from Justin Morneau
Justin Morneau, 1B, COL
News: Justin Morneau won the NL batting title (.319) in his first year with the Rockies in 2014 and as the start of the 2015 season nears, the 33-year-old first baseman believes he has even more left in the tank now that his health issues are behind him.

"I feel good. I feel strong," he said, per The Denver Post. "My swing feels consistent, and I feel like I can wait for the pitch I want. I feel like I am going up there with the best version of myself, as opposed to somebody who's just patched together."

Morneau is not the only person expecting lofty expectations in 2015. Manager Walt Weiss predicts a banner year from Morneau, who has averaged 118 games over the last six seasons.

"Justin's showing no signs of age," Weiss said Wednesday. "He's not as old as maybe some people think he is. He missed some time there for a while, and missed some time coming back, so I think some people think he's 40 years old. He's not. Plus, he's in great shape."


John Mayberry
Tanaka's two-seamer not fast enough as Yankees fall to Mets
John Mayberry, 1B, NYM
News: After not allowing a run in his first two spring starts, Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was touched for three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings against the Mets on Wednesday.

Tanaka gave up a home run to Mets left fielder John Mayberry in the fourth inning.

Tanaka has been working on a two-seam fastball this spring which has resulted in a lower velocity.

“The reason I’m not throwing much is that a lot of the four-seamers have been hit last year during the regular season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m doing this on purpose, I’m working on the two-seamers purposely.”

While Tanaka said he’s basically throwing all two-seam fastballs this spring, he still intends to use his four-seamer during the regular season.

“I think there’s room for both [fastballs],” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Ryan Howard
Phillies 1B Ryan Howard helped in his efforts to be traded
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
News: While the Phillies were unable to trade first baseman Ryan Howard this offseason, it wasn't because of a lack of effort on Howard's part, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Howard, who was trying to accommodate the Phillies' wishes, redid his approved trade list of nine teams by replacing NL teams that has been on his list for a long time.

The Orioles, Royals and Rays were among the new nine-team list Howard provided. All three teams are believed to have contacted the Phillies, but all three teams went in different directions. The Royals signed Kendrys Morales, the Orioles re-signed Delmon Young and the Rays traded for John Jaso to help with their DH needs.

The remaining organizations on Howard's list of nine teams he could be traded without approval include Tigers, Angels, Mariners, Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox, as ESPN first reported.

Howard is batting .217 (10 for 46) with one double, three home runs and eight RBI in 16 spring games. He also has 13 strikeouts and one walk.


Anthony Rizzo
Cubs' Rizzo not concerned about lack of HRs during spring training
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
News: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who hit a career-best 32 home runs in 2014, has yet to hit a home run in 12 spring games. He is batting just .129 (4 for 31) with one double and four RBI.

“I feel great,” Rizzo said, per MLB.com. “It’s really weird. I hit some good balls but they haven’t found a hole. Overall, I feel like I’m having really good at-bats."

Hitting home runs in spring training seems to elude Rizzo every year. He had no home runs in 18 spring games in 2013 and hit just two last year in 18 spring games.

“I haven’t hit a homer in two years in spring training,” Rizzo said, apparently forgetting the pair of home runs he hit in 2014. “It’s just not in my cards. All I care about is I’m seeing the ball real well.”


Mark Reynolds
Cardinals trying Mark Reynolds in left field
Mark Reynolds, 1B, STL
News: The Cardinals are looking for creative ways to get Mark Reynolds into the lineup, and left field might be an option.

The Cardinals played Reynolds in left on Monday, his first outfield appearance of the spring.

"He's done some things, as far as run production goes, that not many people have done," manager Mike Matheny said, per MLB.com's Andrew Simon. "So obviously we view that as a weapon and we have to figure out how to maximize it and just keep our eyes and mind open to what that could possibly look like and not have it figured out ahead of time." 

Reynolds has played five career games in the outfield, all in right field, starting one and catching two fly balls. 


Tommy Medica
Padres first baseman Tommy Medica continues to tear through spring
Tommy Medica, 1B, SD
News: Padres first baseman Tommy Medica has been tearing up spring training pitching for the last two seasons. Medica hit .324/.387/.544 last year and so far this spring is at .560/.607/1.000 with three home runs in 25 plate appearances.

But the reserve player knows he needs to keep his head on straight, reports MLB.com.

"I don't know if it's not thinking about too much when you are at the plate, you're almost just trying to make contact and see what happens," he said. "I think throughout the year you try to do too much at the plate. In spring, stats don't matter. You're up there not trying to do too much."

Manager Bud Black knows Medica's bat can come and go from time to time.

"Tommy, it's been documented, can be a little streaky," Black said. "Tommy comes advertised as a hitter through our Minor League system. But we have seen flashes of Tommy swinging the bat well in the big leagues."


Matt Clark
Brewers' Matt Clark, Jason Rogers vie for final spot
Matt Clark, 1B, MIL
News: With the majority of the roster set, one of the Brewers' most interesting personnel decisions will come down to the 25th man, which is a battle between Matt Clark and Jason Rogers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Clark, an outfielder/first baseman, and Rogers, who plays both corner positions, have impressed during spring and the final decision may come down to whether the Brewers want a lefty (Clark) or righty (Rogers) bat off the bench. 

"We're trying to figure out what's the better fit for us," manager Ron Roenicke said. "There's a lot of ways we could go this year."


Lucas Duda
Mets' Lucas Duda in line to play 1B against lefties
Lucas Duda, 1B, NYM
News: Mets manager Terry Collins said Sunday that first baseman Lucas Duda will be his starting first baseman against left-handed pitching until proven otherwise, per The Wall Street Journal.

Duda hit .180 with two homers in 111 at-bats against lefties in 2014, but told ESPN that the narrative of him struggling against left-handers was "overplayed" and "monotonous."

Duda hit a home run Sunday off Yankess lefty CC Sabathia in the Mets' 6-0 victory. 


Ben Paulsen
Rockies option Chad Bettis, Ben Paulsen to minors
Ben Paulsen, 1B, COL
News: The Rockies optioned three players and reassigned nine other to their minor league camp on Sunday. 

Optioned to the minors were

RHP Chad Bettis, who is converting from relief to a starting pitcher. He didn't allow a run in five spring innings. "He's in a good place," manager Walt Weiss said, per the Denver Post. "There's some clarity in his role and what he needs to do. It was a positive camp for him."

First baseman Ben Paulsen, who had a .108 spring average. "He hasn't had a great spring," Weiss said. "But that doesn't diminish what I think of the guy."

LHP Chris Rusin, who had a 6.43 spring ERA. 

Reassigned to minor league camp were: LHP Kraig Sitton, LHP Aaron Laffey, LHP John Lannan, RHP Jair Jurrjens, RHP Brett Marshall, catcher Audry Perez, infielders Trevor Story and Omar Quintanilla, and outfielder Roger Bernadina.


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