The Reds have been cautious with Votto early in spring training as he missed 100 games in 2014 due to a left knee injury.Analysis:
“I liked Jimmy Edmonds batting two,” Maddon said when Edmonds was an Angel, per ESPN. “I liked when we put him in the two hole. When you get a better hitter like that in the lineup, you want someone at the bottom to feed him.”
Rizzo would like to stay in the same spot in the lineup, but he said he is just focused on getting his timing down at the plate.
“I think everyone would like one spot but it doesn’t matter to me,” Rizzo said Thursday. “I just want to see a live at-bat first before I worry about where I’m hitting.”Analysis:
“People think I can’t hit lefties,” he said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Coming up through the minors, I hit them. But that’s totally different. Hitting lefties in the minors and hitting lefties in the big leagues is different. The confidence for me is there, in the back of my mind. I know what I can do. That hasn’t changed. This is where I definitely have to focus and put the hammer to it.”
Adams isn't the only starter for St. Louis that struggles against lefties. Outfielder Jason Heyward hit just .169 against lefties in 2014. However, manager Mike Matheny isn't a fan of platooning either player.
“There are certain guys that you don’t want to platoon,” Matheny said. “There are guys you don’t want to have off the field, and I think that’s what they want. They want to be the guy who doesn’t come off the field. They want to be out there all the time. Both of them have shown it in the past that they can have success against left-handed pitching. It’s just a matter of getting them comfortable. With our lineup they’re going to throw a lot of (lefties) at us. Maybe that will help generate that confidence.”Analysis:
“I don’t feel any pressure to make this team right away,” Morris said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m still confident in my ability and I firmly believe I’m going to play in the big leagues.
"My goal is go out and force the Brewers’ hand and not give them any choice but to have me in the big leagues.”
Morris was named the Brewers' minor-league player of the year in 2012 after he hit .303 with 28 home runs, 40 doubles and 113 RBI at Double-A. While he totaled 24 home runs the following year, he hit just .247. He ran into more offensive struggles in 2014, and he also missed time due to a wrist injury.
“It was frustrating, the way everything played out,” Morris said.
Now, the 26-year-old first baseman must prove to the Brewers he still has a future in the majors, and it starts this spring.
“He needs to have a good year this year, get back on that right track,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He hasn’t performed well in spring trainings for us. That’s the hard part, that we don’t get to see him when he’s really good.
“All I get is what I see in the spring, and he hasn’t had good springs. It’s really hard for me to get a good read.”Analysis:
Duda registered a .830 OPS with a career-best 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 153 games in 2014.Analysis:
Goldschmidt saw his first game action since last season on Tuesday, singling in his first at-bat since August 1. Goldschmidt missed the final two months of 2014 due to a broken hand, but said the injury has not been an issue during camp.
"It was the last thing on my mind," Goldschmidt said. "It's not the first time I've gotten hit. It's not the first time I've gotten injured. Hopefully it doesn't happen again, but chances are something is going to happen in the future."
Goldschmidt has been wearing a small pad in his batting glove in order to prevent the injury should he get hit in the same spot. He's used the pad during batting practices, and said he doesn't even feel it.
The 27-year-old hit .300/.396/.542 over 406 at-bats last season.Analysis:
Manager Ryne Sandberg said in February that he was impressed with Howard and his slimmer body. The first baseman finished 2 for 2 and made a nice play on a ground ball towards the hole in Tuesday's spring game against the Yankees.
"Getting into game situations now where you've got to put the crowd in effect and everything, picking up balls, that kind of stuff, reaction time, it felt pretty good," Howard said after the game.
Howard has worked with Charlie Manuel on his hitting and approach, and the results have helped the first baseman boost his confidence.
"It's definitely a great feeling," Howard said. "I'm confident in my ability, now it's getting the reps, getting the work in the game type situation and putting it all together."
Howard has struggled at the plate in recent years and hit just .223/.310/.380 with 23 home runs and 95 RBI in 569 at-bats.
Dickerson suffered an ankle sprain last spring, and the subsequent MRI revealed a hole in his left heel that would have jeopardized his career had it shattered. After undergoing surgery, the outfielder was able to return to the field in mid-July and hit .321/.367/.496 with three home runs and 24 RBI in 137 at-bats with Double-A San Antonio.
"My leg was still really weak at that point," Dickerson said. "I was supposed to miss the whole season, but I made a conscious effort to try to get on the field. I knew structurally I’d be alright. I could push myself. The one thing that was lagging behind was leg strength, which I lost to atrophy because of lying in bed for a month in a half."
Dickerson played exclusively in right field with San Antonio but did work as a first baseman in 2011 and 2012. He's rotating through both corner-outfield spots as well as first base.
"I honestly think I’m in better shape, baseball-wise, than I was at this point last year," Dickerson said.Analysis:
"It all depends on him," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said of Ruf, who has played parts of the last three seasons with the Phillies. "He's going to get opportunities to play. Sizemore looks very good. The decisions that we make will be based on performance here in spring, whether we think they can help us on a regular basis during the season. And once we break with the team, it's going to be about [manager Ryne Sandberg] trying to put the best team out there to win baseball games."
Ruf is a natural first baseman, but he has been learning to play in left field since 2012. Still, the Phillies have to see if they can trust him on a regular basis playing the position.
"I don't know," Amaro said. "He could. He could. We'll find out. We'll find out a little more about him. He's not an outfielder per se, but he seems to move fine out there and he doesn't seem to make mistakes. It's still a learning process for him . . . You can't lose sight of the defense. And we have to be aware of that. We have to win games playing all phases of the games. Defense and pitching are important. Guys have to be good enough defensively not to be liabilities out there, so they can help us win games."Analysis: