Mike Carp
Nationals 1B Mike Carp scratched Friday due to toe injury
Mike Carp, 1B, WAS
11:29 AM
News: Nationals first baseman Mike Carp was scratched from Friday's spring lineup against the Braves after taking a pitch off his pinkie toe Thursday, per CSNwashington.com. His toe swelled up overnight.

Joey Votto
Reds 1B Joey Votto to make spring debut Saturday
Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
10:18 AM
News: Reds first baseman Joey Votto is slated to make his spring debut Saturday against the Royals. He is penciled in to bat second and start at first base.

The Reds have been cautious with Votto early in spring training as he missed 100 games in 2014 due to a left knee injury.


Anthony Rizzo
Cubs might bat Anthony Rizzo second at times this season
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
News: Anthony Rizzo has primarily hit third in his major-league career with the Cubs, but manager Joe Maddon is toying with the idea of batting Rizzo second when he opts to hit the pitcher eighth in the lineup. 

“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.” 


Matt Adams
Cardinals' Matheny wants Heyward, Adams to gain confidence vs. LHPs
Matt Adams, 1B, STL
News: Cardinals slugger Matt Adams is tired of hearing folks say he can't hit left-handed pitchers. But the numbers don't lie. He is batting just .197 off lefties in his major-league career, as opposed to .306 against righties.

“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.”


Hunter Morris
A good spring could help Brewers' Morris in getting back on track
Hunter Morris, 1B, MIL
News: Brewers first baseman Hunter Morris is trying to re-establish himself this spring after he was removed from the 40-man roster in the offseason. It wasn't long ago that Morris was considered the Brewers' top prospect.

“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.”


Lucas Duda
Mets 1B Lucas Duda scheduled to swing a bat on Wednesday
Lucas Duda, 1B, NYM
News: Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is scheduled to swing a bat on Wednesday for the first time in roughly three weeks, according to ESPN. Duda hasn't been able to pick up a bat since suffering an oblique injury in mid-February and receiving a cortisone shot last month.

Duda registered a .830 OPS with a career-best 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 153 games in 2014.


Paul Goldschmidt
Diamondbacks' Goldschmidt not concerned about hand this year
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI
News: Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is not concerned about his hand this year, according to MLB.com.

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. 


Ryan Howard
Phillies' Ryan Howard cuts sugar from diet, drops 15-20 pounds
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
News: Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said Tuesday that he has cut sugar from his diet and lost 15-to-20 pounds, The News Journal reports.

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.


Alex Dickerson
Padres OF Alex Dickerson working at first base
Alex Dickerson, 1B, SD
News: Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson has emphasized working at first base this offseason, including showing up to the Peoria Sports Complex a month ahead of schedule to get ahead in his preparation, U-T San Diego reports.

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.


Darin Ruf
Phillies' Ruf will be under the microscope in left field this spring
Darin Ruf, 1B, PHI
News: Phillies outfielder Darin Ruf will be competing with Grady Sizemore, Odubel Herrera and Jordan Danks for playing time -- and potentially the starting job -- in left field this spring. The Phillies hope Ruf will be up to the challenge and make the decision difficult as to who to keep on the roster, per The Philadelphia Daily News.

"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."


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