Daric Barton
Blue Jays' Barton hoping his glove wins him a spot
Daric Barton, 1B, TOR
12:28 AM
News: Blue Jays first baseman Daric Barton is hoping his glove can win him a spot on the 25-man roster, according to the Toronto Sun.

Barton isn't much of a power hitter, but gets strong marks for his defense at first. Manager John Gibbons is well aware of Barton's skills. "One thing that put Daric on the map was that he was such a disciplined hitter and a great defender," Gibbons said. He added that the first baseman is involved in a large chunk of plays, so defense at the position is probably more important than people realize.

With that said, Barton may need a trade to make the opening day roster. As currently constructed, the Blue Jays may carry three catchers. If the team retains Dioner Navarro, Barton could find himself in the minors.

The 29-year-old Barton hit .158 over 57 at-bats last year.

Analysis: 

Chris Davis
Orioles' Chris Davis goes yard on Thursday
Chris Davis, 1B, BAL
3/5/2015
News: Orioles infielder Chris Davis crushed a home run on Thursday against the Blue Jays. 

Davis, who is coming off a poor season, is attempting to get back to his previous level of performance. His ability to hit for power has never been a question, and he proved that again on Thursday. With two men on, Davis took a fastball out to right center for a three-run shot in the third inning. 

Manager Buck Showalter said Davis' hard work has paid off thus far. "He's been working real hard," Showalter said. "Get a little return on it. Nothing wind-aided tonight, thick air. He had to square it up."

The 28-year-old Davis hit .196/.300/.404 over 450 at-bats last year. 

Analysis: 

Ji-Man Choi
Mariners designate Ji-Man Choi for assignment
Ji-Man Choi, 1B, SEA
3/5/2015
News: The Mariners have designated first baseman Ji-Man Choi for assignment on Thursday, according to MLB.com.

Choi fractured his fibula during Wednesday's game, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. He will be replaced by Edgar Olmos on the 40-man roster. 

Analysis: 

Anthony Rizzo
Cubs might bat Anthony Rizzo second at times this season
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, CHC
3/5/2015
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.” 

Analysis: 

Adam LaRoche
White Sox's LaRoche on DH-ing: I'd like to get off my feet a little
Adam LaRoche, 1B, CHW
3/5/2015
News: White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche told reporters that he's open to a transition to designated hitter, reports the Chicago Sun Times on Thursday.

"I do like the fact it gets me off my feet once in a while," LaRoche said. "I have had some very minor back issues the last couple of years that come and go and I think a lot of that is just from standing around when you’re out there at first base, standing the whole game. So getting off my feet a little, hopefully I won't have to battle that any more. So it will be nice."

LaRoche is also expected to spell Jose Abreu at first a few times per week to give him some more time at DH. The 35-year-old veteran hit .259/.362/.455 over 494 at-bats last year.

Analysis: 

Miguel Cabrera
Manager: Miguel Cabrera really close to running on flat ground
Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET
3/5/2015
News: Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (ankle) has run at 72 percent body weight on the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday. Once Cabrera can run at 80 percent body weight, he will be cleared to run on flat ground and have grounders hit directly at him.

"He should be really close," Ausmus said, per the Detroit Free Press.

Cabrera participated in batting practice on the field Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"He was hitting balls 425 feet out to left-center," Ausmus said.

Analysis: 

Joey Votto
Reds 1B Joey Votto getting closer to playing in spring games
Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
3/5/2015
News: Reds manager Bryan Price said Thursday first baseman Joey Votto is getting closer to making his spring debut, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. Votto missed 100 games last season with a left knee injury. 

"You won't have to hold your breath, I promise you, you won't have to hold your breath for this," Price said. "Just to reiterate, we just went too far into the rehab and made a commitment to do an extensive rehab to do anything before we feel he's ready. I think he's very close and he's champing at the bit to get in there."

Analysis: 

Nate Freiman
A's 1B Nate Freiman to miss at least two weeks with back injury
Nate Freiman, 1B, OAK
3/5/2015
News: Athletics manager Bob Melvin said first baseman Nate Freiman will miss at least two weeks due to a muscle strain in his back, per MLB.com. Freiman is competing for a spot on the A's bench.
Analysis: 

Matt Adams
Cardinals' Matheny wants Heyward, Adams to gain confidence vs. LHPs
Matt Adams, 1B, STL
3/5/2015
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.”

Analysis: 

Matt Olson
Melvin: Athletics' Matt Olson 'very impressive' in camp
Matt Olson, 1B, OAK
3/4/2015
News: Athletics manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday that first-base prospect Matt Olson has been "very impressive" this spring in his first big-league camp, MLB.com reports.

"He's been very impressive," said manager Bob Melvin. "Works hard, and you can tell just by watching him take BP that he's our type of hitter. He has the power, he's got a great eye. Even some of the reports I've heard about him pulling the ball, you can see in BP he stays the other way at times and certainly identifies where the baseball is very early."

Olson drew the start at designated hitter Wednesday after Billy Butler was scratched due to a stomach bug. The 2012 first-round pick went 0 for 3 at the plate but did notch an RBI on a groundout. Olson hit .262/.404/.543 with 37 home runs and 97 RBI in 512 at-bats with high Class A Stockton last season.

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