Matt Duffy
Rays' Matt Duffy: Current injury problems may not be with heel
Matt Duffy, 3B, TB
12:54 AM
News: Duffy's current physical setbacks may not be directly related to his surgically repaired heel according to manager Kevin Cash, The Tampa Bay Times reports.

Duffy's progress from his surgery has appeared to stagnate this spring, but Cash mentioned Friday that the issues may lie with the tendons and muscles in the shortstop's ankle and calf. The atrophy that may have come about in the post-surgical period could be the culprit behind Duffy's slow recovery, which has led to him missing all of spring training.

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Jose Ramirez
Indians' Jose Ramirez: Signs four-year extension to stay in Cleveland
Jose Ramirez, 3B, CLE
3/24/2017
News: Ramirez has signed a four-year, $30 million extension with the Indians, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.

This contract will keep Ramirez under Cleveland's control through the 2020 season. With just over a year of service time, Ramirez couldn't become a free agent until 2021 anyway, but this deal allows Ramirez to get some guaranteed money and it locks in his cost going forward for the Cleveland front office, protecting them from a potential huge arbitration payday should Ramirez continue to play as well as he did in 2016. At .312/.363/.462, Ramirez brought plus offense at third base to go with a glove that arguably belongs at shortstop, so it's easy to see why Cleveland is so optimistic about his future.

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Ryan Flaherty
Orioles' Ryan Flaherty: Back in lineup Friday
Ryan Flaherty, 3B, BAL
3/24/2017
News: Flaherty will play in his first game since March 13 on Friday, Roch Kubatko of MASN reports.

Flaherty has missed a good amount of spring dealing with shoulder and arm issues, playing in just 10 games and going 3-for-25 (.120) in camp. Barring any further setbacks, the 25-year-old is slated to open the season as the Orioles' primary backup infielder.

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Jhonny Peralta
Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta: Looks like starter at third base
Jhonny Peralta, 3B, STL
3/24/2017
News: Peralta is likely to start at third base on Opening Day, while Jedd Gyorko is expected to serve as a utility infielder, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports.

Manager Mike Matheny hasn't made an official announcement yet, but Friday's comments appeared to hint at his Opening Day plans. Despite Peralta's potential for 20 home runs in a full season his upside ultimately depends on his playing time, which remains in question in a crowded Cardinals infield even if the 34-year-old does get the Opening Day nod.

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Edwin Encarnacion
Indians' Edwin Encarnacion: Striking out at enormous rate this spring
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, CLE
3/24/2017
News: Encarnacion is 9-for-33 (.273) with no home runs and a 42 percent strikeout rate through 14 Cactus League games.

Spring stats usually don't mean much for veterans like Encarnacion, but it's tough to overlook some of his alarming numbers. The good news is that the Tribe's prize offseason acquisition has never really been one to put on a show in spring training -- he owns a career .261/.316/.476 slash line over 11 exhibition seasons. Owners may want to prepare for an early-season adjustment period as Encarnacion settles in with his new team, but the slugger can be expected to make every dollar spent on draft day worth it during the regular season.

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Jung Ho Kang
Pirates' Jung Ho Kang: Status up in air
Jung Ho Kang, 3B, PIT
3/24/2017
News: Kang (restricted list) has been denied a work visa by the United States, putting his status for the 2017 season in jeopardy, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports.

According to a report from the Korean Broadcasting System, the U.S. Department of State has "rejected" Kang's application due to the DUI hit-and-run charge he accepted last month in Seoul, South Korea. The report also indicates suspicions Kang has driven drunk in a "third country." With the third baseman potentially sidelined indefinitely, David Freese will likely take over everyday duties at third base.

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Giovanny Urshela
Indians' Giovanny Urshela: Finds new opportunity to win job
Giovanny Urshela, 3B, CLE
3/24/2017
News: Urshela's chances of making the Opening Day roster have increased due to the injury to Jason Kipnis (shoulder), MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports.

Jose Ramirez, the team's starting third baseman, may be headed over to temporarily fill Kipnis' shoes at second. If that proves to be the case, an extra glove at the hot corner will be needed on the Tribe's 25-man roster. Urshela is among a handful of players vying for the gig that includes Erik Gonzalez, Richie Shaffer and Yandy Diaz. Although Urshela's offensive capabilities are substandard compared to his competitors, the 25-year-old has one of the better gloves of the group (if not the best) and that may be manager Terry Francona's preferred attribute for whoever he chooses to fill the role.

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Josh Donaldson
Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson: Occupies lineup spot again Friday
Josh Donaldson, 3B, TOR
3/24/2017
News: Donaldson is back in the Grapefruit League lineup Friday, batting third and returning to third base, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet reports.

The slugger returned to spring action earlier this week and played his first reps at third base Wednesday, so it's a plus that Donaldson got back out there for Toronto's second straight game. Return him safely to first-round consideration in most mixed fantasy leagues as long as he makes it through the coming days of exhibition action unscathed.

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Yandy Diaz
Indians' Yandy Diaz: Working behind the scenes to win job
Yandy Diaz, 3B, CLE
3/24/2017
News: Diaz has been working on the back fields at the Indians' complex with third-base coach and infield instructor Mike Sarbaugh, like a student cramming for an exam, to earn an Opening Day roster spot as a third baseman, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports.

With Jason Kipnis (shoulder) likely to miss the beginning of the season, starting third baseman Jose Ramirez may be pushed across the diamond to fill the hole. Diaz is looking to capitalize on the opening at the hot corner to ensure his place on the 25-man roster. As a member of the Rockies' organization in 2015, the 25-year-old played 126 minor-league games at third base. However, Diaz played a majority of his 103 games last year (at Triple-A) in the outfield. It's widely believed that the Cuban native can hold his own in the box against MLB pitchers -- he owns a career .307/.403/.410 slash line while displaying good plate discipline over 1222 at-bats in the minors -- but the Tribe have other options to temporarily hold down third base if Diaz proves to be a defensive liability.

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Eduardo Nunez
Giants' Eduardo Nunez: Optimistic for Opening Day despite sore shoulder
Eduardo Nunez, 3B, SF
3/23/2017
News: Nunez (shoulder) may serve as the Giants' designated hitter over the weekend and is unsure when he'll be ready to return to his post in the infield, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "I think we're good for Opening Day," Nunez added Thursday.

The versatile infielder received two different cortisone shots in his ailing shoulder Wednesday and is set to be rested over the next few days. He could be ready to log more at-bats over the weekend, however. Baggarly noted that Nunez feels he's had enough at-bats and innings in the field this spring to where he should be ready for Opening Day even if he's limited over the latter portion of spring training.

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