Francisco Cervelli
Pirates' Francisco Cervelli: Cleared for modified baseball activities
Francisco Cervelli, C, PIT
12:50 PM
News: Cervelli (foot) is making progress in his recovery and has been cleared for "modified baseball activities," Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The Pirates want Cervelli to work out for them before deciding whether he should play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. The progress, nonetheless, is a positive sign going forward and could point to the veteran catcher being ready for Opening Day on April 7. Cervelli missed multiple games last season with foot discomfort, so this is a situation worth monitoring in the coming days.

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Derek Norris
Nationals' Derek Norris: Likely to be traded
Derek Norris, C, WAS
9:55 AM
News: The Nationals will look to trade Norris in the wake of the Matt Wieters signing, The Washington Post reports.

While there was no definitive statement from the front office regarding Norris' future in Washington, manager Dusty Baker's comments following the Wieters acquisition indicated that he was happy for Norris that it happened as early in the spring as it did, because the Nats would now have plenty of time to find another club "that needs a front-line catcher." Until that happens, though, the 28-year-old's fantasy value -- already low coming off a .186/.255/.328 slash line in 2016 -- will remain in limbo.

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Tucker Barnhart
Reds' Tucker Barnhart: Working on pitch-framing
Tucker Barnhart, C, CIN
2/21/2017
News: Barnhart is working on his pitch-framing skills this spring, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Barnhart isn't necessarily a bad receiver, but he was rated by Baseball Prospectus as costing the Reds 4.4 runs last season. That puts him a little below average, but not so egregious that it will cost him much playing time.

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Cameron Rupp
Phillies' Cameron Rupp: Played through injury last season
Cameron Rupp, C, PHI
2/21/2017
News: Rupp played through much of last season with an undisclosed arm injury, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The injury didn't seem to impact Rupp at the plate as his .447 slugging percentage put him among the top catchers in baseball. It did hurt his ability to slow down the run game, however, as he threw out just 27 percent of possible base stealers after averaging 38 percent his previous two seasons. The Phillies want to see Rupp improve on his game calling and pitch framing this season after he struggled in both areas last year. Phillies' bullpen coach John McLaren, who also works with the catchers, said Rupp needs to improve his focus during games. It will be important for Rupp to further develop defensively this season with top prospect Jorge Alfaro in Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. He could start pushing for Rupp's job as soon as midseason if he gets off to a strong start in the minors.

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Dustin Garneau
Rockies' Dustin Garneau: Likely to start season in minors
Dustin Garneau, C, COL
2/21/2017
News: Garneau is a long-shot to make the Opening Day roster for the Rockies, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

Manager Bud Black stated that top prospect Tom Murphy and incumbent catcher Tony Wolters will enter the season with "shared duties" behind the plate, seemingly leaving Garneau out of the picture entirely. That being said, the 29-year-old is likely the next in line for major league innings if either Murphy or Wolters go down with an injury, although it will likely be in a backup role given his inability to hit major league pitching during two stints with Colorado.

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Elias Diaz
Pirates' Elias Diaz: Healthy after unusual skin issue
Elias Diaz, C, PIT
2/21/2017
News: Diaz has recovered from the cellulitis which ended his 2016 campaign early and is taking part in spring training activities.

The 26-year-old missed a golden opportunity to see his first significant action at the big league level in 2016 due to a host of ailments. He enters 2017 with a chance to eventually get that playing time he missed last year, essentially because of the fragile nature of the two catchers ahead of him, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart. Diaz's prospect status dimmed a bit last year but it seems as though he's finally set to show what he can do in the majors.

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Chris Stewart
Pirates' Chris Stewart: Participating in spring training
Chris Stewart, C, PIT
2/21/2017
News: Stewart (knee) is healthy entering spring training after undergoing knee surgery in September, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

The Pirates are purposely giving Stewart a light workload during camp in an effort to preserve the 34-year-old for the regular season. At this point in his career, he offers little in the way of offense. Stewart slashed .214/.319/.286 in 113 plate appearances in 2016.

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Kyle Schwarber
Cubs' Kyle Schwarber: Catches bullpen session
Kyle Schwarber, C, CHC
2/18/2017
News: Schwarber caught a bullpen session from John Lackey on Friday, MLB.com reports.

Schwarber had his left leg extended while in the squat to avoid putting extra stress on the knee, so he's clearly easing back into the position. Still, this is a good sign for Schwarber, who is expected to serve as the team's third catcher this season. Look for him to do more work behind the plate during spring training, but Schwarber's primary position this year will be left field.

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Hank Conger
Diamondbacks' Hank Conger: Dealing with strained oblique
Hank Conger, C, ARI
2/18/2017
News: Conger is dealing with a strained right oblique and will sit out from spring training activities, Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports.

It's an unfortunate break for Conger, who signed a minor league deal with the Diamondbacks earlier this month. The 29-year-old catcher hit just .194 in 49 games for Tampa Bay last season and is expected to serve as organizational depth for the D-Backs out of spring training.

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Tony Wolters
Rockies' Tony Wolters: Set to share catching duties
Tony Wolters, C, COL
2/17/2017
News: Rockies manager Bud Black said that Wolters and Tom Murphy will have "shared duties" behind the plate in 2017, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports.

Although this phrasing seems to suggest a platoon, Black was insistent that it won't be a strict platoon, and that he'll instead evaluate the offensive and defensive performance of both catchers before making a lineup decision. The skipper also added that it's unrealistic to expect either catcher to amass a 130-game season given their inexperience in the big leagues, so fantasy owners should expect fairly even timeshare between Wolters and Murphy throughout the course of the upcoming campaign.

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