Alex Avila
Tigers catcher Alex Avila expected to be back Sunday
Alex Avila, C, DET
10:18 AM
News: Tigers catcher Alex Avila is still dealing with a back injury and will not participate in practice Saturday, reports MLive.com. It is the second consecutive day Avila will miss with the back injury.

Manager Brad Ausmus said he'd be shocked if Avila is not practicing Sunday. 

Analysis: 

Francisco Pena
Royals' Pena thinks extra offseason reps will help him earn a spot
Francisco Pena, C, KC
2/27/2015
News: Royals backup catcher Francisco Pena told reporters that his reps for the Dominican Republican in the Caribbean Series earlier in February could help him win a spot on the roster this spring, per MLB.com.

"I feel like the more games you play, the more chances you have to get better," Pena said. "I love baseball. It's what I know. I was inspired by watching the World Series, and I saw how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there. That's also something my father taught me, to work hard and be prepared."

Pena was a September callup last season, but only made one appearance in the majors in 2014. Although it's early in camp, Pena has an outside shot to make the club. The Royals have Erik Kratz currently listed as the backup to starter Salvador Perez.

Analysis: 

John Hicks
Mariners catcher prospect John Hicks on the radar for MLB callup
John Hicks, C, SEA
2/27/2015
News: Mariners catcher John Hicks might not be on the radar as an elite prospect, but after posting a .288/.337/.419/.756 slash line through four minor-league seasons, he at least has the attention of the Mariners' decision makers.

“He’s a catcher who has the ability to do a lot of things,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, per The News Tribune. “His bat plays. He’s got a bright future. He’ll probably see significant playing time this spring.”

Hicks is expected to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma, but he could make his MLB debut in 2015.

“Listen, you’re on the 40-man roster,” McClendon said. “You’re on that roster for a reason. That’s to (the club to) protect you in case we have injuries. Then you move up.

“So, yeah, there’s a chance he could see time in the big leagues this year if there’s an injury.”

Analysis: 

Josmil Pinto
Twins C Josmil Pinto has eyes set on improving defensively
Josmil Pinto, C, MIN
2/27/2015
News: Twins catcher Josmil Pinto struggled defensive last season. He was unable to throw out a base steals in all 20 attempts in 2014. Pinto, who is an early favorite to secure a backup spot behind Kurt Suzuki this season, told reporters he played Venezuela this offseason to get more reps and improve his skills defensively, according to MLB.com.

"That's the first reason I went to Venezuela," Pinto said. "I wanted to catch a couple games and improve my defense. It was the first year I played a complete season. So it was good.

"Improving my defense is the most important part to me making the team," Pinto said. "And I want to make the team."

Analysis: 

Max Stassi
Astros manager A.J. Hinch offers advice to C Max Stassi
Max Stassi, C, HOU
2/27/2015
News: During a batting practice session Friday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch noticed he could assist with some fundamental work behind the plate with catcher Max Stassi

With Stassi catching pitcher Chad Qualls, Hinch advised him to turn his shoulder on certain pitches, according to the Houston Chronicle

“There’s some angles you try to create both for the visual for the pitcher and also for the benefit of the umpire,” he said. “With all the talk of the framing stuff, we want to get the most strikes out of our pitchers. There’s certainly techniques to pay attention to even in side sessions and live BPs.”

For Stassi, it appears he was happy with the advice from Hinch, a former major-league catcher. 

“He’s caught in the big leagues," Stassi said. "He’s been there and done that. He was just giving me a few tips. It’s just framing and the positioning of your body too. It’s just real simple, a better presentation of the pitch for your pitcher and the umpire.

Analysis: 

A.J. Ellis
Dodgers unsure how Grandal, Ellis will split time
A.J. Ellis, C, LAD
2/26/2015
News: The Dodgers aren't sure how they'll platoon their two catchers, according to the Orange County Register.

A.J. Ellis has been the team's primary option the past few seasons, but the club brought in Yasmani Grandal during the offseason. While Grandal has a much higher offensive upside, it's unclear how much he'll play once the regular season begins. 

"There’s nothing going to come out of this camp where we’re going to say, ‘OK, this guy is going to start 72 percent of the time’" general manager Andrew Friedman said. "It’s going to be much more about Donnie (Mattingly) writing the lineup each and every day for what gives us the best chance to win that day."

Mattingly admitted that Grandal has "tremendous upside offensively," so it's possible he could lead that way more often. While Mattingly has indicated that he doesn't want to assign any personal catchers yet, there's a sense Ellis could be used when Clayton Kershaw is on the mound. 

Grandal hit .225/.327/.401 over 377 at-bats last year. Ellis hit .191/.323/.254 over 283 at-bats. 

Analysis: 

Christian Vazquez
Vazquez on Varitek: Great teacher, the Google of baseball
Christian Vazquez, C, BOS
2/26/2015
News: Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez seems to be very happy with the lessons he is learning from former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek.

"Great, great teacher," Vazquez said of Varitek, per MLB.com. "I call him the Google of baseball. It's so great to have somebody like him. It's a pleasure.

"Right now, we're working on receiving and getting the ball to travel more and just let it breathe. That's helped me. Varitek tells me I need to talk to each pitcher about what he likes, what he doesn't like. It's very important to get that trust. I'm like a manager now. I need to be in charge, calling games.

"I'm ready to help this team to win and help my teammates. We have a great group of pitchers here and we're trying to win this year and get to the playoffs. I'm here to win and helping the team. I'm excited to be here."

Analysis: 

Bryan Holaday
Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday tweaked his stance, swing
Bryan Holaday, C, DET
2/26/2015
News: Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday told reporters he has tweaked his stance and swing after experiencing an "eye-opening" 2014 campaign, according to the Detroit Free Press

"I've made a lot of adjustments; I feel better and I'm more confident," Holaday said. "I've done a little tweaking with my stance and my swing to make it more efficient. Basically shortened the swing to make my timing better."

Holaday hit .231/.266/.276 in 171 at-bats last season. Manager Brad Ausmus appears to be impressed by Holaday's adjustments at the plate early on.

"He looks good swinging the bat," Ausmus said. "It's early, but he looks good."

Analysis: 

Austin Hedges
Padres' Black: Austin Hedges getting closer to the big leagues
Austin Hedges, C, SD
2/26/2015
News: Padres catcher prospect Austin Hedges spent some time this offseason working with hitting coach Mark Kotsay and the progress he made has left the team encouraged about his future, per MLB.com.

"This year, I notice more maturity. He's still young, but he's getting closer to the big leagues. I think he is starting to understand our message of the pitcher-catcher relationship," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's doing a lot of things very well in camp."

Hedges, who was the Padres' No. 1 prospect last season (per MLB.com), will likely start the season in Triple-A. For now, he will just work on getting better while he is in major-league camp.

"This is exactly where I want to be," Hedges said. "I'm lucky to be here. You start to feel like you belong. You feel like you can make a difference in a big-league game. The coaches have done a great job making me feel comfortable and preparing me."

Analysis: 

Wilin Rosario
Rockies manager Weiss: I won't carry three pure catchers on roster
Wilin Rosario, C, COL
2/26/2015
News: Rockies manager Walt Weiss made it clear that he won't carry three pure catchers on the 25-man active roster, and told reporters that Wilin Rosario is "serviceable" as a backup first baseman option, per the Denver Post.

"I don't think it can be strictly three catchers," Weiss said. "Somebody is going to have to be more versatile than just a catcher. I don't envision carrying three catchers only.

"Obviously, you are talking about Wilin at first base. I think he's going to be very serviceable over there and the more things he can do, the better it is for us."

With Nick Hundley likely slated to serve as the club's No. 2 catcher behind Rosario, Michael McKenry appears destined to start the year in the minors, barring a trade before opening day.

Analysis: 

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