Guillermo Heredia
Mariners' Guillermo Heredia: Facing competition for fourth outfielder job
Guillermo Heredia, LF, SEA
3/24/2017
News: Heredia, who's hitting .383 this spring, is facing stiff competition for the fourth outfielder spot from Ben Gamel, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.

At one point this spring, Heredia looked like he had a clear inside track for the job based on his stellar play. While he's done nothing to hurt his cause, Gamel has made a strong push of his own, which is making it increasingly likely that the decision will come down to the wire. "Outfield-wise, Heredia is very comfortable anywhere you put him and has played an outstanding center field here this spring," Servais said. "With the bat, Gamel has more of a track record at the Minor League level than Heredia. The baserunning and some of the intangibles they bring are very similar. Heredia may be a little faster, Gamel may be a little better baserunner. It's very close. I like both players."

Analysis: 

Byron Buxton
Twins' Byron Buxton: Won't hit leadoff in 2017
Byron Buxton, CF, MIN
3/24/2017
News: Buxton will not be the Twins' leadoff hitter this season because his bat is "too valuable" according to manager Paul Molitor, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports.

Buxton hit third in the spring game prior to Molitor's announcement, and that could be where he winds up come Opening Day. He has been showing solid power (.500 slugging percentage) this spring and his combination of speed and power would be a boon anywhere in the upper half of a lineup. Buxton hit 10 home runs in September alone last year, so it makes sense that the Twins would try and put him in a position to hit with more runners on base.

Analysis: 

Ben Gamel
Mariners' Ben Gamel: Closing in on potential roster spot
Ben Gamel, RF, SEA
3/24/2017
News: Gamel, who hit a two-run home run in three at-bats in Thursday's 9-2 Cactus League victory over the Giants, could be closing in on a roster spot due to his stellar spring play, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I wouldn't rule it out by any means," manager Scott Servais said. "Ben has had a good spring. I like how he plays."

The left-handed hitting outfielder has been holding his own against southpaws this spring, which has increased his chances of sticking on the major league roster. Friday's demotion of fellow left-handed bat Dan Vogelbach also helps Gamel's chances, as the Mariners would ideally prefer to have a left-handed bat on the bench. Gamel is presumably battling the equally impressive Guillermo Heredia for the fourth outfielder role, and each player brings their own unique strengths to the table, meaning the decision is likely to come down to the wire. "Outfield-wise, Heredia is very comfortable anywhere you put him and has played an outstanding center field here this spring," Servais said. "With the bat, Gamel has more of a track record at the Minor League level than Heredia. The baserunning and some of the intangibles they bring are very similar. Heredia may be a little faster, Gamel may be a little better baserunner. It's very close. I like both players."

Analysis: 

Albert Almora
Cubs' Albert Almora: Traveling for split-squad game Saturday
Albert Almora, CF, CHC
3/24/2017
News: Almora (neck) is set to travel with the team for the Cubs' split-squad game in Las Vegas on Saturday, Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports.

It appears that Almora avoided anything significant after leaving Friday's game with neck tightness as a result of a sliding catch. The fact that he's making the trip for Saturday's split-squad game is an especially encouraging sign. Even if Almora is held out Saturday, it does not appear Friday's neck tightness will keep him on the shelf for long.

Analysis: 

Seth Smith
Orioles' Seth Smith: Scheduled to play Saturday
Seth Smith, RF, BAL
3/24/2017
News: Smith is expected to return to the Orioles' lineup on Saturday, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports.

Smith has been sidelined for much of the past two weeks dealing with a hamstring injury, though it seems he's finally ready to return to Grapefruit League games. The injury lingered longer than expected, so don't expect the Orioles to rush the 34-year-old back now. Smith remains optimistic about his Opening Day status, but he may need to be eased into things given the extended time he missed.

Analysis: 

Melvin Upton
Blue Jays' Melvin Upton Jr.: Remains out Friday
Melvin Upton, LF, TOR
3/24/2017
News: Upton (shoulder) did not play in Friday's spring training game against the Red Sox, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet reports.

Upton's shoulder soreness has kept him out for close to one week at this point, and while manager John Gibbons suggested earlier in the week that the veteran outfield would be back soon, he's still not quite ready for game action. Still, Upton will likely be able to get back in the lineup for a couple of tuneups before the season officially gets underway on April 3. Upton's next chance to return will come Saturday against the Yankees.

Analysis: 

Ezequiel Carrera
Blue Jays' Ezequiel Carrera: Returns to lineup Friday
Ezequiel Carrera, RF, TOR
3/24/2017
News: Carrera (thigh) returned to the lineup Friday, Mike Wilner of Sportsnet reports.

A thigh contusion had kept Carrera on the shelf since earlier in the week, but he was able to draw back in against the Red Sox on Friday. Now that he's back healthy, look for Carrera to get regular at-bats for the rest of spring before slotting into a corner outfield platoon role once the season gets underway.

Analysis: 

Lonnie Chisenhall
Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall: Shoulder to be evaluated on Saturday
Lonnie Chisenhall, RF, CLE
3/24/2017
News: Chisenhall is dealing with a right shoulder injury after colliding with the outfield wall on Friday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.

Chisenhall is listed as day-to-day for now, but his status should be updated after he is examined on Saturday.

Analysis: 

Gerardo Parra
Rockies' Gerardo Parra: Spends most spring training in outfield
Gerardo Parra, LF, COL
3/24/2017
News: Parra is 14-for-39 (.359) with one home run and three stolen bases in 14 Cactus League games.

There was some speculation that the veteran would slide over to help out at first base following the injury to Ian Desmond (hand), but that has not been the case since the incident. The Rockies seem to have settled on Parra manning left field full-time until David Dahl (ribs) is ready to return to action, which likely opens the door for players like Jordan Patterson, Stephen Cardullo, Pat Valaika and Christhian Adames to fill in as the backup first baseman for Mark Reynolds. Nonetheless, Parra still holds some experience at first base from last season, and if he continues this torrid hitting pace during the regular season, the Rockies will have no choice but to play him, whether it be in left field or at first base.

Analysis: 

Michael Saunders
Phillies' Michael Saunders: Fine after leaving game
Michael Saunders, RF, PHI
3/24/2017
News: Manager Pete Mackanin says Saunders (hand) is "fine" after being removed from Friday's Grapefruit League game, Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice reports.

Saunders had exited after taking a pitch to his right hand, though Mackanin says the departure was precautionary. The veteran outfielder will be day-to-day as he recovers from the bruise and should be perfectly ready for Opening Day.

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