Jonathan Villar
Astros' Jonathan Villar, Robbie Grossman remains uncertain Friday
Jonathan Villar, SS, HOU
1:04 PM
News: Though he told reporters that his sprained ankle has gotten better, Astros outfielder Jonathan Villar was held out of workouts on Thursday as a precaution, according to MLB.com. Meanwhile, Robbie Grossman (quadriceps contusion) could return to action as early as Friday.

Both outfielders were involved in an outfield collision on Wednesday. Villar took the legs out from under Grossman while making a sliding catch in the fourth inning against the Phillies. 

Houston will face the Marlins on Friday.

Analysis: 

Didi Gregorius
Yankees' Mark Teixeira: Didi Gregorius is 'as good a SS as I've seen'
Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY
11:19 AM
News: Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has big shoes to fill replacing Derek Jeter, but so far he's earned nothing but praise from his New York teammates this spring.

"Didi is unbelievable, as good a shortstop as I've seen," first baseman Mark Teixeira said, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. "And I'm not overexaggerating."

Teixeira was Alex Rodriguez's teammate back 2003 with the Rangers, when Rodriguez was highly touted for his defensive skillset at shortstop. When Rosenthal relayed Teixeira's comments to Rodriguez, he said: "He has a rare combination of speed and explosiveness. But what you don't see is an incredibly strong arm that is so accurate. That combination is lethal," Rodriguez said.

"[Gregorius] has made plays from the hole, from his back foot, throwing the ball 90 mph across the diamond from his back foot," Rodriguez said. "You don't see that. It also makes it a lot easier for your third baseman to play third base."

Still, manager Joe Girardi doesn't plan on changing the way his club uses defensive shifts based on Gregorius' range.

"We'll still shift. We'll still go according to the charts," Girardi said.

Gregorius, 25, was acquired from the Diamondbacks in a three-team trade this offseason. He hit .226 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 270 plate appearances in 2014. He has a .680 OPS in 724 career plate appearances, including a .490 OPS against left-handed pitching.

Analysis: 

Jose Iglesias
Tigers' Ausmus not concerned about SS Jose Iglesias
Jose Iglesias, SS, DET
3/25/2015
News: Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias is struggling at the plate with a batting average of .091 this spring. Manager Brad Ausmus is not worried about the infielder.

"He hasn't swung the bat like his numbers. He's swung the bat much better," Ausmus said. "I'm not overly concerned. I'm not concerned at all, actually."

 Ausmus attributed his lack of success at the plate to bad luck.

"He's struck out, what, twice in 30 at-bats?" Ausmus said. "Somewhere there's bad luck involved. If you're putting the ball in play that much and you're not getting hits, there's a little bit of bad luck involved. He's not a .100 hitter."

After singling on Wednesday, Iglesias broke a string of 23 at-bats without a hit. He is now 3 for 33 during the spring.

Analysis: 

Chris Taylor
Report: Mariners SS Chris Taylor taking ground balls
Chris Taylor, SS, SEA
3/25/2015
News: Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor is taking groundballs for the first time since suffering a broken right wrist, reports the Tacoma News Tribune. He has been out of the lineup since March 13th.The same report states that Taylor will have his wrist reevaluated in a week.

The 24-year-old was batting .421 in spring training prior to the injury.

Analysis: 

Jose Pirela
Cashman: Jose Pirela won't be on Yankees' Opening Day roster
Jose Pirela, SS, NYY
3/25/2015
News: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday infielder Jose Pirela wasn't going to make the Opening Day roster, despite a productive spring, per NJ.com. Pirela is sidelined after colliding with the outfield wall Sunday, but even if he was healthy, Cashman said it wouldn't have mattered.

Pirela is batting .370 (10 for 27) with two triples, three doubles, five RBI, three walks, four runs and six strikeouts in 15 spring games.

Analysis: 

Nick Franklin
Rays' Nick Franklin could miss 4-8 weeks due to oblique injury
Nick Franklin, SS, TB
3/25/2015
News: Rays manager Kevin Cash said infielder Nick Franklin is in between the gray area of 4-6 weeks and 6-8 weeks of recovery and rehab for his oblique injury, per The Tampa Tribune.

Franklin, who will begin the season on the disabled list, is expected to platoon at second base with Logan Forsythe and back up Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop when healthy.

Analysis: 

Hanser Alberto
Rangers option Alberto; re-assign Alex Gonzalez, Ross Wolf
Hanser Alberto, SS, TEX
3/24/2015
News: The Rangers optioned shortstop Hanser Alberto and re-assigned pitchers Alex Gonzalez and Ross Wolf to minor-league camp Tuesday.

Alberto went 7 for 30 with two steals in 13 games this spring. Gonzalez, who was thought to be in the mix for a rotation spot, posted a 3.95 ERA and 15:6 K:BB ratio in 13 2/3 innings. Wolf allowed five earned runs in 8 2/3 innings.

Analysis: 

Carlos Sanchez
White Sox's Sanchez, Johnson continue to compete for starting role
Carlos Sanchez, SS, CHW
3/24/2015
News: White Sox manager Robin Ventura said Monday he intends to let the competition for the starting job at second base play out the rest of the spring. Although, Ventura added he's been impressed with Micah Johnson and Carlos Sanchez.

“Both of those guys come to play,” Ventura said, per the Chicago Tribune. “When you’re young and in a competitive position battle like this, it’s good not only for them but for everybody else to see it.”

Johnson and Sanchez have both been doing well offensively. Johnson is batting .455 with a .514 on-base percentage, .636 slugging percentage and 1.150 OPS in 13 spring games, while Sanchez is batting .346 with a .414 on-base percentage.

While Johnson is putting up big numbers offensively, there are still some questions as to whether he is ready defensively. Johnson committed an error and misplayed another hit during Sunday's spring game against the Brewers.

“Even some of the best defensive players have those days, and you have to put it behind you (and) come out here in the morning and maybe figure out what happened,” Ventura said. “The game’s a little bit faster up here, and he’s getting a taste of that on occasion.”

Analysis: 

Elvis Andrus
Rangers expecting big season from shortstop Elvis Andrus
Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX
3/23/2015
News: The Rangers are invested in shortstop Elvis Andrus. The veteran is signed through 2022 and after the struggles of last year, general manager Jon Daniels wants to see him move forward, reports MLB.com.

"We invested in him because we thought he was arrow-up. We've been encouraged this winter and this spring by the feeling that he's kind of recommitted, after last year being below his standards.

"We don't see why he can't be one of the best defensive players and baserunners in the game. He controls the bat, he can get on base, do some different things. I don't expect him to hit for power, but I think he can be an impactful player. He's a winning player."

Andrus, a defensive-minded player, was told by manager Jeff Bannister he should be able to win a Gold Glove.

"I'm working on it," Andrus said. "It's easy to say. But you have to go out there and be consistent, especially on routine ground balls. That's one of the things I'm working on right now. I know that if I can make that happen, I would have a chance to win."

Analysis: 

Willie Bloomquist
Mariners' Willie Bloomquist called on to provide depth at short
Willie Bloomquist, SS, SEA
3/23/2015
News: Mariners veteran infielder Willie Bloomquist is doing it all for Seattle this spring. Monday, he was given his first start at shortstop after playing second and first most of camp. For Bloomquist, who is coming off of microfracture knee surgery in the offseason, it was a chance to loosen up a bit, reports MLB.com.

"It is an important step," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I think his legs are under him a little more now and he's feeling a lot better. "He booted the one ball, but it wasn't because of lack of mobility. He just booted it. He looked OK."

Bloomquist is expected to back up Brad Miller after Chris Taylor suffered a broken bone in his wrist.

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