Wandy Rodriguez on track for spring training
, SP, PIT
Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez
is recovering from arthritis in his left elbow that ended his last season, but general manager Neil Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Rodriguez is making expected progress
. Rodriguez has begun a throwing program, and should be ready by the start of next season.
"Early stages of throwing program, feeling good," Huntington said Monday. "On track for spring training."
Rodriguez appeared in 12 games for the Pirates in 2013, posting a 3.59 ERA in 62 2/3 innings of work.
Matt Kemp's readiness for spring training still in question
, CF, LAD
SiriusXM Radio reports that Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp
, who had ankle surgery in October, is still in a walking boot, and he is not expected to be fully healed in time for spring training.
Kemp has been the subject of recent trade rumors, but according to ESPN.com, the Red Sox -- one of the teams interested in the 29-year-old -- are not planning on engaging in further talks with the Dodgers.
Cody Ross weeks away from running
, LF, ARI
Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers told the Arizona Republic
outfielder Cody Ross
is progressing well
in his return from hip surgery. However, Ross won't start running until late December.
Ross had surgery to repair a small hip fracture in August.
Marlins, Rafael Furcal agree to one-year deal
, SS, MIA
The Marlins have agreed to a one-year deal
with infielder Rafael Furcal
, Fox Sports reports. If he passes his physcial, the team intends to use Furcal as its everyday second baseman.
Furcal played 31 games at second base during his rookie season in 2000, and his only other exposure at the position was four games in 2002 and one game ni 2004. He missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring.
According to CSNChicago.com, Cubs president Theo Epstein sees right-hander Arodys Vizcaino as a bullpen candidate in 2014
after saying last offseason that the Cubs viewed him as a starter.
Vizcaino, who the Cubs acquired from the Braves in a 2012 deal for Paul Maholm, is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery but has been "electric" in outings this fall, throwing 98 mph.
Braves tender lengthy list of arbitration candidates
, 3B, ATL
Faced with a bevy of arbitration-eligible players ahead of Monday's non-tender deadline, the Braves opted to bring back all but three of them
. Only one was actually signed to a contract, as the team agreed to undisclosed terms on a one-year deal with infielder Ramiro Pena
, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution
The team also tendered contracts to nine other players, whose salaries for 2014 will be determined by the arbitration process, unless contracts can be agreed upon. Pitchers Craig Kimbrel, Brandon Beachy, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Jordan Walden; infielders Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson and outfielders Jason Heyward and Jordan Schafer will all return to the team next season.
Phillies heading to arbitration with four
, SP, PHI
The Phillies offered contracts to four arbitration-eligible players Monday, ahead of midnight deadline. Pitchers Kyle Kendrick
and Antonio Bastardo
were tendered contracts, along with outfielders Ben Revere
and John Mayberry
The team still has a chance to avoid arbitration with all four players, by negotiating contracts for 2014 prior to the Jan. 17 deadline. Otherwise, they will exchange salary figures at arbitration hearings in February.
Mets see few shortstop alternatives
, SS, NYM
ESPN.com reports that Ruben Tejada
is increasingly likely to emerge as the Mets' starting shortstop
out of spring training. General manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged he has looked into trading for a shortstop this offseason, but conceded he has not found a deal that would improve the club overall.
Alderson also cited the progress made by Tejada during a recent four-week fitness program near Ann Arbor, Mich., though he is still working his way back from the broken right fibula he sustained last September.
Ike Davis thinks he's figured out source of struggles
, 1B, NYM
Mets first baseman Ike Davis
, who is a candidate to be traded this offseason, told MLB.com he went overboard trying to break out of an early-season slump last year, completely overhauling his mechanics instead of making minor adjustments.
"It's not like an issue of not trying -- I just think I was working on the wrong thing when I was trying to get out of it," Davis said. "I can't really blame anyone else but myself. I played terrible, that's basically the bottom line of what happened. I'm way better than I showed."
A trip to the minor leagues appeared to straighten him out. From his return to the lineup July 5 to his season-ending oblique injury Aug. 31, he hit .267 with four homers and an .872 OPS in 131 at-bats.
The Astros, Orioles, Rays, Rockies and Brewers have been connected to Davis this offseason. The 26-year-old says he would prefer to stay with the Mets.
Josh Johnson says elbow impacted performance
, SP, SD
The Padres and starting pitcher Josh Johnson
finalized their one-year deal Thursday. Johnson will earn $8 million in 2014, with the potential for $1.25 million more if he makes 26 starts. Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts for the Blue Jays last season, but he compiled a 3.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in eight seasons with the Marlins.
"Here's a guy who led the league in ERA who has been a dominant pitcher," general manager Josh Byrnes said. "We know there's risk in any signing, but we're very excited about the upside, what he can bring and now what our rotation can do to deliver us toward our goal."
Johnson had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in October -- an injury that he thinks may have impacted his performance.
"I was pretty close last year, just not healthy," Johnson said. "It was tough trying to throw through it and all of a sudden I'm getting these weird pains all the way up my triceps and my forearm's getting tight because of everything going on with my elbow. Hopefully that took care of everything."