Athletics' Yonder Alonso: Notably improved offensively this spring
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(12:39 am ET) Alonso, who went 2-for-3 with two home runs, three RBI, a walk and three runs in Thursday's 15-5 Cactus League win over the Brewers, is showing significant improvement at the plate this spring, Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area reports. "He's had a great approach from the minute he got here," manager Bob Melvin said. "He and Bushy (hitting coach Darren Bush) had a plan. He's using the whole field a little bit more, which keeps him on breaking balls, which allows him to track fastballs a little bit more. He's hit a couple balls good to left-center as well."

Alonso has never hit double-digit homers in a major league career that dates back to 2010, but he's already smacked four round-trippers in 17 spring games, in part due to the revamped approach he's utilized at the plate. The veteran first baseman already brings excellent defensive skills to the table, so any notable measure of offensive improvement would boost his value even further. He remains slated for the left-handed side of a platoon role at first base with Ryon Healy and will look to improve on last season's mediocre .316 OBP in the coming season.

Mariners' Danny Valencia: To be everyday first baseman
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Valencia, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI single and run in Thursday's Cactus League win over the Giants, is now the everyday first baseman with the demotion of Dan Vogelbach to Triple-A Tacoma, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.

Valencia was originally slated to be the right-handed side of a platoon with Vogelbach, but he'll now have an opportunity for a full workload. He's rightfully earned a reputation as a lefty masher throughout his career, slashing .321/.373/.500 with a .377 wOBA and 32 percent hard contact rate against southpaws. While his numbers against right-handers come nowhere close, they've notably improved the last two seasons, as he's posted respective averages of .285 and .275 over that span. While he's struggled overall this spring (.208 average over 53 at-bats), Valencia brings a body of work at the major league level that Vogelbach doesn't yet possess. "Danny has a real track record," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "Over the last three seasons he's really hit, both righties and lefties. We talked about that as one of his main attractions. The versatility. He's pounded the lefties and over the last couple years he's hit the righties as well. He's transitioned to first quite well. He can really throw for a first baseman and here over the last week's he's actually started to pick it up., the barrel contact, he's starting to swing the bat better."

Twins' Kennys Vargas: Suffers bruised foot
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Vargas left Friday's game after fouling a ball off of his foot and bruising it, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Luckily for Vargas it doesn't sound like this will be a long-term injury, as he needs to get at-bats in before spring training ends. Still, his recovery will be worth watching, because every day Vargas misses is another chance for Byungho Park to make his case for the Twins' starting designated hitter job.

Twins' Kennys Vargas: Limps off field in first game back with Twins
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Vargas limped off the field in obvious pain after a flyout during Friday's spring training game, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Vargas was slated to get as many at-bats as possible before the regular season starts as he didn't get much playing time during Puerto Rico's WBC run. This wasn't about rust or a lack of conditioning -- Vargas fouled a ball off his shin -- but regardless, if Vargas misses significant time, this injury might just open the door for Byungho Park to grab the Twins' DH job.

Yankees' Tyler Austin: Eyeing May return
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Austin (foot) will progress from a scooter to a walking boot Monday as he aims for a return sometime in May, Bryan Hoch of reports.

With the offseason acquisition of Chris Carter and a dominating spring from Greg Bird (.432 AVG, six home runs, 11 RBI), Austin may be destined for the minors upon his return. Nonetheless, this is an incremental step in the recovery process and his return date wouldn't put him too far behind the other hitters. After appearing in 31 games for the Yankees last year, expect the highly-touted prospect to make a return to the majors at some point this season.

Rays' Casey Gillaspie: Reassigned to minor league camp
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Gillaspie was reassigned to minor league camp Thursday, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Gillaspie smacked three homers over 40 spring at-bats but hit only .200 and counted two doubles as his only other extra-base hits over that span. The 2014 first-round pick will look to improve on what was an excellent 203-plate appearance stint at Triple-A Durham in 2016 that included a .307/.389/.520 line.

Rays' Jake Bauers: Goes out with bang after minors reassignment
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Bauers, who hit a two-run double and walked over a pair of plate appearances against the Yankees on Thursday after learning he'd been reassigned to minor league camp, leaves a lasting impression with his spring performance, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "What did he not show," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're excited about him. Just his overall approach to hitting is what stands out more than anything."

The 21-year-old with a penchant for tape-measure home runs finished his spring tour of duty with the Rays with a .371/.465/.857 line partly comprised of three doubles, one triple, four homers and 13 RBI. Bauers, who's never hit more than 14 round-trippers at any minor league stop but displays above-average plate discipline, could certainly be back up at some point in the regular season with a strong minor league campaign at Triple-A Durham.

Royals' Eric Hosmer: Elbow swollen
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Hosmer has a swollen right elbow after being HBP in the WBC Championship game, 610 Sports Radio's Josh Vernier reports.

Hosmer didn't have to leave the game at all, so it doesn't appear to be anything overly serious. He'll take Friday off and will be reevaluated on Saturday, so expect another update on his status then.

Yankees' Ji-Man Choi: Shifted to minors camp
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/24/2017) Choi was reassigned to minor league camp Friday, Brendan Kuty of The Star-Ledger reports.

The former Angel signed with the Yankees hoping to catch on with the big-league club out of camp, but he fell short. Choi could work his way into at-bats later this season as a reserve or an emergency starter, though he sits behind Greg Bird, Chris Carter, Tyler Austin and Rob Refsnyder, at minimum, in the first base hierarchy.

Angels' Jefry Marte: Improved odds of making roster
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/23/2017) Marte's chances of making the Opening Day roster seem to have improved in light of Luis Valbuena's injury. Valbuena is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a Grade 1 hamstring strain, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.

C.J. Cron figures to take on the primary share of the workload at first base in Valbuena's absence, but the door is now open for Marte to make the team as a bench option. Marte can help out at first base, third base and left field, while also providing right-handed pop in pinch-hit situations. The 25-year-old has been hot at the dish this spring, going 15-for-49 (.306 average) with three homers, nine RBI and eight walks to only four strikeouts.

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