Reds' Price: Last report on Joey Votto was 'very, very good'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Reds manager Bryan Price delivered another positive update Thursday on the status of first baseman Joey Votto, who missed 100 games last season with a distal strain of his left quadriceps.

Votto has been monitored by Reds strength and conditioning coach Sean Marohn during the offseason.

“The last report when Sean was up in Toronto earlier this month was very, very good,” Price said. “The strength was outstanding, the stamina was good and the agility. Right now, we’re looking to hit the ground running when Joey gets to Goodyear and being able to see with our own eyes where he’s at. I’m confident that he’s going to be ready to go.”

Votto, who is a career .310 hitter, batted just .255 with six home runs, 16 doubles and 23 RBI in 62 games in 2014.


Brewers designate Hunter Morris for assignment on Monday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) The Brewers have designated first baseman Hunter Morris for assignment on Monday.

The team had to clear space off the 40-man roster after making a deal with Texas earlier in the day. The 26-year-old Morris hit .275/.322/.434 over 371 at-bats over three levels on the minors last year. 


Amaro: Ryan Howard will have to earn Phillies' starting 1B job
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/17/2015) Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. stood by his recent comments on the future of Ryan Howard, reiterating that he'll have to earn the team's starting job at first base if he's with the Phillies this season, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

"I think that if Ryan's with us, and he's likely to be with us in spring training, I think Ryan's got to prove to us that he's ready to play every day at first base for us. I mean I'm kind of looking forward to him being ready and healthy and contributing. Right now, there's nobody really that can unseat him."

Howard led the majors last season in strikeouts. He slashed .223/.310/.380 with 23 homers and 95 RBI over 569 at-bats in his first full season in three years. He is under contract through the 2016 season and is set to make $25 million the next two seasons. He also has a $23 million team option for 2017, which includes a $10 million buyout.


Report: Giants swap arbitration figures with Belt, Blanco
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Giants first baseman Brandon Belt has filed for $4.5 million in arbitration while outfielder Gregor Blanco has filed for $4 million, 16 WAPT Sports reports.

The team has offered Belt $3 million and Blanco $3.3 million. Belt is in his first year of arbitration eligibility while Blanco is eligible for arbitration for a second year.


Report: Mets' Lucas Duda files for $4.7 million in arbitration
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Mets first baseman Lucas Duda has filed for $4.7 million in arbitration, while the team has offered $3.75 million, ESPNNewYork.com reports.

Duda is in his first year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. He hit .253/.349/.481 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI in 514 at-bats in 2014.


Padres' Tyson Ross, Yonder Alonso avoid arbitration
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) Padres right-hander Tyson Ross and Yonder Alonso both avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contracts, per the team's official website. Ross has settled for $5.25 million, per MLB.com. Alonso is set to make $1.65 million in 2015, per ESPN.

Ross registered a 2.81 ERA and 195 strikeouts over 195 2/3 innings last season. Alonso slashed .240/.285/.397 with seven homers and 27 RBI over 267 at-bats.


Mets lock up Dillon Gee, Ruben Tejada before arbitration deadline
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/16/2015) The Mets reached a settlement with starting pitcher Dillon Gee and shortstop Ruben Tejada prior to Friday's arbitration deadline, reports ESPN. Gee agreed to a one-year deal, worth $5.3 million, while Tejada settled for $1.88 million.

Jenrry Mejia and Lucas Duda did not reach an agreement before the 1 p.m. deadline.


Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo: 'We're going to win the NL Central'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/15/2015) It seems Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is pushing all of his chips into the middle of the table. When talking to the media Thursday, Rizzo didn't hold back on his expectations for the Cubs in 2015.

"We're going to win the NL Central," he said. 

The Cubs finished last in the NL Central in 2014 with a 73-89 record. The last time they finished above fifth in the NL Central was 2009. The last time they won the NL Central crown was 2008.

The Cubs have been active this offseason. They hired manager Joe Maddon, who won the AL pennant with the Rays in 2008 and took Tampa Bay to the playoffs four times. They signed ace Jon Lester and traded for catcher Miguel Montero. The Cubs also have a loaded farm system, with some close to major-league-ready talent in Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler.


Mark Appel, Carlos Correa among Astros' non-roster invites
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/13/2015) The Astros announced Tuesday they will have 17 non-roster invites for spring training, including starting pitcher prospect Mark Appel and shortstop prospect Carlos Correa. Appel was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, while Correa was the No. 1 pick in 2012.

The other non-roster invitees are outfielder Andrew Aplin, pitcher Darin Downs, infielder Matt Duffy, catcher Luis Flores, infielder Nolan Fontana, catcher Tyler Heineman, pitcher Jordan Jankowski, infielder Dan Johnson, infielder Colin Moran, catcher Roberto Pena, infielder Gregorio Petit, pitcher Brady Rodgers, infielder Joe Sclafani, pitcher Jason Stoffel and outfielder Preston Tucker.

Correa (No. 1) and Appel (No. 2) are considered the team's top two prospects, according to Baseball America. Moran (No. 7) is also considered a top-10 prospect.


Nats announce minor-league signings of Mike Carp, Steven Lerud
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/13/2015) The Nationals announced the minor-league signings of outfielder Mike Carp and catcher Steven Lerud on Tuesday, per the team's official website. Both players will receive an invitation to big-league spring training.

Carp hit .175/.289/.230 over 126 at-bats last season, 86 of which came with Boston. Lerud has only 15 career plate appearances.


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