Giants release Marco Scutaro
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Giants have released second baseman Marco Scutaro, according to MLB.com.

Scutaro was designated for assignment by the club Jan. 21. Scutaro underwent back surgery in December, and was expected to miss 4-6 months due to the surgery. The 39-year-old was limited to five games last season due to back issues. He hit .297/.357/.369 over 488 at-bats back in 2013.


Padres' Bud Black: Jedd Gyorko 'learned a lot' from 2014 struggles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko definitely went through a sophomore slump in 2014 after belting 23 home runs as a rookie in 2013. Although, dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot certainly didn't help his cause.

Still, Gyorko seems to indicate the injury wasn't the main reason he struggled offensively last season. He hit .210 with 10 home runs in 111 games.

"I think I maybe put a little too much pressure on myself," Gyorko said, per MLB.com. "We were struggling as a team. And I think all of us, not just myself, felt like we needed to come up with that big hit to get us going. It's hard to hit when you put that kind of pressure on yourself."

Gyorko missed nearly two months of games last season due to the foot injury, but once he returned, his numbers began to improve. He hit .260 with a .347 on-base percentage over his final 55 games. 

"He was better. I think he started making some adjustments, some mechanical, some at-bat to at-bat in terms of pitch selection," manager Bud Black said. "Before, you saw him chasing pitches up in the strike zone and also sliders away. I think that a lot of that was him wanting to be aggressive and wanting to help the team."

The Padres are expecting better results from Gyorko in 2015, especially with a revamped lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks.

"We saw in 2013 what Jedd can be, and I think there's more to Jedd based on 2013," Black said. "I think last year there were a lot of factors that went into his season that he expected or adjusted to, but that is something he's hopefully learned from. It's a tough game. You've got to work and stay on top of it. In that regard, I think he learned a lot."


Brewers' Scooter Gennett prepping for full-time role
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Brewers infielder Scooter Gennett is prepping for a full-time role in 2015, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Gennett had a bit of a breakout season in 2014, but platooned with Rickie Weeks. With Weeks now a free-agent, Gennett is looking at a full-time role. "When it comes to playing every day and facing lefties, I’m looking forward to that," he said. "It has been a while. I can finally get back to my game."

Gennett admitted that he doesn't think it will be that hard to adjust to seeing left-handers while at the plate. "For me, it doesn’t matter what side it is coming from if I’m getting consistent at-bats," he said. 

The 24-year-old Gennett hit .289/.320/.434 over 440 at-bats last year.


Cubs' Javier Baez still having issues with strikeouts
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Cubs infielder Javier Baez is still having issues with strikeouts, according to FoxSports.com.

Baez is currently playing in winter ball, where he's struck out in 21 of his 43 at-bats. Strikeouts were a major issue for Baez once he was promoted last season. The 22-year-old posted a 41.5 percent strikeout rate through 213 at-bats with the Cubs. 

Baez is currently involved in the playoffs, where he's been dropped from second to seventh in the lineup. 


Cubs infielder Javier Baez working on improving timing
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) The Cubs have been impressed with how infielder Javier Baez trained this offseason after he hit .169 in 52 games in 2014. Baez, who has been playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, has also lost 15 pounds since the end of the 2014 season.

"His approach to the game and to practice has been really good all winter," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said of Baez, per MLB.com. "He's been showing up to the park [in Puerto Rico] early and working to get better. He's been playing the game hard, he's been playing good defense, he's been staying focused and helping his team win."

Cubs hitting coach John Mallee spent five days working with Baez in Puerto Rico.

"My timing was really late, so that's why I wasn't getting to the fastball and other pitches," Baez said of what he learned from film sessions. "I'm working on getting the timing back and we'll see what happens from there."


Reds 2B Brandon Phillips hoping to stay healthy in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is ready to put a tough 2014 season behind him. Phillips hit just .266 with eight home runs, which was the first time in nine seasons he had less than 10 homers. 

He appeared in only 121 games last season after missing time due to thumb surgery.

"I'm just thinking about health and going out there and trying to have a better 2015," he told MLB.com. "That's the only thing I'm really worried about, just trying to stay healthy, get healthy and trying to be a great teammate and continuing to be myself and getting things done."

Staying healthy is a big concern for Phillips, who said he hasn't been at full strength since the 2011 season.

"When I'm healthy, my play will speak for itself, and I haven't been healthy in three years," he said. "I've played through many injuries. I had wrist surgery the other year, I had thumb surgery this year, I've been playing with a bad calf. There are so many things, but I don't complain about many things, that's just not the type of person I am, but I try to go out there and produce and stay on the field as much as possible, because I feel like I have one career and I'm supposed to go out there and do my job. That's why my numbers haven't been the same, but I still get criticized for being out there."


Report: Giants take Marco Scutaro off 40-man roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/21/2015) Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro was designated for assignment Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The 39-year-old Scutaro, who was limited to five games in 2014 due to a back injury, underwent fusion surgery in late December and was expected to be sidelined 4-6 months. The Giants weren't sure if Scutaro was able to play again following the surgery.

"This is the type of thing, it's 4-6 months before we can know if baseball is possible," general manager Brian Sabean said in December. "I don't want to speak for the doctor or the procedure but you'd have to how he responds to the surgery and that's months away."

Scutaro continues to rehab at his home in Miami. The Giants are checking on him on a regular basis. Based on his progress, the team will decide whether or not to invite him to spring training.

Scutaro, who made the NL All-Star team in 2013, has appeared in 1,391 MLB games over 13 seasons. He has a career .277/.341./.388/.729 slash line.


Kolten Wong's confidence improved after postseason surge
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong had quite the power display in the 2014 postseason. All seven of his postseason hits went for extra bases. He had three doubles, three home runs and one triple.

Wong's postseason power surge has his confidence up heading into 2015, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I think it's going to change my game and allow me to play at a different level that what I've been playing my previous years in the big leagues," Wong said. "I'm going to come in confident, confident in my abilities. and not worry about the 'what ifs?' anymore. I'm confident I can play at this level. It's time for me to fully buy into the fact that I'm a big league player."

Wong added he would like to steal 20-plus bases again and improve his batting average this season.

"At least somewhere above .249," he said, laughing. "That's definitely nothing that I'm proud of." 


Trade of Valbuena doesn't mean Cubs are rushing Bryant to the majors
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday the trade of third baseman Luis Valbuena to Houston and third-base prospect Kris Bryant's roster situation are "totally independent" of each other.

Hoyer added Mike Olt, Tommy La Stella and Arismendy Alcantara could play at third base until Chicago feels Bryant is ready for the majors.

"We are not going to speed up that clock," Hoyer said, per ESPN.

Bryant, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLB draft, has developed into one of the top prospects in baseball. He hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI in 138 games in the minors in 2014.


Astros trade Dexter Fowler to Cubs for Dan Straily, Luis Valbuena
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/19/2015) The Astros traded outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Cubs on Monday in exchange for starting pitcher Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena.

The 28-year-old Fowler spent one season with the Astros after being acquired in a December 2013 trade with the Rockies. He is in his final year of arbitration after making $7.35 million in 2014. Fowler has a career .271/366/.419/.786 slash line over seven MLB seasons. He has a career .136 average (3 for 22) in nine career games at Wrigley Field.

The 26-year-old Straily is on the move again after Chicago acquired him in a July trade with Oakland. Straily is 13-12 with a 4.54 ERA in 48 MLB appearances (42 starts).

The 29-year-old Valbuena has spent the last three seasons with the Cubs. He hit .249 with a career-best 16 home runs, 33 doubles and 55 RBI in 149 games in 2014. He has a career .229 average over seven MLB seasons with the Mariners, Indians and Cubs.


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