Twins' Kurt Suzuki fine after taking pitch off kneecap
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said he would be fine after taking a pitch off his kneecap area Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Ryan Pressly slipped while attempting to deliver a changeup during a live batting practice session Saturday, and the ball crossed up the catcher.

"It was my fault," Pressly said. "I just slipped on the mound and yanked a changeup down. The ball caught (Suzuki) in the meaty part right between the shinguard and the padding. There's a little spot where he's vulnerable."

Manager Paul Molitor said Suzuki wasn't added to the team's post-workout injury report.


Orioles' Matt Wieters to catch intrasquad game Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be behind the plate in a game situation for the first time since May when he starts Sunday's intrasquad game, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"This is a day I've been waiting for about nine months now," Wieters said. "It's what I enjoy doing and even though it won't be full catching and throwing and doing everything full, it's still nice to get behind the plate and be able to get work in as a catcher at least."

Wieters, who had elbow ligament reconstruction surgery last June, is scheduled to catch two innings Sunday. He won't throw at 100 percent until March 17 but will continue to work in simulatd scenarios behind the plate in order to allow him to catch five-to-seven innings when he's ready for Grapefruit League games.


Tigers catcher Alex Avila expected to be back Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/28/2015) Tigers catcher Alex Avila is still dealing with a back injury and will not participate in practice Saturday, reports MLive.com. It is the second consecutive day Avila will miss with the back injury.

Manager Brad Ausmus said he'd be shocked if Avila is not practicing Sunday. 


Royals' Pena thinks extra offseason reps will help him earn a spot
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Royals backup catcher Francisco Pena told reporters that his reps for the Dominican Republican in the Caribbean Series earlier in February could help him win a spot on the roster this spring, per MLB.com.

"I feel like the more games you play, the more chances you have to get better," Pena said. "I love baseball. It's what I know. I was inspired by watching the World Series, and I saw how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there. That's also something my father taught me, to work hard and be prepared."

Pena was a September callup last season, but only made one appearance in the majors in 2014. Although it's early in camp, Pena has an outside shot to make the club. The Royals have Erik Kratz currently listed as the backup to starter Salvador Perez.


Mariners catcher prospect John Hicks on the radar for MLB callup
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Mariners catcher John Hicks might not be on the radar as an elite prospect, but after posting a .288/.337/.419/.756 slash line through four minor-league seasons, he at least has the attention of the Mariners' decision makers.

“He’s a catcher who has the ability to do a lot of things,” manager Lloyd McClendon said, per The News Tribune. “His bat plays. He’s got a bright future. He’ll probably see significant playing time this spring.”

Hicks is expected to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma, but he could make his MLB debut in 2015.

“Listen, you’re on the 40-man roster,” McClendon said. “You’re on that roster for a reason. That’s to (the club to) protect you in case we have injuries. Then you move up.

“So, yeah, there’s a chance he could see time in the big leagues this year if there’s an injury.”


Twins C Josmil Pinto has eyes set on improving defensively
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Twins catcher Josmil Pinto struggled defensive last season. He was unable to throw out a base steals in all 20 attempts in 2014. Pinto, who is an early favorite to secure a backup spot behind Kurt Suzuki this season, told reporters he played Venezuela this offseason to get more reps and improve his skills defensively, according to MLB.com.

"That's the first reason I went to Venezuela," Pinto said. "I wanted to catch a couple games and improve my defense. It was the first year I played a complete season. So it was good.

"Improving my defense is the most important part to me making the team," Pinto said. "And I want to make the team."


Astros manager A.J. Hinch offers advice to C Max Stassi
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) During a batting practice session Friday, Astros manager A.J. Hinch noticed he could assist with some fundamental work behind the plate with catcher Max Stassi

With Stassi catching pitcher Chad Qualls, Hinch advised him to turn his shoulder on certain pitches, according to the Houston Chronicle

“There’s some angles you try to create both for the visual for the pitcher and also for the benefit of the umpire,” he said. “With all the talk of the framing stuff, we want to get the most strikes out of our pitchers. There’s certainly techniques to pay attention to even in side sessions and live BPs.”

For Stassi, it appears he was happy with the advice from Hinch, a former major-league catcher. 

“He’s caught in the big leagues," Stassi said. "He’s been there and done that. He was just giving me a few tips. It’s just framing and the positioning of your body too. It’s just real simple, a better presentation of the pitch for your pitcher and the umpire.


Back injury keeps Tigers' Alex Avila out of workouts Friday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said catcher Alex Avila didn't participate in workouts Friday due to a sore back. He is being listed as day to day, per MLB.com.

Vazquez on Varitek: Great teacher, the Google of baseball
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez seems to be very happy with the lessons he is learning from former Red Sox catcher and captain Jason Varitek.

"Great, great teacher," Vazquez said of Varitek, per MLB.com. "I call him the Google of baseball. It's so great to have somebody like him. It's a pleasure.

"Right now, we're working on receiving and getting the ball to travel more and just let it breathe. That's helped me. Varitek tells me I need to talk to each pitcher about what he likes, what he doesn't like. It's very important to get that trust. I'm like a manager now. I need to be in charge, calling games.

"I'm ready to help this team to win and help my teammates. We have a great group of pitchers here and we're trying to win this year and get to the playoffs. I'm here to win and helping the team. I'm excited to be here."


Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday tweaked his stance, swing
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Tigers backup catcher Bryan Holaday told reporters he has tweaked his stance and swing after experiencing an "eye-opening" 2014 campaign, according to the Detroit Free Press

"I've made a lot of adjustments; I feel better and I'm more confident," Holaday said. "I've done a little tweaking with my stance and my swing to make it more efficient. Basically shortened the swing to make my timing better."

Holaday hit .231/.266/.276 in 171 at-bats last season. Manager Brad Ausmus appears to be impressed by Holaday's adjustments at the plate early on.

"He looks good swinging the bat," Ausmus said. "It's early, but he looks good."


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