White Sox's Avisail Garcia: Sheds 14 pounds in offseason
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/20/2017) Garcia lost 14 pounds while dedicating himself to getting in better shape this offseason, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Coming off an unremarkable season in which he slashed .245/.307/.382 and posted a 0.5 WAR, Garcia will be hoping to use his slimmed-down figure to improve his agility on defense and on the bases. The 25-year-old outfielder enters the spring with a good chance of earning a starting spot on a White Sox team that is devoid of much outfield depth.


White Sox's Avisail Garcia: Chance to win starting job
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/20/2017) Garcia will be given the opportunity to become the White Sox's starter in right field, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.

Chicago manager Rick Renteria said Garcia will be given a shot to "settle into right field," while mentioning both Willy Garcia and Rymer Liriano being in the mix. The 26-year-old Avisail Garcia has been a regular in the lineup the last two seasons, getting at-bats as a corner outfielder and designated hitter. One might think a player with 966 at-bats and 268 games played over the previous two seasons might be a lock to start in 2017, but the rebuilding White Sox are in no position to be handing out starting jobs -- particularly to a corner outfielder, who has limited power and a high ground-ball rate.


Mariners' Nelson Cruz: Excited about WBC and coming season
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/20/2017) Cruz, who will try to help the Mariners break their 15-year postseason drought in 2017, is highly optimistic about the coming season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I think we're more ready," the 36-year-old designated hitter said. "If you go from Kyle [Seager] to all the young guys that were here, guys that haven't been in the playoffs, the last week and a half last year was very exciting. Every at-bat was important, every pitch was important. But we came up short. So we need to make sure this year we're on top and clinch early."

The veteran slugger has a full schedule, considering he'll also be helping Team Dominican Republic defend its World Baseball Classic title alongside Mariners teammate Robinson Cano next month. Cruz's main focus is on his major league squad, however, as he attempts to help Seattle break its dubious streak of missing the postseason. Following an impressive 2016 campaign that saw him post a .287/.360/.555 line with 43 homers and 105 RBI, Cruz didn't rest on his laurels in the offseason, toiling away at the gym and checking in to spring training five pounds lighter than at the end of last season. With Seattle just missing an AL wild-card berth in 2016, Cruz is hopeful that the experience of competing late in the season, along with the flurry of offseason moves by general manager Jerry DiPoto, will be enough to propel the Mariners to the next level. "Now hopefully we can stay healthy. We should be in good shape. We should be at the top of the division."


Angels' Albert Pujols: Progressing well, but won't play Saturday
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/19/2017) Pujols (foot) said that he is progressing well, but he will certainly not be ready for the Angels' Cactus League debut and is still questionable for Opening Day, the Orange County Register reports.

Pujols -- who wasn't able to run last week -- said that he has been running on an Ultra G treadmill in an effort to reduce the impact on his lower body. He has also been swinging in the cages and reported no soreness afterwords. These are all promising signs after the slugger underwent foot surgery in December. The Angels will likely play it cautious with Pujols and we may not not see much -- if any -- of him in spring training games.


Astros' Evan Gattis: Does some light throwing
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/19/2017) Gattis (shoulder) got in some light throwing Sunday morning, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.

Gattis' progress from his shoulder soreness is certainly a good sign, as it has prevented him from participating in baseball activities early in camp. There's still plenty of time for him to get caught up before the start of the regular season. When healthy, the 30-year-old slugger figures to see time as both the backup catcher behind Brian McCann and as the designated hitter, where Carlos Beltran also figures into the mix.


Astros' Evan Gattis: Resumes catching
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/19/2017) Gatts (shoulder) participated in catching drills Saturday, but has not yet resumed throwing, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Soreness popped up in Gattis' right shoulder, preventing him from taking part in baseball activities. Next up, the Astros will get him throwing and taking at bats. Houston starts playing in games Feb. 25, so Gattis will have several days to get up to speed. The Astros view him as the backup catcher, who will serve as designated hitter from time to time.


Tigers' Victor Martinez: Ready to go, takes ground balls
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/18/2017) Martinez says he is ready to go and took ground balls at first base Saturday, Evan Woodbery of MLive.com reports.

It's positive news for the Tigers after Martinez underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason. The fielding drills are a great sign, but expect the veteran slugger to be eased back into normal baseball activities this spring. Martinez crushed 27 home runs last season, evidence he has not slowed down with age.


Astros' Evan Gattis: Will participate in catching drills
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/18/2017) Gattis (shoulder) will participate in catching drills Saturday, Brian McTaggert of MLB.com reports.

The drills include throwing the ball back to the pitcher, something Gattis did not do in his light workout on Friday. The 30-year-old is evidently making progress in his recovery from shoulder inflammation and could return to regular action soon for the Astros.


Astros' Preston Tucker: Cleared for baseball activities
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/16/2017) Tucker (shoulder) was medically cleared for baseball work earlier this month, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.

He's still recovering from September shoulder surgery. Tucker has been throwing for a couple of weeks and hit off a tee earlier this week. The club expects him to play spring games sometime in March. As long as the starting outfield is healthy, he'll likely to start the year at Triple-A Fresno. He posted a .164/.222/.328 line with four home runs and eight RBI in 134 at-bats with the Astros last season.


Rangers' Joey Gallo: Likely headed to Triple-A
by RotoWire Staff | Special to CBSSports.com
(2/16/2017) Gallo will have a chance this spring to join the Rangers' left field mix, but will most likely open the year at Triple-A, playing third base, first base and left field, the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant reports.

The signing of Mike Napoli moves Jurickson Profar from first base to left field, and Ryan Rua is a natural platoon partner for Profar, so Gallo is likely ticketed for Round Rock. Everyone knows Gallo's strengths (elite raw power) and weaknesses (major swing and miss issues) at this point. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, either in spring training or at Triple-A, there should be opportunities for him to see at-bats against righties in the majors at some point this season. He suffered a strained hamstring in late October during winter ball, but the injury was only expected to require six weeks to recover, so he should be fully healthy.


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