Padres OF Justin Upton scratched Friday due to illness
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:15 pm ET) Padres outfielder Justin Upton was scratched from Friday's spring game against the White Sox due to illness, per U-T San Diego. He was replaced in the lineup by Rymer Liriano.

"He's not feeling great," manager Bud Black said. "He should be back in a day or two, once he gets back to close to 100 percent. He's just a little bit under the weather. In this case, how he's feeling, it just doesn't make sense for him to be around the ballpark."

Upton hit a solo home run during his spring debut Wednesday.

"He's been working hard these first 10 days of camp, and leading up to camp, he was working hard," Black said. "This won't hurt him, a few days off the field."


Businessman convicted in Puig's smuggling case gets month in prison
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:43 am ET) U.S. District Judge Robert Scola announced Friday that Gilberto Suarez has been sentenced to a month in prison for his role in the smuggling of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig out of Cuba, according to the Associated Press. The South Florida businessman also received five months of house arrest.

Scola gave Suarez less than the one-year maximum partly because his smuggling role was limited to getting Puig to the Mexico-Texas border in 2012. 

Suarez was one of the Miami-based financiers of the venture in which Puig was taken by boat from Cuba to Mexico. The financiers were to receive a portion of Puig's contract. He eventually signed a seven-year, $42 million deal with the Dodgers.

Court documents showed Suarez received $2.5 million from Puig's contract. However, Suarez has agreed to forfeit a house, a condominium and a Mercedes-Benz.


Cardinals' Grichuk (back) set to get into spring game Saturday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:21 am ET) Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Friday outfielder Randal Grichuk, who has been slowed by lower back soreness, is expected to play in Saturday's spring game against the Nationals, per MLB.com.

Rockies' Charlie Blackmon hoping for more consistency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is hoping for more consistency in 2015, according to the Denver Post

Blackmon had a breakout season in 2014, but admits it's hard to be on every single game. "Last year, I swung the bat really well at certain times," he said. "But you go through a lot of ups and downs over 162 games, and that was a learning experience. I think that's going to help me this year."

Blackmon said his strong start made him a target for other teams, and that may have contributed to a slight slump during the season. Blackmon added that he's hoping to hit the ball to all fields this season.

Manager Walt Weiss is hoping Blackmon can deliver more of the same. "I don't know if he necessarily has to have an encore. I'm thinking more of the same," Weiss said. "I think Charlie would say that he wants to be more consistent."

The 28-year-old Blackmon hit .288/.335/.440 over 593 at-bats last year. 


Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman gets strong marks at first
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman received strong reviews after playing his first game at first base this spring, according to MLB.com.

"He is still in the stages of having to think about it out there, because it's not natural yet," manager Matt Williams said. "He looked fine. He has fantastic hands." Zimmerman was tested during the start, and had to make two scoops in order to prevent possible throwing errors. 

He's been taking extra practice at the position this spring, and was fairly happy with how his first game turned out. "You can do so many drills, exercises and things like that until you have to go out there and play," Zimmerman said. "So it's nice to have a few chances. The more I play over there, the more comfortable I will get. I feel fine."

Zimmerman, 30, hit .280/.342/.449 over 214 at-bats last year. 


Mets' Juan Lagares taking it easy with his elbow
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Mets outfielder Juan Lagares is taking it easy with his elbow thus far, according to MLB.com.

Lagares missed the final two weeks of 2014 due to an elbow injury, but said he doing well now. "I feel great right now," Lagares said. "I feel 100 percent. I just want to take it easy -- not easy, but I don't want to throw everything I've got right now."

Lagares has had opportunities to throw out some base-runners this spring, but has erred on the side of caution. Manager Terry Collins said he's completely fine with that strategy. 

"He did it the right way and I'm real proud of him," Collins said. "He could have sent a message to everybody -- 'Look, I'm fine.' And he was smart enough to say, 'I'll worry about it in April.'"

Lagares, 25, hit .281/.321/.382 over 416 at-bats last year. 


Padres' Wil Myers hoping to prove the doubters wrong
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) Padres outfielder Wil Myers is hoping he can prove the doubters wrong this season, according to MLB.com.

Myers not only has a lot to prove at the plate, but he also wants to show that he can handle his new defensive position. "Going into this year, I have a lot of doubters out there. I not only want to prove them wrong but prove to myself that I can play a good center field," Myers said.

He continued, "I've played a lot there in the minor leagues. And hearing everyone say, 'I don't think he can play center field,' is going to motivate me to play a great center field."

Manager Bud Black seems encouraged by Myers' defensive play thus far. "He's looking good, good angles, good routes, good hands, athletic," Black said. "His speed is fine. His strides look good tracking fly balls. He's an athletic guy. From what we've seen so far [it's been] all good."

The 24-year-old hit .222/.294/.320 over 325 at-bats last season. 


Diamondbacks encouraged by Yasmany Tomas
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Diamondbacks were encouraged by Yasmany Tomas' play at third on Thursday, according to azcentral.com.

Tomas didn't make every play, but was able to convert on five of his six chances at the hot corner. Manager Chip Hale said the team was "encouraged" by what Tomas showed during the game. 

Hale also complimented Tomas at the plate, even though the infielder doesn't have a hit yet this spring. "He's much lighter on his feet than you would think he is," Hale said. "Even running down the line, he doesn't get hits every time but when he hits it, he hustles down the line and looks like he can get down there pretty good."

Tomas is attempting to win the third base job during camp. He's expected to open the year in the majors even if the team converts him back to the outfield. 


Pirates GM Neal Huntington thinks OF Andrew Lambo is a nice fit
(3/5/2015) Pirates outfielder Andrew Lambo has the support of his general manager Neal Huntington, according to the team's official website.

"Andrew has put together two really strong years at Triple-A," Huntington noted. "If you look at the numbers at the end of the year, he actually outplayed [Gregory] Polanco. Most people don't remember that, they think of him like, 'At 25, he's kind of an afterthought.' But he's a player we still like and believe could fit in as a nice piece for us."

That confidence has spread as Lambo looks forward to contributing at a high level.

"This year I'm confident, physically and mentally focused and ready," Lambo said. "Last year I was unprepared, not confident."

The 26-year-old has a batting average of .280 in the minors.  He is looking to continue to make strides while in the majors.

"I'm not going to tell you I'm going to hit .700. But I'll tell you what: I'm not going to worry about it if I hit .100," said Lambo, who continues to split defensive drills between the outfield and first base. "I'm worried about just swinging well, not worried about the results."

 


Phillies hoping for bounce back from Domonic Brown
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3/5/2015) The Phillies are hoping outfielder Domonic Brown can bounce back in 2015, according to MLB.com.

"One thing about Domonic is he did hit 20-some home runs one year. He has done it," club president Pat Gillick said. "I don't know if he's going to do it again, but he's one guy who has shown offensively that he's capable of it."

Gillick went on to add, "we want him to succeed, and if he's going to succeed, we want him to succeed here."

The 27-year-old Brown made Gillick look good on Thursday, going 2 for 5 with a double during the team's spring game. Manager Ryne Sandberg was impressed by the performance.

"He had four good at-bats, hit two to the warning track," said Sandberg.

Brown hit .235/.285/.349 over 473 at-bats last year. 


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