White Sox RP Zach Duke adds arm angle
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:47 pm ET) White Sox reliever Zach Duke said Friday that he's added an arm angle rather than adjust his normal angle, MLB.com reports.

"I didn't adjust my arm angle. I added a second one," Duke said. "So, I throw from multiple angles. That's really what it is. I still throw from my normal angle. I just added a second one."

Duke used the new arm angle prominently during Friday's bullpen session.

"It's kind of a sidearm one that I incorporated, and I've got fastballs and breaking balls from both," Duke said. "The hitter doesn't really know which one I'm going to throw from at any time. It really helps me just as far as reactions from the hitter are concerned. They don't know where the ball is going to come from."

"There's not a lot [of pitchers] that can sit there and change arm angles and be effective and hit spots like he can," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "It's definitely an added bonus when you can get a guy to do that without hurting himself."

Duke made 74 relief appearances with the Brewers in 2014, going 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 74:17 K:BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings.


Dodgers RP Kenley Jansen fitted for protective boot
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:57 pm ET) Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was fitted for a protective boot Friday as he continues to recover from surgery, MLB.com reports.

After Jansen has his stitches removed next week, Jansen will be able to begin placing weight on the foot and gradually increase athletic activity. He is expected to be out until at least the end of April after having a growth removed from his fifth metatarsal.


Rockies' Chad Bettis to compete for starting role
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis spent most of 2014 as a reliever but was converted into a starter late in the year and will compete for a rotation spot this spring, MLB.com reports.

"It was relief, so to speak," Bettis said. "I was back at home. I was at ease with it. And I had it cut out this offseason trying to get back to where I was starting-wise. It's definitely a good thing. I've been through it before, competing for a spot. But it's controlling what you can and keeping it as simple as you can."

Bettis also said he, his coaches and manager Walt Weiss felt he has to sharpen the location of his fastball, which has had "inconsistent movement … they brought that to my attention, and I completely agree."

Bettis posted a 9.12 ERA and 13:10 K:BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2014. He also made 20 appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs, including five starts, and posted a 3.09 ERA and 55:21 K:BB ratio in 55 1/3 innings.


Melvin: Failed talks to acquire Papelbon led to K-Rod contract
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the decision to sign closer Francisco Rodriguez to a two-year contract happened because talks were going nowhere in their attempt to acquire Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

“We did engage them and didn’t come to a comparable deal for both sides,” Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We had a lot of conversations. It’s complicated because of next year with the $13 million (vesting option). Even if you agree to a deal, you have to go to the agent about the no-trade (clause to Milwaukee)."

Papelbon will be paid $13 million next season if he finishes 48 games in 2015.


White Sox's Robertson won't see 'ton of opportunities' in Cactus League
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:38 pm ET) Because his role on the team is already defined, White Sox closer David Robertson is not expected to see "a ton of opportunities" during the Cactus League season, according to ESPN.

"Even talking to him, he doesn't need a lot of appearances to really be ready," manager Robin Ventura said. "I think more goes on what he does right now (in workouts before games). I know he's not going to sit there and have 20 appearances in spring training just to be ready. I would say 10, or less. Really it's up to him. He's been around long enough to understand what he needs to be ready."

Robertson signed four-year, $46 million deal with the White Sox this offseason, and is entering camp with high expectations. He converted 39 of 44 save opportunities in 2014 for the Yankees, registering a 3.08 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP over 64 1/3 innings of work.

"I really ease into spring training," Robertson said. "We've got 45 days here to get ready. If I can’t be ready in 45 days, there's something wrong. I look at it as a chance to get out here and slowly get yourself acclimated and get back to playing baseball. Obviously I've done things in the offseason to get my body to where it needs to be. It's just a matter of getting back on the field and getting in tune with everything."


Twins P Ryan Pressly hoping to earn bullpen spot
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:25 pm ET) Relief pitcher Ryan Pressly was able to crack the Twins' roster in 2013 only to spend most of last season in the minors, thanks to three minor-league options he had left. 

This spring training, Pressly is looking to do enough to prove he deserves a spot on the Twins roster once camp is over. 

"We'll see how everything kind of plays out," Pressly said. "It's going to be interesting. You've got guys like [Michael] Tonkin and Lester [Oliveros] who are going to come out of the gates swinging. I just have to control what I can control. So, it's about who shows up and who has a good spring, and I'm hoping I have a good spring like I did in 2013."

With Triple-A Rochester, Pressly posted a 2.98 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. When he was called up to the Twins in July, he posted a 2.86 ERA in 25 games. 


Astros' Castro impressed with BP sessions by Oberholtzer, Deduno
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:10 pm ET) Astros catcher Jason Castro was behind the plate while Brett Oberholtzer and Samuel Deduno threw live batting practice Friday and liked what he saw from both pitchers, per the Houston Chronicle

“Obie looked good,” Castro said. “He had some good movement today, some late life on his sinker. He’s working on throwing changeups to lefties and righties, so it will be good for him. His curveball’s got some good bite on it too. For him at this point it’s just about finding that command because the movement is definitely there.

“Deduno was good. He’s the kind of guy that’s got unbelievable movement. He impressed me with his changeup actually today. I think that was a pitch that has probably improved the most since what I remember from him last year. Both of those guys look pretty good.”


Astros P Luis Cruz jams fingers during practice
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) When attempting to field a grounder, Astros pitcher Luis Cruz jammed his fingers, according to the Houston Chronicle

However, Cruz is expecting to be OK for a Saturday throwing session. 

“It feels a bit swollen, but they are icing it,” Cruz said. “It felt like my fingers went back on the grounder. Because the climate is so cold that’s why it hurts me so much, but it wasn’t so hard.”


Tigers bring back pitcher Ryan Perry to minor-league deal
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) The Tigers brought back a familiar face to their organization. 

Detroit signed pitcher Ryan Perry to a minor-league deal, according to mlive.com. Perry was a former first-round pick from the 2008 draft, though he didn't pan out as the Tigers initially thought. 

"Our scouts saw him throw side sessions, bullpens," Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila said. "They said he looked healthy and he was throwing hard."

The last time Perry played in the majors was in 2012 with the Nationals. He posted a 10.13 ERA in seven appearances. 

Rangers RP Edgar Olmos sidelined due to shoulder injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:57 pm ET) Rangers reliever Edgar Olmos, who was claimed off waivers Tuesday, has developed an impingement in the back of his left shoulder and will be shut down for a few days, per MLB.com.

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