Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton can't find a rhythm Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton tossed six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing six hits, including two home runs and no strikeouts. Morton, who is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation, is still recovering from labrum surgery six months ago.

"Physically, Charlie is in a good place," manager Clint Hurdle said to MLB.com. "He is trying to make some mechanical adjustments in his delivery, but we don't have any health concerns about him."

Morton isn't worried about fixing mechanical issues just yet.

"Now is a tough time to put a lot of emphasis on mechanics," said Morton. "I gotta go pitch, adjustments or no adjustments."

Diamondbacks pitcher Jeremy Hellickson tosses 75 pitches Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Diamondbacks pitcher Jeremy Hellickson tossed 75 pitches Saturday after getting an extra few days of rest for arm fatigue. He feels his arm is ready to go for the start of the season, reports MLB.com.

"I thought his stuff was good," manager Chip Hale said. "Used his offspeed stuff and looked like he confused some hitters, so that's what we're looking for."

Hellickson allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched Saturday.

"I'd like to not give up as many hits as I've given up two of the four starts anyway," said Hellickson. "The good thing is I don't think too many of them were hard hit. Curveball still has a ways to go, but I think the fastball and fastball command is pretty much where I want it. The changeup wasn't bad today. It was a little better last time, but for the most part it was down today which is all I can ask for."

Cardinals' Lance Lynn surrenders two runs in outing Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn gave up two runs on six hits, including a home run, in five innings of work Saturday against the Tigers.

Lynn added five strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 4.50.

"It was good to get out there and face hitters and get your pitches in and get your work done and come out of it healthy," Lynn said to MLB.com. "That's all that really matters right now. I've felt good the last two times out with everything. I'm just going to keep going that direction."

Rockies pitching prospect Jon Gray struggles in rout
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Rockies top pitching prospect Jon Gray lasted just 2/3 of an inning Saturday against the Cubs, allowing seven runs, six earned, on four hits with two strikeouts.

Gray, who's ERA is now 5.93 this spring, is happy it happened now instead of during the regular season, according to the Denver Post.

"I would rather have a bad game the first outing, but it can't always be that way," Gray said. "This was unfortunate, but it's all about how you respond. I've responded well in the past, and I think I will be able to again."

Manager Walt Weiss still doesn't put all the blame on Gray for the struggles.

"We made it tough on him, and I think he made it tough on himself with a couple of bunts back to him," Weiss said. "We didn’t play well behind him. We looked up and he was 40 pitches in, and you don't want that in the first inning. So we got him out of there."

Braves pitcher Alex Wood surrenders three runs in outing
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Braves pitcher Alex Wood went six innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, allowing three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts.

"I thought it was good for the most part. I think I'm getting closer," Wood said to MLB.com. "I think they hit a lot of weak ground balls. Hit a couple hard, but overall I thought it was good. ... Get that next [start] done, and I'll be right where I need to be."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez liked that Wood was able to see some real game scenarios in his appearance.

"You know what was good about it today? He got himself in a couple jams," Gonzalez said. "It was nice to see that he had to get out of those jams, working through those things.

"Because sometimes you go 1-2-3, 1-2-3 every single time, it's a little different. You don't get the adrenaline, the juices flowing. Today he faced a really, really good right-handed dominant lineup and he did great."

Diamondbacks pitcher Rubby De La Rosa could be No. 2 starter
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale has named his Opening Day starter, Josh Collmenter, but has yet to unveil the rest of his starting rotation. Because Collmenter and another starter, Jeremy Hellickson, have similar styles, Hale is considering Rubby De La Rosa as the No. 2 when the season begins, reports MLB.com.

"We are in serious discussion about doing something like that," Hale said.

De La Rosa has a 3.75 ERA in four appearances this spring. He's recorded 11 strikeouts with five earned runs allowed in 12 innings pitched.

Padres P Tyson Ross feeling good, ready for start of season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Padres pitcher Tyson Ross is feeling ready to get the season under way, according to the Press-Enterprise.

“Physically I felt good,” he said. “It’s been a good spring so far, another step in the right direction … I had a good feel for my sinker today and I was able to get some strikeouts with that, running it back away from right-handed hitters and not just using my slider.”

Ross is working on his changeup and he wants to use it more often.

“It’s kind of hard when the other pitches are working well, but it’s going to be a pitch I need to use the third time through the lineup, to get a little separation (in speed) off the fastball and slider,” he said. “I mixed in a couple today and I’m going to keep working it in.”

Manager Bud Black said that could be what he needs to get to the next level.

“It’s tough, because if you take a regular season game and he’s fighting like heck to keep the other team from scoring, you never want to get beat on your third or fourth pitch,” Black said. “The other two are so devastating, it’s tough not to go in that direction.”

On Saturday, the right-hander struck out 12 batters in six innings while giving up six hits and one run.

Ross, 27, has a career ERA of 3.70 with 416 stirkeouts and 186 walks in five years of play.

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta does it all in start Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta tossed five strike outs over four scoreless innings of work Saturday. Arrieta also added a three-run home run and an RBI double to help his own cause, something he simply called a good work day, reports MLB.com.

"i like it," Arrieta said. "I think it allows us to put a little speed behind me. I feel I can handle the bat well. Depending on the situation, I feel I can put a bunt down efficiently."

Arrieta feels comfortable with the bat in his hand, partially why manager Joe Maddon is considering batting the pitcher eighth in the order.

"It is the pitcher, and it seems like a break in the lineup, but we feel we can do some damage there and help us out," Arrieta said.

Braves P Shelby Miller looking forward to new start
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) After being traded from the Cardinals, Braves pitcher Shelby Miller is looking forward to a new start with his new ball club, reports MLB.com. He spent his first three years with the Cardinals.

"I'm looking forward to a clean start to the season because getting traded over from St. Louis, you never really expect that," Miller said. "It's everything I've known, being drafted by them and coming through the farm system and stuff like that.

"But it's exciting. You're getting traded from a good team to another. I'm excited about the opportunity with my new teammates. I think we have a great chance to do something special here in Atlanta, and I'm looking forward to helping however I can."

Over his career, the right-hander has an ERA 3.33 with 312 strikeouts and 134 walks.

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg roughed up in start Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is still washing off the effects of a sprained left ankle suffered last week in the weight room. It showed Saturday as Strasburg gave up four runs on four hits, including two home runs, in four innings.

"It's kinda like a trust factor," Strasburg said. "You sprain your ankle really bad you're bracing for it so it's hard to get over that. I didn't really feel anything alarming so it's progress. I've just gotta keep going out there and I'm sure it'll be an afterthought soon."

Strasburg still thinks he has enough time to get his ankle right for his first start of the regular season.

"Yeah, it's going to have to be," Strasburg said. "The thing is you make 33 starts. The biggest thing is having the stamina up there, and I'm just going to go out there and give everything I have and keep plugging along."

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