Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts: 'Strongest I've ever felt'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been working out at the EXOS performance institute in Arizona, the facility where second baseman Dustin Pedroia trains every offseason. ESPN.com says Bogaerts feels he's pushed himself more than ever before, "and the results are showing."

"This is probably the strongest I’ve ever felt going into a season -- and by far,” Bogaerts said, via the website. “I’m definitely real excited for the season.”

Bogaerts, 22, had an up-and-down 2014 season, his first full year in the majors. He finished at .240 with 12 homers and 46 RBI in 144 games.

He'll spend a few more weeks training in Arizona before reporting to spring training.

“I kind of never challenged my body to lift heavier weights because I’ve always tried to kind of maintain the same,” Bogaerts said. “Getting the knowledge from those kind of guys and just trusting the whole system that they have over there and just pushing your body, it’s really a difference than any years I’ve had in the past.

“It was mostly gym and conditioning and speed and stuff like that, power and speed. It was definitely something that I really enjoyed.”


Santana, Escobar to compete to be Twins' starting shortstop
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/27/2015) While Danny Santana is considered the front-runner to be the Twins' starting shortstop, first-year manager Paul Molitor said nothing has been decided yet. Santana will compete with Eduardo Escobar for the starting job this spring.

"It's probably been one of the more awkward things for me this winter in dealing with that situation," Molitor said, per MLB.com. "Obviously, I have to go in there open-minded about how it will play out. I can't say Santana will be the shortstop because things can change. Escobar deserves an opportunity to play and whether it's spotting around the organization or he has to go back to shortstop, I can't tell you it all will work out."

Escobar started a team-high 86 games at shortstop in 2014 for Minnesota. He made it clear he wants to play every day, but is willing to play where Molitor needs him.

"This season is important for me," Escobar said. "I'm coming in ready to play. I don't know if I'm going to be the starting shortstop or not, but I've been working hard to be ready for spring training. If Molitor wants me to play shortstop, or wherever, I'm ready for it."

Santana said he is excited he is moving back to shortstop after making a team-high 62 starts in center field last year. He's been fielding 200 grounders per day in the Dominican Republic to get ready for the season.

"I'm very happy about playing shortstop. I was waiting for that moment," Santana said. "Shortstop is my natural position. I just need to keep working and I can do the same thing as last year."


Red Sox's Hanley Ramirez confident he can play outfield
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) When Hanley Ramirez makes his spring training debut, he’ll be trying to learn new teammates and a new position.

The Red Sox signed Ramirez in the offseason with the intent of having him play in left field. Ramirez has never played in the outfield during his career, but has been working on outfield mechanics, including tracking balls and hitting the cutoff man. Ramirez believes the switch from the infield to the outfield will be seamless, once he receives enough experience, reports ESPN.com.

"I think if I put in all the work that I need to put to get better it's not going to be that hard," Ramirez said.


Tigers' Ausmus is expecting Jose Iglesias to be starting shortstop
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is confident shortstop Jose Iglesias, who missed all of the 2014 season due to stress fractures in both legs, will be able to return to his role as the team's everyday shortstop, per MLive.com.

"The short answer is yes, I'm under the impression he's ready (to play everyday). That being said, he still has to go out there and do it," Ausmus said. "We've got to get him out there and see if he can withstand a pounding. But as of right this second, we're under the impression he'll be healthy."


Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez avoids arbitration with one-year deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Astros and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez have come to terms on a $1.0625 million contract for next season, avoiding arbitration, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reports. Gonzalez reportedly asked for $1.4 million, while Houston initially offered $900K. 

Gonzalez posted a .277 batting average, a .400 slugging percentage, with 23 RBI over 285 at-bats last season.


Hanley to report to camp by second week of Feb. to begin OF work
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez, who hasn't played in the outfield during a major-league game, will report to spring training by the second week of February to start working with coach Arnie Beyeler.

“He’s been in the Dominican for a good chunk of the winter and he’s been doing outfield stuff down there,” general manager Ben Cherington said, per The Boston Globe.


Astros SS prospect Correa: 'Anxious,' 'ready' to get back on field
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Astros shortstop prospect Carlos Correa, who has been sidelined since late June due to a fractured fibula, said he is back to 100 percent, per MLB.com.

"I’m anxious because I want to show them I’m ready and I’m back, and my ankle is feeling great," he said.

Correa, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, has logged just 229 games in the minors and hasn't played above high Class A. Although, it seems he is very eager to make his MLB debut.

“I can’t wait for the moment to be up there," he said.


Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias adamant about being 100 percent
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias, who missed the 2014 season due to stress fractures in both shins, reiterated multiple times Thursday he will be ready for spring training, per the Detroit Free Press.

"I will be 100 percent for spring training," said Iglesias, who was cleared by doctors for all physical activity last week. "I feel great. I'm good to do everything and, obviously, I'm in a spot where I gotta be smart, but I'm cleared to do anything it takes to play baseball."

The only remaining hurdle for Iglesias will be to sprint at 100 percent.

"I'm close to it," he said. "I'm about 75-80 percent every time I run. I've been running, fielding, hitting, jumping and doing everything pain free and I'm excited -- excited – for 2015.

"I'm healthy now and I'm blessed to be in this situation now. I will be good for 2015."


Tigers' Andrew Romine, Hernan Perez to see time in OF this spring
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/22/2015) Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday that infielder Andrew Romine will get some work in the outfield during the spring, MLive.com reports.

Romine appeared in 94 games during the 2014 season, spending most of his time at shortstop, and he's also seen time at second base and third base in his major-league career (as well as one pitching appearance). His only playing time in seven minor-league seasons also came at those same three infield positions.

If Romine is able to handle the outfield defensively, he could serve in the a similar role as utility player Don Kelly, who saw action at every position at all three outfield positions as well as work at first base, second base and third base in each of the Tigers' last two seasons.

Romine, who is out of options, is expected to compete for a roster spot with infielder Hernan Perez, who will also get some playing time in the outfield. Romine hit .227/.279/.275 with two home runs, 12 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 251 at-bats in his first season with the Tigers in 2014. Perez, who has split time primarily between shortstop and second base in the minors, hit .287/.331/.404 with six home runs, 53 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 547 at-bats with Triple-A Toledo.


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