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  1. #101  
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    Yelich, Brewers focus on clean slate
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PHOENIX (AP) Christian Yelich has already had conversations with some of his Milwaukee Brewers teammates about their biggest message this spring after coming up one win short of the World Series.


    ''What you did last year means nothing basically. Whether it was good or bad for you as an individual or as a team, it means absolutely nothing. It doesn't matter,'' Yelich said. ''We all start with a clean slate. It's all what are you going to do in 2019 to help the Brewers win.''


    Even for the young slugging outfielder who was the NL MVP after nearly winning the Triple Crown (.326, 36 homers, 110 RBIs) in his first season with the Brewers.


    Milwaukee's first full-squad workout is Tuesday, four months after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series. The Brewers made a late-September surge to force a Game 163 tiebreaker, beat the Chicago Cubs for their first NL Central title since 2011 and swept Colorado in the NL Division Series.


    ''It was a little shorter offseason, not much time for vacation,'' starter Jhoulys Chacin said. ''My vacation was being in the playoffs. That was my time to go on vacation in October. That was perfect. We'll take that every year.''


    The core of the Brewers is still pretty much intact from last season, including Yelich, Chacin, speedy center fielder Lorenzo Cain, 35-homer first baseman Jesus Aguilar and hard-throwing All-Star reliever Josh Hader.


    ''As a team, you control your own destiny when you have the kind of talent we do here,'' Yelich said. ''You just want to prove that it wasn't a fluke and that you can do it again. And I think that's the drive, that's the motivation going into the season.''


    Catcher Yasmani Grandal, a free agent addition who was with the Dodgers, is the most notable addition. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson could help the rotation after missing last season because of right shoulder surgery.


    Manager Craig Counsell said a new season means a new team that hasn't done anything yet.


    ''This is a brand new team with players in different places in their lives, and different places in their careers, different interactions,'' Counsell said. ''I compared it to soup last year. We're going to make the soup again. Some of the ingredients are the same, but there are some different ingredients in that room, and so it's not the same.''


    When someone asked Counsell about the idea that it's harder to do something again, the fifth-year manager reiterated what he had already said while sitting in his office just outside the new clubhouse that was part of a $60 million renovation to their spring training complex.


    ''I don't think it matters ... That's my point, is what have we done,'' he said. ''This group hasn't done it.''


    The Brewers haven't been to the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 1981-82 with Robin Yount. They lost to St. Louis in a seven-game World Series in 1982.


    Chacin, who was 15-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 35 regular season starts, said while the Brewers had a really good season, it hurt missing out on the World Series.


    ''You want to be in that position again, and win that game,'' he said.


    Hader said that just boosts the motivation going into this season.


    ''Just the accomplishments that us as a whole accomplished was unbelievable,'' said the 24-year-old, whose 143 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings last season set a major league record for a left-handed reliever. ''You feed off that, you got the taste of what to get there felt like. But it's not the whole cake. We've still got to finish.''
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    Revere in Rangers camp with Triple-A deal
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Speedy outfielder Ben Revere is in spring training with the Texas Rangers after signing a Triple-A contract.


    Revere was with the Rangers for their first full-squad workout Monday after completing a successful physical. The 30-year-old left-handed hitter last played in the majors with the Los Angeles Angels in 2017, when he hit .275 with 21 stolen bases in 109 games.


    He is a .284 career hitter with 211 stolen bases for five teams over eight big league seasons.


    There are certainly no guarantees for Revere with the Rangers, who have young outfielders Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Delino DeShields and Willie Calhoun. Veteran Hunter Pence is also in camp on a minor league deal.


    Cincinnati released Revere at the end of spring training last year. He then played 40 games for Triple-A Salt Lake City in the Angels organization before August.
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    2019 Season Win Totals
    February 18, 2019
    By VI News



    2019 Playoff Props


    The 2019 MLB regular season begins much earlier this year, with the first matchup scheduled for Wednesday Mar. 20 as the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners will play a two-game series from Tokyo, Japan.


    Outside of that international set, Opening Day will take place on Thursday Mar. 28, 2019.


    Future Odds have been up since last November after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 Fall Classic.


    The Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook opened their 2019 MLB Win Totals for all 30 teams on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019.


    According to the oddsmakers, Boston and the L.A. Dodgers are expected to be competitve again with their win totals listed at 93 ˝.


    The highest win toals for the upcoming season belong to a pair of American League clubs in the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. The SuperBook opened the pair at 96 ˝.


    Teams expected to be inferior this season include the Baltimore Orioles (59 ˝) and Miami Marlins (63 ˝).


    Listed below are all of 2019 Win Totals posted at the SuperBook.


    2019 MLB Win Totals


    Arizona Diamondbacks 73 ˝
    Atlanta Braves 86 ˝
    Baltimore Orioles 59 ˝
    Boston Red Sox 93 ˝
    Chicago Cubs 89 ˝
    Chicago White Sox 76 ˝
    Cincinnati Reds 79 ˝
    Cleveland Indians 90 ˝
    Colorado Rockies 84 ˝
    Detroit Tigers 69 ˝
    Houston Astros 96 ˝
    Kansas City Royals 70 ˝
    Los Angeles Angels 81 ˝
    Los Angeles Dodgers 93 ˝
    Miami Marlins 63 ˝
    Milwaukee Brewers 86 ˝
    Minnesota Twins 83 ˝
    New York Mets 86 ˝
    New York Yankees 96 ˝
    Oakland A's 83 ˝
    Philadelphia Phillies 86 ˝
    Pittsburgh Pirates 77 ˝
    San Diego Padres 76 ˝
    San Francisco Giants 73 ˝
    Seattle Mariners 70 ˝
    St. Louis Cardinals 88 ˝
    Tampa Bay Rays 84 ˝
    Texas Rangers 71 ˝
    Toronto Blue Jays 75 ˝
    Washington Nationals 89 ˝




    **ALL SIDES ARE -110**
    *Teams Must Play At Least 160 Regular Season Games For Action*
    WAGERS DO NOT INCLUDE POST-SEASON GAMES
    **All Bets Are Action Despite Team Relocation Or Name Change**
    ***No Parlays***


    WAGERS WILL BE PAID FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE TEAM'S LAST REGULAR SEASON GAME
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    2019 Playoff Props
    February 18, 2019
    By VI News



    2019 Season Win Totals


    The Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook released odds on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 for all 30 Major League Baseball teams on whether or not they will qualify for the playoffs this season.


    Houston (-1400), Boston (-600), Cleveland (-800) and the N.Y. Yankees (-800) are the top choices in the American League, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (-1100) are the clear-cut contenders in the National League.


    Listed below are all off the "Yes" and "No" playoff props at the SuperBook.


    2019 MLB Playoff Propositions


    Will the Arizona Diamondbacks make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +900
    No -1600


    Will the Atlanta Braves make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +170
    No -200


    Will the Baltimore Orioles make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +4000
    No -20000


    Will the Boston Red Sox make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -600
    No +425


    Will the Chicago Cubs make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -125
    No +105


    Will the Chicago White Sox make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +800
    No -1400


    Will the Cincinnati Reds make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +425
    No -600


    Will the Cleveland Indians make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -800
    No +550


    Will the Colorado Rockies make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +200
    No -250


    Will the Detroit Tigers make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +2000
    No -10000


    Will the Houston Astros make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -1400
    No +800


    Will the Kansas City Royals make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +2000
    No -10000


    Will the Los Angeles Angels make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +300
    No -400


    Will the Los Angeles Dodgers make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -1100
    No +700


    Will the Miami Marlins make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +4000
    No -20000


    Will the Milwaukee Brewers make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +150
    No -180


    Will the Minnesota Twins make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +240
    No -300


    Will the New York Mets make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +170
    No -200


    Will the New York Yankees make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes - 800
    No +550


    Will the Oakland Athletics make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +240
    No -300


    Will the Philadelphia Phillies make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +170
    No -200


    Will the Pittsburgh Pirates make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +600
    No -900


    Will the San Diego Padres make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +700
    No -1100


    Will the San Francisco Giants make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +900
    No -1600


    Will the Seattle Mariners make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +2000
    No - 10000


    Will the St. Louis Cardinals make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes -110
    No - 110


    Will the Tampa Bay Rays make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +300
    No -400


    Will the Texas Rangers make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +2000
    No -10000


    Will the Toronto Blue Jays make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +1000
    No -2000


    Will the Washington Nationals make the 2019 Playoffs?
    Yes +105
    No -125



    *TEAMS MUST PLAY 160 REGULAR SEASON GAMES FOR ACTION*
    *NO PARLAYS*
    WAGERS WILL BE PAID FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE TEAM'S LAST REGULAR SEASON GAME
    PLAYOFFS BEGIN WITH THE WILD CARD ROUND
    TIE BREAKER GAMES ("GAME 163") ARE NOT PLAYOFF GAMES
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    Harper, Machado chatter looms over Padres camp
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Eric Hosmer knows what Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are dealing as spring training hits its stride.


    Hosmer was a free agent last offseason and signed with the Padres after spring training began. He said players need to be patient while researching a team before making a decision.


    The rebuilding Padres have made pitches to both Harper and Machado.


    ''I didn't hear an offer until about mid-January last year,'' Hosmer said Monday. ''Those guys could be weighing out their options of what's presented to them on the table. You just don't know what's happening. For me, it's one of those things where I've learned to wait back and just wait for it to be official and read all the stuff afterward.''


    The Padres have a glaring hole at third base, where Machado could fit in. But they've also made a push for Harper, who would be an instant upgrade in right field and at the ticket office.


    ''San Diego sells itself,'' Hosmer said. ''Either player, they are a generational talent. They are guys who have done so well at such a young age and have so much more left in the tank. I think it just shows where this organization is at and where we are at in the process right now. We are trying to win baseball games and those are two guys on the market that can probably help you do that better than anyone else out there. It's exciting and motivating.''


    Hosmer signed a $144 million, eight-year deal, the largest contract in Padres history. Like Harper, he is represented by agent Scott Boas.


    Manager Andy Green is focused on the players who are in camp.


    ''We'll continue to move forward and see what happens,'' Green said. ''We'll deal with the certainty of the guys we have out here, focus on them and focus on a position for us to win baseball games.''


    The Padres took a step back last year, losing 96 games and finishing last in the NL West. They haven't had a winning season since 2010 or made the playoffs since 2006.


    San Diego has what is considered the best farm system in baseball. Hosmer said he's excited to see the young players develop to the point where they can help win at the big league level.


    ''San Diego has been waiting long enough for a winning team and group of guys for about five, six years,'' Hosmer said. ''We feel strongly with the group that were prepped enough to be ready at that big league level.''
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    Rockies moving Blackmon to right field
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) It may not seem right, but Charlie Blackmon will be in right field for Colorado this season.


    Blackmon, a four-time All-Star who has anchored center field for the Rockies since 2014 and has played more games there than anyone else in franchise history, said Monday he spoke to manager Bud Black about the switch and is fine with it.


    ''He assured me this was going to help the Rockies win more games, and I'm all about that,'' Blackmon said.


    With Ian Desmond slated to play center field, the issue became which corner spot Blackmon would fill.


    ''If I had my choice, I would pick right,'' Blackmon said.


    The new alignment puts David Dahl in left.


    Blackmon has played all three outfield spots while hitting .302 in his eight-year career with the Rockies, but he has been almost strictly a center fielder since 2015, when he made four starts in each of the corner spots. He started 64 games in right field in 2014.


    He has played 691 games in center.


    ''I really enjoy playing center field,'' Blackmon said. ''I think you can impact the game in center field more than in either corner. There is a sense of pride in being able to play center field, especially at Coors Field. I'm not going to let that get in the way, especially if we think it is going to help us win more games.


    ''Ian Desmond is more than capable. Super-fast. Incredible athlete. I'm sure he'll pick up the slack just fine.''


    Dahl, who turns 25 on April 1, made 34 starts in left field and 30 in right last season.


    ''It's pretty tough in left,'' Dahl said. ''The ball comes off the bat a little different, especially at Coors, where the ball carries. You have to takes good angles.''


    There's more ground to cover in left than in right at asymmetrical Coors Field. The distance down the lines is about the same, but the left-center field alley is 390 feet from home plate and the right-center field alley is 375.


    ''In our park, I like right for Charlie,'' Black said. ''I think he is probably more comfortable in right. David might have a little more range in left. I think left field needs range in our park.''


    Carlos Gonzalez, currently a free agent, was the Rockies' primary right fielder in 2018, making 117 starts there.


    ''`Cargo' would give me this look when a ball gets hit in the gap that (meant), `You are going to get this, right?''' Blackmon said with a smile. ''Hopefully I can give that look to Ian a little bit less.''
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    Skipper: Goldy better than advertised
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    JUPITER, Fla. (AP) St. Louis manager Mike Shildt's phone lit up with texts and calls praising the character of Paul Goldschmidt after the Cardinals traded for the slugging first baseman in December.


    ''A lot of times the hyperbole doesn't meet what's real,'' Shildt said. ''In this case it's exceeded it. He's come in and been unbelievably engaging, thoughtful, proactive. He's really smart and he's really dedicated to what we're doing and how we're doing it. He's exceeded expectations already, before we even got on the field.''


    Goldschmidt has physically been in Jupiter for about 10 days. Mentally, he's been in a Cardinals uniform for months.


    Shortly after the trade, he began swapping texts with Cardinals coaches and teammates discussing the finer points of the game, like baserunning and taking leads.


    ''They are not short conversations,'' Shildt said. ''And they are not forced. He loves it, is my point. He's a baseball guy.''


    For Goldschmidt, those kinds of offseason chats are the norm.


    ''Being new, I'm sure they wanted to make sure I got the lay of the land,'' Goldschmidt said. ''Where I was probably the guy reaching out (in Arizona) when we signed the free agents or a new coach came in.''


    The Cardinals won 88 games last year, their third straight season missing the playoffs.


    ''We needed just a little bit more,'' Shildt said.


    St. Louis traded right-hander Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor leaguer Andy Young and a draft pick for Goldschmidt, whom Shildt called one of the ''top five players in baseball.''


    Goldschmidt hit .290 with 33 homers and 83 RBIs in 2018. For his career, he's a .297 hitter with 209 homers over eight seasons. The Cardinals hope Goldschmidt will add pop in the middle of the order. A three-time Gold Glove first baseman, Goldschmidt will also stabilize the Cardinals' defense that led the majors in errors.


    Shildt is already smiling at thought of a lineup that features Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter and a healthy Marcel Ozuna potentially at cleanup.


    ''I don't have an announcement to make, but I know he's going to hit in the top three,'' Shildt said of Goldschmidt. ''And Carp will hit one, so we can do the math from there.''


    Goldschmidt took live batting practice with his new teammates for the first time on Monday, the first full-squad workout for the Cardinals.


    ''He just jumped right in,'' shortstop Paul DeJong said. ''He's part of this group already.''


    The 31-year-old Goldschmidt has one year remaining on his contract. The Cardinals have expressed interest in signing him to a longer deal.


    ''In my career I've always publicly just never commented on my contract, so I'll just keep that kind of same thing,'' Goldschmidt said.
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    Cabrera faces pitcher for 1st time since June arm injury
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) Miguel Cabrera hit against a pitcher Monday for the first time since rupturing a tendon in his left biceps on June 12.


    The 35-year-old hit, fielded, threw and ran the bases Monday during the Detroit Tigers' first full-squad workout of spring training.


    ''I feel good about being back on the field and playing,'' the two-time AL MVP said. I can't be hurt this year. I want to do my job.''


    Cabrera strained a hamstring last year and then had the arm injury that required season-ending surgery. He was limited to 38 games.


    ''I missed the game a lot,'' he said.


    He also missed 32 games in 2017 due to a strained groin and back issues.


    ''One guy in the lineup being hurt changed the whole lineup, changed everything,'' he said. ''The bottom line is I've got to stay healthy.''


    Cabrera has been running and lifting weights, and looks like the same 6-foot-4, 249-pound athlete who has 465 home runs with a .316 batting average.


    ''He's bouncing around, doing all kinds of stuff,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''He's excited to get out there. I think people forget how gifted he really is when he's doing simple drills at first base.''


    Cabrera says he is not ready to be a full-time designated hitter.


    ''Right now, no,'' he said. ''But if they talk to me and say something to me, I'm always open to everything, and if the team is better with me being the DH, I'm the DH. If we're better with me at first base, I'll play first.''


    Gardenhire says the decision will be made by Cabrera's body.


    ''He would tell me before I would tell him,'' the manager said.


    The biceps is totally healed, according to Cabrera.


    ''I'm not worried about my arm. I'm more worried about my back and my legs,'' he said.


    Notes: RHP Michael Fulmer was back in camp after losing his arbitration case. He will get $2.8 million instead of $3.4 million. ''I'm not going to complain about my salary. I'm blessed to play this game, I'm blessed to get paid like we do to play this game,'' he said. ''The Tigers were very professional about it. I wouldn't bad mouth the team about anything. Obviously I would have liked to have won.''
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    Kelly, Weaver ready to make their marks for Diamondbacks
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver will always been known as the other players in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. No matter what they do for the rest of their careers, good or bad, they will be linked to the Arizona Diamondbacks' fan-favorite first baseman.


    But the Diamondbacks do not consider them replacements for Goldschmidt.


    Goldschmidt was one of the best players in baseball during his eight seasons in Arizona, so matching his production would be difficult. Plus, Kelly is a catcher and Weaver a right-handed starting pitcher.


    The Diamondbacks just want them to be the best versions of themselves they can be.


    ''When they were traded over, those were the first conversations that I began to have with them about just being themselves, embracing the organization the way we're embracing them,'' Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ''We chose them for a reason: because they're very special players.''


    Both are looking forward to a fresh start.


    For Kelly, the trade should mean an opportunity for more playing time.


    He's in a competition with Alex Avila, John Paul Murphy and Caleb Joseph to be part of Arizona's three-man catcher rotation, but should get more playing time than he did with the Cardinals.


    A converted third baseman, the 23-year-old Kelly was considered a top prospect and the catcher of the future in St. Louis, but never got a realistic shot in the majors with Yadier Molina blocking the plate.


    Molina is still going strong at 36 and last year signed a contract extension through 2020, which likely would have meant two more seasons of waiting for Kelly.


    ''Yadi might play another 100 years. You never know,'' Kelly said with a laugh. ''The guy's incredible in his preparation and I've learned so much from him, but this is my opportunity to go out and continue to grow here.''


    With Molina entrenched, Kelly spent most of the past three seasons in the minors. When Kelly did get big-league opportunities, he didn't know when they would come or how long they would last.


    The small windows led Kelly to press, which rarely works out well in baseball. As a result, he's hit .154 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 63 major-league games.


    ''You want to go out there and, `Oh, I'm going to get three hits and do all these great things,' and you go out there and try to do too much, which as baseball players know, is one of the worst possible things you can do,'' said Kelly, who hit .289 across two minor-league levels last year. ''I think here will be a new learning experience for me and a new chapter in my book.''


    Weaver has a solid 2017 season, going 7-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings. The right-hander struggled at times last season, going 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA in 30 games.


    The 25-year-old had some strong starts late in the season, but was hurt by earlier blow-up outings that ballooned his ERA.


    ''It was a blur of a season,'' he said. ''Things kind of pile on top of each other. You can really get in trouble if you don't take a second to breathe a little bit. It can really unravel. That said, I don't think the season was as bad as the statistics said.''


    Weaver has a chance to crack Arizona's opening day rotation behind Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Zack Godley.


    The key will be consistency.


    Every pitcher has bad outings, but the good ones are able to bounce back quickly. With a few minor adjustments, Weaver believes he can get back to being the pitcher he was in 2017.


    ''It's just learning to minimize those mistakes when things aren't quite going your way,'' he said. ''You learn to deal with those over time, but at this level guys are a little more consistent and better what they do. It's just trying to get on their level and be better at what they're thinking.''
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    Orioles have many open infield jobs, and several candidates
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) The Baltimore Orioles have many jobs up for grabs, and nowhere is the competition less defined than in the infield.


    As the team held its first full-squad workout on Monday, only one infield position is secured - first base. Chris Davis is entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $161 million contract.


    Besides Davis, there are 13 players on the roster competing for the three starting positions, and a utility job or two.


    Davis, like the Orioles, had a horrid 2018 season. He hit just .168 with 16 home runs and 49 RBIs and 192 strikeouts in 128 games as Baltimore lost a franchise-record 115 games.


    There aren't any clear favorites early on.


    The Orioles obtained Jonathan Villar in their July remake from Milwaukee and he played both second and shortstop over the season's last two months. Villar was originally labeled as a shortstop by new general manager Mike Elias, but that was before Richie Martin was taken with the first overall pick in the Rule 5 draft.


    On Saturday, the Orioles signed veteran Alcides Escobar to a minor league deal. Escobar, who played 162 games in 2014, 2016 and 2017 for Kansas City, won the Gold Glove at shortstop in 2015. He's not scheduled to report until Tuesday.


    Manager Brandon Hyde is pleased with the addition of Escobar.


    ''I think it just creates the competition going in camp,'' Hyde said. ''Excited about the mix of middle infielders we have. It's just a guy that's been there that has nine-plus years playing defense in the middle of the field at the big league level. To add competition is always a good thing.''


    Baltimore has another Rule 5 pick in camp, Drew Jackson, who was from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, and selected by Philadelphia. The Orioles immediately traded with the Phillies for Jackson.


    ''We're just all out here trying to win a job,'' Martin said. ''Whoever plays the best - simple as that - wins a job.''


    It's no small group competing.


    The incumbent third baseman is Renato Nunez, who was added to the team last July after shortstop Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers.


    Nunez hit .275 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs in 60 games in the second half of the season. In his first major league acquisition, Elias claimed left-handed hitter Rio Ruiz on waivers to compete with Nunez at third base.


    Elias also claimed Hanser Alberto on waivers from Texas, and he inherited Steve Wilkerson, who can play multiple positions. Wilkerson jokingly said he brought 10 gloves to spring training, and he'll likely compete for a utility job.


    ''I get my work in at every position almost every day,'' Wilkerson said. ''I work on the abnormal plays and the web gems. One of my favorite things to do is dive for a ball and work on making a play that might get me on TV or something.''


    Non-roster infield candidates are Jace Peterson, who played 93 games at seven positions, including an inning on the mound, Chris Bostick, Jack Reinheimer and Zach Vincej, all of whom played in the majors last season.


    Rookie Ryan Mountcastle, who's one of the team's most highly touted prospects is also in camp. Mountcastle played third base for Double-A Bowie a year ago, and he's not considered a candidate for a major league job yet.
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    Guerrero Jr. could start in minors, delaying free agency
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not worrying about whether he will start the season with the Toronto Blue Jays.


    The 19-year-old son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero is considered the top prospect entering 2019. Yet, it would not be surprising if Toronto kept the third baseman in the minor leagues for the first 15 days and delayed his debut until at least April 12. By denying him 15 days of major league service, the Blue Jays would delay his eligibility for free agency by a year, until after the 2025 season.


    "Controlling what I can control and then working hard everyday,'' Guerrero said through a translator on Monday as the Blue Jays held their first full-squad workout. ''Making the best out of it. Trying to get better every day and giving the best of me.''


    Guerrero hit .402 at Double-A and .336 at Triple-A last year, combining for 20 homers and 78 RBIs.


    ''Can't relate to being 19-years old and being that even-keeled and cool like that kid is,'' new Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo said. ''I'm impressed, to tell you the truth. That's the mark of a star. He's going to be a star someday, as we all know.''


    Guerrero took part in defensive drills and made several smart plays during a bunting session. He earned a high-five from pitcher Justin Shafer after charging a bunt and picking up the ball barehanded, then making a strong and accurate to first.


    In batting practice, Guerrero hit the ball with authority to all fields over 28 swings during six rounds.


    ''Really talented,'' Toronto shortstop Freddy Galvis said. ''He seems like a really good guy. Good mentality. He's a mature kid. Coming from his father, he was a hard worker. So, he has kind of the same mentality from what I've seen so far. ''


    When asked about being an improved player compared to a year ago, a smiling Guerrero said ''wait for the next game and see.''


    MULTITASKING


    Galvis also has the ability to play other positions.


    ''You give me a glove, I can play whatever - well not catcher,'' a smiling Galvis said.


    Galvis hit .248 with 31 doubles, five triples and 13 homers for San Diego last year, playing in all 162 games for the second straight season.


    He agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract in January that includes a $5.5 million club option for 2020.


    TRAINER'S ROOM


    RHPs Matt Shoemaker (right forearm) and LHP Clayton Richard (left knee), both coming back from injuries, had bullpen sessions. GM Ross Atkins said the pair will join RHPs Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez in the rotation. ... RHP David Phelps (Tommy John surgery) also had a mound session.
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  12. #112  
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    Gonzalez, Newman competing to be Pirates' starting shortstop
    February 18, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) Erik Gonzalez and Kevin Newman are competing to start at shortstop for Pittsburgh, the one open position in the Pirates' everyday lineup.


    The job opened when Jordy Mercer left after seven seasons and signed with the Detroit Tigers.


    Gonzalez was acquired from Cleveland on Nov. 14. Newman made his major league debut with the Pirates last August and retains his rookie status.


    Gonzalez spent the last three years as a utility infielder, stuck behind such stalwarts as shortstop Francisco Lindor, third baseman Jose Ramirez and second baseman Jason Kipnis.


    ''I was starting to lose my passion for baseball,'' Gonzalez said. ''I was talking to my agent to try to move to another team. I just want the chance to play.''


    He will have a chance to prove himself during the exhibition season, which begins Saturday. The Pirates feel they may have unearthed a potential impact player in Gonzalez.


    ''We've had people that've seen this man play defense and said, `This guy can be dynamic,''' manager Clint Hurdle said. ''`OK' wasn't a word that came out of anybody's mouth. `Above average. Dynamic. Very good. More range than anybody you've had at short.'''


    Whether Gonzalez will hit enough to be a regular is the question. In 162 career games, he has a .263 batting average and five home runs.


    ''It's hard when you only play once a week to keep your timing,'' he said. ''I did the best I could to stay ready. I worked hard every day before games.


    ''I do think I learned a lot about hitting from my teammates. I talked to Lindor a lot, talked to Ramirez, talked to (Edwin) Encarnacion. They are all great hitters, and they helped me.''


    Newman struggled in his initial trip to the big leagues, hitting .209 in 31 games. However, he was the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2015 and was once considered among the top 100 prospects in baseball.


    The Pirates feel Newman is a better player that what he showed last year. General manager Neal Huntington pointed out that Newman lost 10 pounds during the season and was not at his best physically once he reached the major leagues.


    Newman, though, has come back stronger this spring. He was one of the few Pirates with a chance to make the opening-day roster to attend the team's minicamp in January, and he also showed up to spring training more a week before the full squad was scheduled to report.


    ''Getting an opportunity is all you could ever ask for,'' Newman said. ''I'm really excited about it. Every day, I worked as hard as I could, got as toned as I could, got as prepared as I could to come in ready to fight for a spot.''


    NOTES: The Pirates held their first full-squad workout Monday. The full contingent of 61 players was on hand. ... Right-hander Rookie Davis was signed to a minor league contract and given an invitation to major league camp. He made his big league debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 but spent last season in the minors while rehabbing from hip surgery. ... Former Pirates players who are guest instructors in camp include Steve Blass, John Candelaria, Bill Mazeroski, Omar Moreno, Manny Sanguillen and Rennie Stennett.
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  13. #113  
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    Tuesday’s 6-pack


    Who will have more wins for this baseball season?


    — Bronx (-2.5) vs Boston


    — Bronx (-9.5) vs Mets


    — Mets (even) vs Atlanta


    — Cubs (-0.5) vs St Louis


    — Cubs (-12.5) vs White Sox


    — Phillies (-8.5) vs Pirates


    Quote of the Day
    “My door is always open to talk about playing time. If you want to talk about playing time, be prepared for the truth.”
    Brad Stevens

    Tuesday’s quiz

    Who was the Knicks’ coach the last time they made the playoffs?


    Monday’s quiz
    Michael Jordan played baseball for the Birmingham Barons of the AA Southern League; they were a farm club of the White Sox.


    Sunday’s quiz
    Gonzaga has the nation’s longest current win streak, 15 in a row; Wofford is 2nd, at 14.


    **************************


    Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……


    13) NBA should have an event in the summer, just after the Summer League in Las Vegas; a 32-player 1-on-1 tournament, with money going towards charities that each player chooses to represent. Do you know how popular this would be?


    They had a 1-on-1 tournament back in the 70’s, shown at halftime of games on CBS, until Julius Erving’s agent killed it but not letting his client play.


    TV ratings would be huge for this, and a ton of money could be raised for charity.


    12) The tremendous basketball movie Blue Chips is 25 years old this week; Nick Nolte plays a college basketball coach who breaks NCAA rules to bring in great players who will restore his team to excellence. Two of the players he recruited were played by Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway.


    The climactic game scenes were between Nolte’s Western University Dolphins and Indiana, coached by Bob Knight; they were filmed at Frankfort HS in Indiana.


    Know what Frankfort HS’s mascot is? The Hot Dogs!!!! Seriously, the Frankfort Hot Dogs.


    11) Indiana’s point guard in Blue Chips? Current Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley.


    10) Who would you consider to be the best shooter ever? Not player, just shooter.


    Steph Curry? Reggie Miller? Rick Barry? Larry Bird? Interesting debate.


    9) When you see the sons of three former NBA players on the same college team, you’ve got a pretty good idea that this team’s coach is very good at his job.


    Cal-Irvine has the sons of Doc Rivers, Caron Butler and Christian Welp, which speaks volumes that the Anteaters’ coach, Russell Turner, is an excellent coach.


    8) Giannis Antetokounmpo was the 15th player taken in the 2013 NBA Draft. Here are some players who were taken ahead of him that year:
    1st— Anthony Bennett, Cleveland
    4th— Cody Zeller, Charlotte
    5th— Alex Len, Phoenix
    14th— Shabazz Muhammad, Utah (traded to Minnesota)


    7) There have been 87 college basketball coaches who faced AP #1 ranked teams at least 7 times. John Calipari (5-4) is the only one of those 87 with a winning record in those games.


    6) Michigan State loses C Nick Ward for an indefinite time with a broken hand; he is the second Spartan starter out with a serious injury, so Michigan State is in trouble right now.


    5) Bill Walton mentioned on the air Saturday night that ESPN announcers are told to talk about Duke more than other teams. The constant promos about Duke and Zion Williamson make it kind of obvious; when EVERY announcer rattles on about him during promos, you know the word is coming down from the bosses.


    4) 2019 will be Bruce Bochy’s last year managing the Giants; he’s won three World Series with San Francisco, but he also got the Padres to a World Series in 1998. A definite Hall of Famer.


    3) Quinnipiac’s Cameron Young scored 55 points Sunday in a 107-100 triple-OT win against Siena, the most points by a Division I player since North Dakota State’s Ben Woodside scored 60 points against Stephen F. Austin in triple-overtime on Dec. 12, 2008.


    Jalen Pickett scored 46 for Siena in that game; the record for most combined points by two players in the same game is 115, which was set in 1970 when Pete Maravich scored 64 for LSU and Dan Issel scored 51 for Kentucky.


    2) Marshall Thundering Herd is struggling, losing seven of their last ten games; not only that, but they’re 0-10 against the spread in those games. Not good.


    1) Sunday morning, I found a cool t-shirt on the Interweb on a website I had never heard of, and I bought one. Ten minutes later, I’m scrolling thru Instagram on my phone, and an ad for that same website pops up on there.


    Thats a little eerie, that someone, somewhere knows everywhere we go on our devices.
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