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  1. #1 Cnotes MLB 2019 Spring Traning News Notes and Rumors ! 
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    Props - Bryce Harper
    January 15, 2019
    By BetDSI



    by Tom Wilkinson

    Odds on where Bryce Harper will play this season



    Where do you think Bryce Harper will play this season? Do you think he will stay with the Nationals or do you think he will end up with the Phillies? You can bet on where you think Harper will end up playing in the 2019 regular season at BetDSI. The latest news has the Phillies making a big pitch for Harper, but BetDSI still has the Nationals listed as a slight favorite. Letís look at the odds and the teams in the running to get Harper.


    Bryce Harper team in Game 1 of 2019 regular season
    Nationals +150
    Phillies +175
    Dodgers +250
    White Sox +400
    Cubs +700



    Top Contenders


    BetDSI has the Nationals listed as the favorite, but all indications are that the Nationals are a longshot. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that executives of the Nationals consider Harper coming back to the team a "long shot." Harper turned down a 10-year, $300 million dollar contract offer from Washington in September and Harper met with owner Ted Lerner in late December. Iíll put the Nationals in the top spot simply because of what their odds were, but Washington is not the favorite.


    Phillies +175


    The Phillies are the current favorite to get Harper based on the latest news. Harper, his agent Scott Boras and Harperís wife Kayla met with the Phillies on Saturday. Nightengale said that the Phillies are now "the clear-cut favorite" to get Harper. It should be noted that the Phillies have not yet made a formal offer to Harper, although reports indicate that could happen this week.


    The Phillies put on the full court press on Saturday, as present at the meeting with Harperís contingent were owner John Middleton, general manager Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler. The meeting was said to have lasted five hours. Middleton said to the media that the meeting was ďreally positive.Ē


    The Phillies also have interest in signing Manny Machado and everything points to them getting one of the two superstar players. The current favorite to get Harper is the Phillies, but as we know, things change very fast in the sports world.


    Dodgers +250


    The Dodgers donít have any value at this number considering they have not even been mentioned as a serious contender to land Harper. The Dodgers really donít want to give Harper the 10-year deal that he would want. Harper has said to be looking for a contract that would be even higher than the one signed by Giancarlo Stanton and that was a $325 million dollar deal. Perhaps the Dodgers would be in the running if the Phillies backed out, but all indications are that is not going to happen. The Dodgers appear to be very overvalued at this number.


    White Sox +400


    Donít forget about the White Sox as a potential landing spot for Harper. The odds on Chicago are actually a lot more attractive than those on the Dodgers because Harper could actually end up in Chicago. The White Sox are the front runner to get Manny Machado, but there is a chance Chicago might be able to sign Machado and Harper. Chicago actually has the financial flexibility to sign both superstar players. World Series odds on Chicago would definitely be affected if the White Sox were able to land both players.


    Cubs +700


    The Cubs are also on this list as a possible landing spot for Harper. There are always reports about another team still in the running to get Harper and perhaps that team is the Cubs. Most reports have it coming down to Philadelphia or the White Sox for Harperís landing spot, with the Dodgers and Nationals longshots. The team that could surprise everyone might be the Cubs. They have been known to make big splashes in the past, and there is no reason for them to make headlines unless they have a deal in place.
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    Props - Manny Machado
    January 15, 2019
    By BetDSI



    by Tom Wilkinson

    Odds on where Manny Machado will play this season



    Where do you think Manny Machado will play this season? You can bet on where you think Machado will end up, with odds on the board at BetDSI. The top two contenders to land Machado are the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox.


    The White Sox made Machado an offer this weekend, but whether it is good enough to get him is the question. Let’s look at the three teams who could land Machado and their odds and we’ll also consider the possibility of a mystery team landing Machado.


    Manny Machado team in Game 1 of 2019 regular season
    Phillies +120
    White Sox +150
    Yankees +200



    Phillies +120


    Machado is said to be the alternative for the Phillies if they don’t get Bryce Harper. The Phillies met with Harper and his contingent over the weekend and reports are that the meeting went well. There was no formal offer made by the Phillies to Harper but that is expected to happen this week. The only way that the Phillies will get Machado is if they don’t get Harper. Philadelphia, unlike the White Sox, is not in a position to sign both superstars.


    Machado made a visit to the Phillies and was signing autographs for fans. Right now it looks like Harper is going to go to Philadelphia, but if that doesn’t happen you can pretty much bank on the Phillies signing Machado. Philadelphia has already said they want to get one of the two players this offseason.


    White Sox +150


    The big news over the weekend was that the White Sox offered Machado a contract worth between $200 and $240 million. The question is whether or not Machado will sign the deal. He may be waiting to see what the Phillies do with Harper, because he could undoubtedly get more money from Philadelphia.


    Chicago also traded recently for Machado’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso and they signed Machado’s close friend, Jon Jay. The White Sox also believe that if the Phillies sign Harper that Machado’s only real choice will be to sign with Chicago. The White Sox did not want to offer Machado a 10-year deal and reportedly only offered a seven or eight year deal. Chicago is also said to be in the running to get both Harper and Machado. It would be a massive haul to get both superstar players, but the White Sox have the money to pull it off.


    Yankees +200


    The Yankees were once the favorite to get Machado but that is no longer the case. The Yankees are simply not going to offer Machado a big long-term deal. The Yankees also went out and signed infielder D.J. LeMahieu to a two-year, $24 million contract. Could the Yankees still bring in Machado on a shorter deal? Perhaps, but it seems very unlikely considering New York has already signed Troy Tulowitzki and LeMahieu. There is no value on the Yankees at these odds. Mystery Team


    There are no odds out on the field, but if there were, they might be worth taking. The Phillies and White Sox are the two main contenders to get Machado, but reports indicate there is a mystery team in the running to get Machado. The chances of a team coming out of nowhere and signing Machado should not be discounted.


    There is a chance that Machado may decide to take a shorter deal. He is just 26-years old and if he signed a five-year deal he could then look for another big deal at the age of 31. A five-year deal for $150 million would get Machado $30 million per year and still give him the chance to sign another huge deal in five years. It will be interesting to see how the dominoes fall over the next week, but don’t rule out a mystery team for Machado.
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    Harper, Machado still on the market
    February 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel won't be around when the bat and ball bags are opened at spring training throughout Florida and Arizona this week.


    They are among the dozens of free agents still looking for jobs, joined by Mike Moustakas, Marwin Gonzalez, Carlos Gonzalez and Gio Gonzalez.


    For the second straight winter, camps are opening with many rosters in exceptional flux.


    ''The market will sort itself out,'' St. Louis Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said at last week's owners' meetings. ''There is a long time between the end of the season and spring training, and there's maybe not so much a sense of urgency on whichever side it happens to be.''


    Among the 164 players who exercised free agency rights at the end of last year's World Series, 84 had announced agreements on the eve of spring training. That is up from 65 of 166 at roughly the same point last season but down from 105 of 158 two years ago.


    Boston added J.D. Martinez last Feb. 26 and Philadelphia brought in Jake Arrieta on March 12. All but 26 of the free agents last offseason eventually reached deals, but some with big-money contracts flopped after late starts: Yu Darvish joined the Chicago Cubs on Feb. 13, went 1-3 and didn't pitch after May 20 because of arm problems. Eric Hosmer finalized his agreement with San Diego on Feb. 19 and hit a career-worst .253 with 69 RBIs. Alex Cobb signed with Baltimore on March 26 and went 5-16.


    A drawn-out negotiating process means clubs have lost time in marketing new acquisitions, which seems especially significant to a sport coming off three straight years of attendance declines. Average attendance dropped below 30,000 last year for the first time since 2003.


    ''We want players signed, particularly star players. I wish they were signed and ready to go,'' baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday. ''We got another week before they have to report. I'm really hopeful that it's going to get resolved during that period of time.''


    Oakland takes the field first, starting workouts Monday in Mesa, Arizona. Seattle follows Tuesday in Peoria, Arizona, with both teams getting early starts because they open the season in Tokyo on March 20-21, a week before other teams get underway. Every other club launches practice Wednesday or Thursday except for Atlanta, which waits until Saturday.


    Six new managers are in charge for the second straight spring training and five of them are big league rookie skippers for the second straight year. Rocco Baldelli (Minnesota), David Bell (Cincinnati), Brandon Hyde (Baltimore), Charlie Montoyo (Toronto) and Chris Woodward (Texas) are first-timers running a big league dugout, joined by the Los Angeles Angels' Brad Ausmus, Detroit's manager from 2014-17.


    One of last year's rookie managers was Alex Cora, who led Boston to its fourth World Series title in 15 seasons. The Red Sox hope to become the first team to win consecutive titles since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees.


    ''Repeating is tough,'' Cora said. ''It starts with the players. People are going to talk about hangovers and all that and the banquet circuit. It's part of it. But they've been disciplined enough.''


    New baseball operations heads are in charge of three teams: Mike Elias (Baltimore), Farhan Zaidi (San Francisco) and Brodie Van Wagenen (New York Mets).


    Among the major trades of the offseason, Philadelphia obtained catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami, St. Louis got first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona and the New York Mets got second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz from Seattle. In the free-agent market thus far, Washington added left-hander Patrick Corbin and the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock, Atlanta got third baseman Josh Donaldson and Colorado picked up second baseman Daniel Murphy.


    By March 28, when most teams open, many rosters will look significantly different. The Mets and Phillies have noticeably bolstered theirs. Others chose rebuilding and appear to have little chance to reach the postseason: Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kanas City, Miami, Seattle and Toronto.


    ''There's always been players available in February or March,'' Van Wagenen said. ''I think there's been a higher volume of more-recognizable names than in the past.''
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    A's ponder "openers" as camp opens
    February 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    MESA, Ariz. (AP) Like every other pitcher in the Oakland Athletics' deep bullpen, Liam Hendriks is expecting to pitch a lot this season.


    The tricky question for manager Bob Melvin going into spring training: Who gets to go first?


    The Athletics rotation is a major uncertainty heading into camp, with the first workout for pitchers and catchers set for Monday. Of course, that's nothing new for Melvin. Oakland's rotation was wrecked by injuries last season, prompting the A's to lean on their relief pitchers as ''openers'' to start games. With at least three spots in the rotation currently wide open, Oakland might again be forced to get creative with the early innings.


    Hendriks became the most dependable in that role last season, making nine of the 10 ''opener'' starts for Oakland in September and October, including in the AL wild-card game against the Yankees.


    The makeshift bullpen games helped the A's earn a surprising postseason appearance, and Hendriks is eager to return to the role. He's ready to pitch every other day if asked - ''I'd love to be able to get to 81 games pitched, just to be able to say I did it,'' he said.


    Melvin smiled at that suggestion, but he hopes Oakland's staff won't have to be quite so untraditional.


    ''We're open to just about anything,'' Melvin said. ''But I don't know if we're fixated on going into spring right away saying, `We're going to start with an opener on this game.' I haven't scheduled it out that way.''


    The Athletics are getting an early start on spring training because they're heading to Japan for a season-opening series on March 20-21. The teams will be allowed expanded 28-man rosters for those games, and Melvin expects to use the extra roster space to more carefully manage his pitchers.


    ''That will allow us to do things at our pace,'' Melvin said. ''It's more about the pitching than anything else and making sure they're ready. With some extra guys, it means we don't have to push guys to try to get somebody ready to throw 100 pitches in this game (in Tokyo). I don't know if that's realistic.''


    Besides Mike Fiers and newcomer Marco Estrada, nothing is set in the rotation. Estrada battled hip and back problems last season while with the Blue Jays, yet still made 28 starts, posting a 7-14 record and 5.64 ERA.


    ''I have to be a little smarter about things like that. If I'm in that much pain, I should probably take it easy,'' Estrada said. ''I like making all my starts. My goal is to try to make at least 30 starts. That's something I want to do for these guys, I want to give them innings.''


    Last season, Oakland starters combined for 824 1/3 innings, the fewest in team history. Every member of the season-opening starting rotation dealt with injuries.


    Daniel Mengden is the most likely pitcher to join Fiers and Estrada in the rotation. He appeared in 22 games (17 starts) last season and was often used as the long man following the ''openers.'' Frankie Montas and Chris Bassitt are also strong possibilities, while injured starters Jharel Cotton, Sean Manaea and Andrew Triggs may return at some point in 2019.

    NOTES:
    The A's still don't know when or if top draft pick Kyler Murray will report to camp. The two-sport star has a locker and a No. 73 jersey waiting for him in Oakland's clubhouse at Hohokam Park, but general manager David Forst said Sunday they were still talking to the Murray family as the Heisman Trophy winner tries to decide which sport to pursue.


    Third baseman Matt Chapman, who had thumb surgery in October and a distal clavicle resection procedure in December on his non-throwing shoulder, is not expected to be ready for the first Cactus League game but said he was making good progress.


    Right-hander James Kaprielian has had a setback in his recovery from shoulder issues, Melvin said. Kaprielian will have an MRI and is not expected to start training camp with the rest of the team's pitchers. The 24-year-old was acquired from the Yankees for Sonny Gray in 2017 but hasn't pitched in a game since 2016.
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    Indians sign OF Joyce, RHP Wilson
    February 9, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Indians signed free agent outfielder Matt Joyce and reliever Alex Wilson to minor league contracts.


    The deals include invites to spring training camp, where the defending AL Central champions must address two glaring issues - outfield depth and their bullpen. Joyce and Wilson agreed to their deals on Friday, pending medical exams which were completed Saturday.


    Joyce spent the past two seasons with the Oakland Athletics. The 34-year-old hit 25 home runs and drove in 68 runs in 2017, but was limited to 83 games last season because of lower back problems. Joyce was an All-Star in 2011 for Tampa Bay.


    If he makes the Indians' 40-man roster, Joyce will make $1.25 million next season while in the majors and he can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses.


    The 32-year-old Wilson pitched in 59 games for Detroit last season, posting a 3.36 ERA. He limited right-handed hitter to a .191 average. Wilson has spent the past four seasons with Tigers.


    Wilson will also get $1.25 million if he makes the roster and can get another $750,000 in bonuses.


    Cleveland is rebuilding its bullpen following the departures of closer Cody Allen and left-hander Andrew Miller.


    The Indians have 19 non-roster invitees coming training camp, which opens for pitcher and catchers on Feb. 12 in Goodyear, Arizona.
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    Twins sign INF Rosales to minor deal
    February 9, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins have agreed to minor league contracts with first baseman Lucas Duda and journeyman infielder Adam Rosales.


    The Twins announced Saturday that Duda and Rosales had been invited to big league spring training.


    Duda hit a combined .241 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs for Kansas City and Atlanta last season. The 33-year-old is a career .242 hitter with 152 homers in nine seasons, including 30 home runs for the New York Mets and Tampa Bay in 2017.


    If added to the 40-man roster, the 35-year-old Rosales would get a one-year contract paying a $1 million salary while in the major leagues.


    Rosales hit .211 in 13 games for Cleveland last year. He is a career .226 hitter with 48 home runs and 179 RBIs in 11 years with Cincinnati, Oakland, Texas, San Diego, Arizona and Cleveland.


    Rosales has split time at all four infield spots.
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    Marlins make plea to fans entering 2019
    February 9, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    MIAMI (AP) The outfield grass at Marlins Park was a worn-out mess on Saturday, with those who arrived for the team's annual FanFest being greeted by signs reminding them that the turf will be replaced soon.


    When it comes to the Marlins, many things are a work in progress.


    Wearing new uniforms with the rebranded team logo, in a stadium that has gotten spruced-up since last season ended, some of the 2019 Miami Marlins gathered for the first time to greet fans and start hyping the new season. Pitchers and catchers report to the team's spring training home in Jupiter on Wednesday.


    ''I would tell our fans to just give us a chance,'' Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said. ''So many people have written off the Marlins and really haven't taken an opportunity to take a deep look at what we're building. When you have a lot to do, it's going to take time and we understand where we're at. But we've been able to add a tremendous amount of talent over the last 18 months.''


    By Hill's count, the Marlins have added 38 prospects and upper-level players since this new regime led by Derek Jeter took over after the 2017 season. That has gone a long way toward restocking a farm system that by Hill's own description was ''barren.''


    ''We know where we were,'' he said. ''We know where we're going.''


    The Marlins won 63 games last season, their ninth straight year under the .500 mark and the 15th consecutive time the team missed the postseason - the second-longest drought in baseball, topped only by Seattle's run of 17 straight seasons without a playoff game. Attendance plummeted to a club record-low 811,104, and the team just traded away its best player, sending catcher J.T. Realmuto to Philadelphia.


    ''Only one team gets to win the championship every year,'' said right-handed pitcher Dan Straily, who started 56 games for the Marlins over the last two seasons. ''I think every year, with every team in baseball, there's a little bit of excitement for everybody to get going. There's always that hope that this could be the year.''


    The Marlins aren't saying if 2019 is their year. Or 2020. Or 2021, for that matter.


    They just believe their year is coming.


    For Realmuto, the Marlins got catcher Jorge Alfaro and pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart from the Phillies. Alfaro has above-average power and, the Marlins believe, even a better arm than Realmuto - who they considered elite in that capacity. Sanchez has the arm to consistently reach the upper 90s on his fastball, while Stewart doesn't throw as hard but has off-speed offerings that get him out of trouble.


    It's deals like that why the Marlins truly believe this rebuild - one of many by the franchise in the last 15 years - is the right one.


    ''They're doing what they said: building the organization from the bottom up,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ''You keep acquiring talent. You keep marching down that road that gets you to the point where you are competing for a chance to win a world championship every year. That's the plan. That's the goal. I think anything less than that, you don't accept it.''


    There was a reason why the grass looked bad Saturday. Monster Jam - a show where five- or six-ton trucks with 66-inch tires will destroy anything in their path - is coming to Marlins Park next weekend. It'll chew up the current turf quite nicely. From there, new sod goes down in time for opening day.


    ''It'll look nothing like it does right now when we come back in six weeks,'' Straily said.


    The grass will be exactly what the team wants by then. The Marlins only hope the team is closer to their liking by then as well.
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    Nolasco, Rzepczynski agree with D-Backs
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PHOENIX (AP) Right-hander Ricky Nolasco and lefty Marc Rzepczynski have agreed to minor league contracts with the Arizona Diamondbacks and will report to big league spring training.


    Nolasco, 36, has not pitched in the major leagues since 2017 with the Los Angeles Angels. He was released by Kansas City in spring training last year after allowing eight runs, five hits and three walks over 3 2/3 innings in one start and one relief appearance.


    Nolasco is 114-116 with a 4.56 ERA in 312 starts and 18 relief appearances over 12 big league seasons.


    Rzepczynski, 33, had a 6.97 ERA in 23 games last year with Seattle and Cleveland, allowing 11 runs - eight earned - 16 hits and 10 walks over 10 1/3 innings in 23 relief appearances, He is a 10-year big league veteran, primarily as a reliever.


    Arizona announced the moves Friday.
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    The Brodie Bunch: New-look Mets set to open spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    NEW YORK (AP) Brodie Van Wagenen has certainly been busy since changing careers.


    Heading into his first spring training as Mets general manager, the former player agent has already engineered a major roster overhaul that has New York eyeing the playoffs in a beefed-up NL East.


    In a flurry of offseason moves that began with a blockbuster trade with Seattle, the Mets added second baseman Robinson Cano, closer Edwin Diaz, catcher Wilson Ramos and infielder Jed Lowrie. They also brought back reliever Jeurys Familia, traded away last summer, to serve as their eighth-inning setup man.


    All of them recent All-Stars.


    Add those newcomers to a talented rotation headlined by NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, and suddenly the Mets look like potential contenders again after consecutive losing seasons.


    ''We had a very specific agenda when we started the offseason and we've just been going down that list,'' Van Wagenen said last month. ''We feel really good about what we accomplished and we feel really good about the team that we have.''


    Of course, the Mets have felt good going into spring training before - only to have their last two seasons ruined by injuries and underperformance. With that in mind, Van Wagenen and his new colleagues focused on building depth and versatility to better absorb the inevitable setbacks.


    New York spent big bucks to take on Cano's contract and about $80 million more in free agency, spreading it around to upgrade several areas. Speedy outfielder Keon Broxton and corner infielder J.D. Davis were obtained in trades to boost the bench, at the very least. Established veterans like pitcher Hector Santiago, reliever Luis Avilan and outfielder Rajai Davis were signed to minor league contracts as insurance, and maybe more.


    ''We recognized that we had multiple needs,'' Van Wagenen said. ''We needed to get better in the bullpen. We needed to increase our run production. ... The goal from the beginning was to try to address all of our needs in the most efficient way that we could.''


    Not only on the field, either.


    In the dugout, new bench coach Jim Riggleman and hitting instructor Chili Davis join manager Mickey Callaway's staff. In the front office, additions were made in analytics, scouting and player development.


    When he was introduced as GM last fall, a confident Van Wagenen vowed New York would win now and in the future. His bold moves this offseason led him to say the Mets consider themselves NL East favorites - and he challenged their division rivals to ''come get us.''


    ''He's working hard, that's all I can tell you. And the rest of the crew around him is working hard,'' chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. ''It's coming together. There's a new feeling around the office that everybody is rolling in the same direction.''


    The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Thursday. Some things to keep an eye on as the Mets begin spring training:


    NEW LOOK: There are newcomers all over the diamond, including at catcher (Ramos), second base (Cano) and third base (Lowrie). Todd Frazier could move from third to first. Broxton could challenge Juan Lagares for playing time in center field. Jeff McNeil, who impressed as a rookie last season, shifts from second base to the outfield and a potential utility role.


    ''I'm really excited people think we have too many good players. And I'm not concerned at all about finding playing time for the best 25 guys that we have, and I don't think any of our players are concerned about that,'' Van Wagenen said. ''We are going to use our versatility to our advantage.''


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: Top power-hitting prospect Peter Alonso, who led all minor leaguers with 36 homers and 119 RBIs combined at Double-A and Triple-A last season, gets a chance to win the first base job. Former star quarterback Tim Tebow also will be in big league camp and is ticketed for Triple-A Syracuse to start the season.


    THEY'RE SET: If healthy, the front of the rotation should be a strength again with deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler. The back of a revamped bullpen looks good, too, with Diaz, Familia and new lefty Justin Wilson joining holdovers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. The infield is crowded and the corner outfield spots are manned by productive youngsters Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo as the Mets wait for slugger Yoenis Cespedes to return from surgery on both heels. He's not expected back until at least mid-July. ''We are confident that he's going to be able to come back. The timing for when he comes back, we'll have to wait and see,'' Van Wagenen said.


    THEY'RE NOT: Despite the big arms at the top, one or two significant injuries could really derail the rotation. New York is hoping for a breakout season from No. 4 starter Steven Matz and a bounce-back year from lefty Jason Vargas.


    ON DECK: Several roles are up for grabs and multiple players will be moving around to different positions all spring. The season opener is March 28 at rival Washington.
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    Hellickson, Nationals finalize $1.3M deal
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    WASHINGTON (AP) Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and the Washington Nationals have finalized their $1.3 million, one-year contract, a deal that allows him to earn $4 million in performance bonuses for starts.


    The 31-year-old was 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 19 starts for Washington last season, when he earned just over $2.9 million, including $1.1 million in bonuses.


    Hellickson is 74-72 with a 4.07 ERA in the majors, and the Nationals are Hellickson's fifth club in a big league career that began in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Rays.


    He is expected to be the front-runner to claim the No. 5 spot in Washington's starting rotation, following Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez.


    Hellickson can earn $200,000 each for starts 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21 and 23, and $300,000 apiece for 25-30.


    Washington cleared a roster spot by designating right-hander Trevor Gott for assignment on Friday. He was 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in 20 relief appearances last year.
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    Reds open camp with remade roster
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    CINCINNATI (AP) Sonny Gray had a few hours to make a career-changing decision. The Yankees no longer needed him. The Reds wanted another starter, and they were willing to deal for him so long as he agreed to a three-year contract extension.


    That's a big commitment to a team that's lost 90 games each of the last four seasons. Sure, Gray had a personal connection with Cincinnati - his dad tried out for the Reds' farm system, and Gray attended his first big-league game at Great American Ball Park. Still, the Reds have languished in last place for four straight years.


    What to do? Gray signed on .


    ''I think it's obviously notable what the Reds have been doing,'' said Gray, who agreed to a deal adding $30.5 million from 2020-22. ''I've got a really good feeling that we're trying to turn the corner here and we're trying to start winning a lot of baseball games.''


    After four years of shedding veterans and tossing rookies onto the field to see what they've got, the Reds decided it was time to start moving up again. They rebuilt the rotation through three trades, adding Gray, left-hander Alex Wood and Tanner Roark while getting rid of Homer Bailey.


    They also overhauled the lineup by acquiring outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp from the Dodgers.


    The remake wasn't confined to the field. They hired David Bell as a first-year manager to oversee the metamorphosis from rebuilding to contending - or, at least, being competitive in the short-term. Significant attendance drops during the rebuild prompted the moves that made the Reds an intriguing team as spring training opens.


    Instead of wondering how low they'll go, it's now more a question of how much ground they can make up in one year in the formidable NL Central.


    ''I think we've got a good chance to win now,'' Gray said.


    Some things to watch as the Reds fit the new pieces together in Goodyear, Arizona:


    NEW LOOK: The rotation got a total makeover, with the three newcomers joining Anthony DeSclafani and Luis Castillo. Bell has to decide how to arrange his new staff. Also, the arrival of Puig and Kemp give the outfield a new dynamic with center fielder Billy Hamilton gone.


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: Unlike the last few years when rookies came and went, there should be much more focus on veterans. Nick Senzel could have the biggest impact of the youngsters. He's a career infielder, but the Reds haven't ruled out giving him a chance to win the open job in center field.


    THEY'RE SET: The infield returns Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza and Eugenio Suarez. The back of the bullpen is set, too, with David Hernandez and Jared Hughes setting up closer Raisel Iglesias.


    THEY'RE NOT: Center field is their biggest question. They could move Scott Schebler or Puig to the spot, or let Senzel try to grow into the role.


    ON DECK: Puig and Kemp are free agents after the season, along with Roark, so if it doesn't work out, there could be trades in July and the Reds could be back to starting over in some ways. At least the fans will have something different to watch when the Reds open their spring schedule against the Indians on Feb. 23 and the regular season at home against the Pirates - a division rival they're looking to overtake - on March 28.
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    Pirates hoping to build off 2018 success
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PITTSBURGH (AP) The franchise's fourth-best season in a quarter century wasn't good enough for Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly.


    While Coonelly pointed to Pittsburgh's 82-79 finish in 2018 as a ''move in the right direction,'' he stressed it shouldn't get confused with the ultimate final destination.


    ''Nobody is satisfied with 82 wins in this organization,'' Coonelly told fans during the team's annual PiratesFest last month. ''Everybody is committed to doing what we can to putting a World Series championship team on the field, and we do know that we can do it.''


    It's the how that could be tricky.


    While St. Louis and Cincinnati made significant financial investments by adding proven major league talent to bolster its roster in their respective bids to chase down NL Central frontrunners Chicago and Milwaukee, the Pirates took a more fiscally cautious approach. They signed outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall to bridge the gap in right field until Gregory Polanco returns from shoulder surgery. Veteran left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano agreed to a minor-league deal hoping to regain the form he showed while helping Pittsburgh reach the postseason from 2013-15. Middle infielder Erik Gonzalez arrived in a trade in mid-November and will get the first crack at taking over at shortstop after Jordy Mercer left in free agency.


    And that's pretty much it.


    ''I'd love it if we were in on (Bryce) Harper or (Manny) Machado just like everyone else,'' starting pitcher Jameson Taillon said. ''That's just not realistic for us.''


    What Pittsburgh believes is realistic is continuing to develop the young core - particularly the starting rotation fronted by Taillon and Trevor Williams - that seemed to get better as 2018 wore on and hope the six weeks they'll spend in Florida this spring plant the seeds for another massive step forward in 2019.


    Some things to look for when camp opens on Feb. 13:


    NEW LOOK: There's a changing of the guard in the middle infield after the departures of Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison. Gonzalez and Kevin Newman will compete for Mercer's spot at shortstop while Adam Frazier's role will evolve from utility player to starter at second base.


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: RHP Mitch Keller will get a look in spring training but likely needs more seasoning at Triple-A, where he struggled a bit after getting promoted from Double-A. SS Cole Tucker, a first-round pick in 2014, will start 2019 in Triple-A but has the speed (35 steals at Double-A in 2018) and athleticism to potentially provide a jolt sooner rather than later.


    THEY'RE SET: The top of the rotation is good to go. Taillon, Williams, Chris Archer and Joe Musgrove all posted ERAs of 4.30 or lower. The back end of the bullpen is also in good shape with Kyle Crick, Keone Kela setting up Felipe Vazquez.

    THEY'RE NOT:
    Shortstop is a serious question mark after the club opted not to re-sign the steady Mercer. Gonzalez has yet to play over 81 games in a season and Newman showed little offensively in an extended audition last September. 1B Josh Bell spent most of the offseason addressing the power drain he suffered in 2018 when his home run total dropped from 26 to 12. Third baseman Colin Moran proved durable while playing in 144 games but hit just 11 home runs. Pittsburgh brought back Jung Ho Kang hoping he can regain the form he showed while hitting a combined 36 home runs in 2015 and 2016 before his career was derailed by his DUI arrest in his native South Korea in late 2016.

    ON DECK:
    The Pirates will give the group trying to lock up the fifth spot in the rotation plenty of looks and the middle infield could provide the closest thing to intrigue while Williams hopes to show his otherworldly second half in 2018 - when he went 7-3 with a 1.30 ERA - was no fluke. Pittsburgh begins the regular season in Cincinnati on March 28 and hosts St. Louis in the home opener on April 1.
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    Padres fans can't wait to see Tatis Jr.
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SAN DIEGO (AP) With a mighty bat flip and joyous home run trot in winter ball, Fernando Tatis Jr. stirred a frenzy among long-suffering San Diego Padres fans eager to see the hotshot shortstop prospect make it to the big leagues.


    Tatis' bat flip after hitting a walk-off homer in a Dominican Winter League playoff game in early January went viral on social media. Fans envision the 20-year-old doing it at Petco Park, perhaps with fewer theatrics than players can get away with in winter ball.


    Tatis' eagerly awaited major league debut most likely will come this year, if not on opening day then after he gets some time in Triple-A.


    ''He's going to tell us by how he plays,'' manager Andy Green said of Tatis, who will be in his second big league spring camp for the rebuilding Padres. ''We're going to let him tell us. ... We're looking forward to watching him compete. He does a lot of really good stuff on a baseball field.''


    Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday and position players report on Feb. 18, with the first full-squad workout on Feb. 19.


    After losing 96 games last year and missing the playoffs for the 12th straight season, the Padres checked in on the two big free agents, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. If they don't land either one, then the focus will squarely be on Tatis, whose father played in the big leagues.


    Tatis broke his left thumb sliding headfirst while in Double-A in July and missed the rest of the season. But he made up for the lost time during winter ball. Still, he's played only 2 + months above A-ball. Listed as the No. 2 overall prospect in all of baseball, Tatis was obtained from the Chicago White Sox for James Shields in July 2016 as general manager A.J. Preller began a deep rebuild following a failed win-now splurge prior to the 2015 season.


    Here are some things to look for from the Padres in spring training:


    NEW LOOK:
    The Padres were remarkably quiet in the offseason, adding only infielders Ian Kinsler and Greg Garcia, as well as right-hander Garrett Richards, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and won't pitch this year. Gone are shortstop Freddy Galvis and left-hander Clayton Richard.


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: While Tatis is still waiting to make his big league debut, infielder Luis Urias and catcher Francisco Mejia came up late last season. Urias will likely start the season at shortstop and keep the position warm for Tatis while Kinsler starts at second. Pitching prospects who will be in big league camp - and could be in the next wave of talent to crash on shore in San Diego - include Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill and Logan Allen.


    THEY'RE SET: First baseman Eric Hosmer looks to settle in after an underwhelming first year with the Padres and Austin Hedges returns at catcher, although he could be pushed by Mejia. Wil Myers moves from third base back to the outfield, most likely in left. ''And then we're going to have some open competition almost all the way around the diamond to a degree right now,'' Green said. The Padres have six outfielders and will look at a number of alignments. In the rotation, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer made their big league debuts last year and will head the young, relatively inexperienced rotation.


    THEY'RE NOT: The biggest mystery is who will start at third base on opening day. It's possible that player isn't yet on the roster, just like Hosmer wasn't signed last year until the day the full squad reported to camp. If the Padres don't land a free agent, minor leaguers Ty France and Jason Vosler could get a shot. Kinsler could play third, too, although he's only logged two innings at the hot corner in his big league career.


    ON DECK: It wouldn't be surprising if Preller added a veteran position player or starting pitcher before opening day on March 28 at home against San Francisco.
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    Phillies still waiting on Bryce and Manny
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Still chasing Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the Philadelphia Phillies are headed to spring training with high hopes and a revamped lineup.


    Expectations would increase if they finally land their superstar.


    The Phillies had been eyeing this offseason for a few years, knowing they'd have the money and payroll flexibility to spend big bucks to get big-time players. They made their pitch to Machado when he visited Philadelphia in December and tried to sell Harper on coming here in a meeting in Las Vegas last month.


    While the baseball world waits for both players to make decisions, teams are moving on and getting ready for the season.


    The Phillies made a blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Miami on Thursday and already improved their roster without adding one of the two prized free agents. Shortstop Jean Segura was acquired from Seattle in December while 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen and proven closer David Robertson signed in free agency.


    Under first-year manager Gabe Kapler, the Phillies were a surprise contender for much of 2018 until falling apart the final two months. They led their division with the second-best record in the National League one week into August before going 16-33 over the final 49 games to finish with a losing record for the sixth straight year.


    Here are some things to know about the Phillies as they start camp:


    NEW-LOOK LINEUP:
    Segura (.304 average, 10 homers, 63 RBIs, 20 steals) and Realmuto (.277, 21, 74) bolster the top of the order and McCutchen. (.255, 20, 65) gives Kapler flexibility because he can bat anywhere. The Phillies had the worst average (.234) and were third in strikeouts (1,520) last season so they should be much better. If other hitters improve, the lineup could be formidable. Slugger Rhys Hoskins still has more upside. Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez and Aaron Altherr are coming off down seasons. Nick Williams and Scott Kingery have plenty of room for improvement. Maikel Franco was the only starter who produced better numbers from the previous season.


    ACED UP: Aaron Nola had a breakout season, finishing third in NL Cy Young Award voting. Jake Arrieta was disappointing after signing in mid-March. Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez showed promise. The starting rotation has potential but lacks a lefty. Dallas Keuchel is still in play for the Phillies if they want to add a former Cy Young award winner who, like Arrieta, may have had his best seasons already.


    BULLPEN STRENGTH: Robertson improves a talented group that features hard-throwing righty Seranthony Dominguez, who emerged as the closer in his rookie season. Righties Hector Neris, Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter plus lefties Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez and James Pazos make this a deep unit. Robertson may be used in various roles to get big outs whether it's in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings.


    SHAPE UP: Herrera had a career-high in homers (22) and RBIs (70) but had career-lows in average (.255) and on-base percentage (.310). He arrived to spring training last year out of shape and Kapler told him after the season it was unacceptable so Herrera worked with personal trainers in Miami and went to camp in January. Herrera was an All-Star in 2016 and slashed .288/.344/.430 over his first three seasons.


    GETTING DEFENSIVE: The Phillies had the worst defense in the majors last season but improved by adding Segura to play shortstop and moving Hoskins from left field to his natural spot at first base. Kapler plans to tweak the way he employs defensive shifts. Arrieta and Neshek were critical of some defensive alignments last season when they were on the mound and positioning players better also can help the defense.
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    D-backs prepare without Goldschmidt
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PHOENIX (AP) For the first time in years, the Arizona Diamondbacks begin spring training without Paul Goldschmidt as the quiet, powerful anchor of the team.


    A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin won't be there, either.


    Times are changing for the Diamondbacks, who have significant holes to fill, to say the least.


    ''I feel like it's going to be a unique experience for all of us, myself included,'' manager Torey Lovullo said. ''He (Goldschmidt) has been there every day I've been manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, but it's probably going to take a minute or two to absorb that he's not going to be walking through that door.''


    Still, the Diamondbacks aren't calling it a rebuilding year.


    ''We have some new parts and we know that,'' Lovullo said. ''And as much as it hurt to let some of these guys go elsewhere, it's the nature of the game. What it'll mean is that we need to be a little bit better and a little bit sharper, and we love that challenge. Players are going to have to step up, and the front office and myself are going to have to get a little sharper in every area.''


    Here are some things to consider when the Diamondbacks begin spring workouts at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale:


    NEW LOOK:
    The plan is for Jake Lamb to move from third base to first. Lamb, coming off surgery on his left shoulder, is a powerful slugger against right-handed pitching but has struggled against lefties. Arizona also wants to shift Ketel Marte from second base to center field to replace A.J. Pollock, who went to the Dodgers. The second baseman, presumably, would be free agent signee Wilmer Flores, who also can spell Lamb at first.


    It's a significant transition for Marte, who played shortstop until his shift to second, where he was more than adequate defensively.


    There also are a couple of openings in the rotation with the departure of Corbin, Arizona's best pitcher for much of last season, and Clay Buchholz.


    The bullpen was a big disappointment last season. Arizona is counting on Greg Holland, another free agent acquisition, to help in the late innings. The closer role is open, but Archie Bradley is the early leader there.


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: There are no rookies who figure to battle for significant roles for Arizona, but catcher Carson Kelly doesn't have much playing time over three years with the St. Louis Cardinals.


    Kelly, who came in the trade that sent Goldschmidt to St. Louis, could be the everyday catcher for Arizona, with Alex Avila and John Ryan Murphy filling in behind him.


    Arizona has vastly improved its farm system the past couple of years, with young players such as shortstop Jazz Chisolm and pitchers Jon Duplantier and Taylor Widener rated among the top 100 minor league players in the country.


    THEY'RE SET: The left side of the ball club is an obvious strength, with Gold Glove shortstop Nick Ahmed and solid third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who signed a three-year, $21 million contract to stay with the Diamondbacks, who acquired him in a July trade with Minnesota.


    Ahmed improved his offense last year, batting .234 with 33 doubles and 70 RBIs, while Escobar hit .272 with a career-best 23 homers and 84 RBIs in his combined time with the Diamondbacks and Twins.


    And in left field is David Peralta, who in his best major league season batted .293 with 30 homers and 87 RBIs. His batting average and RBIs led the team.


    THEY'RE NOT: There are many question marks on the team and pitching probably is the biggest.


    Zack Greinke returns at age 35 after going 15-11 with a 3.21 ERA. Lefty Robbie Ray finished strong after a bumpy season and is being counted on to help replace Corbin. Zack Godley (15-11, 4.74 ERA) holds the third spot but the other two positions are open with no outstanding prospects.


    The bullpen seems solid at the back end, with Bradley, Abbott and Yoshihisa Hirano. Lefties Andrew Chafin and T.J. McFarland return but the overall quality of that group remains to be seen.


    Somewhere there has to be someone to help replace the big offensive numbers that Goldschmidt routinely produced.


    ON DECK: The Diamondbacks' first spring training game is Feb. 23 against Colorado, the team that shares Salt River Fields with Arizona. Arizona opens its regular season March 28 at the Dodgers.
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    Giants go younger under new Zaidi
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The San Francisco Giants have had a quiet offseason, aside of course from acquiring new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi from the rival and six-time defending division champion Dodgers and challenging him with getting this franchise back into contention.


    Or, as Zaidi emphasized, competing night in and night out.


    San Francisco will be younger, with fewer big names, for sure. And some of those big names - take Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Madison Bumgarner - are eager for fresh starts after injury-shortened years in 2018.


    Returning to respectability will be the first chore: The Giants finished 73-89 last season while trading away Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees in late August in a lost year. San Francisco struggled to score runs and went a majors-worst 5-21 in September but improved on its last-place 2017 finish of 64-98 by nine wins.


    Zaidi brought back left-hander Derek Holland for $7 million over one year and signed lefty Drew Pomeranz to a $1.5 million, one-year contract.


    They will add depth for a starting staff that in 2018 missed Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija for significant stretches in a second straight season.


    Here are some things to know about the Giants:


    POSEY'S PROGRESS:
    Posey underwent season-ending hip surgery in August.


    At the December winter meetings in Las Vegas, Zaidi said he absolutely still considers Posey the face of the franchise and a feared hitter in the middle of the batting order. That's after Posey hit .284 with five home runs and 41 RBIs.


    The hip did limit the catcher at the plate.


    INJURED PITCHERS: Manager Bruce Bochy has said he expects Bumgarner to bounce back like his old self - the dominant southpaw who captured 2014 World Series MVP honors.


    Bumgarner broke the pinkie on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive from Kansas City's Whit Merrifield in his final 2018 spring training start, then had surgery to insert pins into the finger.


    He returned and wound up 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts and 129 2/3 innings. The lefty ace missed nearly three months last year following a dirt bike accident during an off day in Colorado.


    Cueto had Tommy John surgery in August.


    Samardzija ''is pretty much on schedule,'' according to Zaidi, after the right-hander dealt with shoulder issues that limited him to 10 starts and just 44 2/3 innings as he went 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA.


    NEW LOOK: Gone are fan favorite Hunter Pence, hothead Hunter Strickland and reliable outfielders Gregor Blanco and Gorkys Hernandez.


    Pomeranz is familiar with the Bay Area - he spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons with Oakland - and the NL West, having pitched for Colorado and San Diego. He spent the past three years with Boston.


    Pomeranz won a career-high 17 games for the Red Sox in 2017. But he went 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA last season and was limited to 11 starts and 26 appearances for the World Series champions because of two stints on the disabled list - first with a strained left forearm followed by biceps tendinitis in his pitching arm.


    He did not pitch in the World Series but was on the roster.


    ''My big thing is getting back on track to doing what I can do and just being myself again because it's very frustrating when you have to fight through a year where you know this isn't me, how do I fix this, what can I do to make sure this never happen again?'' he said. ''In that regard, this just felt like a great fit for me.''


    ROOKIES TO WATCH: Catcher Joey Bart, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft last year, got an invitation to big league spring training and will give the Giants a glimpse of the future. Bart is the team's top prospect after hitting 13 homers and 14 doubles in 45 games in Class-A last year and will get the chance to work alongside Posey. Bart figures to be a big part of the team's plans in 2020.


    THEY'RE NOT: The Giants have plenty of uncertainty in the outfield following the departures of Pence and Blanco. The most experienced outfielder on the roster is Mac Williamson, who has played only 120 games in his career.


    PITCHING ANALYST: The Giants hired pitching analyst Matt Daniels to join Zaidi's staff. Daniels left his position in Seattle as pitching coordinator of driveline baseball to join San Francisco.
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    NL West teams at the start of spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    A team-by-team look at the National League West entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:


    Los Angeles Dodgers


    Manager:
    Dave Roberts (fourth season).


    2018: 92-71, first place, lost to Boston in World Series.


    Training Town: Glendale, Arizona.


    Park: Camelback Ranch.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/19.


    He's Here: CF A.J. Pollock, RHP Joe Kelly, C Russell Martin, RHP Homer Bailey, 3B Justin Yorchak, LHP Adam McCreery, RHP Jaime Schultz.


    He's Outta Here: SS Manny Machado, OF Matt Kemp, OF Yasiel Puig, C Yasmani Grandal, LHP Alex Wood, 2B Brian Dozier, RHP Ryan Madson, C Kyle Farmer, 2B Chase Utley, RHP John Axford, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP-RHP Pat Venditte.


    Going campin': The Dodgers arrive at camp with unfinished business yet again, having lost in the World Series for the second straight year. They won their sixth consecutive NL West title and second straight NL pennant only to fall short in seven games to Boston for the championship. All-Star closer Kenley Jansen had a heart procedure in November and expects to be ready by opening day. Kelly came over from Boston to be the setup man for Jansen. Pollock signed a $55 million, four-year deal in January to be the everyday center fielder. SS Corey Seager isn't sure he'll be cleared to play by opening day, but he hasn't had any setbacks in his recovery from hip and Tommy John surgeries. The latest former Dodger to return to the club is Martin, a four-time All-Star who helped lead Los Angeles to three straight playoff appearances during his first stint from 2006-10.


    ---


    Colorado Rockies


    Manager:
    Bud Black (third season).


    2018: 91-72, second place, wild card, lost to Milwaukee in Division Series.


    Training Town: Scottsdale, Arizona.


    Park: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: 1B Daniel Murphy, 1B Mark Reynolds.


    He's Outta Here: 2B DJ LeMahieu, RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, OF Gerardo Parra, C Drew Butera.


    Going campin': Colorado came so close to capturing the first NL West title in franchise history last season, losing at Los Angeles in a tiebreaker game. Instead, the Rockies settled for a wild card and beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field before losing to Milwaukee in the Division Series. The team was carried by a young pitching staff that turned in 84 quality starts. A rotation led by Kyle Freeland and German Marquez became the first since the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays to primarily use starters who had never pitched for another major league squad. At the plate, the Rockies struggled at times despite a lineup that included Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado, who enters his final year before free agency. The team hit .256, the lowest mark in franchise history. Colorado showed plenty of pop, though, with 210 homers - fifth-most in club history. Arenado (38) and Story (37) led the way in the power department. The biggest questions hovering over the Rockies this spring include locking up Arenado to a long-term deal and finding an eighth-inning replacement for Ottavino. The plan is to play Murphy at first base and move infielder Ian Desmond to the outfield. Blackmon is expected to be shifted from center to left.


    ---


    Arizona Diamondbacks


    Manager:
    Torey Lovullo (third season).


    2018: 82-80, third place.


    Training Town: Scottsdale, Arizona.


    Park: Salt River Fields.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: INF Wilmer Flores, RHP Luke Weaver, RHP Greg Holland, C Carson Kelly, RHP Ricky Nolasco, LHP Marc Rzepczynski.


    He's Outta Here: 1B Paul Goldschmidt, CF A.J. Pollock, LHP Patrick Corbin, C Jeff Mathis, INF Daniel Descalso, RHP Clay Buchholz, OF Jon Jay, INF-OF Chris Owings, RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Randall Delgado, LHP Jake Diekman, RHP Shelby Miller, RHP Brad Ziegler, C Chris Stewart.


    Going campin': The Diamondbacks are not calling this a rebuilding year but there are plenty of changes - and significant losses. For the first time in years, Goldschmidt won't be around to anchor the lineup after he was traded to St. Louis. One of the most popular players in Diamondbacks history, his exit leaves a huge hole on offense and defense. The plan is to shift Jake Lamb from third base to first, with Eduardo Escobar handling third base. Arizona also wants to move Ketel Marte from second base to center field to fill the hole left by Pollock's departure via free agency. Corbin was the team's best pitcher most of last season and his spot in the rotation is up for grabs after he, too, left as a free agent. Arizona does return Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Zack Godley from last year's rotation, but the other two spots must be earned this spring. The bullpen fell apart in 2018 and has been restructured. The biggest acquisition is Holland, who figures to pitch in the late innings. The closer's role could go to Archie Bradley, who brings a high-velocity fastball, fiery personality and lots of emotion to the job. But he faltered a bit last season after a big 2017.


    ---


    San Francisco Giants


    Manager:
    Bruce Bochy (13th season).

    2018
    : 73-89, fourth place.


    Training Town: Scottsdale, Arizona.


    Park: Scottsdale Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: LHP Drew Pomeranz, C Rene Rivera, LHP-RHP Pat Venditte, RHP Jake Barrett, OF Mike Gerber.


    He's Outta Here: OF Hunter Pence, OF Gregor Blanco, OF Gorkys Hernandez, C Nick Hundley, RHP Hunter Strickland, RHP Derek Law.


    Going campin': The Giants made few significant moves after coming off a two-year stretch of 187 losses that was the worst for the franchise since 1984-85. Farhan Zaidi was hired as president of baseball operations but didn't make a splash, with the biggest offseason addition being Pomeranz, who went 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA last season for Boston. There are still a few key pieces left from a team that made the playoffs in 2016, most notably catcher Buster Posey, ace Madison Bumgarner, shortstop Brandon Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt. But the rotation is lacking behind Bumgarner, with Johnny Cueto recovering from Tommy John surgery. The most experienced outfielders are Mac Williamson and Austin Slater, both with fewer than 400 career at-bats. With few high-end prospects in the upper ranks of the minors, the Giants appear to be in for another rebuilding year and could be in line to win fewer than 75 games in three straight full seasons for the first time since 1900-02.


    ---


    San Diego Padres


    Manager:
    Andy Green (fourth season).


    2018: 66-96, fifth place.


    Training Town: Peoria, Arizona.


    Park: Peoria Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 14/19.


    He's Here: 2B Ian Kinsler, RHP Garrett Richards, INF Greg Garcia.


    He's Outta Here: SS Freddy Galvis, LHP Clayton Richard, INF Carlos Asuaje, C A.J. Ellis.


    Going campin': The Padres' long-downtrodden fan base really, really, really wants to see top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. come up to the big leagues, especially after seeing his exploits in winter ball, including an epic bat flip. The 20-year-old shortstop, the son of a former big leaguer, will be in his second straight major league camp and is expected to make his debut at some point this season, even it's not on opening day. Until he's up, rookie Luis Urias could play shortstop and Kinsler could play second base. The Padres were interested in Manny Machado - as well as the other top free agent, Bryce Harper - but were considered long shots to sign either. That leaves a big question mark at third base. Wil Myers was moved there toward the end of last season but struggled and is headed back to the outfield. The Padres also will spend spring figuring out their young, relatively inexperienced rotation, which could be augmented during the season by some of the club's many talented prospects. San Diego hasn't had a winning season since 2010 and hasn't been to the playoffs since 2006.
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    AL Central teams at the start of spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    A team-by-team look at the American League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:


    Cleveland Indians


    Manager:
    Terry Francona (seventh season).


    2018: 91-71, first place, lost to Houston in Division Series.


    Training Town: Goodyear, Arizona.


    Park: Goodyear Ballpark.


    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.


    He's Here: 1B-DH Carlos Santana, 1B Jake Bauers, C Kevin Plawecki, OF Jordan Luplow, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, RHP Nick Wittgren, LHP Oliver Perez, INF Ryan Flaherty, C Dioner Navarro.

    He's Outta Here
    : OF Michael Brantley, DH Edwin Encarnacion, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Cody Allen, C Yan Gomes, 1B Yonder Alonso, 3B Yandy Diaz, 2B Erik Gonzalez.


    Going campin': The Indians followed up a third straight AL Central title with another postseason disappointment, getting swept in the Division Series by Houston. The offseason goal was to reduce payroll, and the Indians went at their roster with a wrecking ball. They wiped roughly $20 million off the books with several significant trades, dealing away slugger Encarnacion, All-Star catcher Gomes and Alonso. In addition, All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will miss spring training with a strained right calf, a worrisome soft tissue injury that could keep the team's best player off the field into the season's first month. Cleveland also took a big hit in free agency, choosing not to re-sign closer Allen or lefty reliever Miller, two bullpen mainstays of the past, as well as Brantley. The club didn't pull the trigger on offers for ace Corey Kluber or All-Star right-hander Trevor Bauer, but those conversations could continue into this season. Despite the makeover, the Indians remain the team to beat in their division, but this club has much higher goals after getting to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. The outfield is a major concern heading into the spring, but the returns of Bradley Zimmer and Leonys Martin from injuries should help. Francona's other objective will be rebuilding the back end of what was once one of the AL's best bullpens.


    ---


    Minnesota Twins


    Manager:
    Rocco Baldelli (first season).


    2018: 78-84, second place.


    Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.


    Park: Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex.


    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.


    He's Here: DH-OF Nelson Cruz, 2B Jonathan Schoop, RHP Blake Parker, 1B C.J. Cron, LHP Martin Perez, INF Ronald Torreyes, LHP Tim Collins.


    He's Outta Here: Manager Paul Molitor, 1B Joe Mauer, OF-DH Robbie Grossman, 1B-DH Logan Morrison, 2B Logan Forsythe, RHP Ervin Santana, RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Alan Busenitz.


    Going campin': Baldelli, who at 37 is the youngest manager in the majors, spent the last eight seasons either on the coaching staff or working in the front office with Tampa Bay. He has brought a fresh source of energy and ideas that the Twins are banking on to help bring out the best in some of their underperforming young players, with center fielder Byron Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano at the top of that list following a rough 2018 season for both of them. Other players who will be closely watched throughout spring training are RHP Michael Pineda (elbow) and C Jason Castro (knee), with each coming off a major injury. Pineda didn't pitch in 2018, and Castro's season was over after 19 games. After adding RHP Jake Odorizzi, RHP Lance Lynn and Morrison last year, acquisitions made after spring training started, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine have said they underestimated the challenge of such late integrations after seeing them struggle through 2018. Lynn was among several key players traded last summer before the deadline. Falvey and Levine expressed caution about February or March moves this year despite the abundance of high-profile free agents remaining on the market. Baldelli has so far kept quiet about his preferred closer candidates, with Parker the only offseason addition to the bullpen. Returning relievers Trevor Hildenberger, Trevor May, Addison Reed and Taylor Rogers will all hold late-inning roles, if they're not in the mix with Parker for the ninth.


    ---


    Detroit Tigers


    Manager:
    Ron Gardenhire (second season).


    2018: 64-98, third place.


    Training Town: Lakeland, Florida.


    Park: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: LHP Matt Moore, RHP Tyson Ross, SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Gordon Beckham, 2B Brandon Dixon, 3B-RHP Kaleb Cowart.


    He's Outta Here: DH Victor Martinez, SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C James McCann, RHP Alex Wilson, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RHP Artie Lewicki.


    Going campin': The Tigers have lost 98 games in each of the past two seasons, and the big question is how soon some of the team's top prospects might be ready to contribute in the big leagues. Right-hander Casey Mize, the top pick in last year's draft, was invited to major league camp, and while his debut in Detroit may still be way off, he'll be a player to watch in spring training. The Tigers are hoping for a bounce-back performance from slugger Miguel Cabrera, who played only 38 games last year before having season-ending biceps surgery.


    ---


    Chicago White Sox


    Manager: Rick Renteria (third season).


    2018: 62-100, fourth place.


    Training Town: Glendale, Arizona.


    Park: Camelback Ranch.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: RHP Ivan Nova, 1B-DH Yonder Alonso, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Alex Colome, OF Jon Jay, C James McCann, OF Brandon Guyer.


    He's Outta Here: OF Avisail Garcia, DH-INF Matt Davidson, RHP James Shields.


    Going campin': The White Sox would love to jumpstart their rebuild by signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. Even if they don't land one of the prized free agents, they believe they are setting themselves up to start climbing. They have six straight losing seasons and are coming off their highest loss total since the 1970 team dropped a franchise-record 106 games. They also struck out more times than any other team in major league history. But they have promising players on the roster and in the farm system. Touted infielder Yoan Moncada and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech - who will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery - have shown potential in the majors. Eloy Jimenez, one of baseball's top hitting prospects, could debut early this season. Dylan Cease might also get called up and join the rotation at some point.


    ---


    Kansas City Royals


    Manager:
    Ned Yost (10th season).


    2018: 58-104, fifth place.


    Training Town: Surprise, Arizona.


    Park: Surprise Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: OF Billy Hamilton, RHP Brad Boxberger, INF-OF Chris Owings, RHP Chris Ellis.


    He's Outta Here: INF Cheslor Cuthbert, RHP Brandon Maurer, RHP Nate Karns, RHP Jason Hammel.


    Going Campin': The Royals knew they'd go through growing pains as they jettisoned veterans and began a rebuild in earnest last season, and that was reflected in 100-plus losses just three years after a World Series championship. SS Adalberto Mondesi was a breakout star the last couple months of the season, and 3B Hunter Dozier and 1B Ryan O'Hearn showed promise. The Royals need more from starting LHP Danny Duffy and RHP Ian Kennedy, especially after RHPs Brad Keller and Jakob Junis flashed late in the season. The bullpen is the biggest question mark with only RHPs Wily Peralta and Kevin McCarthy safe bets to make the 25-man roster. Also of note this spring: former top prospect Kyle Zimmer says he is healthy and ready to attempt a comeback after injuries derailed his promising career.
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    AL East teams at the start of spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    A team-by-team look at the American League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:


    Boston Red Sox


    Manager:
    Alex Cora (second season).


    2018: 108-54, first place, World Series champions.


    Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.


    Park: JetBlue Park at Fenway South.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: OF Gorkys Hernandez, RHP Jenrry Mejia.


    He's Outta Here: RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Joe Kelly, 2B Ian Kinsler.


    Going campin': The Red Sox are largely standing pat as they attempt to win back-to-back World Series for the first time in more than a century. The team that won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season last year is largely intact, with All-Star closer Kimbrel the biggest loss. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hoping to return from a knee injury that limited him to three games last season. Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon will compete for two spots at catcher. AL MVP Mookie Betts is back, as is J.D. Martinez, who finished fourth in the voting. Chris Sale and David Price arrive at camp for the first time in their careers as postseason heroes.


    ---


    New York Yankees


    Manager:
    Aaron Boone (second season).


    2018: 100-62, second place, wild card, lost to Boston in Division Series.


    Training Town: Tampa, Florida.


    Park: Steinbrenner Field.


    First Workout: Feb. 14/19.


    He's Here: LHP James Paxton, RHP Adam Ottavino, INF DJ LeMahieu, SS Troy Tulowitzki, RHP Danny Farquhar.


    He's Outta Here: RHP David Robertson, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Lance Lynn, INF Neil Walker, INF Ronald Torreyes, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Justus Sheffield.


    Going campin': Health is the chief concern of the Yankees, who are not likely to have SS Didi Gregorius until summer following Tommy John surgery Oct. 17. Spring training will determine the readiness of Tulowitzki, sidelined by heel injuries since July 2017. New York enters camp with an array of players coming off health issues: CC Sabathia (stent inserted Dec. 11 during surgery to clear a blockage in an artery from his heart, chronic right knee arthritis), C Gary Sanchez (left shoulder surgery Nov. 8), RF Aaron Judge (broken right wrist on July 26 that sidelined him until Sept. 14), DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring tightness that hampered him the second half of last season), closer Aroldis Chapman (left knee tendinitis bothered him nearly all season and sidelined him between Aug. 21 and Sept. 20), 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery March 27 that sidelined him until May 26 and impacted his entire season), OF Clint Frazier (concussion on Feb. 24 that limited him to 15 games all season) and OF Jacoby Ellsbury (missed 2018 season with various ailments and had surgery Aug. 8 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip).


    ---


    Tampa Bay Rays


    Manager:
    Kevin Cash (fifth season).


    2018: 90-72, third place.


    Training Town: Port Charlotte, Florida.


    Park: Charlotte Sports Park.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: RHP Charlie Morton, C Mike Zunino, OF Avisail Garcia, INF Yandy Diaz, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Emilio Pagan.


    He's Outta Here: Coaches Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo - departed to become managers of the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively - OF Mallex Smith, 1B-OF Jake Bauers, RHP Sergio Romo, 1B C.J. Cron, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, OF Carlos Gomez, C Adam Moore, LHP Vidal Nuno.


    Going campin': Expectations are high for the Rays after winning 90 games last season despite a massive roster overhaul. Fueled by young players, Tampa Bay went 41-25 after the All-Star break, including 19-9 in September. Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell led the majors with 21 wins and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA. He heads a projected rotation bolstered by the signing of Morton and the acquisition of RHP Tyler Glasnow in a deal that sent RHP Chris Archer to the Pirates last summer. The batting order will have a different look with the addition of Garcia and Zunino, and Cash faces some potentially tough decisions regarding the makeup of the bullpen. There are fewer questions about a solid defense, anchored by OFs Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham, who hit .355 with 22 RBIs over his final 37 games after being acquired from St. Louis in a trade. Cash also plans to continue using ''openers'' - relievers who start games and generally face three to nine batters. The creative use of the team's relievers was an integral part of Tampa Bay's surprising success a year ago.


    ---


    Toronto Blue Jays


    Manager:
    Charlie Montoyo (first season).


    2018: 73-89, fourth place.


    Training Town: Dunedin, Florida.


    Park: Dunedin Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.


    He's Here: INF Freddy Galvis, RHP David Phelps, LHP Clayton Richard, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Julian Merryweather.


    He's Outta Here: Manager John Gibbons, C Russell Martin, SS Troy Tulowitzki, INF Aledmys Diaz, RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Mark Leiter Jr., INF Yangervis Solarte.


    Going campin': The Blue Jays are in the early stages of a rebuild centered around top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A slugger like his Hall of Fame father, Guerrero likely won't be promoted before mid-April - a move that will delay his free agency by a season. Overseeing Guerrero's debut will be Montoyo, a longtime Triple-A skipper who spent the past four seasons on Tampa Bay's staff, most recently as bench coach. Montoyo is also a former Expos teammate of Vladimir Guerrero. He replaces Gibbons, let go after consecutive losing seasons. While the explosive Guerrero is seen as a sure thing, almost nothing else is certain about the Blue Jays. The team is likely to spend 2019 trying to establish roles for a group of young position players while seeking to acquire and develop the pieces it needs for a stronger and deeper pitching staff. Until then, no amount of slugging from Guerrero is likely to be enough for Toronto to stay in touch with the leaders in the tough AL East.


    ---


    Baltimore Orioles


    Manager:
    Brandon Hyde (first season).


    2018: 47-115, fifth place, worst record in majors.


    Training Town: Sarasota, Florida.


    Park: Ed Smith Stadium.


    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.


    He's Here: RHP Nate Karns, INF Richie Martin, INF Rio Ruiz, C Jesus Sucre, INF Hanser Alberto.


    He's Outta Here: Manager Buck Showalter, OF Adam Jones, INF Tim Beckham, C Caleb Joseph, DH Pedro Alvarez.


    Going campin': During their worst season since coming to Baltimore in 1954, the Orioles traded Manny Machado, Zack Britton and Kevin Gausman. Then the team fired VP Dan Duquette and Showalter and started anew this offseason under GM Mike Elias and Hyde, who will oversee a complete rebuild. Elias comes from Houston, and Hyde was with the Cubs, so both know that this kind of transition requires shrewd drafting, a strong minor league system and a whole lot of patience. Veteran sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, who performed poorly in 2018, will be surrounded by young players who must learn on the job. Elias didn't sign a major league free agent all winter until Karns was brought in the week before camp, which leaves Hyde with the formidable task of constructing a competitive roster at spring training while teaching fundamentals to a group of inexperienced players.
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    Posey is healthy and hopeful of handling full catching load
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) One day in early November, Buster Posey felt his body respond more normally again as he rehabilitated from season-ending hip surgery. Working out his lower half with a 15-pound dumbbell in his left hand he leaned forward for a one-legged Russian Dead Lift. Posey felt the muscles in his right buttocks being used exactly the way they should.


    ''This might be TMI,'' San Francisco's star catcher noted of perhaps providing too much information. ''I could really feel the right side of my gluteus maximus engage - hadn't really felt that in a while. With all leg exercises I feel like things have been more symmetrical, so hopefully that's a good sign.''


    San Francisco pitchers and catchers report this week and Posey plans to be a full participant from Day 1 of spring training Wednesday, pulling on the catcher's gear and squatting behind the plate for his part in pitchers' bullpens early in camp. He understands there likely will be some modifications to his workload at the beginning just to be safe.


    And being in the lineup behind the plate on opening day March 28 at San Diego, Posey is absolutely planning on it.


    ''As of now, no, not at all,'' he said of having any level of concern about being ready.


    When Posey began swinging a bat again at the start of the year, he considered that another critical step in his return and feeling right.


    He put on the catching gear again for a commercial Feb. 7.


    ''I kind of had that feeling a little bit already just when I got to hit,'' he said of getting back in the batting cage. ''I was like, `Man, this feels good, it feels good to be able to swing and feel like I'm swinging how I want to.''


    Still, he knows there's far more to it.


    ''I'm able to hit, throw, run and everything's feeling good,'' Posey said. ''Having said that, it's still not the same as getting on the field for live BP or the games in spring training then obviously the season's a completely different animal. But I'm optimistic that it'll be fun.''


    New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi insists the Giants will not push Posey, taking a cautious approach with one of their franchise players to make sure he stays on the field for the long haul. Stephen Vogt reached a minor league deal this week and Rene Rivera received a minor league contract last week to give the Giants depth at catcher.


    ''I do know that we're going to be smart about it, careful about it, not just going into camp but even going into the season,'' Zaidi said. ''If things go super, super well, even if he's ready to carry a full catching load to start the season I'm not sure that would be the prudent course for us so I think we're really going to err on the side of caution.''


    Of course Posey wants to play, especially after the way 2018 went for him personally and the team.


    The Giants finished 73-89, including a majors-worst 5-21 in September, yet bettered their last-place 2017 finish of 64-98.


    ''Again I think you have to be open to new thoughts and always be willing to adjust,'' Posey said. ''I do know that there's been times late in seasons on years that I've felt really good where I've been like, `Man, I'm running low right now.' So it would be hard to say that if that type of strategy would pay dividends in late September or early October, but there's probably numbers that say they do I'm guessing.''


    The 31-year-old Posey hopes with a healthy hip that his power numbers will improve as the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and 2012 MVP begins his 10th - yes, that's right - full major league season.


    He batted .284 with five home runs and 41 RBIs in 2018 while limited to 105 games. Even throwing seemed to put more stress on his shoulder with the troublesome hip, which needed repair for a torn labrum as well as removal of an impingement.


    Even if Posey hadn't needed surgery, he said players must constantly adapt and find new ways to prepare physically and mentally for the grind of a 162-game season.


    ''I think regardless of hip injury, surgery or whatnot you're having to evolve and change how you're going about your day just as the years go by, so, yeah, I've changed the way I go about getting ready,'' he said. ''I used to be able to just walk into a gym cold and jump on the squat rack. But those days are gone.''


    Manager Bruce Bochy gives Posey periodic starts at first base to take some stress off his body. Posey made 13 starts at first last year and 30 in 2017.


    Everyone around the Giants expects a strong comeback by the six-time All-Star.


    ''I'm sure it's going to be able to help out, the hip, being able to release it on the swing,'' Bochy said. ''I've listened to our medical staff and they're confident this is really going to help Buster out as far as catching, throwing and on the hitting side, so I'm confident.''
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    LH reliever Zach Duke signs 1-year deal with Reds
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Zach Duke has signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, who wanted a left-hander for the bullpen.


    Duke agreed to the deal last week. It was completed Monday after he passed a physical.


    Cincinnati overhauled its rotation and starting lineup in the offseason through a series of trades, hoping to become a contender. The bullpen already was solid with the additions of Jared Hughes and David Hernandez last season to set up closer Raisel Iglesias.


    Duke turns 36 in April. He pitched in 14 games for the Reds in 2013. Last season, he went 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 72 games with Minnesota and Seattle. Duke also has played for the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Brewers, White Sox and Cardinals.


    The Reds designated right-hander Jose Lopez for assignment. He went 5-13 for Triple-A Louisville last season.
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    Gerrit Cole goes to arbitration with Astros
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Pitcher Gerrit Cole has gone to arbitration with the Houston Astros, asking to be given $13.5 million rather than the team's offer of $11,425,000.


    Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he earned his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He earned $6.75 million.


    Arbitrators Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Walt De Treux heard the case Monday and are expected to decide later this week.


    Players and teams have split six decisions, including a victory for Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. The case of Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer is pending.


    Four more hearings are scheduled this week, for Michael Fulmer of Detroit, Aaron Nola of Philadelphia, Luis Severino of the New York Yankees and Alex Wood of Cincinnati.
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    Jeter anxious to see Marlins win
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    MIAMI (AP) Derek Jeter stood and chatted a few rows from home plate in Marlins Park on Monday morning. His words were sometimes drowned out by noises coming from construction crews; steel clanging against steel in an area getting built behind the center field wall, or the whirring of engines moving heavy machinery about.


    There couldn't have been a more fitting backdrop.


    Jeter, entering his second full season as CEO of the Miami Marlins, knows that building - whether it is a new spot for fans to watch games from, to a minor-league system, to a contending big-league club - takes time. That also means Jeter is being tested in ways now that he never was during his playing days as shortstop for the New York Yankees, when winning and competing for titles seemed like an annual occurrence.


    ''I have no patience,'' Jeter said. ''I have zero patience. I've been preaching it. I don't have it.''


    The Marlins had the worst record in the National League and the fourth-worst record in all of Major League Baseball last season, and just traded away the best player from their 2018 club - catcher J.T. Realmuto - to the Philadelphia Phillies. And oddsmakers say the Marlins will be one of the longest shots in baseball this year, which didn't amuse Jeter.


    He's clearly not expecting to get his hands on the World Series trophy this year.


    That doesn't mean he's accepting another woebegone year as a foregone conclusion, either.


    ''Patience is something that you have to learn,'' Jeter said. ''But I'm fine with not being patient. It's like I say: When you're at the major-league level, you're here for a reason, because these players have been better than most other players in this country and in other countries as well. And if you're here, you have an opportunity to win. I can't preach that enough.''


    Jeter spent his first season observing and learning, often very quietly. He helped craft a plan that the Marlins say they'll stick to: build an organization from the bottom up, stock what was a badly depleted farm system with prospects, give young players who merit a shot a chance at performing in Miami and hold absolutely everyone accountable.


    This season, he's hinting that he may be more involved with players. He learned in 2018. He may teach more in 2019.


    ''Derek's not going to be patient with not playing the game right, not getting after it every day, not competing,'' said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who played first base in Jeter's Yankee debut game in 1995. ''He knows where we're at. In a sense you have to have some patience. But you don't have patience if a guy's not playing the game right, if he's not trying to get better every day, if he's not working. That's where he's not going to have patience.''


    What he's selling, people are buying.


    The Marlins signed Neil Walker late last month to be a veteran utilityman presence, after he spent last year with the Yankees. Even after being with the Marlins for only a couple weeks, Hill said the message from Jeter's office on down is already clear to players: ''You're either going to be on board, or you're out.''


    ''In talking with Derek, talking with (president of baseball operations) Michael Hill, talking with Donnie, they've really sat down as an organization and thought about where they were, where they presently are and where they hope to go,'' Walker said. ''Their enthusiasm and their vision is contagious. And I know just from early talks with all three of them, they believe in the guys in this locker room and they believe in the direction this organization's going.''


    The Marlins vow they're going to make the experience at home games - where attendance dipped to franchise-record-low numbers in 2018, partially because the team was bad and partially because the new ownership group began revealing far more accurate ticket numbers than was done under the previous regime - better this year. The team is trying to better embrace the Latin flavor of Miami, and want fans to even feel comfortable bringing instruments to games if so inclined.


    Fans spoke. Jeter says their words were heeded.


    ''Look, I never shied away from the fact that there's a complicated history here with the fan base,'' Jeter said. ''I get it. We weren't here for that. We're taking over an organization that hadn't had much success at all for the last 15, 16 years. So in order to change that, we had to make changes.''


    And if Jeter has his way, the refurbishing of the team won't take long.


    ''We need to see improvement,'' Jeter said. ''We need to see improvement from some of our younger guys that got an opportunity to play last year. That's how you get better. We can sit and talk about minor-league systems all you want, but it gets to a point when you're in Miami that you have to develop and improve year in and year out. That's how you become a great team.''
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    deGrom sets deadline for contract talks
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom wants to hear the New York Mets' best pitch on a multiyear contract by opening day - and the team thinks that's a good call, too.


    New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who was deGrom's agent before switching sides at the bargaining table last fall, told reporters Tuesday at spring training there's ''no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season.''


    He said the club will continue discussions with deGrom this spring and see where they lead. That leaves about six weeks to get a deal done before the Mets' season opener March 28 at Washington.


    However, the 30-year-old deGrom cannot become a free agent until after the 2020 season, so the sides could always reopen negotiations next offseason.


    Last month, the Mets and deGrom agreed to a $17 million, one-year contract to avoid arbitration - a raise of $9.6 million over his 2018 salary.


    Van Wagenen clarified Tuesday that he will indeed be involved in any talks with deGrom about a long-term deal. The rookie GM said he recused himself from the pitcher's arbitration negotiations to avoid a potential conflict of interest.


    Mets pitchers and catchers will hold their first formal workout Thursday. Van Wagenen and deGrom are both scheduled to be available to reporters that day.


    ''Jacob clearly is a guy that we value. He's clearly a player that we hope will be with us for a long period of time and we have ongoing dialogue with him and his representatives on a variety of things, including his status with us going forward,'' Van Wagenen said last month.


    Last summer, when he was deGrom's agent, Van Wagenen suggested the Mets should consider trading deGrom if they weren't planning to commit to him long-term.


    After leading the majors with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings last year, deGrom was a runaway winner in NL Cy Young Award balloting. The two-time All-Star went just 10-9 with 269 strikeouts in 32 starts, receiving little support from a fourth-place team that finished 77-85.
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    Angels hope Ohtani ready to DH by May
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press



    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels hope Shohei Ohtani recovers from Tommy John surgery in time to join their batting order by May.


    The AL Rookie of the Year had Tommy John surgery Oct. 1 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The first player to hit 20 homers and make 10 pitching appearances in the same season since Babe Ruth, Ohtani is not expected to pitch this year but the Angels would like to have his bat in the lineup.


    ''We're thinking May, sometime in May, but that's assuming everything goes well,'' new manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday. ''This is new territory. We're dealing with a guy who DH's on a regular basis and is a starting pitcher. It's new territory in rehabbing a Tommy John surgery, and we want to protect him long-term being able to do both. If we have to push it back, we'll push it back.''


    Ohtani has been swinging without hitting a ball. He has yet to hit off a batting tee, Ausmus said.


    ''He's going to want to get on the field quickly because he wants to compete,'' Ausmus said.


    NOTES: The Angels also are monitoring Albert Pujols' return from left knee surgery on Aug. 29. The first baseman had a debridement, during which damaged tissue was removed.


    ''Albert is doing everything right now,'' Ausmus said. ''We'll have discussions with him on how he's feeling regularly.''
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