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[February 26, 2014]  The Sports Xchange
 
 02/26/2014 MLB Note - New York Mets Wright, David

3B David Wright will skip many of his team's early Grapefruit League games in an attempt to avoid the nagging injuries that have plagued him in springs past. Wright, along with 2B Daniel Murphy, will not ramp up his spring playing time until mid-March. "It's one of those things where it's so fickle," he said of spring injuries. "You take a bad swing or something and it just happens."

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MLB Note - New York Mets Young Jr., Eric

OF Eric Young Jr.'s teammates gave him a commemorative wrestling-style belt as a reward for his league-leading 46 stolen bases in 2013. Young is locked in a spring battle to start in left field for the Mets; if he beats out Juan Lagares for a starting outfield job, he will likely bat first in the lineup as well.

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MLB Note - New York Mets Harvey, Matt

RHP Matt Harvey threw off flat ground Saturday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2013. Harvey, who will continue throwing three times per week until he is ready to start pitching off a mound, expects to return to the Mets by Opening Day 2015. He said his first throwing session felt "awesome."

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MLB Note - New York Mets Davis, Ike

1B Ike Davis found himself embroiled in another controversy when he revealed that he played through injury for much of 2013. Davis insisted that the right oblique tweak played no role in his .205 average and nine home runs, but manager Terry Collins said that his first baseman should not have hidden the pain, however minor.
 


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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Minor, Mike

LHP Mike Minor (shoulder soreness) will miss the first part of Grapefruit League play and might not be ready to open the season in the rotation.

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Simmons, Andrelton

SS Andrelton Simmons' seven-year contract guarantees him $58 million and covers his first two years of potential free agency. The Gold Glove winner gets a $1 million signing bonus to go with a $1 million salary for 2014, then $3 million in 2015, $6 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017, $11 million in 2018, $13 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020. "It really hasn't sunk in yet," Simmons said. "I know I'm happy, though. I can tell you that. I'm really happy."

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Pena, Ramiro

INF Ramiro Pena, coming back from surgery last June for a torn labrum in his right shoulder, had no limitations from the start of spring training. Pena was batting .278 in 50 games last season when he was hurt making a throw from third base. The switch-hitter can play all infield spots and excels at the plate against right-handed pitching.

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Terdoslavich, Joey

OF Joey Terdoslavich increased his chances of opening the season with the Braves by turning in an impressive performance in the Dominican Winter League. The switch-hitter batted .291 in 24 regular-season games and then .329 in 16 playoff contests. He has played first and third base, and will get a look behind the plate this spring.

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Doumit, Ryan

UTL Ryan Doumit, acquired in a trade from Minnesota as a bat off bench, is not expected to catch much for the Braves. He did not go behind the plate at all for the Twins after suffering a concussion last August. The veteran switch-hitter will be a backup at first base and in the outfield with the Braves.

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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Alvarez, Henderson

RHP Henderson Alvarez brought his wife and infant daughter to South Florida late last week to escape the violence in their native Venezuela. Alvarez and several teammates posed for a photo, each holding a sign that read: "Paz" (Peace in Spanish.)

"With the picture I'm hoping to send a message to Venezuela to have peace, to leave the violence behind,'' he said.
 


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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Heaney, Andrew

LHP Andrew Heaney, the Marlins' top left-handed prospect, knows that Jose Fernandez made the leap from Class A to the majors last year. Heaney, 22, isn't putting a timetable on his arrival, but the Marlins aren't ruling out the possibility it could be in 2014.

"I think it's probably an individual case where you look at guys and you try to figure out, can this guy make the jump? You never really know unless they get the opportunity,'' said manager Mike Redmond.

Heaney went 9-3 with a 1.60 ERA last year for Class A Jupiter and Class AA Jacksonville.

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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Turner, Jacob

RHP Jacob Turner was a disappointment last spring, opening the year at Triple-A New Orleans after posting a 9.69 ERA in the Grapefruit League. The Marlins are counting on him to earn a rotation spot this spring.

"He's a guy we look to be in the rotation,'' manager Mike Redmond said. "There's a lot of competition there, too. He's got to earn it.''

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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Fernandez, Jose

RHP Jose Fernandez is scheduled to start the Marlins' Grapefruit League opener Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He is expected to start Miami's season opener, too, although manager Mike Redmond has yet to make that official.

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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Cishek, Steve

RHP Steve Cishek threw off the mound Friday for eight minutes as he eases back into full workouts. He missed two bullpen sessions because of a sore neck, but he expects to be ready for the season.

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MLB Note - Philadelphia Phillies Revere, Ben

CF Ben Revere is healthy and ready for a full season of productivity with the Phillies after missing the second half of his first year with the team because of a broken right foot. After a slow start in 2013, Revere hit .345 with a .371 on-base percentage in a two-month period from May 19 to July 13.

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MLB Note - Philadelphia Phillies Howard, Ryan

1B Ryan Howard is ready to hit the ground running with the beginning of Grapefruit League play, but he will play it smart and not push himself. A healthy Howard said the goal is to play the majority of the games in the regular season after playing a combined 151 games in the last two seasons.

"I feel like I can play 162 games," Howard said. "My whole offseason was dedicated to trying to play all 162 games plus trying to make it to the playoffs. My goal isn't to come out here and try to play 120 games. That's not why I play baseball."

-----------------------------------------------MLB Note - Philadelphia Phillies Gonzalez, Miguel Alfredo

RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was originally supposed to make his Phillies debut on Thursday but had that game pushed back two days after missing camp on Monday while ill. Gonzalez, a Cuban free agent who has pitched sparingly in games in the last two years, has looked rusty in bullpen sessions in the first two weeks of camp.

"(He's) coming back from injury and hasn't pitched competitively for a couple of years. I know that we're using a lot of patience with him," manager Ryne Sandberg said.

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MLB Note - Philadelphia Phillies Abreu, Bobby

RF Bobby Abreu is in camp as a non-roster player but is a favorite to win a bench job with the Phillies as one of the few left-handed-hitting extras available. Abreu, who turns 40 in March, was out of baseball in 2013. But he batted .292 with a .396 OBP in 17 big-league seasons.

"I know I'm not the same (as) when I was 25, 26, but I'm still fine," Abreu said. "I can still hit, I can still steal bases, run the bases pretty good. I feel fine."

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MLB Note - Philadelphia Phillies Utley, Chase

2B Chase Utley is impressed with first-year manager Ryne Sandberg's attention to detail and focus on fundamentals in Phillies camp this spring.

"I think any time you can fine-tune fundamentals, it's going to benefit you, it's going to benefit your team and give you a better chance to win," Utley told the Philadelphia Daily News. "Ryno has stressed that early on. And guys seem to be buying into it, excited to do it and continue to try to learn and improve on it."

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MLB Note - San Francisco Giants Bumgarner, Madison

LHP Madison Bumgarner will get the Opening-Day start for the San Francisco Giants on March 31 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants announced that Bumgarner would start the opener for the first time in his career. He joins three others Giants pichers in the rotation -- Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson -- who have started the first game of the season. The 24-year-old Bumgarner finished last season with a 13-9 record and a 2.77 ERA and had 199 strikeouts in 201 1/3 innings. He was named to the All-Star team and finished ninth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.
 


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MLB Note - Boston Red Sox Sizemore, Grady

OF Grady Sizemore, who has not seen action in a major league game since Sept. 22, 2011, will be in the Boston Red Sox's starting lineup for one of the team's split-squad games Thursday. Sizemore is making encouraging progress this spring in Fort Myers, Fla., to be able to start against either Northeastern University or Boston College. The 31-year-old's career has been derailed by knee and back injuries in recent years, and also missed parts of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. Sizemore hit .224 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 268 at-bats in 2011 for the Cleveland Indians. In eight seasons with the Indians, he hit .269 with 139 homers and 458 RBIs.

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Gattis, Evan

C Evan Gattis signed a one-year contract for the 2014 season, the Braves announced Tuesday. Gattis is expected to take over starting catcher duties from former National League All-Star Brian McCann, who signed a five-year contract with the New York Yankees in December. Gattis led all rookies with 65 RBIs and ranked second with 21 homers in 2013.

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Mattheus, Ryan

RHP Ryan Mattheus (chest injury) is suffering from inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone. He is day-to-day. He originally felt pain during a throwing session Feb. 18.

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Clippard, Tyler

RHP Tyler Clippard rested for a few days at the start of camp with what was called "minor back stiffness". Clippard threw an extended bullpen session Monday and manager Matt Williams told the Washington Post, Clippard looked "all good. Normal." Williams said there is no hurry with late-inning relievers this early in camp. "We want them ready for opening day. Generally, we get them going late than everybody else."

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Rendon, Anthony

2B Anthony Rendon worked on defensive positioning on pop ups early in camp. Manager Matt Williams likes working on defensive details. Williams told the Washington Post he instructed Rendon to call off right fielder Jayson Werth on a close play but also to wave his arms in the air if they cannot hear each other.
 


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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Taylor, Michael A.

CF Michael A. Taylor, a minor-league prospect, displayed his speed and defensive prowess the last two seasons, showcasing for the major league staff early in spring training. "He would be a guy that is potentially on the fast track," manager Matt Williams told the Washington Post. "Of course, there are a lot of variables there and a lot of things can sideline that track sometimes, slumps and things like that. All the tools are there."

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Detwiler, Ross

LHP Ross Detwiler added a cutter to his pitching repertoire over the winter. If he can maintain his early camp consistency, he has a strong chance of solidifying the fifth spot in the rotation come opening day.

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