[March 07, 2014]
(The Sports Xchange) —
Major League Baseball player notes:
St. Louis Cardinals: Siegrist, Kevin
LHP Kevin Siegrist (soreness in left side) skipped what would
have been his third bullpen session in mid-February. Siegrist said
he was "not overly concerned" by the discomfort. He made his spring
training debut March 2, throwing a scoreless inning against the
Pittsburgh Pirates: Meadows, Austin
OF Austin Meadows, the first of the Pirates' two first-round picks
in last year's amateur draft, has been sidelined by a strained right
hamstring that he injured in a base-running drill. Meadows is
expected to begin the season at low-Class A West Virginia and is
ranked as the Pirates' No. 4 prospect by Baseball America. The
18-year-old hit a combined .316 with seven home runs in 48 games
with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Pirates and short season
Jamestown last season.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Decker, Jaff
OF Jaff Decker has only an outside shot to beat out OF Jose Tabata
and OF Travis Snider for the starting right fielder's job. However,
he could end up winning a bench spot if he continues to impress the
way he has during the early stages of Grapefruit League play. The
rookie has done a little bit of everything, including executing a
successful suicide squeeze and throwing a runner out at home plate.
The Pirates acquired Decker from the San Diego Padres in a November
Pittsburgh Pirates: Volquez, Edinson
RHP Edinson Volquez struggled in his first two outings of the
Grapefruit League season. In three innings, he has allowed three
runs and two hits while walking three and striking out one. Volquez
admits that he has been overthrowing in an attempt to show the
Pirates they made a wise decision by signing him to a one-year, $5
million contract as a free agent even though he allowed a National
League-worst 108 earned runs last season.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Locke, Jeff
LHP Jeff Locke has not yet been penciled back into the Pirates'
spring rotation after being scratched from his scheduled start
Wednesday because of tightness in his right side. Locke said he is
feeling no pain and the Pirates' medical staff wanted to be cautious
and not put him in position where he could be injured further.
Despite being selected to the All-Star Game last season, Locke is
unlikely to beat out RHP Edinson Volquez for the No. 5 starter.
Locke still has minor league options remaining and went 2-5 with a
6.12 ERA in 12 starts after the All-Star break.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Sanchez, Gaby
1B Gaby Sanchez returned to the lineup Wednesday after sitting out
four days with a strained right knee. Sanchez will, at the very
least, be the right-handed hitting half of a first-base platoon. He
could wind up being the everyday first baseman if the Pirates fail
to trade for a first baseman this spring or rookie left-handed
hitters OF/1B Andrew Lambo and 1B Chris McGuiness do not show that
they merit playing time.
Cincinnati Reds: Bailey, Homer
RHP Homer Bailey went three no-hit innings his second spring start.
He walked one and struck out two. He gave up two runs in his first
outing. I got through three innings. That was kind of important," he
said. "I'm just trying to build up the endurance. I threw a couple
of breaking balls. Overall, it wasn't too bad. It was a lot better
than it was the last time out."
Cincinnati Reds: Hannahan, Jack
INF Jack Hannahan (offseason elbow surgery) still has not appeared
in a game. "He's having the typical slow rehab from shoulder
surgery," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "With a shoulder you have a
lot of bad days. He's getting closer to feeling good enough to
Cincinnati Reds: Marshall, Sean
LHP Sean Marshall threw from 60 feet after taking a few days off
with some stiffness in his shoulder. "It was good," Marshall said.
"I'm getting back on track. I was definitely feeling the effects of
some overuse -- a lot of long toss, a lot of strengthening
exercises. I had a little stiffness, but that's subsided."
Cincinnati Reds: Leake, Mike
RHP Mike Leake, who scratched from his last start with an abdominal
strain, threw a bullpen on his regular day. He'll make his next
start as scheduled. "It felt fine," Leake said. "I had no pain at
all. I should be good to go."
Cincinnati Reds: Latos, Mat
RHP Mat Latos threw off the mound Wednesday for the first time since
Feb. 14 knee surgery. "It went really good," Latos said. "The elbow
felt fine, the knee felt fine. I didn't expect to throw any
change-ups. They allowed me to throw change-ups. I expected to feel
a little sore once or twice while I was throwing as I was getting
the feel back into the stride on the slope and landing downhill, so
there's a little more momentum, a little more body weight to it."
St. Louis Cardinals: Taveras, Oscar
OF Oscar Taveras did not play in any early spring games. The
21-year-old apparently isn't confident enough in his surgically
repaired right ankle to go as hard as he needs to go to compete for
Taveras' first season at Triple-A Memphis short-circuited by a high
ankle sprain in 2013. He sat out several weeks and tried to come
back but eventually opted for surgery after having played just 46
In the offseason, Taveras rehabbed the ankle and it was thought he
would be ready for top speed at or near the start of camp. He
wasn't. Manager Mike Matheny said he wouldn't use Taveras until he
was mentally ready to go 100 percent, and it seems the mental side
is more of an issue than the physical. "That's what we're seeing,"
general manager John Mozeliak told the Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis Cardinals: Rosenthal, Trevor
RHP Trevor Rosenthal, previously held back because of a groin
strain, threw batting practice without incident and was pronounced
ready for the final three weeks of the exhibition schedule. After
going through some fielding drills, Rosennthal said, "I had to get
out there and show I wasn't limited."
St. Louis Cardinals: Wong, Kolten
2B Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' top draft pick in 2011, continued to
struggle at the plate, going hitless in his first 10 spring at-bats,
but he was playing well in the field. Manager Mike Matheny meet with
Wong basically to tell him to enjoy himself more and not to fight
himself so much.
Cincinnati Reds: Perales, Daniel
SS Jhonny Peralta hit two homers in two at-bats against his former
team, the Detroit Tigers, at Lakeland, Fla., "It's not because I
came here that I tried to hit the ball like that," he said. "I try
to hit the ball everywhere I go." Rather than trying for home runs,
he merely wanted to work on his swing. "They're waiting for offense
at shortstop," Peralta said.
St. Louis Cardinals: Carpenter, Matt
3B Matt Carpenter was in discussions with the Cardinals about a
multiyear contract. Carpenter, who will be starting his third full
season in the majors, led the National League in runs (126) and
doubles (55) last year. There is precedent for him receiving a big
contract. The Cardinals gave slugger Allen Craig, who had similar
service time as Carpenter, a five-year, $31 million deal last year.
St. Louis Cardinals: Motte, Jason
RHP Jason Motte, rebounding from Tommy John elbow surgery performed
last May 7, is participating in normal throwing sessions and is
reporting no pain. He had yet to face hitters, but that was expected
to occur early in the week of March 10-16.
RHP Jeff Samardzija had no decisions and a 5.40 ERA after his first
two Cactus League starts. He said he was still working on pitches.
"I want to come out and establish my other pitches and work on
pounding the zone," he said. The 29-year-old was the Cubs' Opening
Day starter last year. Manager Rick Renteria had not announced his
starter for the March 31 opener in Pittsburgh, but Samardzija is
preparing to be the guy. "I'm going into the season with the mindset
of being ready for Opening Day and really working towards that and
seeing what I need to do to prepare for that so we can hit the
season running," he said.
Milwaukee Brewers: Rodriguez, Francisco
RHP Francisco Rodriguez arrived in camp a couple weeks late after a
delay in getting his work visa in Venezuela. The veteran reliever
said he had plenty of time to get ready for the season because he
does not need that many innings in exhibition play to sharpen up.
Chicago Cubs: Russell, James
LHP James Russell did not appear in a game during the first week of
Cactus League action. Russell said he had nothing more than "regular
dead arm" and that he was scheduled to throw a bullpen session at
the end of the week of March 3-9. Russell, 28, is the workhorse of
the Cubs bullpen, appearing in 74 games last year and 77 in 2012.
The Cubs backed him down on several occasions during the latter part
Brewers: Hellweg, Johnny
RHP Johnny Hellweg, who had a rough major league debut in 2013 (6.75
ERA in eight outings), was even worse in his first outing of
exhibition season. Pitching the ninth inning against Oakland with a
one-run lead, Hellweg failed to retire any of the three batters he
faced, including a walk-off, two-run homer by Luke Montz.
Milwaukee Brewers: Peralta, Wily
RHP Wily Peralta, who has a history of slow starts in both the
minors and majors, is focusing on getting ready as early as possible
this spring. Peralta pitched five scoreless innings in his first two
outings and was pleased with his progress. "I want to eliminate the
slow start," he said.
Milwaukee Brewers: Weeks, Rickie
2B Rickie Weeks, trying to fight off 2B Scooter Gennett and keep his
starting job, was off to a strong start at the plate in exhibition
play after making some adjustments in his stance, including raising
his hands a bit. "Just keeping everything smooth, really," said
Weeks, who batted only .209 last season before a hamstring injury
ended his year in early August. "You keep everything smooth,
everything kind of falls in place."
Chicago Cubs: Barney, Darwin
2B Darwin Barney started at shortstop for the first time since July
2012 in a March 6 exhibition game against Cleveland. Barney, who won
the Gold Glove at second base in 2012, was drafted and came up as a
shortstop. Barney got a look-see at short with Starlin Castro
nursing a hamstring injury. Top prospect Javier Baez will see plenty
of time at short, and manager Rick Renteria also will look at
non-roster man Emilio Bonifacio and prospect Arismendy Alcantara.
Chicago Cubs: Castro, Starlin
SS Starlin Castro, who injured his right hamstring on a stolen-base
attempt in a March 2 spring game, spent the next few days
recovering. The ailment was expected to keep Castro out of the
lineup for seven to 10 days, and no one with the Cubs seemed overly
Castro, 23, injured his left hamstring last year in spring training.
"It's not too bad, like last year," he said. "We don't want to take
a chance. It's early right now. You take a couple days to get
Chicago Cubs: Baez, Javier
SS Javier Baez hit two home runs in three days during Cactus League
play. Baez is arguably the Cubs' No. 1 prospect, and he possesses
prodigious power, as evidenced by his 37 home runs last year between
Class A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. However, the Cubs maintain
Baez will begin the 2014 season at Triple-A Iowa as the shortstop.
First-year manager Rick Renteria said he didn't mind the focus being
on Baez, but he was quick to temper talk of a faster track to the
big leagues for the 21-year-old. "It's great, great for Javy, great
for the Cubs," Renteria said. "He's an exciting player, as you guys
all have seen. It's not like you can hide it."
Chicago Cubs: Arrieta, Jake
RHP Jake Arrieta threw 10 pitches off the mound in early March as he
recovers from tightness in his right shoulder. Arrieta came to camp
with the discomfort. "It felt awesome," he said of his first mound
session of the spring. He is probably a long shot at this point to
make the season-opening rotation, as the Cubs will ease him along in
Chicago Cubs: Olt, Mike
3B Mike Olt, who hit his first Cactus League homer March 4, is
trying to win a job after a miserable 2012, when vision problems
wrecked his season. Olt came to the Cubs last summer in the trade
that sent RHP Matt Garza to Texas. The Cubs have a gaping hole at
third base, and Olt could fill it. "It's being there and seeing the
ball well," he said. "That's my main goal in spring training.
Obviously, you want hits and you want to perform. But the main goal
of spring training is to get there and get comfortable."
Chicago Cubs: Wood, Travis
LHP Travis Wood had his first Cactus League start pushed back five
days, until March 6, because of rain. However, he came out sharp, as
he worked three scoreless innings against the Indians. Wood gave up
one hit while walking none and striking out three. He's a candidate,
along with RHP Jeff Samardzija, to start the March 31 regular-season
opener at Pittsburgh. "I've got no control over it," Wood said.
"(Manager Rick Renteria is) going to pick whoever he wants to pick,
so I'm just going out there to get ready for the season."
Philadelphia Phillies: Hamels, Cole
LHP Cole Hamels is in no hurry to make his exhibition-season debut.
Arm fatigue will keep Philadelphia Phillies left-handed pitcher on
the shelf and off of a mound for at least another week. Hamels said
March 6 after a throwing session that he would rest and focus on
getting healthy. "I threw 35 pitches," Hamels said. "To my body, it
felt like a thousand."
The Phillies announced last month that Hamels might miss the start
of the season because of tendinitis in his left arm. Hamels said
upon arrival to camp in Clearwater, Fla., that he was behind
schedule and had yet to throw off a mound but could be ready not
long after Opening Day. On Thursday, Hamels said pitching in April
is no longer a concern.
Boston Red Sox: Hill, Rich
LHP Rich Hill reported to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., on
March 6 following the death of his infant son.
Brooks Hill was less than 2 months old when he died on Feb. 24 in
Hill, who turns 34 on Tuesday, pitched for Boston from 2010 to 2012
and made 63 appearances with the Cleveland Indians in 2013. He
signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox during the offseason
so he could remain close to his family in Boston and Milton, Mass.