[March 19, 2014]
(The Sports Xchange) — Major League
Baseball player notes:
New York Mets: Niese,
LHP Jon Niese flew back to New York City for an MRI on his left
shoulder. The test came back negative, and Niese plans to resume
throwing this week. He could miss Opening Day, but should not skip
more than one regular-season start.
New York Mets: Syndergaard, Noah
RHP Noah Syndergaard was optioned to minor league camp March 18
after a spring that saw him post a 5.19 ERA in four games. As with
RHP Matt Harvey two years ago and RHP Zack Wheeler last summer, the
demotion of Syndergaard was a foregone conclusion due to financial
and service-time considerations. Syndergaard is in line to make his
big-league debut around June.
"The message was: 'We'll see you soon,' basically," he said after
his demotion. "That's all they said. It's a good thing to hear."
New York Mets: Lannan, John
LHP John Lannan is a strong bet to make the major league bullpen,
particularly with LHP Jon Niese injured. By carrying Lannan, the
Mets would not only have a second lefty in the bullpen to compliment
Scott Rice, but they also would insure themselves against a
lingering Niese injury. Lannan was pitching primarily in the
rotation this spring.
New York Mets: Flores, Wilmer
INF Wilmer Flores will receive significant time at shortstop at
Triple-A Las Vegas, assuming he does not make the major league team,
according to manager Terry Collins. Before this spring, Flores had
not played shortstop regularly since 2011, but he started several
games there in recent weeks. The Mets want to continue using him at
shortstop and second base after he spent much of the past two years
New York Mets: Tejada, Ruben
SS Ruben Tejada struggled all spring long, and through March 18, he
had more errors (four) than hits (three). Regardless, GM Sandy
Alderson reiterated his stance that the Mets are not serious suitors
for free agent SS Stephen Drew.
New York Mets: Davis, Ike
1B Ike Davis had not played in a Grapefruit League game in three
weeks, but could appear in one as soon as Thursday. Davis, who is
battling sore calves, was receiving at-bats in minor league games,
though he was not running the bases.
New York Mets: Duda, Lucas
1B Lucas Duda was out of Grapefruit League action since the first
week of games, but could return as soon as Thursday. Duda is
recovering from a strained left hamstring.
Washington Nationals: Ramos, Wilson
C Wilson Ramos has been swinging a hot bat throughout spring. He was
batting .385 (one homer, 11 RBIs) in his first nine games. Even
better, he struck out just once in 26 at-bats.
Washington Nationals: Zimmerman, Ryan
3B Ryan Zimmerman is hitting well in Florida. He is batting .333
with one homer and three RBIs in nine games, with three of his eight
hits going for extra bases.
Washington Nationals: Detwiler, Ross
LHP Ross Detwiler is not going to be the team's No. 5 starter,
Nationals manager Matt Williams said. The skipper said the team is
going to use Detwiler out of the bullpen to begin the season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hill, Koyie
C Koyie Hill, already re-assigned to the Washington Nationals minor
league camp, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, reportedly for
a player to be named later or cash. The 35-year-old was battling for
a back-up spot, but the Nationals already have at least three
Miami Marlins: Turner, Jacob
RHP Jacob Turner bolstered his bid for a rotation spot with another
solid start March 18. He allowed a run on two hits and struck out
three in five innings. He also issued three walks.
Miami Marlins: Yelich, Christian
OF Christian Yelich will be in the Miami Marlins' Opening Day
lineup. The only question is whether he starts the season in left
field or center field. Yelich played mostly left field last year,
but the Marlins are looking at him as an option to play center.
Marcell Ozuna is the team's desired center fielder, but he was off
to a slow start this spring, batting .135 through March 18.
"We talked about it all spring, just making sure those guys are more
comfortable playing any position," manager Mike Redmond said. "Who
knows what's going to happen if we need to move guys around in
games, if somebody gets banged up we need guys playing multiple
Miami Marlins: Ozuna, Marcell
OF Marcell Ozuna is the team's desired center fielder, but he was
off to a slow start this spring, batting .135 through March 18. It
is possible he could open the season in the minors.
Ozuna missed the final two months of last season after having
surgery to repair a torn ligament and a fractured bone in his left
thumb. He was 5-for-37 with 12 strikeouts this spring through March
18. Four of his hits were doubles.
Marlins: Furcal, Rafael
2B Rafael Furcal, who tweaked his left hamstring March 10, returned
to action March 15 but left that game after a couple of innings when
the hamstring tightened. He hit in the cage March 17 but was not
"It's getting later in camp and he doesn't have a lot of at bats,"
manager Mike Redmond said. "At the same time, too, he's played a
long time. He knows what it takes for him."
LHP Andrew Heaney, Miami's top pitching prospect, was reassigned to
minor league camp March 17 after an impressive stint. He allowed two
runs in 7 2/3 innings in three games for the Marlins. He is expected
to open the season at Double-A Jacksonville.
Miami Marlins: Dobbs, Greg
INF Greg Dobbs did not play March 12-18 because of a quad injury and
sore lower back. The timetable for his return was uncertain.
Miami Marlins: Lucas, Ed
INF Ed Lucas did not play March 14-18 as he continued to rehab his
injured left hamstring. He might appear in a minor league game as
soon as March 20.
Washington Nationals: Fister, Doug
RHP Doug Fister threw two innings in an intrasquad game Monday and
felt fine. He had not pitched in a game (elbow inflammation) for
about two weeks, but the team is going to keep an eye on him to see
how he recovers.
Washington Nationals: Mattheus, Ryan
RHP Ryan Mattheus pitched in the intrasquad game and threw well. He
had not pitched in a game all spring due to costochondritis (chest
Atlanta Braves: Freeman, Freddie
1B Freddie Freeman suffered a bruised thumb on his glove hand when
he tried to snag a line drive March 16 against the New York Yankees.
He was expected to be out a few days. Freeman missed the All-Star
Game last year because of a jammed thumb on the same hand.
Atlanta Braves: Doumit, Ryan
C/OF Ryan Doumit took a foul tip off his bare right hand while
catching against the New York Yankees on March 16. X-rays came back
negative and he was diagnosed with a bruised right middle finger.
Doumit was only expected to be sidelined a few days.
Atlanta Braves: Wood, Alex
LHP Alex Wood, likely the Braves' No. 2 starter at the start of the
season, allowed only two hits over five scoreless innings against
Houston on March 17. He struck out six and walked one. The only run
the 2012 second-round draft choice had allowed in 14 innings this
spring was unearned and he had 12 strikeouts to two walks.
Atlanta Braves: Pastornicky, Tyler
2B Tyler Pastornicky, who had ACL surgery on his right knee last
August, played in a minor league spring game March 16 and was
expected to have his first game action with the Braves on March 21.
Pastornicky isn't expected to be ready to begin the season in
Atlanta, opening up a potential roster spot for veteran INF Tyler
Atlanta Braves: Gattis, Evan
C Evan Gattis, now the regular behind the plate with the departure
of free agent Brian McCann, had surgery in October to remove a bone
chip from his right knee. Gattis made more starts in left field (47)
than as a catcher (38) while hitting 21 homers as a rookie last
year, but was progressing defensively this spring.
Philadelphia Phillies: Lee, Cliff
LHP Cliff Lee was named Opening Day starter. It is Lee's first
Opening Day nod as a member of the Phillies and this second of his
career. Lee started the opener for the Cleveland Indians in 2009.
This spring, Lee has a 2.63 ERA in four starts. He pitched five
shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox on March 15. "I look
forward to it," Lee said. "I'm ready to go. It's coming on us pretty
quick. It's two weeks away, so I'm ready to go."
Philadelphia Phillies: Howard, Ryan
1B Ryan Howard hit his first home run of the spring in a 6-5 loss to
the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 14. Howard was hitting .243 with
three extra-base hits and 15 strikeouts in his first 13 games of the
Philadelphia Phillies: Ruf, Darin
1B/LF Darin Ruf was hitting .222 through the first three weeks of
the exhibition season but has two home runs, two doubles and is tied
with Marlon Byrd for the most total bases (18) in 17 spring games.
Ruf is not a lock for the Opening Day roster, but could work himself
into spelling both Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown off the bench in
Philadelphia Phillies: Utley, Chase
2B Chase Utley does not have an extra-base hit through three weeks
of Grapefruit League play. Utley is hitting .188 (6-for-32) with
five strikeouts and one walk in 12 games.
Philadelphia Phillies: Papelbon, Jonathan
RHP Jonathan Papelbon allowed two runs on three hits — all with two
outs — in the Phillies' 5-0 loss to the Pirates on March 16.
Papelbon's fastball topped out at 92 mph. "Stuff wise I thought he
was OK," pitching coach Bob McClure said. "His location is still a