Milwaukee Brewers: Halton, Sean
1B Sean Halton was sent outright to Triple-A Nashville to clear a
spot on the 40-man roster. Halton had already been cut from major
Milwaukee Brewers: Henderson, Jim
RHP Jim Henderson, the team's closer, was struggling during
exhibition play and looking to find some kind of groove. Through
five games, he had allowed eight hits and six runs in five innings
Milwaukee Brewers: Bianchi, Jeff
INF Jeff Bianchi made a strong bid for what might become the only
utility infield spot on the bench. In 16 games, Bianchi was batting
.371 with five RBIs and five stolen bases while playing quality
defense in the field.
Milwaukee Brewers: Rodriguez, Francisco
RHP Francisco Rodriguez was pitching with a very sore left foot, the
result of stepping bare-foot on a cactus. Rodriguez said while
painful it would not stop him from preparing for the regular season.
Milwaukee Brewers: Wang, Wei-Chung
LHP Wei-Chung Wang, a Rule 5 draft pick from Pittsburgh, made a
strong bid to make the bullpen. Wang pitched six scoreless outings
covering 8 1/3 innings before finally allowing three runs in 2 2/3
innings against Colorado.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Ishikawa, Travis
1B Travis Ishikawa is quietly not only making a bid to be on the
opening day roster, but to wind up as the left-handed hitting part
of a first base platoon with right-handed hitting 1B Gaby Sanchez.
Ishikawa went 6-for-16 (.375) with two home runs in his first seven
exhibition games after being sidelined early in the Grapefruit
League season by a strained calf. Meanwhile, rookie OF/1B Andrew
Lambo was 3-for-34 (.088) with no extra-base hits and seems likely
to be optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis. Ishikawa, 30, was
signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason after playing
only seven major league games last season, hitting a combined .105
for the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. In 83 games at the
Triple-A level with the Orioles' Norfolk farm club and the Chicago
White Sox's Charlotte affiliate, Ishikawa hit .290 with nine home
Pittsburgh Pirates: Sanchez, Tony
C Tony Sanchez might start the season in the major leagues,
depending on whether the Pirates can acquire a backup catcher before
opening day. The Pirates are looking for a No. 2 catcher after C
Chris Stewart underwent arthroscopic right knee surgery March 19
that probably will sideline him through the end of April. Ideally,
the Pirates would keep Sanchez, a rookie, at Triple-A Indianapolis
and have him be ready to take over the starting job next year
because C Russell Martin is eligible for free agency at the end of
this season. Sanchez made his major league debut last season and hit
.233 with two home runs in 22 games.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Marte, Starling
LF Starling Marte was hit by pitches three times in his first 34
plate appearances during Grapefruit League play after being plunked
24 times last season. In 2013, Marte was out of the starting lineup
from Aug. 18-Sept. 16 after sustaining a bruised right index finger
when hit by a pitch. Manager Clint Hurdle's biggest concern is that
his leadoff hitter might sustain a serious injury. "There is an art
to getting by hit pitches and Starling still needs to learn that,"
Hurdle said. "I coached for one guy who was the best in Don Baylor.
That was part of the deal. There were at-bats where if it got tight,
he just took it and went down to first." Baylor was hit by 267
pitches in his 19-year career.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Rodriguez, Wandy
LHP Wandy Rodriguez is having a strong spring after suffering a
season-ending strained left elbow on June 5 last season. Rodriguez
pitched seven innings in Grapefruit League play and allowed two
runs, one earned, on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts. He
avoided arm problems and said he feels strong with the start of the
regular season right around the corner. "Knock on wood, Wandy's been
healthy and he's thrown the ball great," Pirates general manager
Neal Huntington said. "It's been a good spring for him."
Pittsburgh Pirates: McCutchen, Andrew
CF Andrew McCutchen seems poised to make a run at winning a second
straight National League Most Valuable Player award. Through his
first nine exhibition games appearances, the 27-year-old was hitting
.560 (14-for-25) with two doubles and three home runs.
St. Louis Cardinals: Piscotty, Stephen
OF Stephen Piscotty, a supplemental first-round pick out of Stanford
in 2012, probably made the biggest impression in camp, even though
he probably will open the season in Triple-A Memphis. "He
consistently puts together a really nice at-bat," manager Mike
Matheny said. "He's very aggressive in the outfield, he throws well
and he runs well. He's got athletic instincts. You don't see a lot
of swings and misses (from him)."
St. Louis Cardinals: Lyons, Tyler
LHP Tyler Lyons, whose first two starts were one-run, seven-inning
efforts last season, was sent back to Triple-A Memphis to be a
starter there after failing in several spring training relief
outings. His departure left the last bullpen job available for one
of four pitchers — RHPs Keith Butler, Jorge Rondon and Scott
McGregor and LHP Sam Freeman.
St. Louis Cardinals: Wong, Kolten
2B Kolten Wong, after starting the spring at 0-for-10, rattled off a
13-for-23 stretch to nail down the starting second-base job. Wong's
path was made easier by the left knee ailment that sidelined veteran
Mark Ellis for two weeks.
St. Louis Cardinals: Diaz, Aledmys
INF Aledmys Diaz, signed to an $8 million, four-year deal from Cuba,
was expected to gain some big-league playing time after returning
from Mexico, where he had established residency, to gain a work
visa. The Cardinals intend for the 23-year-old Diaz to open the
season at Double-A Springfield.
St. Louis Cardinals: Bourjos, Peter
OF Peter Bourjos appears to have taken the lead in the center field
competition, as incumbent Jon Jay has taken three spring starts at
other positions in the outfield. Bourjos batted at or near .300 for
much of the spring and Jay was under .200, although hitting the ball
better than that. Jay would be expected to see considerable action
in Cincinnati during the first series because the Reds are likely to
have at least two, if not three, right-handed starters.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Liriano, Francisco
LHP Francisco Liriano (tightness in right groin) left his March 20
start when he landed awkwardly after throwing a pitch. His
availability for his scheduled start March 31 in the opener against
the Chicago Cubs is in question.
[to top of second column]
Chicago Cubs: Castro, Starlin
SS Starlin Castro was said to be 90 percent or better as of March
20. Castro had not seen any Cactus League action since March 2
because of a strained right hamstring, and the Cubs were formulating
a plan of action that included possible minor league at-bats near
the end of spring training. (That way, Castro could bat in every
inning if the Cubs wanted him to do so.) They remained optimistic he
would be open the regular season on the active roster. "We're
getting closer; it feels pretty good," Castro said.
Chicago Cubs: Baez, Javier
INF Javier Baez took the team lead with spring home runs (five) as
the next-to-last week of spring training neared its end. The Cubs
maintain Baez will open the season as the shortstop at Triple-A
Iowa. Baez's bat may get him to the big leagues sooner rather than
later, so the Cubs gave him back-to-back starts at second base
recently, and time at third base appeared to be in the offing. "It
gives him a sense of comfort," manager Rick Renteria said of the
outings at second. "Anyone who is learning another position, you
want to give them consecutive games if you can."
Chicago Cubs: Olt, Mike
3B Mike Olt got his first start at third base March 20 as he bids to
make the team. Olt's four home runs were second on the team to INF
Javier Baez's five, so the Cubs would like to keep that power
potential going into the regular season. However, shoulder soreness
limited Olt to first base and DH duties for most of the spring.
"He's got to be healthy," manager Rick Renteria said. "We can't make
a determination on anything as far as where he's going to be until
we know he's capable of being able to go out there." Added Olt:
"It's not always like riding a bike."
Chicago Cubs: Kalish, Ryan
OF Ryan Kalish, in camp as a non-roster man, is pushing for a major
league roster spot. He missed all of last year with neck and
shoulder issues, but he could land a backup spot, especially if OF
Junior Lake continues to struggle at the plate and gets send to
Triple-A Iowa. "He gets after it," manager Rick Renteria said.
Chicago Cubs: Vizcaino, Arodys
RHP Arodys Vizcaino was among the recent roster cuts. Vizcaino, who
has not pitched since 2011 because of a slow recovery from Tommy
John surgery, was viewed as a bullpen possibility. However, the Cubs
don't want to rush Vizcaino, and he will start the season at
Triple-A Iowa. "If there's a need, he's a nice guy to have with the
depth it gives us," manager Rick Renteria said. Vizcaino came to the
Cubs in July 2012 in a trade with Atlanta.
Cincinnati Reds: Chapman, Aroldis
LHP Aroldis Chapman underwent surgery to insert a plate in his
skull. The operation came a day after Chapman was struck in the face
by a line drive. Surgeons repair facial fractures above Chapman's
left eye and inserted a titanium plate to stabilize the bone. "He
has a very mild concussion, no other brain injury, his eye's fine,"
said Reds medical director, Dr. Timothy Kremchek. "He's a very lucky
Kremchek indicated that the closer could be out of the hospital as
soon as March 22, throwing again in 10 to 14 days and pitching in a
game setting in four to six weeks. "The problem is you don't want
him to get back to pitching or contact too soon just in case of
another accident, a collision or another baseball hits him again,"
Atlanta Braves: Beachy, Brandon
RHP Brandon Beachy, coming off 2012 Tommy John surgery, will undergo
the elbow reconstruction procedure again March 21. He had an elbow
cleanup operation last September, and he battled arm tightness this
spring. He will miss the entire 2014 season.
New York Mets: Niese, Jon
LHP Jon Niese (sore left elbow) will open the season on the disabled
list before returning to pitch later in the team's first homestand,
ESPN.com reported Thursday. The plan is for Niese, who was scheduled
to start the March 31 opener against the Washington Nationals, to
pitch in the sixth game of the season on April 6 against the
Cincinnati Reds. That day marks the first time the Mets will need a
New York Yankees: Ellsbury, Jacoby
CF Jacoby Ellsbury's MRI exam on his tight right calf showed no
damage, and the Yankees hope he will return by Opening Day.
Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153 million contract with the
Yankees during the winter, last played in a spring training game
March 14. "Our people decided to take a precautionary MRI to make
sure there wasn't anything there, and it came back negative.
Everything is great," manager Joe Girardi said.
Washington Nationals: Strasburg, Stephen
RHP Stephen Strasburg will be the Opening Day starter for a third
consecutive year when he pitches March 31 against the New York Mets,
manager Matt Williams announced. "He has experience there. He's done
it before," Williams said. "And he's earned it."
Toronto Blue Jays: Tuiasosopo, Matt
INF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo was claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays from
the Diamondbacks on March 20. Tuiasosopo batted .244 with seven home
runs and 30 RBIs with the Detroit Tigers last season. He was claimed
by Arizona off waivers in November. The 27-year-old utility player
has a .207 career batting average with 12 homers and 45 RBIs with
the Tigers and Seattle Mariners.
LHP Luis Perez was released by the Blue Jays on March 20 to make
room on the 40-man roster for newly acquired INF/OF Matt Tuiasosopo.
Perez had a 5-6 record with a 4.50 ERA in 78 appearances with
Toronto since 2011.
Oakland Athletics: Matthes, Kent
OF Kent Matthes was claimed off waivers by the A's from the Rockies
on March 20. Matthes, 27, hit a combined .281/.334/.503 with 20
homers, 63 RBIs and 17 steals in 115 games in Double-A and Triple-A
last year. He is expected to open the season with Triple-A
Oakland Athletics: Parker, Jarrod
RHP Jarrod Parker was placed on the 60-day disabled list March 20,
clearing a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired OF Kent
Matthes. Parker will miss the entire season due to a torn ulnar
collateral ligament, and he will undergo a second Tommy John surgery
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.