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[March 28, 2014]  (The Sports Xchange)  Major League Baseball player notes:

Baltimore Orioles: Reimold, Nolan

LF Nolan Reimold will start 2014 in a familiar place: the disabled list. The power hitter is unable to play the field comfortably due to lingering neck discomfort. The injury enables the Orioles to keep another outfielder, perhaps Delmon Young.

Baltimore Orioles: Urrutia, Henry

OF Henry Urrutia and RHP Steve Johnson were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk as two of the final cuts before the final roster is unveiled. Johnson will be leaned upon as a reliever when needed by Baltimore, and Urrutia likely will be the first outfielder recalled.

Baltimore Orioles: Johnson, Steve

RHP Steve Johnson and OF Henry Urrutia were optioned to Triple-A Norfolk as two of the final cuts before the final roster is unveiled. Johnson will be leaned upon as a reliever when needed by Baltimore, and Urrutia likely will be the first outfielder recalled.

Baltimore Orioles: Casilla, Alexi

INF Alexi Casilla was reassigned to the minor leagues, ending his quest to grasp the utility role he held in 2013. Casilla was in camp on a non-roster invite, and he was outplayed by a number of infielders, including top second base prospect Jonathan Schoop.

Cincinnati Reds: Mesoraco, Devin

C Devin Mesoraco is unlikely to be ready opening day. He has been dealing with a strained oblique. "We haven't made a complete commitment," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It's unlikely that he would be. We haven't signed off that we wouldn't be ready at some point in time in that first series. Today's probably a very important day for that."


Milwaukee Brewers: Nelson, Jimmy

RHP Jimmy Nelson got his feet wet in the big leagues as a September call-up in 2013 but is back in Triple-A Nashville to continue his develop as a starting pitcher. Nelson, 24, might get a chance this year if somebody goes down in the rotation, but a more likely ETA is 2015. He is a bulldog type who is aggressive with power pitches.

Milwaukee Brewers: Braun, Ryan J.

RF Ryan Braun first was hampered by a thumb injury last season, then was suspended for the final 65 games for the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Braun, who switched positions from left field this spring, is still in the prime of his career and figures to re-establish himself as one of the game's best offensive performers. He knows he is going to hear boos on the road, another test of his remarkable focus.

Cincinnati Reds: Santiago, Ramon

INF Ramon Santiago was told he made the club five days before camp ended. "I'm very happy, I wanted to be on this team because it's a very special group and then they gave me the news and I'm looking forward now to do the best I can to help the team win ballgames," Santiago said.

Cincinnati Reds: Soto, Neftali

INF Neftali Soto caught two innings in a game on the second last day of spring training. "It's adds to his value," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's worked hard at it. He looked comfortable back there."

Cincinnati Reds: Bernadina, Roger

OF Roger Bernadina broke camp with the Reds, but he has not been told he's made the club. Bernadina has an out on March 28 if he's not on the roster. "I want to be with the Reds," he said.

Cincinnati Reds: Hannahan, Jack

INF Jack Hannahan (shoulder) still was not able to throw across the diamond at game speed as spring ended.

Cincinnati Reds: Marshall, Sean

LHP Sean Marshall (shoulder) threw to live batters for first time the day before the Reds broke camp March 27. He will remain in Arizona and build arm strength in minor league games.

Cincinnati Reds: Broxton, Jonathan

RHP Jonathan Broxton (elbow) made three appearances in camp. He will likely need another week to 10 days to get ready.


Cincinnati Reds: Marshall, Brett

RHP Brett Marshall (strained tendon on right middle finger) was being evaluated as camp ended. He was likely to start the season on the disabled list.

Cincinnati Reds: Hamilton, Billy

CF Billy Hamilton is being counted on to perform in a key role  leadoff, center field  on a contending team. That is not an easy role for player who hit .256 last year in Triple-A. But Hamilton had a terrific spring.

Cincinnati Reds: Stephenson, Robert

RHP Robert Stephenson, 21, will probably start in Double-A, but he could move fast. He went a combined 7-7 with a 2.99 ERA last year, starting in low Class A and ending up in the Double-A. His fastball touches 100 mph.

Chicago Cubs: Baez, Javier

SS Javier Baez's time in the majors is on the horizon. His prodigious power and quick bat were on display again this spring, but the Cubs want him to refine his game and improve his defense at Triple-A Iowa to start the season. When Baez does come up, he will likely play somewhere other than short  most likely second base  because Starlin Castro is entrenched at shortstop until further notice. The Cubs want to make sure Baez is good and ready when they do bring him up.

Chicago Cubs: Bryant, Kris

3B Kris Bryant was a polished player when the Cubs took him out of the University of San Diego with the second overall pick in the draft last year. He will begin this year at Double-A Tennessee, but a fast start may force the Cubs' hand early. Bryant is athletic enough to move to the outfield, and it is a nice problem for the Cubs to have. He is another young player who could force the organization's hand quickly.

Chicago Cubs: Castro, Starlin

SS Starlin Castro was a two-time All-Star and a 200-hits man not too long ago. His batting line fell to .245/.284/.347 last year as the Cubs tried to turn him into a patient hitter instead of letting him do what got him to the big leagues in the first place: hit way. Castro battled a hamstring injury for almost all of spring training, but seemed mentally happy after the change in managers from Dale Sveum to Rick Renteria. At only 24, Castro has way too much talent to stay down for long.

Chicago Cubs: Baker, John

C John Baker was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster as he won the backup catcher's job. Welington Castillo is the starter, and Baker beat out George Kottaras, who was released, and Eli Whiteside, who will open at Triple-A Iowa. Manager Rick Renteria cited the "well-roundedness" of Baker's game. " It's very validating to know that all of the hard work I've put in, and I think it shows the resiliency that I've developed over the years of playing this game to be able to come out and start (the season)," Baker said.

Chicago Cubs: Olt, Mike

3B Mike Olt was doing everything he could to win the third-base job with a late charge in spring training. He made the team on the day final position-player cuts were made. Olt battled shoulder problems during the spring, and they limited his time at third base. Manager Rick Renteria said the Cubs will manage Olt's playing time. "I was extremely excited," Olt said. "Just to get an opportunity like this is something that every kid dreams about. Now that it's really true, I haven't had time to really sit back and think about it, but it's something that I'll never forget."


Chicago Cubs: Kalish, Ryan

OF Ryan Kalish, who came to camp as a non-roster player, made the team as a reserve. He missed all of last year in Boston's organization after undergoing right-shoulder surgery in January of 2013. He's a left-handed bat, and the Cubs like his ability to work counts. "I got choked up a little bit," Kalish said. "It's been such a wild ride to even think I'd be starting Opening Day for the Cubs this year after being in a cervical fusion recovery room overnight is just pretty wild. This is a really awesome day for myself and everyone who has seen what I've gone through. My family is just ecstatic."

Chicago Cubs: Bonifacio, Emilio

INF/OF Emilio Bonifacio officially made the Opening Day roster in the final week of spring training, but his spot was virtually guaranteed for much of the spring. Bonifacio brings the Cubs some much-needed speed. He also can play the infield and the outfielder. The Cubs also like the fact that he's a switch hitter. "I think that he has been around enough that his confidence level at any of the positions he's capable of playing that he'd be fine," said manager Rick Renteria. "I think he's able to compartmentalize. I think he's able to separate the defense from the offense. When he's at the plate, he's trying to be who he is."

Pittsburgh Pirates: Pimentel, Stolmy

RHP Stolmy Pimentel made a good impression last September in his first taste of the big leagues, allowing two runs in five innings and 9 1/3 innings for a 1.93 ERA while his fastball averaged 94.7 mph. Pimentel, 24, will work in long relief to start the season but could move into the rotation if necessary as he has been a starting pitcher throughout his professional career. He was a combined 6-9 with a 3.35 ERA in 27 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona last season before getting called up.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Glasnow, Tyler

RHP Tyler Glasnow, 20, will begin the season on the disabled list at high Class A Bradenton with lower back stiffness but is expected to be activated by the end of April. Glasnow has a plus fastball and curveball and was overpowering at low Class A West Virginia last season, going 9-3 with a 2.18 ERA in 24 starts. He also had 164 strikeouts in 111 1/3 innings and allowed just 54 hits.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Volquez, Edinson

RHP Edinson Volquez has nowhere to go but up following a disastrous 2013 in which he led the National League in earned runs allowed with 108 while going 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 33 games with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. The Pirates like Volquez's stuff, including a fastball that sits at 92-94 mph, and believe he can improve under the tutelage of pitching coach Ray Searage.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Marte, Starling

LF Starling Marte signed a six-year, $31-million contract March 27. Though Marte was not eligible for salary arbitration until after next season or free agency until following the 2019 season, the Pirates wanted to lock him before his price tag went up. If the Pirates exercise club options for the 2020 and 2021 season, the deal would be worth a total of $53 million. The 25-year-old hit .280 with 12 home runs and 41 stolen bases in 135 games last year, which was his first full major league season. Most advanced metrics rated Marte as the best defensive left fielder in the major leagues.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Sanchez, Gaby

1B Gaby Sanchez will be the Pirates' primary first baseman and the right-handed hitter will likely start against most right-handed starting pitchers after general manager Neal Huntington failed to land a left-handed hitter during the offseason or in spring training. Sanchez has a .300 batting average, .399 on-base percentage and a .496 slugging percentage against lefties during his six-year career but his numbers against righties are .243/.313/.387. 1B Travis Ishikawa, a left-handed hitter, is expected to spell Sanchez against tougher right-handers after OF/1B Andrew Lambo was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Lambo, Andrew

OF/1B Andrew Lambo missed an opportunity to win the left-handed hitting side of a potential platoon with 1B Gaby Sanchez by having a dreadful spring training. The 25-year-old rookie hit .095 (4-for-42) in Grapefruit League play with no extra-base hits. Lambo was the Pirates' minor league player of the year last season when he hit a combined .280 with 32 home runs and 99 RBIs in 120 games with Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Snider, Travis

OF Travis Snider figures to get the majority of starts in right field as the left-handed hitting half of a platoon with right-handed hitter OF Jose Tabata. However, manager Clint Hurdle has indicated that Tabata might play against certain right-handers. Snider looked good this spring as he had foot surgery last October following a season in which he hit just .215 with five home runs in 111 games.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Tabata, Jose

OF Jose Tabata will be on the short end of a right-field platoon with OF Travis Snider as a right-handed hitter. However, Tabata will get a chance to earn additional at-bats as manager Clint Hurdle plans to play him against certain right-handers. Last season, Tabata batted .282 with six home runs in 106 games.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Liriano, Francisco

LHP Francisco Liriano appears ready to make the opening day start against the Chicago Cubs on March 31 at Pittsburgh. Liriano felt no pain March 26 when he threw a 55-pitch simulated game six days after being forced from his Grapefruit League start against the Boston Red Sox with tightness in his right groin.

Milwaukee Brewers: Segura, Jean

SS Jean Segura was unable to play in the field for more than a week because of right shoulder soreness. Segura was getting at-bats in minor league games, but the Brewers weren't sure he would be ready to play in the field by Opening Day. There is a chance he could land on the disabled list.

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Milwaukee Brewers: Wang, Wei-Chung

LHP Wei-Chung Wang made the Brewers' roster as a Rule 5 draft pick. Wang, 21, will try to make the unprecedented jump from rookie ball in Pittsburgh's system to the majors. Wang must be kept in the majors all season or offered back to the Pirates. Manager Ron Roenicke says he won't try to "hide" Wang in the bullpen, but this is an unprecedented leap Wang is trying to make. Wang throws in the low 90s with a good changeup and excellent command.

Francisco, Juan

1B/3B Juan Francisco was given his unconditional release because he didn't fit on the Brewers' roster. Francisco was out of minor league options and did not play defense well enough to win a job at any position.

Milwaukee Brewers: Thornburg, Tyler

RHP Tyler Thornburg won a job in the Brewers' bullpen despite his background as a starting pitcher. The Brewers opted to keep Thornburg in relief rather than sending him to Triple-A Nashville to start games.

Milwaukee Brewers: Bianchi, Jeff

INF Jeff Bianchi won what turned out to be the only utility infield job on the opening roster. Bianchi was out of options, which worked in his favor, but he also played very well and earned the job. The other finalist, INF/OF Elian Herrera, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.

Milwaukee Brewers: Herrera, Elian

INF/OF Elian Herrera was optioned to Triple-A Nashville. INF Jeff Bianchi won what turned out to be the only utility infield job on the opening roster. Bianchi was out of options, which worked in his favor, but he also played very well and earned the job.

Milwaukee Brewers: Gorzelanny, Tom

LHP Tom Gorzelanny will be the only Brewer to open the season on the disabled list, unless SS Jean Segura's sore shoulder lingers. Gorzelanny had shoulder surgery during the offseason, and he likely will miss most if not all of April.

Milwaukee Brewers: Wooten, Rob

RHP Rob Wooten was the final pitcher cut from the Brewers' camp. "I'm devastated," he said. "You work so hard for this and pitch well last year, and you hope that's enough. Come into spring training and have one goal and one goal only, and when that doesn't happen, you're devastated."

Pittsburgh Pirates: Sanchez, Tony

C Tony Sanchez figures to begin the season as the Pirates' backup catcher while C Chris Stewart recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. There were reports that the Pirates were looking for catching help in order to send Sanchez, a rookie, to Triple-A Indianapolis. However, the Pirates feel little need to acquire a catcher because Stewart should return by late April.


Pittsburgh Pirates: Locke, Jeff

LHP Jeff Locke will likely either start the season in extended spring training and on the disabled list or at Triple-A Indianapolis as the Pirates want him to continue building arm strength. He missed a significant portion of camp with a strained right oblique muscle. Locke was 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 30 starts last season but 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA in 12 starts after the All-Star break as he tried to pitch with a strained lower back.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Wilson, Justin

LHP Justin Wilson pitched just 2 2/3 innings during Grapefruit League play but there is no cause for alarm. The reliever is healthy and the Pirates had him pitch primarily in minor league games in order to give other pitchers a chance to work in major league games. Wilson had a fine rookie season last year, notching a 2.08 ERA in 58 innings.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Worley, Vance

RHP Vance Worley was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash consideration and will be in the rotation at Triple-A Indianapolis. Worley, 26, went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts last season in his only season with the Twins. However, he had an 18-13 record and a 3.50 ERA in 53 games in three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2010-12.

St. Louis Cardinals: Piscotty, Stephen

OF Stephen Piscotty, a supplemental first-round draft pick in 2012, was the surprise of camp, both on defense, where he played aggressively and offensively, where he displayed a good, short stroke with power. He will be up at some point this season if any of the starting outfielders goes down. But he will not stay up unless the Cardinals can play him on some regular basis.

St. Louis Cardinals: Taveras, Oscar

OF Oscar Taveras, the prize of the system the last several years, might have been bypassed by OF Stephen Piscotty. Taveras, who had ankle surgery last year when he was at Memphis, was gimpy most of the spring. He still figures greatly in the future, but his future might not be until 2015 unless he shows he can stay healthy for most of this season.

St. Louis Cardinals: Motte, Jason

RHP Jason Motte will be back early in the season, which would put him 12 months removed from Tommy John surgery. He was throwing hard in the spring and has a dual incentive  to help his team to another playoff berth and to aid his potential free agent profile.

St. Louis Cardinals: Aardsma, David

RHP David Aardsma, let go this spring by Cleveland, was brought into camp with just two days to go and signed to a minor league deal. But, with one bullpen spot available and the young pitchers contending for it not impressive, Aardsma seemed in line to make the club. Veteran Jason Motte, rebounding after Tommy John surgery a year ago, should be back later this month or in early May.


St. Louis Cardinals: Bourjos, Peter

CF Peter Bourjos appeared to claim the regular center-field role with his .343 spring. Jon Jay, the incumbent, had a spring under .200 although he had hit the ball well early in camp. Bourjos said it was "pretty boring" playing outfield behind the Cardinals' fireballing staff because he gets very few chances.

St. Louis Cardinals: Kozma, Pete

SS Pete Kozma, the starter most of last season, did not get much playing time at the end of spring and seemed destined to be optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Kozma probably would be used as a utility player there.

St. Louis Cardinals: Martinez, Carlos E.

RHP Carlos Martinez, competing for the No. 5 starting job, lost out even though he had a 1.76 ERA. RHP Joe Kelly, outstanding as a starter after being pulled from the bullpen last season, retained his spot in the rotation after finishing the spring ball strongly. Martinez was disappointed but will be used in high leverage spots as the eighth-inning man ahead of RHP Trevor Rosenthal, as he was late last season and in the playoffs.

St. Louis Cardinals; Garcia, Jaime

LHP Jaime Garcia, who had left shoulder surgery last season, encountered some soreness in the shoulder. He will not be back until at least May at the earliest but RHP Jason Motte, the club's closer until having elbow issues that required Tommy John surgery last season, may be back sooner than that.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Puig, Yasiel

OF Yasiel Puig was the subject of a team meeting called by manager Don Mattingly, who expressed his exasperation with the second-year man during the Dodgers' season-opening trip to Australia.

Puig has drawn the ire of his manager several times in his brief career, including Mattingly questioning injuries and effort of the enigmatic slugger. He wasn't the only one with questions, which is why Mattingly opted to air all concerns during the team's week off leading up to the March 30 stateside opener at San Diego.

Players told ESPN that Puig was receptive and open in the meeting.

Abreu, Bobby

OF Bobby Abreu's comeback attempt with the Phillies ended Thursday. He was officially released but planned to look for other opportunities as rosters are finalized before Opening Day. Abreu did not play in the major leagues last season and hit .244 (10 for 41) in 52 plate appearances with the Phillies this spring.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Marte, Starling

LF Sterling Marte and the Pirates agreed to a six-year, $31 million contract extension, and the club also received two option years, the team confirmed March 27. Marte, 25, batted .280 with 12 home runs, 10 triples, 35 RBIs and 41 stolen bases in 135 games last year, his first full season in the major leagues.

Cincinnati Reds: Cueto, Johnny

RHP Johnny Cueto will be the Reds' Opening Day starter, manager Bryan Price announced March 27. Cueto, who will pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 31, proved himself recovered from a shoulder ailment with a solid performance March 25. Cueto owns a 43-25 record over the past four seasons and has not posted an ERA higher than 2.82 in any of the last three years.

Seattle Mariners: Young, Chris

RHP Chris Young, released by the Nationals on March 25, signed with the Mariners two days later, and he will jump right into the rotation. Young, 34, posted a 3.48 ERA in 10 1/3 innings for Washington this spring. He spent the entire 2013 season in the Nationals' minor league system, posting a record of 1-2 with a 6.81 ERA over 37 innings with 21 strikeouts in nine appearances. Young had surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome last summer after two shoulder operations.


Seattle Mariners: LaFromboise, Bobby

LHP Bobby LaFromboise was designated for assignment by the Mariners on March 27 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for newly signed RHP Chris Young. LaFromboise posted a 3.38 ERA this spring. He made his major league debut last year, going 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in 10 relief appearances.

Philadelphia Phillies: Hamels, Cole

LHP Cole Hamels, who is recovering from tendinitis in his arm, pitched two innings March 27 in his first game action of spring training. Hamels suffered a setback March 1 following his recovery from left shoulder inflammation. He allowed two infield singles in a minor league game in Clearwater, Fla.

Hamels was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that Hamels' exact rehab schedule was still being finalized.

Philadelphia Phillies: Adams, Mike

RHP Mike Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He is recovering from right shoulder surgery performed last July, and he hopes to be back by mid-April.

Philadelphia Phillies: Galvis, Freddy

2B Freddy Galvis was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21 due to a staph infection. He is sidelined indefinitely.

Philadelphia Phillies: Gonzalez, Miguel Alfredo

RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21 due to right shoulder soreness. He was playing long-toss in late March.

Philadelphia Phillies: Martin, Ethan

RHP Ethan Martin (right shoulder strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He was hurt in late February, and he was throwing again in late March.

Philadelphia Phillies: Ruf, Darin

OF/1B Darin Ruf (left oblique strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. He is expected to be out until at least late April.


Philadelphia Phillies: Pettibone, Jonathan

RHP Jonathan Pettibone was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, though he could be promoted the first time the Phillies need a fifth starter in mid-April. He was slowed by right shoulder soreness during spring training.

Boston Red Sox: Breslow, Craig

LHP Craig Breslow (left shoulder soreness) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 21. Breslow didn't make his spring training debut until March 24, giving him one week to prove he was ready for Opening Day. But the Red Sox are, in manager John Farrell's words, taking a realistic approach with Breslow, and it is telling that the veteran lefty was pitching in minor league games. By keeping him out of big league spring training games, the Sox are giving themselves flexibility to backdate his stint on the disabled list. Farrell said the move could be made retroactively, which would allow Breslow to be activated as early as April 5. In Breslow's absence, the Red Sox are expected to give the final seat in the bullpen to RHP Brandon Workman, who would be used in a multi-inning role after getting stretched out as a starter in spring training.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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