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Thread: Cnotes MLB 2019 Spring Traning News Notes and Rumors !

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    AL Central teams at the start of spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    A team-by-team look at the American League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:

    Cleveland Indians

    Manager:
    Terry Francona (seventh season).

    2018: 91-71, first place, lost to Houston in Division Series.

    Training Town: Goodyear, Arizona.

    Park: Goodyear Ballpark.

    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.

    He's Here: 1B-DH Carlos Santana, 1B Jake Bauers, C Kevin Plawecki, OF Jordan Luplow, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, RHP Nick Wittgren, LHP Oliver Perez, INF Ryan Flaherty, C Dioner Navarro.

    He's Outta Here
    : OF Michael Brantley, DH Edwin Encarnacion, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Cody Allen, C Yan Gomes, 1B Yonder Alonso, 3B Yandy Diaz, 2B Erik Gonzalez.

    Going campin': The Indians followed up a third straight AL Central title with another postseason disappointment, getting swept in the Division Series by Houston. The offseason goal was to reduce payroll, and the Indians went at their roster with a wrecking ball. They wiped roughly $20 million off the books with several significant trades, dealing away slugger Encarnacion, All-Star catcher Gomes and Alonso. In addition, All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor will miss spring training with a strained right calf, a worrisome soft tissue injury that could keep the team's best player off the field into the season's first month. Cleveland also took a big hit in free agency, choosing not to re-sign closer Allen or lefty reliever Miller, two bullpen mainstays of the past, as well as Brantley. The club didn't pull the trigger on offers for ace Corey Kluber or All-Star right-hander Trevor Bauer, but those conversations could continue into this season. Despite the makeover, the Indians remain the team to beat in their division, but this club has much higher goals after getting to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. The outfield is a major concern heading into the spring, but the returns of Bradley Zimmer and Leonys Martin from injuries should help. Francona's other objective will be rebuilding the back end of what was once one of the AL's best bullpens.

    ---

    Minnesota Twins

    Manager:
    Rocco Baldelli (first season).

    2018: 78-84, second place.

    Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.

    Park: Hammond Stadium at CenturyLink Sports Complex.

    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.

    He's Here: DH-OF Nelson Cruz, 2B Jonathan Schoop, RHP Blake Parker, 1B C.J. Cron, LHP Martin Perez, INF Ronald Torreyes, LHP Tim Collins.

    He's Outta Here: Manager Paul Molitor, 1B Joe Mauer, OF-DH Robbie Grossman, 1B-DH Logan Morrison, 2B Logan Forsythe, RHP Ervin Santana, RHP Matt Belisle, RHP Alan Busenitz.

    Going campin': Baldelli, who at 37 is the youngest manager in the majors, spent the last eight seasons either on the coaching staff or working in the front office with Tampa Bay. He has brought a fresh source of energy and ideas that the Twins are banking on to help bring out the best in some of their underperforming young players, with center fielder Byron Buxton and third baseman Miguel Sano at the top of that list following a rough 2018 season for both of them. Other players who will be closely watched throughout spring training are RHP Michael Pineda (elbow) and C Jason Castro (knee), with each coming off a major injury. Pineda didn't pitch in 2018, and Castro's season was over after 19 games. After adding RHP Jake Odorizzi, RHP Lance Lynn and Morrison last year, acquisitions made after spring training started, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine have said they underestimated the challenge of such late integrations after seeing them struggle through 2018. Lynn was among several key players traded last summer before the deadline. Falvey and Levine expressed caution about February or March moves this year despite the abundance of high-profile free agents remaining on the market. Baldelli has so far kept quiet about his preferred closer candidates, with Parker the only offseason addition to the bullpen. Returning relievers Trevor Hildenberger, Trevor May, Addison Reed and Taylor Rogers will all hold late-inning roles, if they're not in the mix with Parker for the ninth.

    ---

    Detroit Tigers

    Manager:
    Ron Gardenhire (second season).

    2018: 64-98, third place.

    Training Town: Lakeland, Florida.

    Park: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: LHP Matt Moore, RHP Tyson Ross, SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Gordon Beckham, 2B Brandon Dixon, 3B-RHP Kaleb Cowart.

    He's Outta Here: DH Victor Martinez, SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C James McCann, RHP Alex Wilson, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RHP Artie Lewicki.

    Going campin': The Tigers have lost 98 games in each of the past two seasons, and the big question is how soon some of the team's top prospects might be ready to contribute in the big leagues. Right-hander Casey Mize, the top pick in last year's draft, was invited to major league camp, and while his debut in Detroit may still be way off, he'll be a player to watch in spring training. The Tigers are hoping for a bounce-back performance from slugger Miguel Cabrera, who played only 38 games last year before having season-ending biceps surgery.

    ---

    Chicago White Sox

    Manager: Rick Renteria (third season).

    2018: 62-100, fourth place.

    Training Town: Glendale, Arizona.

    Park: Camelback Ranch.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: RHP Ivan Nova, 1B-DH Yonder Alonso, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Alex Colome, OF Jon Jay, C James McCann, OF Brandon Guyer.

    He's Outta Here: OF Avisail Garcia, DH-INF Matt Davidson, RHP James Shields.

    Going campin': The White Sox would love to jumpstart their rebuild by signing Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. Even if they don't land one of the prized free agents, they believe they are setting themselves up to start climbing. They have six straight losing seasons and are coming off their highest loss total since the 1970 team dropped a franchise-record 106 games. They also struck out more times than any other team in major league history. But they have promising players on the roster and in the farm system. Touted infielder Yoan Moncada and pitchers Lucas Giolito and Michael Kopech - who will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery - have shown potential in the majors. Eloy Jimenez, one of baseball's top hitting prospects, could debut early this season. Dylan Cease might also get called up and join the rotation at some point.

    ---

    Kansas City Royals

    Manager:
    Ned Yost (10th season).

    2018: 58-104, fifth place.

    Training Town: Surprise, Arizona.

    Park: Surprise Stadium.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: OF Billy Hamilton, RHP Brad Boxberger, INF-OF Chris Owings, RHP Chris Ellis.

    He's Outta Here: INF Cheslor Cuthbert, RHP Brandon Maurer, RHP Nate Karns, RHP Jason Hammel.

    Going Campin': The Royals knew they'd go through growing pains as they jettisoned veterans and began a rebuild in earnest last season, and that was reflected in 100-plus losses just three years after a World Series championship. SS Adalberto Mondesi was a breakout star the last couple months of the season, and 3B Hunter Dozier and 1B Ryan O'Hearn showed promise. The Royals need more from starting LHP Danny Duffy and RHP Ian Kennedy, especially after RHPs Brad Keller and Jakob Junis flashed late in the season. The bullpen is the biggest question mark with only RHPs Wily Peralta and Kevin McCarthy safe bets to make the 25-man roster. Also of note this spring: former top prospect Kyle Zimmer says he is healthy and ready to attempt a comeback after injuries derailed his promising career.
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    AL East teams at the start of spring training
    February 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    A team-by-team look at the American League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:

    Boston Red Sox

    Manager:
    Alex Cora (second season).

    2018: 108-54, first place, World Series champions.

    Training Town: Fort Myers, Florida.

    Park: JetBlue Park at Fenway South.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: OF Gorkys Hernandez, RHP Jenrry Mejia.

    He's Outta Here: RHP Craig Kimbrel, RHP Joe Kelly, 2B Ian Kinsler.

    Going campin': The Red Sox are largely standing pat as they attempt to win back-to-back World Series for the first time in more than a century. The team that won a franchise-record 108 games in the regular season last year is largely intact, with All-Star closer Kimbrel the biggest loss. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is hoping to return from a knee injury that limited him to three games last season. Christian Vazquez, Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon will compete for two spots at catcher. AL MVP Mookie Betts is back, as is J.D. Martinez, who finished fourth in the voting. Chris Sale and David Price arrive at camp for the first time in their careers as postseason heroes.

    ---

    New York Yankees

    Manager:
    Aaron Boone (second season).

    2018: 100-62, second place, wild card, lost to Boston in Division Series.

    Training Town: Tampa, Florida.

    Park: Steinbrenner Field.

    First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

    He's Here: LHP James Paxton, RHP Adam Ottavino, INF DJ LeMahieu, SS Troy Tulowitzki, RHP Danny Farquhar.

    He's Outta Here: RHP David Robertson, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP Sonny Gray, RHP Lance Lynn, INF Neil Walker, INF Ronald Torreyes, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, LHP Justus Sheffield.

    Going campin': Health is the chief concern of the Yankees, who are not likely to have SS Didi Gregorius until summer following Tommy John surgery Oct. 17. Spring training will determine the readiness of Tulowitzki, sidelined by heel injuries since July 2017. New York enters camp with an array of players coming off health issues: CC Sabathia (stent inserted Dec. 11 during surgery to clear a blockage in an artery from his heart, chronic right knee arthritis), C Gary Sanchez (left shoulder surgery Nov. 8), RF Aaron Judge (broken right wrist on July 26 that sidelined him until Sept. 14), DH/OF Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring tightness that hampered him the second half of last season), closer Aroldis Chapman (left knee tendinitis bothered him nearly all season and sidelined him between Aug. 21 and Sept. 20), 1B Greg Bird (right ankle surgery March 27 that sidelined him until May 26 and impacted his entire season), OF Clint Frazier (concussion on Feb. 24 that limited him to 15 games all season) and OF Jacoby Ellsbury (missed 2018 season with various ailments and had surgery Aug. 8 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip).

    ---

    Tampa Bay Rays

    Manager:
    Kevin Cash (fifth season).

    2018: 90-72, third place.

    Training Town: Port Charlotte, Florida.

    Park: Charlotte Sports Park.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: RHP Charlie Morton, C Mike Zunino, OF Avisail Garcia, INF Yandy Diaz, OF Guillermo Heredia, RHP Emilio Pagan.

    He's Outta Here: Coaches Rocco Baldelli and Charlie Montoyo - departed to become managers of the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively - OF Mallex Smith, 1B-OF Jake Bauers, RHP Sergio Romo, 1B C.J. Cron, RHP Chih-Wei Hu, OF Carlos Gomez, C Adam Moore, LHP Vidal Nuno.

    Going campin': Expectations are high for the Rays after winning 90 games last season despite a massive roster overhaul. Fueled by young players, Tampa Bay went 41-25 after the All-Star break, including 19-9 in September. Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell led the majors with 21 wins and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA. He heads a projected rotation bolstered by the signing of Morton and the acquisition of RHP Tyler Glasnow in a deal that sent RHP Chris Archer to the Pirates last summer. The batting order will have a different look with the addition of Garcia and Zunino, and Cash faces some potentially tough decisions regarding the makeup of the bullpen. There are fewer questions about a solid defense, anchored by OFs Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham, who hit .355 with 22 RBIs over his final 37 games after being acquired from St. Louis in a trade. Cash also plans to continue using ''openers'' - relievers who start games and generally face three to nine batters. The creative use of the team's relievers was an integral part of Tampa Bay's surprising success a year ago.

    ---

    Toronto Blue Jays

    Manager:
    Charlie Montoyo (first season).

    2018: 73-89, fourth place.

    Training Town: Dunedin, Florida.

    Park: Dunedin Stadium.

    First Workout: Feb. 14/18.

    He's Here: INF Freddy Galvis, RHP David Phelps, LHP Clayton Richard, RHP Matt Shoemaker, RHP Julian Merryweather.

    He's Outta Here: Manager John Gibbons, C Russell Martin, SS Troy Tulowitzki, INF Aledmys Diaz, RHP Oliver Drake, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Mark Leiter Jr., INF Yangervis Solarte.

    Going campin': The Blue Jays are in the early stages of a rebuild centered around top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. A slugger like his Hall of Fame father, Guerrero likely won't be promoted before mid-April - a move that will delay his free agency by a season. Overseeing Guerrero's debut will be Montoyo, a longtime Triple-A skipper who spent the past four seasons on Tampa Bay's staff, most recently as bench coach. Montoyo is also a former Expos teammate of Vladimir Guerrero. He replaces Gibbons, let go after consecutive losing seasons. While the explosive Guerrero is seen as a sure thing, almost nothing else is certain about the Blue Jays. The team is likely to spend 2019 trying to establish roles for a group of young position players while seeking to acquire and develop the pieces it needs for a stronger and deeper pitching staff. Until then, no amount of slugging from Guerrero is likely to be enough for Toronto to stay in touch with the leaders in the tough AL East.

    ---

    Baltimore Orioles

    Manager:
    Brandon Hyde (first season).

    2018: 47-115, fifth place, worst record in majors.

    Training Town: Sarasota, Florida.

    Park: Ed Smith Stadium.

    First Workout: Feb. 13/18.

    He's Here: RHP Nate Karns, INF Richie Martin, INF Rio Ruiz, C Jesus Sucre, INF Hanser Alberto.

    He's Outta Here: Manager Buck Showalter, OF Adam Jones, INF Tim Beckham, C Caleb Joseph, DH Pedro Alvarez.

    Going campin': During their worst season since coming to Baltimore in 1954, the Orioles traded Manny Machado, Zack Britton and Kevin Gausman. Then the team fired VP Dan Duquette and Showalter and started anew this offseason under GM Mike Elias and Hyde, who will oversee a complete rebuild. Elias comes from Houston, and Hyde was with the Cubs, so both know that this kind of transition requires shrewd drafting, a strong minor league system and a whole lot of patience. Veteran sluggers Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, who performed poorly in 2018, will be surrounded by young players who must learn on the job. Elias didn't sign a major league free agent all winter until Karns was brought in the week before camp, which leaves Hyde with the formidable task of constructing a competitive roster at spring training while teaching fundamentals to a group of inexperienced players.
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    Posey is healthy and hopeful of handling full catching load
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) One day in early November, Buster Posey felt his body respond more normally again as he rehabilitated from season-ending hip surgery. Working out his lower half with a 15-pound dumbbell in his left hand he leaned forward for a one-legged Russian Dead Lift. Posey felt the muscles in his right buttocks being used exactly the way they should.

    ''This might be TMI,'' San Francisco's star catcher noted of perhaps providing too much information. ''I could really feel the right side of my gluteus maximus engage - hadn't really felt that in a while. With all leg exercises I feel like things have been more symmetrical, so hopefully that's a good sign.''

    San Francisco pitchers and catchers report this week and Posey plans to be a full participant from Day 1 of spring training Wednesday, pulling on the catcher's gear and squatting behind the plate for his part in pitchers' bullpens early in camp. He understands there likely will be some modifications to his workload at the beginning just to be safe.

    And being in the lineup behind the plate on opening day March 28 at San Diego, Posey is absolutely planning on it.

    ''As of now, no, not at all,'' he said of having any level of concern about being ready.

    When Posey began swinging a bat again at the start of the year, he considered that another critical step in his return and feeling right.

    He put on the catching gear again for a commercial Feb. 7.

    ''I kind of had that feeling a little bit already just when I got to hit,'' he said of getting back in the batting cage. ''I was like, `Man, this feels good, it feels good to be able to swing and feel like I'm swinging how I want to.''

    Still, he knows there's far more to it.

    ''I'm able to hit, throw, run and everything's feeling good,'' Posey said. ''Having said that, it's still not the same as getting on the field for live BP or the games in spring training then obviously the season's a completely different animal. But I'm optimistic that it'll be fun.''

    New Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi insists the Giants will not push Posey, taking a cautious approach with one of their franchise players to make sure he stays on the field for the long haul. Stephen Vogt reached a minor league deal this week and Rene Rivera received a minor league contract last week to give the Giants depth at catcher.

    ''I do know that we're going to be smart about it, careful about it, not just going into camp but even going into the season,'' Zaidi said. ''If things go super, super well, even if he's ready to carry a full catching load to start the season I'm not sure that would be the prudent course for us so I think we're really going to err on the side of caution.''

    Of course Posey wants to play, especially after the way 2018 went for him personally and the team.

    The Giants finished 73-89, including a majors-worst 5-21 in September, yet bettered their last-place 2017 finish of 64-98.

    ''Again I think you have to be open to new thoughts and always be willing to adjust,'' Posey said. ''I do know that there's been times late in seasons on years that I've felt really good where I've been like, `Man, I'm running low right now.' So it would be hard to say that if that type of strategy would pay dividends in late September or early October, but there's probably numbers that say they do I'm guessing.''

    The 31-year-old Posey hopes with a healthy hip that his power numbers will improve as the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year and 2012 MVP begins his 10th - yes, that's right - full major league season.

    He batted .284 with five home runs and 41 RBIs in 2018 while limited to 105 games. Even throwing seemed to put more stress on his shoulder with the troublesome hip, which needed repair for a torn labrum as well as removal of an impingement.

    Even if Posey hadn't needed surgery, he said players must constantly adapt and find new ways to prepare physically and mentally for the grind of a 162-game season.

    ''I think regardless of hip injury, surgery or whatnot you're having to evolve and change how you're going about your day just as the years go by, so, yeah, I've changed the way I go about getting ready,'' he said. ''I used to be able to just walk into a gym cold and jump on the squat rack. But those days are gone.''

    Manager Bruce Bochy gives Posey periodic starts at first base to take some stress off his body. Posey made 13 starts at first last year and 30 in 2017.

    Everyone around the Giants expects a strong comeback by the six-time All-Star.

    ''I'm sure it's going to be able to help out, the hip, being able to release it on the swing,'' Bochy said. ''I've listened to our medical staff and they're confident this is really going to help Buster out as far as catching, throwing and on the hitting side, so I'm confident.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    LH reliever Zach Duke signs 1-year deal with Reds
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Zach Duke has signed a $2 million, one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, who wanted a left-hander for the bullpen.

    Duke agreed to the deal last week. It was completed Monday after he passed a physical.

    Cincinnati overhauled its rotation and starting lineup in the offseason through a series of trades, hoping to become a contender. The bullpen already was solid with the additions of Jared Hughes and David Hernandez last season to set up closer Raisel Iglesias.

    Duke turns 36 in April. He pitched in 14 games for the Reds in 2013. Last season, he went 5-5 with a 4.15 ERA in 72 games with Minnesota and Seattle. Duke also has played for the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Brewers, White Sox and Cardinals.

    The Reds designated right-hander Jose Lopez for assignment. He went 5-13 for Triple-A Louisville last season.
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    Gerrit Cole goes to arbitration with Astros
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Pitcher Gerrit Cole has gone to arbitration with the Houston Astros, asking to be given $13.5 million rather than the team's offer of $11,425,000.

    Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he earned his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA. He earned $6.75 million.

    Arbitrators Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Walt De Treux heard the case Monday and are expected to decide later this week.

    Players and teams have split six decisions, including a victory for Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. The case of Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer is pending.

    Four more hearings are scheduled this week, for Michael Fulmer of Detroit, Aaron Nola of Philadelphia, Luis Severino of the New York Yankees and Alex Wood of Cincinnati.
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    Jeter anxious to see Marlins win
    February 11, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    MIAMI (AP) Derek Jeter stood and chatted a few rows from home plate in Marlins Park on Monday morning. His words were sometimes drowned out by noises coming from construction crews; steel clanging against steel in an area getting built behind the center field wall, or the whirring of engines moving heavy machinery about.

    There couldn't have been a more fitting backdrop.

    Jeter, entering his second full season as CEO of the Miami Marlins, knows that building - whether it is a new spot for fans to watch games from, to a minor-league system, to a contending big-league club - takes time. That also means Jeter is being tested in ways now that he never was during his playing days as shortstop for the New York Yankees, when winning and competing for titles seemed like an annual occurrence.

    ''I have no patience,'' Jeter said. ''I have zero patience. I've been preaching it. I don't have it.''

    The Marlins had the worst record in the National League and the fourth-worst record in all of Major League Baseball last season, and just traded away the best player from their 2018 club - catcher J.T. Realmuto - to the Philadelphia Phillies. And oddsmakers say the Marlins will be one of the longest shots in baseball this year, which didn't amuse Jeter.

    He's clearly not expecting to get his hands on the World Series trophy this year.

    That doesn't mean he's accepting another woebegone year as a foregone conclusion, either.

    ''Patience is something that you have to learn,'' Jeter said. ''But I'm fine with not being patient. It's like I say: When you're at the major-league level, you're here for a reason, because these players have been better than most other players in this country and in other countries as well. And if you're here, you have an opportunity to win. I can't preach that enough.''

    Jeter spent his first season observing and learning, often very quietly. He helped craft a plan that the Marlins say they'll stick to: build an organization from the bottom up, stock what was a badly depleted farm system with prospects, give young players who merit a shot a chance at performing in Miami and hold absolutely everyone accountable.

    This season, he's hinting that he may be more involved with players. He learned in 2018. He may teach more in 2019.

    ''Derek's not going to be patient with not playing the game right, not getting after it every day, not competing,'' said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who played first base in Jeter's Yankee debut game in 1995. ''He knows where we're at. In a sense you have to have some patience. But you don't have patience if a guy's not playing the game right, if he's not trying to get better every day, if he's not working. That's where he's not going to have patience.''

    What he's selling, people are buying.

    The Marlins signed Neil Walker late last month to be a veteran utilityman presence, after he spent last year with the Yankees. Even after being with the Marlins for only a couple weeks, Hill said the message from Jeter's office on down is already clear to players: ''You're either going to be on board, or you're out.''

    ''In talking with Derek, talking with (president of baseball operations) Michael Hill, talking with Donnie, they've really sat down as an organization and thought about where they were, where they presently are and where they hope to go,'' Walker said. ''Their enthusiasm and their vision is contagious. And I know just from early talks with all three of them, they believe in the guys in this locker room and they believe in the direction this organization's going.''

    The Marlins vow they're going to make the experience at home games - where attendance dipped to franchise-record-low numbers in 2018, partially because the team was bad and partially because the new ownership group began revealing far more accurate ticket numbers than was done under the previous regime - better this year. The team is trying to better embrace the Latin flavor of Miami, and want fans to even feel comfortable bringing instruments to games if so inclined.

    Fans spoke. Jeter says their words were heeded.

    ''Look, I never shied away from the fact that there's a complicated history here with the fan base,'' Jeter said. ''I get it. We weren't here for that. We're taking over an organization that hadn't had much success at all for the last 15, 16 years. So in order to change that, we had to make changes.''

    And if Jeter has his way, the refurbishing of the team won't take long.

    ''We need to see improvement,'' Jeter said. ''We need to see improvement from some of our younger guys that got an opportunity to play last year. That's how you get better. We can sit and talk about minor-league systems all you want, but it gets to a point when you're in Miami that you have to develop and improve year in and year out. That's how you become a great team.''
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    deGrom sets deadline for contract talks
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom wants to hear the New York Mets' best pitch on a multiyear contract by opening day - and the team thinks that's a good call, too.

    New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, who was deGrom's agent before switching sides at the bargaining table last fall, told reporters Tuesday at spring training there's ''no reason for a distraction to carry into the regular season.''

    He said the club will continue discussions with deGrom this spring and see where they lead. That leaves about six weeks to get a deal done before the Mets' season opener March 28 at Washington.

    However, the 30-year-old deGrom cannot become a free agent until after the 2020 season, so the sides could always reopen negotiations next offseason.

    Last month, the Mets and deGrom agreed to a $17 million, one-year contract to avoid arbitration - a raise of $9.6 million over his 2018 salary.

    Van Wagenen clarified Tuesday that he will indeed be involved in any talks with deGrom about a long-term deal. The rookie GM said he recused himself from the pitcher's arbitration negotiations to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

    Mets pitchers and catchers will hold their first formal workout Thursday. Van Wagenen and deGrom are both scheduled to be available to reporters that day.

    ''Jacob clearly is a guy that we value. He's clearly a player that we hope will be with us for a long period of time and we have ongoing dialogue with him and his representatives on a variety of things, including his status with us going forward,'' Van Wagenen said last month.

    Last summer, when he was deGrom's agent, Van Wagenen suggested the Mets should consider trading deGrom if they weren't planning to commit to him long-term.

    After leading the majors with a 1.70 ERA in 217 innings last year, deGrom was a runaway winner in NL Cy Young Award balloting. The two-time All-Star went just 10-9 with 269 strikeouts in 32 starts, receiving little support from a fourth-place team that finished 77-85.
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    Angels hope Ohtani ready to DH by May
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Los Angeles Angels hope Shohei Ohtani recovers from Tommy John surgery in time to join their batting order by May.

    The AL Rookie of the Year had Tommy John surgery Oct. 1 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The first player to hit 20 homers and make 10 pitching appearances in the same season since Babe Ruth, Ohtani is not expected to pitch this year but the Angels would like to have his bat in the lineup.

    ''We're thinking May, sometime in May, but that's assuming everything goes well,'' new manager Brad Ausmus said Tuesday. ''This is new territory. We're dealing with a guy who DH's on a regular basis and is a starting pitcher. It's new territory in rehabbing a Tommy John surgery, and we want to protect him long-term being able to do both. If we have to push it back, we'll push it back.''

    Ohtani has been swinging without hitting a ball. He has yet to hit off a batting tee, Ausmus said.

    ''He's going to want to get on the field quickly because he wants to compete,'' Ausmus said.

    NOTES: The Angels also are monitoring Albert Pujols' return from left knee surgery on Aug. 29. The first baseman had a debridement, during which damaged tissue was removed.

    ''Albert is doing everything right now,'' Ausmus said. ''We'll have discussions with him on how he's feeling regularly.''
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    Tanaka no fan of DH, wants to hit and run
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Masahiro Tanaka wants to keep on hitting and running the bases at NL ballparks, hoping use of the designated hitter does not spread to the National League.

    The New York Yankees pitcher missed a month last season after hurting both hamstrings while running the bases during a June 8 game at the New York Mets.

    The players' association has proposed extending the DH to the NL, a plan baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says is too complex to consider for this year.

    ''I did get injured, but when you look at it I grew up where baseball was played by nine guys, meaning basically the pitcher would hit also, and I really enjoyed that baseball,'' Tanaka said Tuesday through a translator at New York's spring training complex.

    Despite winning 100 games last season, the Yankees still wound up second in the AL East behind Boston. The Red Sox beat the Yankees in the Division Series and went on to their fourth title in 15 seasons.

    ''Boston had the upper hand last season but, hopefully, we'll get together as a team and then we'll take that spot this year,'' Tanaka said.

    New York added starting pitcher James Paxton, reliever Adam Ottavino, infielder DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki during the offseason.

    ''It's obviously a better team now,'' Tanaka said. ''The additions, it's definitely going to help us out as a team. We have this good team now and I think that we have a real good chance of getting to where we want to be this year.''

    New York pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Wednesday, a day before workouts start.
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    Marlins adding Posada to front office
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    MIAMI (AP) Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter are teammates again.

    Posada will be joining the Miami Marlins' front office as a special adviser to Jeter, said to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The person spoke Tuesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Posada's hiring has not been publicly announced.

    Jeter is entering his second season as the Marlins' CEO.

    Like Jeter, Posada spent his entire playing career with the Yankees. Posada has also primarily been a South Florida resident since retiring after the 2011 season.

    Posada batted .273 with 275 home runs and 1,065 RBIs in parts of 17 seasons with the Yankees. He also was the batter when the Marlins recorded their final out to beat the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, hitting a soft grounder toward first base and being tagged out by pitcher Josh Beckett to end the game and give then-Florida its second world championship.

    The Marlins have not played a postseason game since.

    Jeter inherited a team that had a former Yankees star in Don Mattingly as its manager, and has since added plenty of other people with Yankees ties - including vice president of player development Gary Denbo, director of player personnel Dan Greenlee, director of amateur scouting DJ Svihlik and now, Posada.

    Miami has its first official spring training workout for pitchers and catchers on Wednesday in Jupiter, Florida.
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    Eric Young Jr. agrees to deal with O's
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Outfielder Eric Young Jr. has agreed to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles and will report to major league spring training.

    The 33-year-old hit .202 with one home run and eight RBIs in 41 games for the Los Angeles Angels last year.

    Young has a .245 average in 10 big league seasons with Colorado, the New York Yankees, New York Mets, Atlanta and the Angels and Atlanta. He led the NL with 46 stolen bases in 2013.

    Young has played mostly left and center field, though he has played some in right - where the Orioles have an opening. Trey Mancini is slated to start in left field and Cedric Mullins is the likely starter in right.

    Young's deal was announced Tuesday.
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    New Baltimore leadership hoping
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) When pitchers and catchers reported to the Baltimore Orioles camp on Tuesday, they met a new administration.

    There is a manager in the dugout other than Buck Showalter for the first time in nine years, and a new general manager replacing Dan Duquette, who spent seven years with the Orioles.

    Mike Elias, who was hired in November as Baltimore's new GM, hired Brandon Hyde a month later to succeed Showalter - and the difference was obvious Tuesday. There are few recognizable names, and only a handful of roster spots are accounted for.

    A year ago, the Orioles lost a franchise-record 115 games, and the team used 56 players, also a record.

    Elias isn't making any promises for what will likely be a lengthy and challenging rebuild.

    ''It was a tough last year for the team,'' Elias said. ''It was a lot of losses. It was a hard season, a lot of disappointing individual performances.''

    Hyde, who spent last year as Joe Maddon's bench coach with the Chicago Cubs, wasn't hired until after December's Winter Meetings.

    ''I think he's more than ready for it,'' Elias said ''He's not coming from obscurity. He's been the bench coach in Chicago and running their camps really with a veteran manager who put a lot on Brandon's plate, so he knows the ropes when it comes to spring training.''

    Elias dismissed Baltimore's farm and scouting director, but he's added just five new players to the 40-man roster.

    ''I don't know it was a plan,'' Elias said. ''If we were making a move on the roster, we want to feel like we're making some incremental improvement. I don'want to get guys off the roster just because we're trying to change things.

    ''There are good players here. We want to try and help the players that are here. We see things in these guys that we like.''

    Hyde has 60 players to judge between now and March 25 when the Orioles play their final Grapefruit League game.

    ''These next six weeks are going to be really, really important and we're going to dive into every single guy,'' Hyde said. ''Obviously, our roster's not set and I think that we're going to go on past history. Past history is really, really important.''

    Three starting pitchers, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb have spots secured, and so do first baseman Chris Davis and left fielder Trey Mancini. Jonathan Villar will play either second base or shortstop, and Cedric Mullins, who played creditably in center field late last year, should start there again. Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier are established bullpen pieces.

    That leaves many roster spots to be filled.

    ''There's a lot of optimism in terms of a fresh start and a big opportunity,'' Elias said. ''We're going to be taking a fresh look at really every position on the diamond. There are a lot of competitors for each spot, and this camp's going to be essentially an open competition wherever you look and so it's excited for a lot of the young guys and the new guys here because they know they've got a chance to win a job.''
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    Wood, Reds go to salary arbitration
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Left-hander Alex Wood asked an arbitration panel for a $9.65 million salary on Tuesday and the Cincinnati Reds argued the newly acquired pitcher should be paid $8.7 million.

    A decision by Dan Brent, Andrew Strongin and Phillip LaPorte is expected Wednesday, when rulings also are likely for pitchers Trevor Bauer and Gerrit Cole.

    Wood was 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 27 starts and six relief appearances last year, when he made $6 million. Now 28, he was acquired by the Reds on Dec. 21 along with outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.

    Cole asked Gil Vernon, Steven Wolf and Walt De Treux for $13.5 million rather than the Houston Astros' offer of $11,425,000. Cole made $6.75 million last year, when he received his second All-Star selection and went 15-5 with a 2.88 ERA.

    After winning last year's hearing, Bauer requested James Darby, James Oldham and Sylvia Skratek award him $13 million instead of the Cleveland Indians' $11 million offer. The 28-year-old was a first-time All-Star last year and finished sixth in AL Cy Young Award voting after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA, second behind Tampa Bay's Nate Snell.

    Cole and Wood are eligible for free agency after this season, and Bauer is eligible after the 2020 season.

    Bauer won a $6,525,000 salary last year in a case decided by Strongin, Wolf and Robert Herzog, who ruled against Cleveland's $5.3 million offer.

    Players and teams have split six decisions. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, Oakland closer Blake Treinen and Tampa Bay outfielder Tommy Pham won while Washington outfielder Michael A. Taylor, Nationals reliever Kyle Barraclough and Toronto reliever Ryan Tepera lost.

    Three players remain scheduled for hearings this week, all starting pitchers: Detroit's Michael Fulmer, Philadelphia's Aaron Nola and the New York Yankees' Luis Severino.
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    Seager is running at nearly 100 percent
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) With Corey Seager's expected return by opening day and the acquisition of right-handed hitting center fielder A.J. Pollock, the Los Angeles Dodgers are not expected to be platooning.

    Seager was limited to 26 games last season and did not play after April 29. He had Tommy John surgery on May 4 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip on Aug. 7.

    ''There is a certain narrative on us platooning last year, and I think that was kind of for survival,'' manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday during his first spring training availability.

    The two-time NL champions traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Cincinnati Reds and allowed Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal to leave as free agents. The Dodgers' major addition was to sign Pollock as a free agent.

    ''I think that we're not as susceptible against left-handed pitching,'' Roberts said. ''Offensively, we're much more balanced, one through eight. Whoever those eight might be on a particular night will conduct consistently better at-bats. And I think the bullpen depth is better than it was last year.''

    The recovery of Seager, the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year, is critical.

    ''He looks really good,'' Roberts said.

    Roberts hopes his shortstop, who is throwing at 90 feet, can get 50 to 60 at-bats during spring training.

    Beginning his fourth season as manager, Roberts said left-hander Clayton Kershaw would like to regain some velocity. Kershaw's average fastball velocity dropped from 93 mph in 2017 to 91 mph last season, when he dealt with a back injury.

    ''He feels strong,'' Roberts said.

    Closer Kenley Jansen is expected to have a more aggressive spring training routine following surgery Nov. 26 to correct an irregular heartbeat.

    ''I think with Kenley, it will be more towards `17 spring, and I say that where we were a little bit more active,'' Roberts said. ''Last year with the workload . we kind of slow-played him and he had a couple little hiccups with the body and it kind of put him back a little bit. He's in great shape right now.''

    Roberts also says he expects reacquired catcher Russell Martin and Austin Barnes will compete for time behind the plate.

    ''To get a guy like Russell Martin, whose been in the postseason 10, 11 years in his big year career, he's a winning player,'' Roberts said. ''He's been a Dodger, he couldn't be happier to come back home, so to kind of pair with Austin I think is a very good duo. And I think that time will tell. So they are going to split time, and we'll see who gets the lion's share.''

    The revamped roster, minus Puig and Matt Kemp who were traded to the Cincinnati Reds, and subtracting free agents Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal, is more balanced, said Roberts.
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    Toussaint up for spot in Braves rotation
    February 12, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    ATLANTA (AP) Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino has help for anyone confused by the team's long list of young starting pitchers, including several who had Atlanta auditions in 2018.

    As Atlanta's pitchers and catchers prepare to report to spring training this week, there are many highly regarded candidates for at least one open spot in the rotation. The list includes Mike Soroka, Touki Toussaint, Kyle Wright, Kolby Allard, Max Fried, Bryse Wilson and Luiz Gohara.

    Vizcaino sees one starter emerging from the crowd.

    ''Touki. Touki,'' Vizcaino said last month. ''He's very good. He impressed me a lot.''

    Vizcaino wouldn't be swayed. Nor would he seek a diplomatic way out when asked about Soroka.

    ''I like Touki more,'' Vizcaino said.

    And that was that.

    Vizcaino isn't the only Braves player with high expectations for Toussaint, 22, who was acquired from Arizona in 2015. The Braves agreed to take on Bronson Arroyo's $10 million contract with Toussaint for third baseman Phil Gosselin.

    Toussaint could make that $10 million price tag look like a bargain. First, though, the 6-foot-3 right-hander with the big curveball must win a job.

    Mike Foltynewicz, who was last season's breakout starter while landing an All-Star spot, is expected to lead a rotation that also includes Sean Newcomb, Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran.

    The competition for the fifth spot could be the highlight of the Braves' spring. The first workout for pitchers and catchers is Saturday. The full squad reports next week.

    ''There are so many talented arms,'' said catcher Tyler Flowers. '' ... Of course everybody wants to get a (Justin) Verlander or a (Max) Scherzer or somebody like that, but not every team can bring those guys in. Sometimes you've got to grow them yourself and I think we have a lot of guys who can grow into those types of pitchers.''

    The wealth of young starting candidates kept Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos from entering a bidding war to keep right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who instead signed with division rival Washington.

    ''Knowing we have guys internally we think are ready to take a step, the bar is high for us,'' Anthopoulos said.

    Manager Brian Snitker believes the depth will allow Atlanta to bring up a sixth starter from Triple-A Gwinnett when needed to keep the rotation fresh.

    Snitker said the depth was ''real important'' to the Braves' NL East title last season.

    ''The extra day's rest is big now with what we're doing and we have numbers you can bring up here and stretch guys out,'' Snitker said.

    The Braves used 13 starting pitchers in 2018. Toussaint, Soroka, Wright, Allard and Wilson made their major league debuts. Toussaint's debut came after he was selected to pitch in the Futures Game on All-Star weekend.

    Toussaint was impressive in his first start, allowing only two hits and one run in six innings in a win over Miami on Aug. 13. He was 2-1 with a 4.03 ERA in seven games, including five starts.

    In what could be an indicator of the team's 2019 plans, Toussaint was placed on the postseason roster. Pitching in relief, he earned the decision in Atlanta's only win in the NL division series loss to the Dodgers.

    Toussaint said his 2018 experience helped him believe he belongs in the major leagues.

    ''I'd say very confident,'' he said when asked about his mindset. ''I know what I have. I've seen it. I've watched it. I'm ready to get after it.''

    Soroka also was impressive when healthy. He could be watched carefully in his return from a sore shoulder that put an early end to his 2018 season. He said he began throwing in November and feels strong.

    Many of the young pitchers moved through the organization together after they were on the same Class A Rome staff in 2016.

    ''It's pretty incredible to be with those guys,'' Soroka said. ''Healthy competition is always good. It brings out the best in everyone.''
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