Doctor confirms MCL sprain in Rendon's left knee

Escobar getting chance as replacement for third base

Doctor confirms MCL sprain in Rendon's left knee

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon saw Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and the doctor confirmed that Rendon has a MCL sprain in his left knee.

Rendon is expected to see Dr. Steven Singleton from in Vail, Colo., on Tuesday to get a third opinion on the knee. According to manager Matt Williams, this is Rendon's choice to get a third opinion.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander day to day, could land on disabled list

If he can't pitch Friday, Tigers right-hander won't start second game of season

Verlander day to day, could land on disabled list

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander could still pitch in a Minor League game on Friday and be ready to make his turn for the second game of the regular season against the Twins on April 8. He could also open the season on the disabled list and still be eligible to return April 12 vs. the Indians, the first day the Tigers need a fifth starter.

That's the range for Verlander, who remains day to day with a right triceps strain suffered last Friday against the Blue Jays.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Who is the top player at each position in the NL East?

Who is the top player at each position in the NL East?

The general consensus is that the Nationals have the best team in the National League East, and the next six months may well prove that to be the case. Every team has good players, though. With that in mind, here's a look at the division and the top player at each position:

First base: Freddie Freeman, Braves
It's easy to forget that Freeman is just 25 years old. In 2011, he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting. In the past two seasons, Freeman has had an OPS of .897 and .847, respectively, was twice an NL All-Star and twice received votes for the NL Most Valuable Player Award. And he should be entering the prime years of his career. Freeman has also been durable; last season, he played in all 162 games.

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Paul Hagen is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

5 keys for NL East clubs

5 keys for NL East clubs

Any number of factors can conspire to decide a division. But at the dawn of a new season, these are the five factors that look like they'll loom largest in the National League East.

1. Bryce cooker

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies have options to replace Brown

Right fielder sidelined with left Achilles inflammation

Phillies have options to replace Brown

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have been trying for years to replace Jayson Werth in right field.

They have started Hunter Pence, Marlon Byrd, John Mayberry Jr., Domonic Brown, Delmon Young, Ben Francisco and 11 others in right field since Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals in Dec. 2010. But with the Phillies announcing Tuesday that Brown will open the 2015 season on the 15-day disabled list with left Achilles inflammation -- his DL stint can be backdated to March 27, which means he could be activated as early as April 11 -- that list could grow to 18 by Opening Day.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

10 deep sleeper picks for 2015 fantasy drafts

10 deep sleeper picks for 2015 fantasy drafts

Late-round selections often return little production, but a smart fantasy owner can nab a full-season contributor toward the end of the draft. Below are 10 players with a chance to break through this season and who can be nabbed near the end of mixed-league drafts.

Catcher, Yasmani Grandal (Dodgers): Escaping Petco Park should have a positive impact on the offensive production of this 26-year-old, as he posted a .724 OPS at home and an .802 mark on the road during three seasons with the Padres. Grandal should also benefit from improved lineup support, as the Dodgers offer one of the deepest, most talented batting orders on the Senior Circuit. With small skill gains, he could be a cheap source of 20 homers and 65 RBIs in 2015.

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Fred Zinkie is a senior fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After impressive spring, Bryant sent down by Cubs

Top prospect reassigned to Minors camp with Russell; Baez optioned to Triple-A

After impressive spring, Bryant sent down by Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon did not deny that he wants Kris Bryant in his lineup. Just not yet.

Bryant, the Cubs' top prospect, was assigned to Minor League camp on Monday along with shortstop Addison Russell, while Javier Baez was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The Iowa team now may have one of the best infields in baseball.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

Cubs' Bryant decision entirely defensible

In addition to service-clock issue, positional questions justify Epstein's call on top prospect

Cubs' Bryant decision entirely defensible

The Cubs' decision to send slugger Kris Bryant down to the Minors to start the season has divided the baseball world, with many wondering why the Cubs -- a team that hopes to contend -- would send one of their best players to the Minors.

Cubs president Theo Epstein is going to be questioned for this decision, but it's entirely defensible.

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Dan O'Dowd is an MLB Network analyst and MLB.com columnist who served as general manager of the Rockies for 15 years, building a National League pennant winner in 2007. Prior to his time with Colorado, he worked in the front offices of the Orioles and Indians. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

10 things you need to know before the 2015 season

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10 things you need to know before the 2015 season

Paid no attention to the Major League hot stove this winter? Accidentally thought you were a bear and hibernated for three months? Well, have no fear: This guide is here to help. 

As you rouse yourself from a winter of snoozing, here are 10 things you need to know: 

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R.B.I. Baseball 15 available on next-generation consoles

Cubs All-Star first baseman Rizzo is first cover athlete

R.B.I. Baseball 15 available on next-generation consoles

Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced that R.B.I. Baseball 15, with Cubs All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo as its first cover athlete, will be available on next-generation consoles beginning today. These editions of the iconic and easy-to-play game also will be available via GameStop.

R.B.I. Baseball is developed by MLBAM and officially licensed by MLB and the MLB Players Association. This year's game arrives with a host of all-new features ranging from stat tracking to online multiplayer mode to newly crafted authentic MLB ballpark designs for each club, so here are some questions and answers about what to expect:

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

What's in store for Top 100 Prospects still in camp?

What's in store for Top 100 Prospects still in camp?

Many of the game's top prospects have made their impressions and moved on from big league camp this spring. We've been documenting them and their ETAs.

But several of those on the Top 100 Prospects list are still in camp, hoping to push the timing of the future up just a bit. Some are sure-fire bets to break camp with the parent club. Some are still trying to make the team, or at the very least, attempting to make the decision to send them down a difficult one. Here's a look at the Top 100 prospects still making noise in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

With fantasy-baseball-draft season in full swing, MLB.com put together a cheat sheet for fans in need of expert advice. Make sure to have the one-stop information shop on hand during your auctions or snake drafts.

For comprehensive coverage of the player pool, check out MLB.com/preview. And follow @Fantasy411 for daily- and annual-league tips all season long.

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Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marlins' Opening Day roster coming into focus

Marlins' Opening Day roster coming into focus

JUPITER, Fla. -- After six weeks of intense competition, the Marlins' final bench spots are now set. In the next day or two, so will the spots in the bullpen.

How the Opening Day roster will shape up is now coming into focus. On Tuesday morning, reliever Nick Masset was released, while outfielders Tyler Colvin and Cole Gillespie, along with infielder Reid Brignac, were reassigned to Minor League camp.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lough to start season on DL because of hamstring

Outfielder expected to be available on April 11

Lough to start season on DL because of hamstring

SARASOTA, Fla.-- David Lough said his back issue has been resolved and now it's strictly about getting his left-hamstring injury resolved as the outfielder, who is slated to start the season on the disabled list, works his way back.

"It's disappointing, it's hard to go into [manager Buck Showalter's] office and tell him that I'm injured because I'm not injured too often and when I am, it's frustrating," said Lough, who had some hamstring tightness a few weeks back. "Especially with how well I know my body. It's just a minor bump in the road. I'll look past this when I'm done and get some at-bats at [the Minor League facility at] Twin Lakes and get ready to go."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays release outfielder Viciedo

Blue Jays release outfielder Viciedo

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Dayan Viciedo will be granted his release after the Blue Jays decided not to include him on the 25-man roster.

Viciedo was informed of the club's decision following Monday night's game in Kissimmee, Fla., against the Astros. The 26-year-old didn't have an opt-out clause in his contract, but there was an agreement going into camp that if he didn't make the roster, he would be allowed to explore opportunities with other teams.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tillman to get it going as Orioles' Opening Day starter

Will face Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday

Tillman to get it going as Orioles' Opening Day starter

SARASOTA, Fla. -- As expected, Orioles manager Buck Showalter named Chris Tillman his Opening Day starter on Tuesday afternoon.

"There's a news flash," Showalter said with a grin as he delivered the long-speculated news.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Top offensive squads aim for more timely hitting

Clubs banking on revamped rosters to come through with runners in scoring position

Top offensive squads aim for more timely hitting

In the clutch, the Dodgers had no equal in 2014. They led the Majors in batting average (.286) and slugging (.440) with runners in scoring position, powering their way to a second consecutive National League West title.

In the American League, the Central champion Tigers had the highest average with runners in scoring position at .282, but the Orioles outslugged Detroit, .435 to .421.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hutchison named Blue Jays' Opening Day starter

Dickey, Norris, Buehrle and Sanchez round out rotation, but order not set

Hutchison named Blue Jays' Opening Day starter

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays have tabbed right-hander Drew Hutchison as their Opening Day starter on Monday in New York.

The news was confirmed on a day when the club came close to finalizing its 25-man roster.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

10 players facing make-or-break seasons

From MVP winners to former aces to onetime prospects, this group has plenty to prove in 2015

10 players facing make-or-break seasons

Time to step up, fellas. That's true for Mike Trout and King Felix and Giancarlo Stanton. Also Matt Carpenter and Max Scherzer and David Ortiz. Players will tell you they have to prove themselves every single season.

For some players, though, it's different. For some, it's getting late. There's doubt about what they're still capable of. There are questions about whether they'll ever be what they once were or what we long thought they'd be.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With 'pen filling up, Bucs option Holdzkom, Scahill

Club also reassigns Wood as one open spot remains on big league club

With 'pen filling up, Bucs option Holdzkom, Scahill

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates' bullpen picture came into sharper focus on Tuesday morning, when right-handers John Holdzkom and Rob Scahill were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and Blake Wood was reassigned to the Minor League camp.

Those moves left eight men -- including only one other reliever (Jared Hughes) with a remaining Minor League option -- for a bullpen that has seven seats.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins option left-hander Thompson to Triple-A

Twins option left-hander Thompson to Triple-A

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins trimmed their bullpen by one on Tuesday, as they optioned left-hander Aaron Thompson to Triple-A Rochester.

Thompson, 28, posted a 2.16 ERA in seven Grapefruit League appearances, striking out six and walking two.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Opening Day approaches. With every page that is torn off the calendar, as we say farewell to March and get ready to welcome April, the baseball just gets better.

On Monday afternoon at Peoria Sports Complex, the best pitcher in the Cactus League this spring, 22-year-old Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, stood tall against Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, two of the best hitters of the last decade.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies release veteran right-hander Slowey

Phillies release veteran right-hander Slowey

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies released Kevin Slowey on Tuesday, as the veteran right-hander seemed to be the second of two in-house candidates to be their No. 5 starter.

It appears to leave Sean O'Sullivan as the fifth starter, which the team does not need until April 12. But the Phillies are looking outside the organization for starting-pitching help, although if they find somebody, it will be a low-cost option.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Napoli crushes rare broken-bat homer

Napoli crushes rare broken-bat homer

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When Mike Napoli finished his swing, all he had left to hold was a tiny part of his bat handle. The rest of the bat went to third base, where Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe fielded it.

The baseball? That soared over the Green Monster for the rare broken-bat home run.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Veteran Montero ready for latest challenge with Cubs

Veteran Montero ready for latest challenge with Cubs

Miguel Montero has been to the postseason with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now the two-time All-Star is looking to return to baseball's biggest stage with the Chicago Cubs.

After starting his career with the D-backs, the 31-year-old Montero is taking on the new challenge of an up-and-coming Cubs team, providing veteran leadership for a franchise that has its sights set on getting back to the postseason and, perhaps, back to that elusive World Series.

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John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnSchlegelMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians read mean tweets about themselves

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Indians read mean tweets about themselves

This week, the Indians scrolled through their Twitter mentions and shared the most, uh, unique tweets with us.Like this friendly suggestion for Jason Kipnis, to which he had the perfect response. 

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The Final Four team every MLB fan should root for

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The Final Four team every MLB fan should root for

As a baseball fan with mere days left until the start of the MLB season, we won't blame you if you've completely forgotten that other sports exist. But they do! Lots of them, including college basketball.

You see, we just happen to be nearing the end of a little something called the NCAA tournament. Brackets have been busted, 64 teams have been eliminated and we now have the Final Four: Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke. And, as you may no longer have a rooting interest left in the tournament, but you probably do have a favorite MLB team - and that's enough. Here's a guide to exactly which basketball team you should root for this weekend based on your favorite MLB franchise.

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Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

10-year-old with rare condition visits camp; he was an honorary coach for State College last year

Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outside his grandson's hospital room, Dave Bohner knew nothing except that he needed to pray.

On the second floor of the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, 1-year-old Josiah Viera was fading. His life had already been a perpetual fight of regular surgeries and an exhausting search for a diagnosis. When one finally came, it offered no solution and little hope. At best, Josiah might live another decade. At this moment, it seemed he'd likely not make it another day.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

Nationals third baseman sprained MCL while making diving play on March 9

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon traveled to meet with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday in order to receive a second opinion on the sprained MCL in his left knee.

Rendon was injured while making a diving play on March 9, and the knee has continued to bother him during even the most routine activity. He could not complete a light jogging exercise this past Friday without feeling soreness.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Top-level analysis: Manfred a fan of fantasy baseball

Commissioner has finger on pulse of how game is changing for the better

Top-level analysis: Manfred a fan of fantasy baseball

As Commissioner Rob Manfred begins his inaugural season at the helm of Major League Baseball, the popularity of fantasy baseball continues to swell. Daily fantasy games and new, innovative scoring formats are just two of the latest developments embraced by fantasy enthusiasts. The Commissioner recently spoke about the role that fantasy baseball plays in engaging fans, the prevalence of analytics in baseball and the emergence of the latest wave of exciting young stars.

MLB.com: What are your overall thoughts on or experiences with fantasy baseball?

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