3 to get ready: MLB clubs, colleges set stage

Phillies, Red Sox, Tigers suit up in Florida

3 to get ready: MLB clubs, colleges set stage

Major League Baseball is back in action, and the schedule is filling up quickly.

Today, three big league teams will play in Spring Training exhibitions. Some of the most exciting players in the game will be on the field, ready to take the first steps toward what all 30 clubs hope will be a World Series championship.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bait & pitch: Mets fin-ish strong, reel in shark

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Bait & pitch: Mets fin-ish strong, reel in shark

Imagine, if you will, a relaxing afternoon fishing. Maybe you're sitting on a boat, maybe you're standing in a river in your waders … either way, it's a pretty peaceful afternoon, right? Well, not for Mets Steven Matz and Sean Gilmartin, who appeared on the internet fishing show "BlacktipH" this week.

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Seager says he didn't have 'A' swing in '16

NL ROY, MVP candidate claims he wasn't comfortable at times

Seager says he didn't have 'A' swing in '16

PHOENIX -- Here's a stunning revelation, passed along by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts: Corey Seager said he didn't have his "A" swing last year.

"I thought I could be better at times mechanically than I was," Seager confirmed Wednesday. "I wasn't always 100 percent comfortable. Still competing, not uncomfortable, but not comfortable. I wasn't exactly where I wanted to be."

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Japan heavily favored in Classic's first round

Cuba, Australia, China have work cut out for them in Pool B

Japan heavily favored in Classic's first round

The first three World Baseball Classics, in brief:

Team USA's best finish was a loss in the semifinals.

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

King Felix throws first BP of spring

King Felix throws first BP of spring

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez threw his first live batting practice session Wednesday as he continued gearing up for his initial Cactus League start next week.

The Mariners ace will make his Spring Training debut Tuesday against the White Sox at 12:10 p.m. PT at Camelback Ranch in Glendale in Seattle's fourth Cactus League game. That will be the first of two spring starts for the 30-year-old before he joins the Venezuela national team to compete in the World Baseball Classic.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Story wants to pen tale on defense

Story wants to pen tale on defense

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Any discussion of Rockies shortstop Trevor Story begins with home runs and segues to the bat after he hit 27 home runs as a rookie in 2016. But Story would like his glove to be in the conversation.

"I'm really prideful of my defense, probably more than offense," Story said. "It's huge, especially at shortstop. You've got to have a good defender there. I don't really just want to be good. I want to be one of the great shortstops."

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Contreras catches on quick, earns place as backstop

Contreras catches on quick, earns place as backstop

MESA, Ariz. -- Among hundreds of good decisions that allowed the Cubs to break their World Series drought, one of the best was made when Willson Contreras put on shinguards for the first time.

Boredom, more than brilliance, triggered Contreras' move from third base and the outfield to catcher. It happened, in large part, because of what he did when he was left out of the lineup one day in Instructional League, at almost the exact time that Theo Epstein was being hired to run the Cubs.

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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.

Hurl power: Twins reliever's pitching secret

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Hurl power: Twins reliever's pitching secret

MLB players are a diverse bunch, and they bring with them a rich tapestry of pregame routines: A series of complex stretcheskissing the manager's forehead, dancing, whatever it takes to get ready to perform at the highest caliber. So really, is it so weird that Twins reliever Ryan O'Rourke has a Bill Russell-esque proclivity to vomit before he pitches?

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MLB.com Columnist

Jesse Sanchez

Prospects impress at International Showcase

Sixth annual event taking place this week in Dominican Republic

Prospects impress at International Showcase

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Former Major League infielder Orlando Cabrera bounced around the infield during the 60-yard dash at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal just like he did during his playing days.

He jogged his way to several groups of scouts seated in the stands during the batting-practice portion of the tryout. He moved around, chatting with top baseball officials when the international prospects took the field for the first game of the day.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

Francona's health will determine how long he manages Tribe

PHOENIX -- In four years at the helm, manager Terry Francona has guided the Indians to two postseason appearances and one American League pennant. Based on what they have on their current roster, the Indians are expected to go deep in the postseason again this October.

Francona, 57, has entered his 17th season as a manager. When asked if he might have at least 15 more years in the tank, Francona wasn't so sure.

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Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002 and does a podcast, Newsmakers. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch a kid hit moving car with a BP homer

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Watch a kid hit moving car with a BP homer

If you want to be a big league slugger, you have to practice hitting. And if you're like Jack Tannehill of Oxford, Miss., you also (inadvertently) practice windshield-smashing home runs.

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Arizona an early outpost of integration in MLB

Cactus League Hall of Fame inducts four pioneering African-American players

Arizona an early outpost of integration in MLB

The Major League Baseball landscape and the social fabric of the country were both going through a dramatic transformation when Spring Training baseball came to Arizona in 1947.

While the Brooklyn Dodgers and Jackie Robinson were preparing to break Major League baseball's racial barrier, the game was expanding to new western frontiers, with the Cleveland Indians and New York Giants moving their Spring Training camps to Arizona.

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Charlie Vascellaro is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs host young fans from Chicago hospital

Nine children and their families treated with VIP trip to spring camp

Cubs host young fans from Chicago hospital

MESA, Ariz. -- Nine patients from Advocate Children's Hospital in Chicago were treated to a day with the Cubs on Wednesday. The kids ranged in age from 7 to 14, and included a spina bifida patient, another dealing with heart defects, another battling Crohn's disease, and a girl who was in hospice care. Despite their difficult situations, there were lots of smiles.

"It's a chance of a lifetime," said Adrienne Balow of Des Plaines, Ill., whose 11-year-old son, Aidan, was a guest on the trip.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quick to judge: Jury duty can't slow Trea

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Quick to judge: Jury duty can't slow Trea

Trea Turner is a native of Lake Worth, Fla., which is only a few miles from Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, where the Nationals hold their Spring Training. So, when he was summoned for jury duty on Wednesday, he had no excuse to get out of it.

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Need a second team to follow in 2017? Fall in love with one of these five

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Need a second team to follow in 2017? Fall in love with one of these five

The second-favorite team is an important tool in every fan's belt. Your favorite team is an eternal and undying bond between yourself and the club, but there's always the need for that second team that you can jump on for a year, buy the cap and then ditch for another in the future. 

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HOF to honor baseball-themed 'Simpsons'

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HOF to honor baseball-themed 'Simpsons'

On Monday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced what every baseball fan already knew: The lauded Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat" is worthy of enshrinement in Cooperstown.

The Hall will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the episode on May 27 during Hall of Fame Classic Weekend. Festivities will include appearances by Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith -- both of whom guest-starred in the episode -- at a discussion featuring members of The Simpsons team who put the episode together.

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Frazier to miss several days of camp with sore side

Third baseman started feeling tightness on Tuesday

Frazier to miss several days of camp with sore side

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier will be sidelined at least a few days with a sore left side.

Frazier felt some tightness on Tuesday, and did not participate in Wednesday's workout at White Sox Spring Training at Camelback Ranch.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colby Rasmus already shaved his Photo Day beard (and it's probably for the best)

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Colby Rasmus already shaved his Photo Day beard (and it's probably for the best)

Photo Day is fantastic for many reasons, not the least of which is that it chronicles key facial hair decisions. 

Could you say that his beard makes Rasmus look like he takes a horse and buggy to work? Sure! But you may have missed your opportunity, because it looks like Rasmus has already made some changes

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Holy Holland! Pitcher brings fun to White Sox clubhouse

Newly signed starter wears Batman suit at camp Wednesday

Holy Holland! Pitcher brings fun to White Sox clubhouse

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Long after the White Sox completed their morning workout on Wednesday, pitcher Derek Holland made his way around the team's training complex in a Batman suit.

"I have two," he told second baseman Brett Lawrie in the hallway outside the clubhouse.

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Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bumgarner confirmed to start Cactus opener

Bumgarner confirmed to start Cactus opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Madison Bumgarner was indeed named to start the Giants' Cactus League opener Friday against the Reds, though manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that the assignment was not "etched in stone."

Bochy noted that Bumgarner might feel like delaying his turn.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo of the Day: Yasiel Puig is caught in a net

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Photo of the Day: Yasiel Puig is caught in a net

Just like in a Looney Toons cartoon, the best way to catch a Yasiel Puig turns out to be ... a big net. 

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Martin arrives at Mariners camp ready to play

Martin arrives at Mariners camp ready to play

PEORIA, Ariz. - Center fielder Leonys Martin finally arrived at Mariners camp Wednesday with the usual smile on his face, ready to focus on baseball again after a delayed start to his Spring Training.

Martin was called to testify on Tuesday in a federal trial in Miami for his former agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, who are accused of conspiracy and running a smuggling operation that brought a dozen Cuban players to America.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bryant favors traditional intentional-walk rule

Cubs' MVP prefers forcing pitchers to throw four balls

Bryant favors traditional intentional-walk rule

MESA, Ariz. -- In the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs had a runner at second and one out, and the Indians opted to intentionally walk Anthony Rizzo to face Ben Zobrist. Zobrist came through with a go-ahead double, and Rizzo eventually scored. What Kris Bryant wanted to know was, what if one of Bryan Shaw's four pitches during that intentional walk had skipped away, allowing the runner to move up?

"What if the ball got away?" Bryant said Wednesday. "That's huge, especially in that type of situation, Game 7 of the World Series, you want to put pressure on the pitcher any way you can."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For starters, D-backs roll past Grand Canyon

For starters, D-backs roll past Grand Canyon

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs checked the boxes in their exhibition game against Grand Canyon University on Wednesday, as 27 players saw game action and the team came out relatively unscathed on the injury front in its 9-1 victory.

Most starters made one plate appearance before departing.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wheeler stays on track in latest 'pen session

Mets righty mixes breaking pitches into 2nd pain-free bullpen outing

Wheeler stays on track in latest 'pen session

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For the second time since elbow tenderness created a snag in his throwing program, Zack Wheeler climbed atop a mound Wednesday for a bullpen session, the highlight of a rain-shortened day at Mets camp. Manager Terry Collins called it "a real big step forward for him," noting that Wheeler mixed breaking balls into his repertoire for the first time in over a week.

• Spring Training: Info | Schedule | Tickets | Shop 

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bedrosian out a few days after groin tweak

Bedrosian out a few days after groin tweak

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian is dealing with lower-body stiffness and is expected to refrain from throwing the next couple days.

Bedrosian said he tweaked his groin during pitchers fielding practice Tuesday, but he doesn't believe the injury is anything serious.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Will Smith out with elbow inflammation

Lefty reliever hopes to return before end of Spring Training

Will Smith out with elbow inflammation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants learned Wednesday that left-hander Will Smith has inflammation in his throwing elbow, which is expected to sideline him for more than a month.

The ailment won't require surgery, just rest, which isn't such a bad thing for the Giants. Due to Spring Training's duration, which is longer this year due to logistics surrounding the World Baseball Classic, players are able to condition themselves at a more leisurely pace.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton leaves Rangers camp to have left knee examined

Veteran slugger has had three surgeries since September 2015

Hamilton leaves Rangers camp to have left knee examined

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton aggravated his surgically repaired left knee and has flown back to Texas to be examined by Dr. Walt Lowe in Houston.

Hamilton felt a problem with the knee while doing "arc" running on Tuesday, which means he was running at an angle and simulating baserunning rather than just a straight line.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

Tribe plans to keep veteran at first base and DH

Santana willing to play outfield again if needed

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Carlos Santana has shown an increased willingness to do whatever Indians manager Terry Francona asks of him. That included starting in left field for a pair of games in last year's World Series, due to not having the designated hitter available in Wrigley Field.

This spring, Santana has let Francona know he is still willing to play the outfield, if asked.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks prospects log face time with Captain

Sheffield, Kaprielian among young players who dined with Jeter at camp

Yanks prospects log face time with Captain

TAMPA, Fla. -- It wouldn't be a Captain's Camp without dinner with the Captain himself.

Several of the Yankees' top prospects enjoyed dinner with former shortstop Derek Jeter on Tuesday. Jeter took the group of about 20 players and front-office personnel to Oxford Exchange in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Tampa, where he answered questions and offered advice.

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Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.