Kershaw cruises behind Puig, Rollins homers

Lefty fans 8 over six; pair of 2-run shots set tone

Kershaw cruises behind Puig, Rollins homers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brad Penny's push for a White Sox roster spot, either as a spot-starter for Chris Sale or a long reliever, took a bit of a hit on Thursday at Camelback Ranch in the Dodgers' 9-6 victory.

The Los Angeles offense was led by Yasiel Puig's fifth home run, a two-run shot, of the spring and four RBIs from Jimmy Rollins, who also hit a two-run homer. Penny allowed six runs on eight hits over four innings, while Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in six innings.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

JUPITER, Fla. -- Hours after his manager laughed off concern about Jason Heyward not yet having registered an extra-base hit this spring, the right fielder blasted his first -- all the way onto the porch of the team complex beyond the right-field wall.

It was a show of power that the Cardinals have been waiting to see, but one they also knew would come. Heyward did actually connect for an extra-base hit before Thursday, but it was erased from the stat sheet when rain kept Monday's game from becoming official.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top pick Aiken undergoes Tommy John surgery

Left-hander went unsigned after Astros selected him in 2014 Draft

Top pick Aiken undergoes Tommy John surgery

The Brady Aiken saga has taken another turn. Aiken, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and a top prospect for this year's Draft, underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

Aiken made the announcement himself today, via the website theplayerstribune.com, which was founded by fellow Excel Sports Management client Derek Jeter. Aiken said he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and had it repaired by Dr. David Altcheck at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hale: Tomas may start season in Minor Leagues

D-backs manager said Cuban star could play third base or left field

Hale: Tomas may start season in Minor Leagues

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Cuban star Yasmany Tomas could still start the regular season in the Minor Leagues, D-backs manager Chip Hale said on Thursday before his club played the Padres in a Cactus League game at Salt River Fields.

"Yeah, there's a definite chance," the first-year manager said about determining the answer to the biggest question in camp. "It's going to come down to us all sitting down and everybody talking about what's best for the Major League team."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

'Dead arm' a dead issue for Lester

Cubs can rest easy after new ace reports no problem in return to mound

'Dead arm' a dead issue for Lester

MESA, Ariz. -- Sighs of relief all the way around for Chicago Cubs loyalists. Jon Lester is OK. He is all right. In fact, he is much better than that.

Lester had missed a Cactus League start Saturday because of the dreaded, yet commonplace, "dead-arm" syndrome. Because he is a centerpiece of the Cubs' expected revival, because he is worth $155 million over six years to the Cubs, this development was viewed in some quarters as dreadful, ominous and further evidence that gloom and doom have a permanent home at Wrigley Field.

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

Aviles pranked teammate by parking his car on field

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Aviles pranked teammate by parking his car on field

It was a typical day at the Indians' spring complex on Thursday morning. The sun was shining. Palm trees swayed in the breeze. And Jose Ramirez's car was parked on the infield at shortstop on Field 1 at Cleveland's practice facility.

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Hernandez's strong start 'very pleasing' to Mariners

Seattle ace rebounds from rough Cactus League outing

Hernandez's strong start 'very pleasing' to Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Mariners lost to the Royals, 3-0, on Thursday at Peoria Stadium. But really only one thing mattered in this one. Felix Hernandez looked King-ly and thus all was well.

"I feel like I'm where I want to be," Hernandez said after firing six innings of two-hit, one-run ball. "I'll be ready for Opening Day."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy, V-Mart show off their power strokes

All-Star duo hit their first home runs in Spring Training

Miggy, V-Mart show off their power strokes

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez seemingly cleared the health hurdle a few days ago in their comebacks from their respective surgeries. In their battle to get their timing down at the plate in time for Opening Day, they both cleared the fence Thursday.

In the case of Cabrera, his first home run of the spring cleared the left-field fence on a line. In Martinez's case, his first homer in Grapefruit League cleared the right-field fence easily.

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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

Richard Justice

Players continue to amaze us in Spring Training

Baseball's biggest stars gearing up for fantastic regular season

Players continue to amaze us in Spring Training

Good news here, good news there. Young players emerging. Yeah, even some not named Kris Bryant. Veteran players reproving themselves. Did you see the home run Miguel Cabrera belted Thursday afternoon? That's the thing about baseball's best players and one of the best things about Spring Training. They amaze us even when the games don't count.

With Opening Day closing in, let's round up 15 bits of good news from these last few weeks.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Rodon could be game-changer for White Sox

Rodon could be game-changer for White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ah, so this is why the White Sox have been so mysterious through the years.

A few times every spring, they have their starters work in a Minor League game on a back field rather than allowing them to face an American League Central opponent. But on Wednesday night, they allowed 22-year-old lefty Carlos Rodon to pitch against the Royals.

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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.

Mammoth shot shows Stanton's nearly season-ready

Mammoth shot shows Stanton's nearly season-ready

JUPITER, Fla. -- Peppering baseballs over the Marlins' building at Roger Dean Stadium is common for Giancarlo Stanton in batting practice. When the two-time All-Star is launching a baseball off Adam Wainwright on the balcony in a game, it's a sign the slugger is just about ready for the regular season.

Stanton connected on a solo home run and added an RBI double in two at-bats off Wainwright on Thursday in the Marlins' 5-3 win over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

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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.

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.

Brewers have grand day against Mariners

Davis, Jimenez each hit slams; Fiers returns from shoulder fatigue with strong start

Brewers have grand day against Mariners

PHOENIX -- Brewers left fielder Khris Davis made his first Spring Training home run count Thursday, hitting a first-inning grand slam that one-hopped its way clear out of Maryvale Baseball Park in the Brewers' 15-1 victory over the Mariners.

Davis connected against Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias, who surrendered six earned runs on eight hits over three-plus innings against a Milwaukee team on a tear. The Brewers have scored at least nine runs in five of their last six games, reaching double-digit runs in four of those games.

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

Mesoraco, Frazier flash power as Reds crush Salazar, Indians

Votto knocks in 3 runs, lineup collects 19 hits

Mesoraco, Frazier flash power as Reds crush Salazar, Indians

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco each belted a home run for the Reds on Thursday, capitalizing on a rough day on the mound for Indians starter Danny Salazar in a 13-2 victory over Cleveland at Goodyear Ballpark. Cincinnati had 19 hits in the game, with all 12 of its hitters collecting at least one hit.

Frazier and Mesoraco homered in the first and second inning, respectively, helping Cincinnati to an early, 5-1, lead in Salazar's latest audition for a spot in Cleveland's rotation. Joey Votto (three RBIs) and Billy Hamilton (two hits, one RBI) also helped lead the Reds' early offense.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo turns extra time into walk-off party

Castillo turns extra time into walk-off party

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Rusney Castillo's Spring Training has been abbreviated, but no less impressive. The outfielder belted a walk-off homer over the Green Monster against reliever Jake Reed in the 10th inning to lift the Red Sox to a 5-4 win over the Twins on Thursday.

After missing two weeks of Grapefruit League action with a left oblique injury, Castillo has quickly regained his stroke.

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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.

Gallardo to open Rangers' season; Detwiler in rotation

Converted reliever a candidate to start club's home opener on April 10

Gallardo to open Rangers' season; Detwiler in rotation

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister has officially named Yovani Gallardo the starter for the club's season opener at Oakland on April 6 and told Ross Detwiler that he has made the rotation.

Gallardo, a longtime resident of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Texas, will be making his first start for the Rangers after being acquired from the Brewers in the offseason.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox thrilled to see Big Papi, Napoli back in lineup

Red Sox thrilled to see Big Papi, Napoli back in lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox got two key pieces back in the middle of their batting order on Thursday, as David Ortiz and Mike Napoli both played for the first time in several days.

Ortiz, who had been dealing with dehydration that led to overall soreness and then a bout with the flu, went 0-for-3 with an RBI in his first start since March 16.

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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.

Tillman, Orioles have not talked contract extension

Tillman, Orioles have not talked contract extension

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starter Chris Tillman said after Thursday's start, a 6-4 loss to the Tigers, that there's been nothing new in the past few months regarding a contrat extension with Baltimore.

"I'm always open to it," Tillman said. "I think I'm in the same position as I was [in] when we talked last time [in January]. I'm letting [my agent] do all the work. I hear about, read about it. But I told him not to come to me unless we've got something for sure."

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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.

Uehara's hamstring better, opener still possible

Uehara's hamstring better, opener still possible

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox got an encouraging piece of news on the injury front on Thursday, as closer Koji Uehara took a step forward in his recovery from a right hamstring strain.

"He threw 60 [pitches] from flat ground today," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He'll do that again tomorrow. And our plan is for him to get on the mound on Saturday. Today, there was more intensity to his running, roughly 60-70 percent intensity. Following the off-day [on Wednesday], today was a sizable step forward with Koji."

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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.

Opening Day 'in jeopardy' for injured Denorfia

Maddon remains cautious, does not want to aggravate outfielder's sore hamstring further

Opening Day 'in jeopardy' for injured Denorfia

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs outfielder Chris Denorfia, who has not played since March 17 because of some soreness in his left hamstring, is expected to get at-bats in Minor League games next week, but most likely will not be ready to go by the start of the season.

"Opening Day is probably in jeopardy," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.

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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.

Robertson managing soreness in right forearm

Closer intent on being ready for regular season

Robertson managing soreness in right forearm

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- David Robertson was surprised to see the media gathered around his locker following Thursday morning's workout at Camelback Ranch. But when the word "soreness" is attached to a team's closer, albeit a non-worrisome attachment, it certainly draws some interest.

Robertson mentioned that he has a little soreness in his forearm, but he threw a 25-pitch bullpen before the White Sox contest against the Dodgers and reported no issues.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

Five toughest roster dilemmas this spring

Cubs, White Sox, Mariners, D-backs, Red Sox face difficult decisions on young players

Five toughest roster dilemmas this spring

Every Spring Training, general managers have to deal with major dilemmas regarding top prospects: Do you bring them north because you believe they give you the best chance to win now, or do you let them simmer in the Minors to work on some areas of improvement while also keeping their service time in check?

Here is a look at the five clubs I believe have the toughest decisions to make this spring when it comes to prospects and the 25-man roster.

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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.

Lester has 'good, normal' outing in Minors game

Left-hander makes 54 pitches in first action since experiencing tired arm

Lester has 'good, normal' outing in Minors game

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs' Jon Lester threw 54 pitches in a Minor League game Thursday, and that was enough for manager Joe Maddon.

"What I was really watching was him and watching his face and he never seemed like anything bothered him, so I know his arm feels great and that's all I was worried about," Maddon said of the Cubs' ace. "He felt good and his energy was good today. He threw some nice fastballs, nice cutters, yeah, yeah, yeah, but I thought he looked comfortable and that's the most important thing."

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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.

Pollock's knocks back Anderson's rotation audition

Pollock's knocks back Anderson's rotation audition

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Spring Training coming down to the nitty-gritty, the fight for roster spots and slots in the starting rotation are narrowing.

Thursday's 3-3 tie between the D-backs' and Padres in a Cactus League game at Salt River Fields featured just another such tussle: San Diego right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne and Arizona righty Chase Anderson are both vying for slots in the back end of their respective rotations.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longoria, Jennings go deep in win over Yankees

Seven Rays relievers combine for victory

Longoria, Jennings go deep in win over Yankees

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays had a "bullpen day" on Thursday as they did not use a starting pitcher, rather a stream of relievers were backed by home runs from Evan Longoria and Desmond Jennings in a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday at Charlotte Sports Park.

"You had to be prepared a little earlier," said Grant Balfour, who pitched a scoreless third. "Guys are going six, seven innings now. Today was one of those days where we just threw all the relievers out there."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

J.D. Martinez ready for hurlers' adjustments

Outfielder knows that pitchers will be better prepared to face him this year

J.D. Martinez ready for hurlers' adjustments

LAKELAND, Fla. -- J.D. Martinez picked up some attention last season for the notebook he carried with him in the dugout to track how pitchers approached him.

Now that he has the league's attention, he's going to have to prepare for the notes other teams have been taking as well.

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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.

Mets' pitchers may hit 8th with Wright in mind

Mets' pitchers may hit 8th with Wright in mind

VIERA, Fla. -- Though Matt Harvey may be more interested in the 80-odd pitches he is scheduled to throw in Friday's spring start against the Cardinals, manager Terry Collins plans to add a layer of intrigue to Harvey's afternoon: As he did 10 times last year and may do even more frequently this summer, the manager will bat his pitcher eighth.

Collins said he is considering doing so more often because it would allow him to shift David Wright from third to second in the lineup, increasing his at-bats over the course of the season and, theoretically, his RBI opportunities as well.

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

Miggy, V-Mart hit first spring homers as Tigers beat O's

Ace lefty Price has his longest start of the spring, going 6 2/3 innings

Miggy, V-Mart hit first spring homers as Tigers beat O's

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ten months after Miguel Cabrera hit a go-ahead home run off Tommy Hunter at Camden Yards, the slugger led a Tigers comeback with a game-tying drive off the Orioles reliever. However, it took a Victor Martinez home run in the eighth inning to break the tie and send Detroit to its second straight victory by a score of 6-4 on Thursday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Martinez's home run restored Detroit's lead after Jayson Nix homered off a hanging slider from Joe Nathan in the top of the inning to tie the game. Add in a Yoenis Cespedes homer, and the power display broke up a pitching duel between aces David Price and Chris Tillman.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. 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.

Indians hope time at Triple-A will help reliever Lee

Top prospect Lindor also re-assigned

Indians hope time at Triple-A will help reliever Lee

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona is holding out faith that right-hander C.C. Lee will someday develop into a fixture within the Tribe's bullpen. It became clear to Cleveland's staff this spring that Lee still has room to grow before returning to the big leagues.

On Thursday, Lee was optioned to Triple-A Columbus as part of the latest round of roster reductions for the ballclub. The Indians also re-assigned top prospect Francisco Lindor to Minor League camp, along with infielder Audy Ciriaco, outfielder Destin Hood, righty Dustin Molleken, catcher Adam Moore, righty Bryan Price and lefty Michael Roth.

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

Harper misses 2nd straight game with flu bug

Harper misses 2nd straight game with flu bug

VIERA, Fla. -- Bryce Harper missed his second straight game on Thursday while he is dealing with a stomach bug.

Harper arrived at Space Coast Stadium initially on Thursday afternoon expecting to play against the Mets. After taking some light swings in the batting cages, however, he did not feel good and the Nationals sent him home.

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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.