Bryce is right: Harper homers on first swing

Bryce is right: Harper homers on first swing

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- In his first at-bat of Grapefruit League play, Bryce Harper launched a solo home run over the right-center-field wall to begin the second inning Saturday afternoon.

It was a positive sign for Harper, who is trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2016 season. He bulked up about 15 pounds during the offseason and said he came into camp feeling strong.

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

Edwin delivers RBI single in first Indians AB

Edwin delivers RBI single in first Indians AB

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It didn't take long for Edwin Encarnacion to look comfortable in an Indians uniform. The sound of his powerful swing made that clear on Saturday afternoon, when Cleveland's new slugger delivered the club's first run of the spring season.

In the first inning of the Indians' Cactus League opener against the Reds, Encarnacion drilled a pitch from Reds left-hander Amir Garrett into left field for an RBI single. Encarnacion stood on first base amidst cheers from the Goodyear Ballpark crowd, which was dotted with Tribe jerseys. It was an early look into why the Indians invested heavily into Encarnacion this winter.

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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.

Fowler, Carpenter link up fast for Cardinals

New acquisition scores on first baseman's sac fly, home run

Fowler, Carpenter link up fast for Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Two key pieces in the Cardinals' new-look lineup shined in Saturday's Grapefruit League opener, as Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter combined to tally the team's first three runs.

Fowler, the club's big offseason signing, walked in his first two plate appearances as the Cards' new leadoff hitter. Carpenter, who vacated that leadoff spot upon Fowler's arrival, tallied three RBIs from the third spot in the batting order, which is likely where he will settle once the season starts.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals honor Ventura at Cactus opener

Royals honor Ventura at Cactus opener

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Minutes before the start of the Royals' Cactus League opener against the Rangers, the memory of Yordano Ventura was honored at Surprise Stadium.

The stadium flags flew at half-staff, as players and coaches from both teams stood along the foul lines to pay tribute to Ventura, who died last month in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers hit 3 HRs in a row; Miggy plunked

Cabrera OK after getting hit on the arm in a homer-filled 3rd inning

Tigers hit 3 HRs in a row; Miggy plunked

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers needed 11 innings to put up their first run of Grapefruit League play at remodeled Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Once they finally crossed the plate they kept swinging for the fences, hitting three consecutive home runs off Astros reliever Edison Frias in the third inning Saturday.

None of those home runs came from Miguel Cabrera, who was hit by Frias' next pitch after the three home runs. Cabrera was unharmed, but Frias was ejected by home-plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco's 2nd HR of day is inside-the-parker

Franco's 2nd HR of day is inside-the-parker

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maikel Franco is known for his power, not his speed.

But he hit an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning of Saturday's 6-5 walk-off win over the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. He ripped a ball to center field, but the ball deflected off Yanks center fielder Tyler Wade's glove and scooted underneath the fence. Wade raised his arms in the air to rule the ball unplayable, except he never got his wish from the umpire.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Freeman honors mother by repping Canada

Freeman honors mother by repping Canada

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman always wears long sleeves, even on the hottest days. He does it to honor his mother, Rosemary, who died of skin cancer. He also wears a cross-shaped locket around his neck with her hair inside.

Beginning March 6, though, he's going to pay tribute in a way he wasn't sure would ever be possible. That's when he'll put on the uniform of Team Canada for the first workout in preparation for this year's World Baseball Classic.

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

Bourn likely out 4 weeks; O's bring back Janish

Outfielder breaks finger days after being signed; veteran provides infield depth

Bourn likely out 4 weeks; O's bring back Janish

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Michael Bourn, whom the Orioles signed to a Minor League contract on Monday, broke his right ring finger catching a football in a workout Friday.

Bourn, who was added in an attempt to improve Baltimore's outfield defense, is expected to be out four weeks, manager Buck Showalter said.

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

Cuban outfielder Garcia reports to Cards' camp

Recent signee won't be able to play until he acquires a work visa

Cuban outfielder Garcia reports to Cards' camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after signing a Minor League contract with the Cardinals, Jose Adolis Garcia reported to camp for his first workout on Saturday. It will be a while longer, however, before he's able to showcase his skills in a game setting.

Garcia will not be permitted to participate in Grapefruit League play until after he obtains a work visa. The Cards hope that process is wrapped up by mid-March, though the timeline is uncertain. Regardless, the club does not expect Garcia to make a run at an Opening Day roster spot.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Classic participation an honor for Mariners

11 players from organization will represent their countries in tournament

Classic participation an honor for Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Inside the Seattle Mariners' clubhouse, participating in the World Baseball Classic isn't a decision.

"It's an honor," pitcher Felix Hernandez said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco, Phils power up in walk-off vs. Yanks

Franco, Phils power up in walk-off vs. Yanks

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi is making his case to make the Opening Day roster.

He hit a walk-off single to center field in the ninth inning in Saturday afternoon's 6-5 victory over the Yankees in a Grapefruit League game at Spectrum Field. After Rhys Hoskins' one-out double to left field, pinch-runner Roman Quinn had no trouble scoring on the single from Stassi, who homered Friday against the Yankees.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball Hall of Fame Tour returns for '17

Traveling experience to hit the road March 11; tickets on sale now

Baseball Hall of Fame Tour returns for '17

Tickets are on sale now for the Baseball Hall of Fame Tour, which returns March 11 for a second season. After traveling to five cities across the United States in 2016, the We Are Baseball experience -- a cutting-edge collaboration of baseball and technology -- is scheduled to spend two weeks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the D-backs and Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Tour -- a one-of-a-kind traveling collection of Hall of Fame artifacts, interactive games and displays, unique virtual reality experiences, and the first and only mobile IMAX movie -- proved to be a draw last year for casual fans and baseball diehards alike, not to mention some Hall of Famers themselves.

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Allison Duffy-Davis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sale to make Red Sox debut March 6

Seeking rotation spot, Rodriguez faces Rays on Thursday

Sale to make Red Sox debut March 6

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pitching plans are taking shape for the Red Sox.

New ace Chris Sale is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut on March 6 at West Palm Beach against the Astros.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jesse Sanchez

Better than Cespedes? Cuban phenom wowing scouts

Teen outfielder Luis Robert has emerged as the most intriguing prospect on international market

Better than Cespedes? Cuban phenom wowing scouts

BAJOS DE HAINA, Dominican Republic -- The grass was freshly cut, the white chalk lines were neatly marked, and it was a peaceful Friday morning on the main baseball field at the Fundacion San Judas Tadeo complex, except for the barking black German Shepherd at third base and the red rooster near the mound that wouldn't stop crowing.

By 8:30 a.m., several teenage prospects from the Born to Play Baseball Academy were chatting in the batting cages and stretching near the first-base dugout made of cinder blocks and painted lime green. A few minutes later, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert walked around the corner and immediately turned an ordinary workout into an international event.

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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.

Yanks believe Didi's power is sustainable

Shortstop follows 20-homer 2016 campaign with solo shot in spring opener

Yanks believe Didi's power is sustainable

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Didi Gregorius stood in front of his clubhouse locker, pantomiming a wild uppercut swing that would have made Reggie Jackson proud. It's exactly what you'll never see the Yankees shortstop try at home plate.

Gregorius homered on the first pitch he saw this spring in Friday's 9-4 Grapefruit League victory over the Phillies, following up on a 2016 campaign in which he set a career high with 20 home runs. Yet Gregorius still insists that he absolutely, positively does not consider himself a power hitter.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Judge's scoreboard HR offers peek at ceiling

Judge's scoreboard HR offers peek at ceiling

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees hit three home runs as they lifted the curtain on a refurbished George M. Steinbrenner Field complex on Friday, but it was Aaron Judge's moonshot off the left-field scoreboard that had these Baby Bombers dreaming about the future.

Judge extended his arms to swat a first-pitch fastball from the Phillies' Elniery Garcia in the fifth inning of New York's 9-4 Grapefruit League victory, wowing the announced crowd of 8,845 with a titanic clout that dented the top of a beer advertisement before falling back to the playing field.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colon pitches 2 innings in Braves debut

Colon pitches 2 innings in Braves debut

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Twenty years after making his Major League debut, Bartolo Colon began the latest chapter of his intriguing career on Saturday afternoon, as he donned a Braves uniform for the first time and completed two innings in Atlanta's Grapefruit League season opener against the Blue Jays at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Colon surrendered three hits and one run within this two-inning stint that pushed him a little closer to what will be his 20th big league season. The 43-year-old right-hander signed a one-year, $12.5 million deal with the Braves in November.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Collision leaves Plawecki with knee contusion

Collision leaves Plawecki with knee contusion

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Kevin Plawecki was helped off the field and diagnosed with a left knee contusion following a sixth-inning collision at home plate. The Mets catcher brought down a high throw to the plate to put the tag on the Nationals' Rafael Bautista, who slid headfirst into Plawecki's left leg.

The collision hyperextended Plawecki's left leg, and he writhed in pain for several minutes before being helped to his feet and into the dugout. Plawecki had entered the game as a replacement for starter Rene Rivera in the top of the sixth. Plawecki, who was replaced by Xorge Carrillo, will undergo precautionary X-rays to make sure nothing is broken.

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

Greinke throws live BP, feels 'OK'

Greinke throws live BP, feels 'OK'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs ace Zack Greinke faced hitters for the first time Friday as he threw about 20 pitches in a live batting practice session.

"I felt OK," Greinke said. "Everything was coming out of my fingers pretty good. It was pretty sharp. Command was OK. Everything was OK. Maybe I could have thrown a couple more, but no one wants to push it too fast this early. There's not too much of a need. Maybe it was a good amount."

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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.

With Papi gone, Sox to be aggressive on bases

With Papi gone, Sox to be aggressive on bases

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Without David Ortiz's bat in the middle of the lineup, Red Sox manager John Farrell will encourage his team to be more aggressive on the bases.

In particular, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts probably could have stolen more bases in recent years, but moving runners into scoring position with Ortiz up would lessen the chances of opponents pitching to him. Rookie Andrew Benintendi will likely bat second against right-handers and he has good speed. Jackie Bradley Jr. is another player Farrell expects will run more.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glove Day at Cubs camp rekindles fond memories

Glove Day at Cubs camp rekindles fond memories

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. will never forget his first glove.

"Me and my dad went to this little sports shop -- it was my first year playing baseball," Underwood said. "The glove was a Wilson glove, and it was one of those strap-on gloves. This was right after football season. I turned my first double play with a Wilson glove. That's when I fell in love with baseball."

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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.

Still a rookie, Benintendi not seen as one by Red Sox

Outfielder, 22, could win AL award after impressing teammates in brief 2016 stint

Still a rookie, Benintendi not seen as one by Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- He is here from the beginning this season, and Andrew Benintendi could make it one to remember.

No Red Sox player has won the American League Rookie of the Year Award since Dustin Pedroia 10 years ago. And perhaps no Boston player was as well-positioned to win the award in the last decade as Benintendi is now.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shoeless Joe has family ties at Texas camp

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Shoeless Joe has family ties at Texas camp

Joe Jackson was at the Rangers' Spring Training complex on Friday, and no, you did not somehow step into a time machine and travel back to the 1910s. It was Joe Jackson, the 24-year-old Minor Leaguer who, yes, is the great-great-grandnephew of Shoeless Joe Jackson.

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First start about building strength for Bumgarner

First start about building strength for Bumgarner

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In Madison Bumgarner's view, the less said about his outing Friday, the better.

Asked how he felt about his one-inning performance in the Giants' 6-4 win in the Cactus League opener Friday against the Cincinnati Reds, Bumgarner allowed himself a tiny smile and said, "I felt."

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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.

A brief history of MLB players sharing names with Hollywood actors

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A brief history of MLB players sharing names with Hollywood actors

If "Hacksaw Ridge" pulls an upset on Sunday and takes home the Academy Award for Best Picture, Anthony Rizzo can add "Acted in an Oscar-winning film" to his resume. Well, not the Anthony Rizzo you're thinking of -- the Cubs first baseman and World Series champion -- but the Anthony Rizzo whose turn as "Cinema Kissing Soldier" in "Hacksaw Ridge" is one of three credits on his IMDb page.

Though it'd be quite the year if both Anthony Rizzos end up taking home trophies, they are not the first MLB player-actor pair to share a name. There have been a few players in MLB history to share the name of some of Hollywood's most famous actors. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Miggy set to put Venezuela on his shoulders

Miggy set to put Venezuela on his shoulders

Humbled by a first-round exit in the World Baseball Classic, a superstar willed his team to gold in the subsequent tournament through his leadership and bat.

In 2013, that was the narrative for Robinson Cano and the Dominican Republic.

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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.

Ichiro improving; Locke won't throw for 7 days

Ichiro improving; Locke won't throw for 7 days

JUPITER, Fla. -- An MRI didn't reveal any structural damage, but Marlins left-hander Jeff Locke is on no-throw status for the next seven days.

Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, meanwhile, is progressing from back tightness and a bruised right quadriceps. The 43-year-old outfielder is playing catch and doing some light hitting.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Q&A: Joyce reflects on memorable career

30-year umpiring veteran relives his most noteworthy moments

Q&A: Joyce reflects on memorable career

Jim Joyce enjoyed a 30-year career as a Major League Umpire, which included being selected as the best umpire in the game in an ESPN poll of 100 players.

It also included a play at first base in which Joyce admitted that he blew an out call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game calling Cleveland's Jason Donald safe on a two-out grounder in the top of the ninth after Galarraga raced to cover first base on a ball fielded by first baseman Miguel Cabrera.

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

The Brewers' Brett Phillips and Josh Hader channeled 'Wayne's World' with 'Brett's World'

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The Brewers' Brett Phillips and Josh Hader channeled 'Wayne's World' with 'Brett's World'

It's Friday. It's 10:30 (or whatever day or time it is in whichever time zone you're currently reading this).

A few days ago marked the 25th anniversary of the 1992 comedy classic "Wayne's World." 

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Front-office mainstay Hildreth passes away at 72

Senior VP of broadcasting and alumni relations joined club in 1987

Front-office mainstay Hildreth passes away at 72

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jamie Hildreth, a member of the Astros' front office for the last 30 years, died suddenly on Friday night in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 72 years old.

Hildreth, who most recently served as the Astros' senior vice president of broadcasting and alumni relations, joined the club in 1987 as director of broadcasting. In his three decades with the team, Hildreth worked in sales, sponsorship and broadcasting.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.