Felix excited to be part of new-look Mariners

Ace takes another step toward 2015 season with first live BP session

Felix excited to be part of new-look Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez remains the face of the Mariners, as evidenced by a large camera crew from Major League Baseball that followed his every move on Wednesday shooting video for an upcoming 30-second promotional spot.

But Seattle's ace isn't all on his own any more as the club has beefed up its roster with some noticeable veteran presence.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Billy Bean

Opening up about Mets visit, Murphy comments

Inclusion is about everyone, even those who might disagree with the message

Opening up about Mets visit, Murphy comments

Tuesday was one of the more compelling days I've had since being named MLB's Ambassador of Inclusion. It included the opportunity to get back in uniform for the first time in ages at the behest of one of the most respected general managers in the game, and it also afforded me the first chance to respond to an active player speaking openly and honestly about me and my role in baseball.

Some background: After making a presentation at the GM Meetings in November, Mets GM Sandy Alderson approached me about the possibility of coming to visit his club during Spring Training. And then, at the Winter Meetings a month later, he doubled down on that offer and asked me if I would consider suiting up and "playing" with the Mets for a few Spring Training games. I was stunned.

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Billy Bean is Major League Baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castillo strains oblique, to miss 'more than a week'

Red Sox center fielder injures left side while swinging against Boston College

Castillo strains oblique, to miss 'more than a week'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox center fielder Rusney Castillo has been diagnosed with a strained left oblique and will be out "more than a week," according to manager John Farrell.

Beyond that, it's too early for the club to give a timetable on Castillo, who is competing with Mookie Betts to be the starting center fielder.

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

Do spring stats matter? Perhaps more than you think

ISO, baserunning aggressiveness can offer hints at regular-season performance

Do spring stats matter? Perhaps more than you think

From the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues to a computer screen near you, baseball players and pundits have long repeated the same refrain: Spring Training stats are meaningless.

Regardless as to whether you agree with the decree, calls to ignore preseason data often seem dogmatic, even harsh.

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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.

Look at this college pitcher's acrobatic windup

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Look at this college pitcher's acrobatic windup

Some of us want to play baseball and some of us want to join the circus, but few of us are qualified to do both. Enter Murray State's John Lollar, a pitcher whose wind-up is also the finale of a Cirque du Soleil act. 

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Venditte begins spring by recording an out with each arm

A's hurler shows off switch-pitching skills in Cactus opener

Venditte begins spring by recording an out with each arm

MESA, Ariz. -- What has become a routine act for Pat Venditte is an astonishing sight for those watching him.

The A's switch-pitcher introduced himself to the Cactus League on Tuesday, recording two outs against the Giants -- one with each arm -- as fans, and even teammates, ooed and aahed.

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

A-Rod notches single in first at-bat vs. Phillies

A-Rod notches single in first at-bat vs. Phillies

TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez returned to the batter's box after a 17-month absence on Wednesday, singling to left field in his first Grapefruit League plate appearance of the spring.

Batting second and serving as the designated hitter for the Yankees' home opener at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Rodriguez caught up with an 89 mph fastball from Phillies right-hander Kevin Slowey and slapped it into shallow left field for a clean single.

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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.

Harrison exits Pirates' game with ankle discomfort

Third baseman led off with single before being doubled off between second and third

Harrison exits Pirates' game with ankle discomfort

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison departed Wednesday's Grapefruit League game with what the club described as "discomfort" in his left ankle.

Harrison, the Bucs' breakthrough All-Star in 2014, started at third base against Toronto and led off the bottom of the first with a bloop single to center, then advanced to second on a wild pitch by Marcus Stroman.

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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.

Teheran eager to face challenge of being Braves' ace

Right-hander coming off consecutive 14-win seasons

Teheran eager to face challenge of being Braves' ace

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Though he knows that he is lined up to make his second straight Opening Day start, Julio Teheran has accepted the challenge issued by his rotation mate Alex Wood, who said he came to camp ready to push Teheran in an attempt to gain this honor.

"That's the mindset that we all want to have," Teheran said. "You don't want to get comfortable. You just want to work hard. If we work hard, we're going to be doing the right things. We want to push each other."

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

Off the radar: Crew eschewing speed readings

Off the radar: Crew eschewing speed readings

PHOENIX -- As their exhibition season gets underway Wednesday against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, you would think it's time for the Brewers to unpack the radar guns they shipped down from Milwaukee. Think again.

"We're not even going to open the box," assistant GM Gord Ash said. "Not until March 15."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Free of pain, Beltran sees good days ahead

Outfielder expects he won't be only Yankee to put injury-plagued season behind him

Free of pain, Beltran sees good days ahead

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran points to the scar on his right elbow and attempts to find some context for a frustrating 2014 season.

"I got caught up in thinking too much instead of playing the game," he said.

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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.

Crisp moving to left field in effort to stay healthy

Gentry, Fuld to form platoon in center field for Oakland

Crisp moving to left field in effort to stay healthy

MESA, Ariz. -- In an effort to help Coco Crisp stay healthy, the A's have decided to move the oft-injured veteran from center field to left field. Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld will form a platoon in center for the speed-centric A's.

According to manager Bob Melvin, the decision was made this offseason following extensive discussions with the front office, and it was relayed to the longtime center fielder shortly after he arrived at camp.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Pace of play impacts more than just ballplayers

In-game entertainment, broadcasters also adjusting to new regulations

Pace of play impacts more than just ballplayers

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- One of the reliable old standbys during Grapefruit League games at Bright House Field mimics the classic television game show "Let's Make A Deal." A contestant standing on the dugout is allowed to choose between a nominal amount of cash or the contents of one of three boxes, two of which contain gag gifts.

The twist is that if the fan gets the harmonica or the rubber ducky instead of the gift certificates and autographed baseball, the ballpark emcee encourages the crowd to applaud. If they make enough noise, they're told, the fan will get the grand prize.

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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.

Cubs considered calling Miller Park home in 2015

With major renovations at Wrigley, club looked into logistics of playing in Milwaukee

Cubs considered calling Miller Park home in 2015

With major renovations underway at Wrigley Field this winter, the Cubs considered playing their entire 2015 home schedule at Miller Park in Milwaukee, team president of business operations Crane Kenney told CBS Radio.

During a media tour of the construction zone on Monday, Kenney said that the center- and left-field bleachers are expected to be ready by May 11, while the right-field bleachers are expected to open in early-to-mid June.

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

New acquisitions aim to make a strong first impression

Players who changed teams look to get into the swing of things with their new squad

New acquisitions aim to make a strong first impression

When it comes to first impressions, nothing trumps a grand slam, so it looks like Yoenis Cespedes might have them all beat with a four-run swing in his third Spring Training at-bat with the Tigers. Sure, it's just Grapefruit League action, but a big boom like that really resonates when it comes off the bat of one of the many Major Leaguers making their first impression between the lines for a new club.

For players traded over the offseason or any free agent who changed addresses for a new contract, Spring Training is a chance to get settled in a new uniform and get some firsts out of the way. Even more of those first impressions are on the way as games in Florida and Arizona hit full swing in the next couple of days.

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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.

Healthy Spring Training important to Breslow

Red Sox lefty had been plagued by injuries in each of past two springs

Healthy Spring Training important to Breslow

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As Craig Breslow trotted out to the mound in Tuesday's exhibition game against Boston College, the Red Sox left-hander had an unusual feeling.

"I hadn't pitched in Spring Training since 2012, so I was a little nervous," said Breslow on Wednesday.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @qlr5001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hernandez secures visa, on track to report to camp

Hernandez secures visa, on track to report to camp

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Right-hander Roberto Hernandez, who has yet to report to Astros camp, has received his visa and was scheduled to travel to Florida from his native Dominican Republic on Wednesday night. He will take a physical at Osceola County Stadium on Thursday.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Hernandez, who signed a Minor League deal Feb. 12, has been throwing at the club's complex in the Dominican Republic, but he acknowledged the pitcher is behind after missing nearly two weeks of camp. Hernandez will be competing for a spot in the rotation.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

Cecil, Sanchez sharing the role is one option on the table as club feels out possibilities

Blue Jays keeping open mind about closer situation

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Blue Jays are still at least a couple of weeks away from making a decision on their closer situation, but there's a scenario where both Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez could share the role.

Toronto has remained rather non-committal on the issue, which would seem to indicate the position is still in a state of flux. During various parts of his media availability Wednesday, manager John Gibbons dismissed the notion of a bullpen-by-committee approach but also talked about the benefits of not having one defined guy in the role.

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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.

Syndergaard owns up to clubhouse lunch gaffe

Mets rookie says lesson learned, clears air with captain Wright

Syndergaard owns up to clubhouse lunch gaffe

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A day after Mets veterans David Wright and Bobby Parnell confronted Noah Syndergaard for eating in the clubhouse during a game, the rookie apologized for actions that he called "straight-up ignorance on my part."

"It was just really a mistake on my part," Syndergaard said. "It was a learning experience for me. I should have been on the bench."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rays camp

Lee hopes to bounce back from rocky season marred by injury

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rays camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Tampa Bay Rays.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- New Kids on the Block are going on tour in 2015. They should seriously consider including the Rays' farm system in the planning.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Minnie was an icon for black fans in Midwest

Cuban-born star was embraced by African-American fans throughout the region

Minnie was an icon for black fans in Midwest

Soon after White Sox legend Minnie Minoso died Sunday, I had several thoughts. Many were from the past. But courtesy of a phone conversation, a bunch involved the present and the future.

As for the past, I'm thinking of the 1960s, when I grew up in South Bend, Ind., where older relatives never mentioned the words "Minnie Minoso" without a smile and a story. Even though Minoso was Cuban, he was huge for African-American sports fans in the Midwest during the 1950s. That's because on May 1, 1951, he became the first black Major League player of any ethnic group for a Chicago team. Just like that, he morphed into an icon among African-Americans throughout the region.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

MadBum's mechanics -- and personality -- are stress-free

MadBum's mechanics -- and personality -- are stress-free

MESA, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner's first spring fling was no fun at all. The man who ruled October for the World Series champion Giants was hammered by the A's on Tuesday and didn't even get to swing his loud bat to vent any frustration.

None of it -- including the four runs and five hits he yielded while recording five outs -- was relevant in any way, shape or form. In the big scheme, MadBum got a feel for pitching again in game conditions and didn't hurt himself. His history informs him that good springs can lead to bad starts to the regular season, and the other way around.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

MLB Pipeline checks in from Blue Jays camp

Spring Training an opportunity to take inventory of revitalized system

MLB Pipeline checks in from Blue Jays camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Toronto Blue Jays.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- In just two trades -- one with the Marlins that involved Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, and one with the Mets that brought in R.A. Dickey -- the Blue Jays emptied a large portion of the Minor League cupboard. In a short period of time, however, they have done a good job restocking the shelves, to the point where they have one of the best systems in baseball.

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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.

Cespedes starts Tigers tenure with grand slam

Cespedes starts Tigers tenure with grand slam

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Seven years after Miguel Cabrera marked his Tigers debut in Spring Training with a home run, Yoenis Cespedes' first hit in a Detroit uniform also had a similar impact. He drove a grand slam down the left-field line in the fourth inning of the Tigers' 15-2 victory against the Orioles on Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.

"He's a strong man, so he will do that once in a while," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Hopefully he does it often. It was a good first day."

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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.

Home run highlights Kang's successful debut

New shortstop connects on solo shot, plays solid defense in Bucs' victory

Home run highlights Kang's successful debut

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jung Ho Kang did not wait long to flash his power -- or his first "Z."

The sensation from Korea slugged his first home run in a Pirates uniform in his second at-bat of Tuesday's 8-7 win over the Blue Jays in the Grapefruit League opener, and it was impressive.

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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.

Rangers return reliever Olmos to Mariners

Rangers return reliever Olmos to Mariners

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers have returned injured left-hander Edgar Olmos to the Mariners. Olmos was claimed off waivers at the beginning of Spring Training, but he has been unable to pitch because of an impingement in his left shoulder.

The Rangers had hoped Olmos would compete for a spot as a left-handed reliever. Olmos made five relief appearances for the Marlins in 2013, and he was claimed on waivers by the Mariners this past 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.

Hanrahan to undergo second Tommy John surgery

His comeback attempt now on hold, former All-Star closer released by Tigers

Hanrahan to undergo second Tommy John surgery

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan's comeback attempt is over. The former All-Star closer and invitee to Tigers camp will undergo another Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

When Dr. Keith Meister performs the procedure March 18 at his office in Texas, it'll be Hanrahan's second Tommy John surgery in less than 24 months. Hanrahan isn't calling this a career-ending procedure, but he'll have an even tougher path to try to come back than he did the first time.

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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.

Castillo adjusting to new spot on depth chart

Former starting catcher for Cubs now No. 3 behind starter Montero, veteran Ross

Castillo adjusting to new spot on depth chart

MESA, Ariz. -- Welington Castillo will be behind the plate Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., in one of the Cubs' split-squad games. Where he'll be when the season opens is to be determined.

After two seasons as the starting catcher, Castillo, 27, finds himself No. 3 on the depth chart behind Miguel Montero, 31, and David Ross, 37. Manager Joe Maddon says the Cubs can carry three catchers, and Castillo gives them insurance.

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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.

No ill effects for Hochevar after 1st BP session

Yost pleased with right-hander's performance, says progression is 'normal'

No ill effects for Hochevar after 1st BP session

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The first thing Royals skipper Ned Yost did when he got to the clubhouse Wednesday morning was find out how right-hander Luke Hochevar was feeling.

Hochevar, recovering from Tommy John surgery last March, had thrown his first batting-practice session of the spring on Tuesday.

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

Missed out on Trout? 5 options for No. 2 fantasy pick

Stanton, McCutchen, Goldschmidt, Kershaw and Miggy each have strong cases

Missed out on Trout? 5 options for No. 2 fantasy pick

Mike Trout is dominating the fantasy baseball landscape as much as any player has in recent years. The Angels' center fielder will be selected first overall in nearly every 2015 draft, so the real debate begins once Trout is taken. The second-overall selection is full of intrigue, as five players have a legitimate claim to be pick No. 2.

History has taught us that approximately 40 percent of top-five selections do not produce first-round value in the upcoming season. Owners who pick from the two-hole will be among the last to make their second-round pick, so choosing wisely when picking the centerpiece of their rosters is essential. Here's a look at all five options for the second overall pick:

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Fred Zinkie is a 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.