Bryant passes all tests in first start in left

Top prospect shows off arm, nabbing runner at second base

Bryant passes all tests in first start in left

MESA, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant passed all the tests Thursday his first game in left field for the Cubs, but the move didn't help his hitting.

Bryant has played third base since he was drafted second overall in 2013 by the Cubs, and manager Joe Maddon wanted him to consider playing the outfield. Being versatile can sometimes give a player a better chance on a big league squad. Bryant enthusiastically agreed. The only concern was with his arm because Bryant had missed time at third base with fatigue in his right shoulder.

More

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.

Kershaw cruises behind Puig, Rollins homers

Lefty fans 8 over six; pair of 2-run shots sets 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.

More

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. 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

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.

More

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.

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.

More

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.

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."

More

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.

More

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

|
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.

Continue Reading on Cut4

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.

More

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.

More

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.

Ortiz defends legacy regarding PEDs

Red Sox slugger writes adamant defense linking '03 test to over-the-counter supplement

Ortiz defends legacy regarding PEDs

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox slugger David Ortiz still carries the sting from perceptions that resulted from the 2009 report in the New York Times that he was one of 103 players flagged in anonymous survey testing in 2003 for performance-enhancing drugs.

In a lengthy first-person account for The Players' Tribune, the new venture headed by retired Yankees icon Derek Jeter, Ortiz remained adamant that he "never knowingly took steroids" and said the positive test stemmed from taking an over-the-counter product.

More

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

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."

More

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.

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.

More

Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. 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.

More

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

Sophomore Danner dominates on Day 2 of NHSI

Righty throws three-hit shutout, fans 13 for Huntington Beach

Sophomore Danner dominates on Day 2 of NHSI

CARY, N.C. -- As the quarterfinals of the 2015 USA Baseball National High School Invitational began Thursday afternoon at the USA Baseball National Training Complex, Huntington Beach (Calif.) High School sophomore right-hander Hagen Danner delivered a stellar performance against Puyallup (Wash.) High School on the big stage of Coleman Stadium and the audience of MLB.com.

After surrendering a triple to start the game, Danner got into a groove and finished the game with a three-hit shutout and 13 strikeouts. With the victory, the Oilers advance to the semifinals on Friday in the 16-team, single-elimination tournament.

More

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

Royals send well wishes to recovering superfan

Faseler, shot during home invasion, thanks supporters on Twitter

Royals send well wishes to recovering superfan

Jimmy Faseler, the Royals superfan who was shot recently in a home invasion, thanked fans and friends on Twitter for their support as he recovers in a Kansas City area hospital.

Faseler then tweeted, "I probably won't be posting too much for now. I don't have a lot of strength and need to conserve my energy for learning to walk again."

More

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

Pujols, Cron flex muscle behind Weaver

Right-hander strikes out eight batters in 5 1/3 innings of penultimate start

Pujols, Cron flex muscle behind Weaver

MESA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols belted a three-run homer and an RBI double and C.J. Cron added a two-run triple to back Jered Weaver and lift the Angels to a 8-4 victory on Thursday over the Cubs. Weaver, expected to be the Angels' Opening Day starter, struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings.

Mike Olt belted a two-run homer in the fourth and pinch-hitter Travis Wood smacked a solo shot in the fifth for the Cubs, who rank second in the Majors with 32 home runs this spring.

More

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. 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.

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.

More

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.

Fantastic Four: Competition at 2B wages on

Giavotella, Featherston, Green and Rutledge all making solid cases for Angels job

Fantastic Four: Competition at 2B wages on

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Position battles are as intertwined into the fabric of Spring Training as much as the fun-loving, laid-back atmosphere that descends on Arizona and Florida each March. Usually, a frontrunner emerges in the race for the right to take the field in the first inning on Opening Day.

Not the case for the Angels, where the four-way battle for the starting spot at second base is still as murky as the day Spring Training began.

More

Nick Krueger is a junior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Flores shakes off sore left foot against Nats

Flores shakes off sore left foot against Nats

VIERA, Fla. -- Wilmer Flores' return from a bruised left foot proved relatively uneventful -- 1-for-3 with a walk in the Mets' 8-3 win over the Nationals on Thursday, plus seven innings at shortstop with two defensive chances. All of which was just fine for Flores, who endured some soreness after missing three games with an injury that could have been much worse.

"I feel it a little bit, but I've just got to go through it," Flores said. "It's going to be sore after, but I feel great."

More

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.

Olt goes deep, Bryant flashes leather in loss

Top prospect shows off arm in outfield, turns double play

Olt goes deep, Bryant flashes leather in loss

MESA, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols belted a three-run homer and an RBI double and C.J. Cron added a two-run triple to back Jered Weaver and lift the Angels to a 8-4 victory on Thursday over the Cubs. Weaver, expected to be the Angels' Opening Day starter, struck out eight over 5 1/3 innings.

Mike Olt belted a two-run homer in the fourth and pinch-hitter Travis Wood smacked a solo shot in the fifth for the Cubs, who rank second in the Majors with 32 home runs this spring.

More

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. 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.

Rangers keeping a close eye on Fujikawa

Rangers keeping a close eye on Fujikawa

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kyuji Fujikawa is scheduled to pitch in relief on Friday against the Athletics. The Rangers are watching him closely to see if he is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery or if he'll need more time in the Minors.

Fujikawa, a former dominating closer in Japan who underwent the procedure on June 13, 2013, has not allowed a run in four Cactus League games, but he hasn't looked as sharp in two camp games, allowing two runs in three innings.

More

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.

Nationals entertaining plenty of bench options

Nationals entertaining plenty of bench options

VIERA, Fla. -- As the Grapefruit League begins to wind down, the Nationals are starting to focus on who will fill out the final spots on their bench.

They have multiple players in camp who play similar roles at first base and in the outfield in Tyler Moore, Clint Robinson, Kila Ka'aihue and Matt Carp.

More

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.

Schafer lends support to Hooten Foundation

Brewers outfielder joins advisory board to help raise awareness of PED abuse

Schafer lends support to Hooten Foundation

PHOENIX -- Moved by a father's effort to educate youth about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs in the memory of his late son, Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer accepted an invitation to serve on the Taylor Hooten Foundation's advisory board.

Other players on the board include Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia and Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. They will participate in the foundation's educational activities throughout North America and appear in print, radio and TV public-service ads.

More

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.

Weiss: Roster decisions to be based on early games

Weiss: Roster decisions to be based on early games

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Walt Weiss said that the makeup of the Opening Day roster is still unsettled with a little more than a week left in Spring Training.

The next several days will determine whether the Rockies will begin the season with five starting pitchers or four (they don't need a fifth until April 14), or eight relievers or seven. About all that's known is that the bench will have to be versatile; the ability of catcher Wilin Rosario to play first base, for example, will be key.

More

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lefty Christian Friedrich is rounding into the form the Rockies unlocked last season, when they moved him to the bullpen.

Friedrich gave up his first run of the spring during a two-inning stint in the Rockies' 5-1 victory over the Giants on Wednesday. But he hit his stride with his slider -- the pitch that was instrumental in his fashioning a 1.64 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He had a 9.45 ERA in his three starts before the Rockies made the conversion.

More

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Last call: Brewers still fighting spread of pinkeye

Last call: Brewers still fighting spread of pinkeye

PHOENIX -- Last Call is a spot for all the notes and anecdotes from Brewers camp that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site. Today: Seeing pink.

The "no high-fives" rule was back in effect Thursday after another case of pinkeye appeared in the Brewers' clubhouse. The latest victim was outfielder Shane Peterson, who was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs in the morning. He has the infection in both eyes, according to manager Ron Roenicke.

More

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.

Oscar winner Simmons to throw first pitch in Detroit on Opening Day

Oscar winner Simmons to throw first pitch in Detroit on Opening Day

LAKELAND, Fla. -- J.K. Simmons never did take the ball from Kevin Costner during his bid for pitching perfection in For Love of the Game. Years later, the Oscar-winning actor and Michigan native will get to throw the first pitch of the Tigers season.

The team announced Thursday on its twitter account that Simmons, a longtime Tigers fan who played the team's manager in the aforementioned movie, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day April 6.

More

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

Tracy Ringolsby

Mattingly has logical cure to what ails batters

Dodgers' manager says whole-field approach to hitting is best remedy for downturn in offense

Mattingly has logical cure to what ails batters

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has witnessed the decline of offense firsthand.

He doesn't like it. And he has a solution. It has nothing to do with outlawing defensive shifts or lowering the mound or shrinking the strike zone. It is all about basics.

More

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

Brandon Phillips uses Jose Siri like a phone

|
Brandon Phillips uses Jose Siri like a phone

Noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has warned us about the dangers of artificial intelligence, saying AI "would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded." 

Brandon Phillips further explored that idea while in the dugout on Thursday. Pulling teammate Jose Siri over, Phillips took out an imaginary smartphone (showing excellent prop work along the way) and proceded to engage with his teammate/computer assistant.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Kershaw, Grandal more in sync as tandem

Battery continues to build working relationship

Kershaw, Grandal more in sync as tandem

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw wasn't impressed with his start on Thursday, but he was effective, striking out eight while allowing one run over six innings in a 9-6 win over the White Sox.

His pitch count was up to 88 (plus more in the bullpen afterward) and he will make a short start next Wednesday as a final prep for his Opening Day start on April 6.

More

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