Dude awakening: Star has talent to spare

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Dude awakening: Star has talent to spare

Baseball hasn't had a professional two-sport athlete since Drew Henson played in eight games with the Yankees in 2002-03 and nine others with the Cowboys and Lions. Mookie Betts could be the latest. Instead of football, Betts is a star bowler. After appearing in the World Series of Bowling and tossing a perfect game last winter, Betts took part in Chris Paul's annual Celebrity Invitational Charity Bowling Tournament. 

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Verlander benefits from showdown with Miggy

Verlander benefits from showdown with Miggy

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera sounded like a heavyweight fighter as he lurked behind the batting cage on one of the back fields at Tigertown on Sunday.

"Get ready, Verlander," he shouted toward the end. "Get ready."

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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.

Weaver picks No. 27, wants to be like Mike

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Weaver picks No. 27, wants to be like Mike

Jered Weaver racked up 150 victories and three top-five Cy Young Award finishes with the Angels, but he collected only four singles, with the last coming back in 2012. Not too surprising considering that he's, you know, a pitcher in the American League. But when it came time to pick out his number after signing with the Padres, Weaver knew the best person to emulate: Mike Trout and his No. 27.

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Vote for your favorite Presidential first pitch

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Vote for your favorite Presidential first pitch

Since William Howard Taft threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in 1910, 18 presidents have carried on the tradition. And with the advent of modern audio/visual technology, there is video of every president since John F. Kennedy showing off his arm.

Now we have a new president who has experience with first pitches, but has not yet thrown out one as POTUS. On President's Day, you should let him know which one of his predecessors' first pitches you think is the best. This time next year, we might have another to add to the poll. 

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Donaldson could miss 2-3 weeks with calf strain

Donaldson could miss 2-3 weeks with calf strain

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson says he could miss two to three weeks of Spring Training due to a right calf strain he sustained on Friday.

Addressing reporters for the first time, Donaldson said he had been feeling "phenomenal" in prior workouts, but he felt something grab in his muscle while running sprints. The three-time All-Star was walking with the assistance of crutches in the clubhouse on Sunday to take pressure off his leg, and he expects to remain on them for a few days.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

MLBPA's Clark on challenges of rule changes

MLBPA's Clark on challenges of rule changes

PHOENIX -- He's for putting everything on the table. Raising the strike zone? Sure, let's have a chat. Automatic intentional walks? Absolutely, worth a discussion.

And that's as far as Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, has gotten. In terms of actually instituting a host of rules changes being considered, he's not there yet.

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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.

Roberts sees Puig as primary right fielder

With Pederson in center, players will compete for time in left

Roberts sees Puig as primary right fielder

PHOENIX -- There are enough outfielders on the Dodgers roster to platoon at any of the three spots, but manager Dave Roberts' perfect world apparently would have Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig playing regularly in center and right, respectively.

"We all know Yasiel as a defender; if he's out there he can impact a game on the defensive side," said Roberts. "Now you look at at-bat quality vs. right or left. If it's consistent, there should be no reason why he wouldn't be out there virtually every day. Yasiel is very motivated, he wants to do what's best for the club. I expect him to play a lot.

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

Discover the secret Minor League career of a young Dwight Eisenhower

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Discover the secret Minor League career of a young Dwight Eisenhower

It wasn't much of a career, all told: one summer spent with the Junction City Soldiers of the Class D Central Kansas League back in 1911. According to Baseball-Reference, the outfielder -- known only by the name "Wilson" -- hit .355 over just 31 at-bats. There were no Major League aspirations -- the third of six brothers growing up in Abilene, Kan., Wilson was headed to college that fall and simply needed the extra cash.

It's just one of countless curious footnotes in baseball's history book. Except this one very nearly altered the course of American history: "Wilson" was the alias of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and his three months in the Minors almost derailed his career.

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Stanton prioritizing consistency, staying on field

Marlins slugger hopes injuries behind him

Stanton prioritizing consistency, staying on field

JUPITER, Fla. -- When it comes to expectations, Giancarlo Stanton sticks to the basics. The Marlins right fielder's primary objectives for 2017 are to stay healthy and show consistency.

It's really that simple for the three-time All-Star who has yet to have that signature season where everything comes together. There's always been something that arises to derail even his most promising years.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. 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.

Orioles add lefty Nuno in trade with Dodgers

Orioles add lefty Nuno in trade with Dodgers

SARASOTA -- The Orioles added to their pitching depth on Sunday night, trading for left-hander Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for Minor League right-hander Ryan Moseley.

The move, which saw the O's designate lefty T.J. McFarland for assignment to open up a 40-man roster spot, gives Baltimore another potential starting or relief option. Nuno, 29, went 1-1 with a 3.53 ERA and a 4.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 55 games, including one start, with the Mariners last season.

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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.

Aspiring pranksters, meet your new role model: Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers

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Aspiring pranksters, meet your new role model: Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers

In Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers have a reliable starter who went 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA in 2016, his first season with the club since coming over from Japan. Ever since introducing himself by hitting a homer in his first start with the Dodgers, it was evident he'd be a quality addition to the team.  

More than merely a consistent right-handed starter, however, Maeda brings one of those elusive intangibles to the Dodgers clubhouse: he's a masterful prankster.

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Pujols happy with progression, ready to run

Angels veteran has had no setbacks in recovery from foot surgery

Pujols happy with progression, ready to run

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols said Sunday that he's pleased with the progress he's made since reporting to Angels camp last week.

"It's been really good," Pujols said. "No soreness at all afterwards. That's a good sign anytime you get to start hitting and being in the cage and then moving around and doing agility. I expect myself to probably get a little sore when I get on the field because it's a different movement than being on carpet or whatever. I don't think I'll have any setbacks."

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

Wright, Wheeler progressing after throwing

Wright, Wheeler progressing after throwing

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright and Zack Wheeler threw on Sunday -- Wright for the first time this spring -- and from all indications it went well for each.

Wright made 30 throws at 60-70 feet, according to manager Terry Collins, and also took 25 ground balls.

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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.

Kazmir, Ryu making strides in recovery

Pitchers throw live batting practice, eye rotation spots

Kazmir, Ryu making strides in recovery

PHOENIX -- Hyun-Jin Ryu and Scott Kazmir, pitchers with plenty to prove, each threw 25 pitches of live batting practice to Minor Leaguers on Sunday, taking significant steps in their attempted return to the Dodgers' starting rotation.

Ryu, bedeviled by shoulder and elbow operations, has pitched one Major League game in two years. But he said he was more comfortable and confident in his health now than at any time last year.

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

Betances has 'no regrets' about his comments

Day after replying to Levine, reliever part of Yanks' first full-squad workout

Betances has 'no regrets' about his comments

TAMPA, Fla. -- One day after responding to comments made by Yankees president Randy Levine, Dellin Betances said he had "no regrets" after participating in the team's first full-squad workout Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"I'm in a good mindset. I feel good in that area," Betances said. "I don't regret anything I said [Saturday]. I had to get it off my chest and I did. I'm just trying to put it behind me. I'm back with the guys and I feel at ease when I'm here practicing."

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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.

Cruz says Mariners are 'more ready' in 2017

Slugger excited to defend World Baseball Classic crown with Dominican

Cruz says Mariners are 'more ready' in 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nelson Cruz had only been back at Mariners camp for a day, but the slugger has already adopted manager Scott Servais' new slogan for 2017: "Whatever it takes."

For Cruz, that fits right with his professional mantra of being prepared and willing to help his Mariners in any way possible, as they look to end the longest postseason drought in the Major Leagues.

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

Kipnis on board with Francona's '17 message

Club focused on working toward another World Series run

Kipnis on board with Francona's '17 message

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona wanted to get it just right. Over the past week, he gathered his thoughts and jotted some down on paper. He erased parts and tweaked the wording. Even after all these years, and with three World Series appearances as a manager, Francona still stresses some over this speech.

Francona stood in front of his entire team on Sunday morning and delivered his message. He is not big on calling team meetings, but he does know the importance of setting the tone for a season with the spring-opening dialogue. This year is different, too. This year, Francona was speaking to the reigning American League champions.

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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.

Bochy may open season with 5 outfielders

Giants want to give Span, Pence time off to avoid injuries

Bochy may open season with 5 outfielders

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday that he is "leaning toward" opening the regular season with a five-man outfield contingent. That's standard operating procedure for many teams, but not always for the Giants, who frequently find themselves adding extra pitchers, not position players.

However, the injury histories of center fielder Denard Span and right fielder Hunter Pence almost demand that the Giants reinforce their outfield with enough personnel to rest the pair of veterans when necessary.

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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.

Weaver joins Padres with 'a lot to prove'

Green praises valuable experience added to rotation

Weaver joins Padres with 'a lot to prove'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- As if seeing Jered Weaver wearing blue -- following 11 seasons in Angels red -- wasn't enough, the veteran right-hander arrived in Padres camp with a No. 27 jersey hanging in his locker.

"I figured I've got to hit," said Weaver, who donned 36 during his time in Anaheim. "So I went Mike Trout on them."

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Frazier trims locks

Girardi says No. 1 Yankees prospect's 'do up to code

Hair today, gone tomorrow: Frazier trims locks

TAMPA, Fla. -- Clint Frazier may no longer feel like discussing his flowing locks, but that didn't stop the prospect's hair from garnering attention during Sunday's first Yankees full-squad workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Frazier said that he trimmed several inches off the day before the Super Bowl, but the 22-year-old took the field with a healthy amount of red peeking out from under his ballcap. The look was up to code, manager Joe Girardi said.

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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.

Tribe won't rush spring process with Kluber

Francona will take wait-and-see approach before naming OD starter

Tribe won't rush spring process with Kluber

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona wasted little time in naming ace Corey Kluber as the Opening Day starter in each of the past two springs. This year, expect Francona to take more time to see how the preseason plays out before declaring his starter for the season-opening tilt in Texas.

On Sunday, Francona reiterated that the Indians plan on easing Kluber into Cactus League games, considering the heavy load the right-hander shouldered last season. If Kluber's gradual spring schedule does not align precisely with Opening Day on April 3 against the Rangers, Francona will be open-minded about using another pitcher for the season's first game, and delaying Kluber's debut.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Zobrist enjoys spoils, eyes repeat World Series

Super-utility star understands incredible effect title had on Cubs fans

Zobrist enjoys spoils, eyes repeat World Series

MESA, Ariz. -- Somewhere amid the celebrations and parades and sheer joy of helping the Chicago Cubs win a World Series for the first time in 108 years, Ben Zobrist was struck by something that may stay with him forever.

"You realize it's not really about us," the World Series Most Valuable Player Award winner said Sunday morning.

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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.

Healthy V-Mart grinding to make mark

Healthy V-Mart grinding to make mark

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Now that the news is out, Victor Martinez can discuss the hernia injury he played through last year.

It happened around midseason, he said. And it was rough.

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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.

Report: Niese agrees to Minor League deal

Report: Niese agrees to Minor League deal

The Yankees and veteran left-hander Jonathon Niese agreed to a Minor League deal pending a physical, according to multiple reports on Sunday. The club has not confirmed them.

According to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman, if Niese passes the physical, the Yankees will sign and bring him to Major League camp. The Yankees could use Niese as a starter or a reliever.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After accident, Rodriguez says he feels grateful

Braves player discusses family's strength and hopes to play this season

After accident, Rodriguez says he feels grateful

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Sean Rodriguez never envisioned he would introduce himself to his new Braves teammates while wearing an arm sling and staring at the likelihood of being sidelined throughout the upcoming season.

But when Rodriguez was forced to do so after coming to the Braves' Spring Training complex on Sunday afternoon, he remained comforted by the daily gratitude he has felt since he, his wife, Giselle, and two of their children survived a Jan. 28 car accident that claimed the life of a man who had stolen a police car in Miami.

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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.

Capps' delivery legal if drag replaces hop

Padres not concerned with righty's mechanics this early in camp

Capps' delivery legal if drag replaces hop

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Carter Capps' bullpen session Tuesday -- his first of Spring Training -- sparked plenty of debate over his unorthodox delivery.

The Padres have since spoken with Major League Baseball and clarified that so long as Capps drags his push-off foot, it will be deemed a legal pitching motion. Essentially, if Capps pitches in the same manner he did during his breakout 2015 season, he won't be penalized.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schwarber: I'm the third catcher

Cub will be the backstop 1-2 times a week this spring

Schwarber: I'm the third catcher

MESA, Ariz. -- Kyle Schwarber felt right at home catching a bullpen session, but he made sure to note that he's the Cubs' third catcher -- not the regular -- this season.

Schwarber, coming back from two torn ligaments in his left knee that he sustained last April 7, caught John Lackey's bullpen session on Friday, the first time he has been in gear in nearly a year.

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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.

Peralta not resting on his laurels

Recovered from thumb injury, third baseman back in groove

Peralta not resting on his laurels

JUPITER, Fla. -- With big league service that stretches back to 2003, Jhonny Peralta has lived the cycles of baseball seasons longer than anyone else in the St. Louis clubhouse. And yet, so much about the year ahead for him is cloaked in unfamiliarity.

Peralta has no guarantee of a starting job. He's no longer viewed as the solution at shortstop. There are questions about whether his offensive decline in 2016 had at least something to do with expected age regression. And there's the nearing uncertainty about his baseball future.

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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.

David Ortiz is living his best life in retirement, spending his 'Spring Training' at the beach

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David Ortiz is living his best life in retirement, spending his 'Spring Training' at the beach

Since deciding to retire after the 2016 season, David Ortiz has appeared as himself in amusing television commercials and dropped vague hints about maybe un-retiring and giving this whole baseball thing another go. 

However, Big Papi seems to be enjoying retired life juuuuuust fine, judging by how content and relaxed he seems at his Spring Training, which is code for "lounging around at the beach." 

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Dodgers trade Nuno to O's for Minor Leaguer

Dodgers trade Nuno to O's for Minor Leaguer

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Sunday traded of left-handed pitcher Vidal Nuno to Baltimore for right-handed Minor League pitcher Ryan Moseley, a transaction that would open a roster spot for the anticipated signing of free-agent outfielder Franklin Gutierrez.

The Dodgers have not confirmed the Gutierrez signing.

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