After impressive spring, Bryant sent down by Cubs

Top prospect reassigned to Minors camp with Russell; Baez optioned to Triple-A

After impressive spring, Bryant sent down by Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon did not deny that he wants Kris Bryant in his lineup. Just not yet.

Bryant, the Cubs' top prospect, was assigned to Minor League camp on Monday along with shortstop Addison Russell, while Javier Baez was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The Iowa team now may have one of the best infields in baseball.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

Cubs' Bryant decision entirely defensible

In addition to service-clock issue, positional questions justify Epstein's call on top prospect

Cubs' Bryant decision entirely defensible

The Cubs' decision to send slugger Kris Bryant down to the Minors to start the season has divided the baseball world, with many wondering why the Cubs -- a team that hopes to contend -- would send one of their best players to the Minors.

Cubs president Theo Epstein is going to be questioned for this decision, but it's entirely defensible.

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Dan O'Dowd is an MLB Network analyst and MLB.com columnist who served as general manager of the Rockies for 15 years, building a National League pennant winner in 2007. Prior to his time with Colorado, he worked in the front offices of the Orioles and Indians. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

10 things you need to know before the 2015 season

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10 things you need to know before the 2015 season

Paid no attention to the Major League hot stove this winter? Accidentally thought you were a bear and hibernated for three months? Well, have no fear: This guide is here to help. 

As you rouse yourself from a winter of snoozing, here are 10 things you need to know: 

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Could 16-year-old Danner be No. 1 in 2017?

UCLA commit, 2011 Little League World Series star shines on another big stage at NHSI

Could 16-year-old Danner be No. 1 in 2017?

CARY, N.C. -- America's first introduction to Hagen Danner came nearly four years ago, in the 2011 Little League World Series. That summer, he starred for Huntington Beach's Ocean Valley Little League, helping the team win the championship in Williamsport, Pa.

In a game against the local favorites from Clinton County, Pa. -- with 31,000 fans in the stands and millions more watching on television -- Danner struck out 12 batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and he also homered. He homered again in the title game against Japan.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

5 keys for clubs to contend for AL East crown

5 keys for clubs to contend for AL East crown

Any number of factors can conspire to decide a division race. But at the dawn of a new season, these are the five factors that look like they'll loom largest in the American League East.

1. A deck without an ace

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Who is the top player at each position in the AL East?

Who is the top player at each position in the AL East?

How does the American League East stack up, position by position? Here's a stab at predicting who will be the best player at each position in the division this season. Think of it as the preseason All-AL East team.

Catcher: Russell Martin, Blue Jays
A slam-dunk decision, especially with Matt Wieters still on the mend following last year's Tommy John surgery. Martin has firmly established himself as one of the game's best two-way players at this position, as his input in calling a game is extraordinary and his consistent contact and on-base ability (.402 OBP last year) make him an ideal fit for Toronto's No. 2 spot in the batting order.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Intangibles major reason for Posey's success

Giants pitchers widely credit catcher for their excellence on mound

Intangibles major reason for Posey's success

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Statistics cannot measure the core of Buster Posey's excellence. It consists of intangibles, manifested in behavioral and motivational tools that benefit the Giants' accomplished pitchers.

Pitching is baseball's currency, and the Giants have enjoyed a wealth of it while winning three of the past five World Series. Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Sergio Romo and their brethren created much of their own success during the seasons and postseasons when the Giants loomed over the game. But in many ways, Posey surveyed and supervised San Francisco's pitching ensemble from his director's chair behind home plate, a catcher who gives perhaps more than he receives.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cabrera OK after taking tumble at first base

Cabrera OK after taking tumble at first base

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The day Miguel Cabrera returned to first base last week, he put a scare into Tigers fans -- and likely some club officials -- when he made a diving stop on a ground-ball single. His play Monday was a little scarier when he took a tumble over Braves hitter Kelly Johnson trying to make a tag at first base.

Cabrera, who has worked his way back from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his right ankle and repair a stress fracture in his right foot, fielded a ground ball from Johnson with a runner on first in the second inning of Monday's 4-2 loss at Joker Marchant Stadium. Cabrera had no chance at the lead runner, so he waited to tag Johnson on his way down the line.

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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.

Indians read mean tweets about themselves

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Indians read mean tweets about themselves

This week, the Indians scrolled through their Twitter mentions and shared the most, uh, unique tweets with us.Like this friendly suggestion for Jason Kipnis, to which he had the perfect response. 

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Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

10-year-old with rare condition visits camp; he was an honorary coach for State College last year

Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outside his grandson's hospital room, Dave Bohner knew nothing except that he needed to pray.

On the second floor of the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, 1-year-old Josiah Viera was fading. His life had already been a perpetual fight of regular surgeries and an exhausting search for a diagnosis. When one finally came, it offered no solution and little hope. At best, Josiah might live another decade. At this moment, it seemed he'd likely not make it another day.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays' stadium site search hits roadblock

Rays' stadium site search hits roadblock

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A revised proposal by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman to allow the Rays to check out potential stadium sites in Hillsborough County came to a halt on Monday.

Kriseman and City Council Chairman Charlie Gerdes decided not to place the memorandum of understanding (addressing the revised proposal) on the agenda for Thursday's council meeting because they felt they had not gained the necessary votes for the proposal to pass.

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

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

With fantasy-baseball-draft season in full swing, MLB.com put together a cheat sheet for fans in need of expert advice. Make sure to have the one-stop information shop on hand during your auctions or snake drafts.

For comprehensive coverage of the player pool, check out MLB.com/preview. And follow @Fantasy411 for daily- and annual-league tips all season long.

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Zachary Finkelstein is a fantasy editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

10 players facing make-or-break seasons

From MVP winners to former aces to onetime prospects, this group has plenty to prove in 2015

10 players facing make-or-break seasons

Time to step up, fellas. That's true for Mike Trout and King Felix and Giancarlo Stanton. Also Matt Carpenter and Max Scherzer and David Ortiz. Players will tell you they have to prove themselves every single season.

For some players, though, it's different. For some, it's getting late. There's doubt about what they're still capable of. There are questions about whether they'll ever be what they once were or what we long thought they'd be.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

Walker doesn't flinch against Trout and Pujols

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Opening Day approaches. With every page that is torn off the calendar, as we say farewell to March and get ready to welcome April, the baseball just gets better.

On Monday afternoon at Peoria Sports Complex, the best pitcher in the Cactus League this spring, 22-year-old Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, stood tall against Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, two of the best hitters of the last decade.

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

Mets find lefty reliever, land Torres from Padres

With Edgin out, New York bolsters 'pen, deals prospect Mazzoni to SD, den Dekker to D.C.

Mets find lefty reliever, land Torres from Padres

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Still smarting from Josh Edgin's season-ending elbow injury, the Mets addressed their left-handed relief problem in two quick strikes on Monday, acquiring Alex Torres from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named, then Jerry Blevins from the Nationals for outfielder Matt den Dekker.

"You've got to make moves," manager Terry Collins said. "You go in that room and you talk to these players, we were missing a piece. We talk about how successful we want to be. There was a piece we needed, and today we went out and filled that."

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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.

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

Nationals third baseman sprained MCL while making diving play on March 9

Rendon sees Dr. Andrews about ailing left knee

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon traveled to meet with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday in order to receive a second opinion on the sprained MCL in his left knee.

Rendon was injured while making a diving play on March 9, and the knee has continued to bother him during even the most routine activity. He could not complete a light jogging exercise this past Friday without feeling soreness.

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

O's prospect Connaughton still focusing on basketball

O's prospect Connaughton still focusing on basketball

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Manager Buck Showalter said before Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park that the team would give pitching prospect Pat Connaughton time to relax before he reported to camp. But the two-sport star, who also plays for the Notre Dame basketball team that was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, may not return to baseball any time soon.

Shortly after Showalter spoke, word spread that Connaughton told WEEI in Boston that, at the moment, basketball remains his priority right now.

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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.

Top-level analysis: Manfred a fan of fantasy baseball

Commissioner has finger on pulse of how game is changing for the better

Top-level analysis: Manfred a fan of fantasy baseball

As Commissioner Rob Manfred begins his inaugural season at the helm of Major League Baseball, the popularity of fantasy baseball continues to swell. Daily fantasy games and new, innovative scoring formats are just two of the latest developments embraced by fantasy enthusiasts. The Commissioner recently spoke about the role that fantasy baseball plays in engaging fans, the prevalence of analytics in baseball and the emergence of the latest wave of exciting young stars.

MLB.com: What are your overall thoughts on or experiences with fantasy baseball?

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Pomeranz sails through start vs. former teammates

Lefty K's six in six scoreless frames, works on improving changeup

Pomeranz sails through start vs. former teammates

MESA, Ariz. -- Drew Pomeranz, already viewed as the frontrunner for the fifth spot in the A's rotation, showed why Monday, mowing down his former Rockies team with ease in an 11-2 victory.

The lefty compiled a spring-high six scoreless innings, allowed only two hits and walked one with six strikeouts, bouncing back from a forgettable outing five days prior that was hindered by hip tightness.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Springer, Castro show power stroke against Blue Jays

Oberholtzer tosses 71 pitches in first spring start in nearly three weeks

Springer, Castro show power stroke against Blue Jays

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak each walloped home runs in the first two innings off Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer to lead the Blue Jays to a 7-4 win Monday night at Osceola County Stadium.

Daniel Norris, Toronto's top prospect, who is on track to start Game 3 of the regular season, fanned eight over six innings, allowing four runs on five hits.

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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.

D-backs top prospect Bradley in running for final bullpen spot

Righty has been starter, but may be used in long relief; Lopez reassigned to Minors camp

D-backs top prospect Bradley in running for final bullpen spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs' Opening Day pitching staff became a lot clearer Monday afternoon.

First, manager Chip Hale announced his rotation along with a handful of roster moves, and then, after the 4-2 loss to the Dodgers, Hale announced the team had reassigned Cuban free-agent pitcher Yoan Lopez to Minor League camp.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ground-ball specialist Anderson praises Dodgers' infield

Rollins, Kendrick and Co. turn three double plays behind veteran lefty

Ground-ball specialist Anderson praises Dodgers' infield

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers acquired starting pitcher Brett Anderson, who gets ground balls, and a middle infield that knows what to do with them.

The combination on Monday illustrated what some of those radical offseason moves were about. Anderson pitched six shutout innings in a 4-2 win over the D-backs, inducing a dozen ground balls. The Dodgers infield turned four double plays, three behind Anderson, two of them by new shortstop Jimmy Rollins and new second baseman Howie Kendrick.

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

Norris wraps Grapefruit slate with eight K's vs. Astros

Valencia, Colabello, Smoak go deep in support of left-hander in victory

Norris wraps Grapefruit slate with eight K's vs. Astros

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak each walloped home runs in the first two innings off Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer to lead the Blue Jays to a 7-4 win Monday night at Osceola County Stadium.

Daniel Norris, Toronto's top prospect, who is on track to start Game 3 of the regular season, fanned eight over six innings, allowing four runs on five hits.

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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.

Brothers labors through third straight rough outing

Left-hander struggles with command; CarGo feels fine in return to lineup

Brothers labors through third straight rough outing

MESA, Ariz. -- Rex Brothers struggled for the third consecutive outing Monday in the Rockies' 11-2 loss to the A's at Hohokam Stadium. The left-handed reliever didn't allow a run in the eighth inning, but he continued his late Spring Training swoon.

Brothers opened the inning with a quick out before issuing a four-pitch walk, and he then fell behind the next batter before coming back for a strikeout. He fell behind Oakland's Stephen Vogt before allowing a single and issuing another four-pitch walk to load the bases. A grounder to first got him out of the bases-loaded jam.

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

Weiss hopes struggling outfielders can bounce back

Stubbs, Barnes have struggled throughout Rockies' Spring Training

Weiss hopes struggling outfielders can bounce back

MESA, Ariz. -- There comes a point when a player's performance becomes so perplexing that Rockies manager Walt Weiss or a coach will check in to make sure everything's OK.

The spring slumps of Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes have been noticed by the coaching staff, and Weiss is hoping the outfielders will turn it around in the final week of Spring Training as Colorado prepares for Opening Day.

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

Cubs add Coke to Major League bullpen

Cubs add Coke to Major League bullpen

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs on Monday selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Phil Coke, who had signed a Minor League contract with the team. By making the team, Coke will be paid $2.25 million.

In nine relief appearances this spring, Coke, 32, has given up four hits and has not allowed a run. He's spent the last seven seasons with the Yankees (2008-09) and Tigers (2010-14), going 22-27 with 79 holds, eight saves and a 4.16 ERA.

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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.

Veteran righty Hernandez secures spot in Astros' rotation

Oberholtzer, Wojciechowski in running for one remaining slot on starting staff

Veteran righty Hernandez secures spot in Astros' rotation

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch told veteran right-hander Roberto Hernandez on Monday night that he had made the Major League roster, but that doesn't mean the Houston starting rotation is set just yet.

The club is still monitoring the readiness of left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, who returned to the mound for the first time in nearly three weeks Monday against the Blue Jays and gave up five runs and five hits, including three homers, in 3 1/3 innings.

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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.

Marlins place Rule 5 pick McKirahan on waivers

Lefty relief prospect, 25, unable to secure spot on Miami's active roster

Marlins place Rule 5 pick McKirahan on waivers

JUPITER, Fla. -- Andrew McKirahan certainly gave the Marlins something to think about. But when it came time to make a tough decision, the organization apparently didn't think the 25-year-old is quite ready to contribute at the Major League level.

The Marlins on Monday placed McKirahan on waivers, according to a Miami Herald report that MLB.com confirmed. A Rule 5 Draft pick, the lefty reliever must clear waivers before being offered back to the Cubs. However, he could be claimed and join another team, but he would have to remain on the active roster.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ishikawa sidelined several days by back stiffness

Fundamentals elude Giants; starting rotation still under wraps

Ishikawa sidelined several days by back stiffness

MESA, Ariz. -- Giants first baseman/left fielder Travis Ishikawa likely will remain sidelined until Thursday with back stiffness, manager Bruce Bochy said Monday.

After a hot start against Cactus League pitching, Ishikawa's batting .191 (9-for-47) with one homer and six RBIs.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rodon's immediate future to be in Minors

Lefty continuing to develop complete arsenal

Rodon's immediate future to be in Minors

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Carlos Rodon will begin the 2015 campaign in the Minors as a starter for Triple-A Charlotte.

That move was not made official by the White Sox on Monday. Right-handed pitcher Chris Beck being reassigned to Minor League camp was the only announcement from the team.

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