What to watch for in today's games

Defending AL champion Royals among 10 squads playing first spring contests

What to watch for in today's games

Baseball returned on Tuesday for 10 teams, as games got underway in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues.

Ten more clubs are set to join the party today, including the defending American League champion Royals, who will face the Rangers a little more than four months after their loss to the Giants in the seventh game of the World Series. The Padres, Mariners and White Sox, all entering this season with heightened expectations, also will take the field for the first time, as will the Braves, D-backs, Dodgers, Mets and Rockies.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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.

All you need to know from the 1st day of Spring games

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All you need to know from the 1st day of Spring games

It's here, it's happening and it's oh-so-real. On Tuesday, 10 Major League teams squared off against each other for the first time since the World Series ended. While the starters didn't go very deep, plenty of players did. In the five games, there were 65 runs and 12 home runs.

But assuming you weren't glued to your MLB.TV machines, using a Clockwork Orange-like eye device to make sure you didn't miss a single second of spring action, here's what you may have missed: 

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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

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.

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.

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.

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 addressed 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.

Porcello tosses two perfect innings in first Red Sox outing

Farrell pleased with initial look at righty, who utilizes all four of his pitches

Porcello tosses two perfect innings in first Red Sox outing

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- All arms on deck.

The Red Sox got their Spring Training schedule underway Tuesday, when they scratched out a 2-1 victory over Northeastern University as part of an exhibition doubleheader. Seven pitchers combined to work eight crisp innings for the Red Sox, and Northeastern's only run came as a result of an error.

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

Rays tab Cobb to be Opening Day starter

Right-hander gets nod for April 6 tilt against O's at Tropicana Field

Rays tab Cobb to be Opening Day starter

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Rays are a month away from Opening Day, but they already know how they'll line up their pitching staff. Manager Kevin Cash announced Wednesday that Alex Cobb will get the ball first for Tampa Bay in recognition of his stellar work the past two seasons.

Cobb will start against the Orioles on April 6, and he'll be followed by Chris Archer and Drew Smyly. Cash said that Jake Odorizzi will start the Rays' first road game -- April 9 against the Marlins in Miami -- and then the team will decide whether to pitch its fifth starter or Cobb for the season's fifth game.

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

Hill using myriad resources to produce winning product

Marlins president of baseball ops discusses personnel, philosophy in sit-down with MLB.com

Hill using myriad resources to produce winning product

JUPITER, Fla. -- Throughout their history, the Marlins have tended to be either all in or out. There's been little middle ground for a franchise with two World Series titles that is currently riding a string of five straight losing seasons.

Under president of baseball operations Michael Hill, the organization finally feels that it is establishing stability. It started with the contract extension of manager Mike Redmond through 2017, and the foundation was cemented in November with the signing of slugger Giancarlo Stanton to the richest contract in North American sports history.

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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.

Tomas turns in solid D-backs debut

Tomas turns in solid D-backs debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Yasmany Tomas played five innings at third base and went 1-for-2 in the D-backs' 4-0 exhibition victory against Arizona State University on Tuesday, the Cuban's first game action since signing with Arizona as a free agent.

"Everybody knows it was my first day," Tomas said. "It was a good day. I put in the hard work to see it happen, and it felt like overall a good day."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Black welcomes expectations for new-look Padres

Black welcomes expectations for new-look Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The expectations have changed for manager Bud Black and the Padres.

No longer are the Padres the underdog.

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

Urias reminds Kershaw of early days with Dodgers

Cy Young winner familiar with experience of having attention at young age

Urias reminds Kershaw of early days with Dodgers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Early hysteria over 18-year-old lefty Julio Urias reminds Clayton Kershaw of early hysteria over a 20-year-old Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw said he has already talked to Urias about dealing with it all.

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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.

Syndergaard gets some tough love from Wright

Syndergaard gets some tough love from Wright

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Noah Syndergaard learned a rookie lesson the hard way during the Mets' intrasquad game Tuesday at Tradition Field.

As the middle innings played out on the main stadium field, Syndergaard, who was not scheduled to pitch, ducked inside to grab lunch. David Wright, who started at third base and was already out of the game, approached Syndergaard at the table and scolded him, according to multiple reports, telling the rookie that he should be on the bench supporting his teammates. Closer Bobby Parnell then grabbed Syndergaard's plate of food and threw it into the trash.

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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.

Goldschmidt singles in first at-bat since breaking hand

Goldschmidt singles in first at-bat since breaking hand

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Paul Goldschmidt picked up right where he left off last July, as the D-backs first baseman singled sharply up the middle in his lone at-bat in Tuesday's 4-0 win in an exhibition game against Arizona State University.

The at-bat was Goldschmidt's first since Aug. 1, when he was hit in the left hand by an Ernesto Frieri pitch in a game against the Pirates. The fastball fractured Goldschmidt's hand and sent him to the disabled list for the remainder of the season.

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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.

Samardzija finds comfort in intrasquad outing

Right-hander works two innings against teammates

Samardzija finds comfort in intrasquad outing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was business as usual for right-hander Jeff Samardzija in Tuesday's intrasquad game at Camelback Ranch, his first game action in a White Sox uniform.

The veteran walked off the mound after the 33-pitch outing feeling good about his fastball.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Abreu mourns loss of friend, mentor in Minoso

Abreu mourns loss of friend, mentor in Minoso

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- First baseman Jose Abreu is still mourning the loss of White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, and on Tuesday, the slugger opened up about the man he considered his mentor and good friend.

Minoso passed away on Sunday. Funeral services will be held this weekend in Chicago.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bumgarner not sharp in Cactus League debut

Lincecum gives up one hit in one inning; Duvall homers

Bumgarner not sharp in Cactus League debut

MESA, Ariz. -- A's shortstop Marcus Semien made quite the first impression in green and gold, belting two home runs and finishing 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the club's Cactus League opener against the Bay rival Giants at Hohokam Stadium on Tuesday, which the A's won 9-4.

Three of those RBIs came against Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner. Back on the mound for the first time since his World Series MVP performance, Bumgarner faced 10 batters and was tagged for four runs and five hits, including a two-run homer to Semien, with two strikeouts.

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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.

Red Sox, BC honor Frates, donate No. 3 jerseys to his ALS fund

Former Eagles captain created Ice Bucket Challenge, which has raised more than $200M

Red Sox, BC honor Frates, donate No. 3 jerseys to his ALS fund

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pete Frates, a lifelong Red Sox fan and former captain of the Boston College baseball team, couldn't be there Tuesday to see his two favorite squads meet up at JetBlue Park. Yet if you looked around during the seven-inning contest between the Red Sox and BC, Frates was everywhere.

Every Red Sox jersey had the No. 3 and the name Frates on the back. Ditto for BC, the team Frates once belted a home run for at Fenway Park.

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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.

Players, skippers quick to adapt to new pace rules

Players, skippers quick to adapt to new pace rules

While a number of players recorded their first official at-bat or tossed their first pitch of Spring Training on Tuesday, another first went largely unnoticed in the early games.

The new pace-of-play rules, which will be in effect at all Cactus League and Grapefruit League games this spring, did not seem to have much of an impact on Tuesday's play.

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

D-backs honor Prescott resident killed in Syria

D-backs honor Prescott resident killed in Syria

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs wore black patches with "KAYLA" on them on their left shoulders for Tuesday's exhibition game against Arizona State University in memory of Prescott resident Kayla Mueller.

The team will continue to wear the patches through the March 8 game against the Giants to honor Mueller, a human rights activist who died last month while being held captive in Syria.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

A's optimistic about prospects acquired in Samardzija trade

Quartet of youngsters could validate Beane's acumen once again

A's optimistic about prospects acquired in Samardzija trade

MESA, Ariz. -- Do Billy Beane and the A's still have the magic touch?

It sure didn't look like it last October when they paid heavily to add Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for the stretch run and postseason and then failed to hold a four-run eighth-inning lead over the Royals in the Wild Card game.

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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.

Lincecum shows flashes of dominance in spring debut

Giants pitcher strikes out two, gives up one hit in one inning

Lincecum shows flashes of dominance in spring debut

MESA, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum displayed skills and shortcomings alike within a four-batter span Tuesday in the Giants' 9-4 Cactus League loss to the A's.

Lincecum demonstrated his potential for dominance, striking out two and reaching two-strike counts to each hitter he faced while working the third inning. He also proved susceptible to lapses as he surrendered Ben Zobrist's leadoff double and wild-pitched him home.

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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.

Neshek has autographs from Ruth, Napoleon

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Neshek has autographs from Ruth, Napoleon

Pat Neshek, who now pitches for the Astros, has put together a pretty solid eight seasons in the Majors. He's compiled a 2.78 ERA, made his first All-Star appearance last season and has become a reliable force out of the bullpen for five different teams. And during that time, he's also developed one of the greatest autograph collections in the history of autograph collections.

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Howard focused on nothing but positives

After offseason of obstacles, Phillies' first baseman eager to keep mind on baseball

Howard focused on nothing but positives

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ryan Howard could have come to Phillies camp last month in a miserable mood and with a scowl on his face.

Howard's offseason included a lawsuit between himself and his family, a concerted effort by the organization to trade him and a local radio interview in which his general manager said the Phillies would be better without him. But Howard showed up with a smile, and unless he is putting on an Oscar-worthy performance, he has maintained an upbeat appearance.

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

MLB ambassador Bean speaks to Mets about inclusion

MLB ambassador Bean speaks to Mets about inclusion

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Billy Bean could have been any coach or instructor on Tuesday morning, throwing long toss with Matt den Dekker or pitching batting practice to John Mayberry Jr. But he was not. Bean was serving as Major League Baseball's ambassador of inclusion, spending the morning as an instructor after meeting with the entire organization prior to the workout.

The visit was the brain child of general manager Sandy Alderson, who approached Bean at the Winter Meetings and asked if he would attend camp. Originally, Alderson wanted Bean, an openly gay former Major Leaguer, to play in a Spring Training game, but Bean did not want to take away any time or attention from the players in camp.

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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.

Visitation, services for Minoso announced

Friday's public viewing and Saturday's funeral to be held at Chicago's Holy Family Church

Visitation, services for Minoso announced

Funeral services for White Sox legend Minnie Minoso, who died on Sunday, will be held in Chicago this weekend.

The family has announced that a public visitation will be held on Friday, with a memorial service Saturday.

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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.