5 breakout hitters seek to duplicate success

5 breakout hitters seek to duplicate success

Breaking out at the Major League level is hard. Repeating that success may be even more difficult.

Opponents adjust, injuries strike and natural regression takes its toll. So for every Mike Trout who puts up huge numbers year after year, there are plenty of players who soar one season and fizzle the next.

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

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.

Stanton prioritzing consistency, staying on field

Marlins slugger hopes injuries behind him

Stanton prioritzing 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.

Trout lands with personal, team goals in mind

Trout lands with personal, team goals in mind

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mike Trout may be a two-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner and a five-time All-Star, but he's still looking for ways to improve his game.

The Angels' star center fielder arrived to Tempe Diablo Stadium on Saturday ahead of the club's first full-squad workout and said that one of his goals this season is to steal 40 bases. It's a threshold he hasn't reached since stealing 49 as a rookie in 2012.

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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.

Betts walks off bowling game with strike

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Betts walks off bowling game with strike

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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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.

Harper puts 2016 struggles in rearview mirror

Slugger says he knows cause of down season, but is focused on job at hand

Harper puts 2016 struggles in rearview mirror

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Bryce Harper says he knows why his production dropped during a disappointing 2016 season coming off winning the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in '15. But during his first meeting with the media this Spring Training, he did not elaborate on what was different.

"Yeah I mean I know exactly why, but I mean that's all last year," Harper said Saturday morning when asked if he knew the cause of his 2016 struggles.

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

Jackie Robinson Rotunda teaches fans history

Memorial serves as tribute to pioneer who broke baseball's color barrier

Jackie Robinson Rotunda teaches fans history

NEW YORK -- In helping to dedicate Citi Field's Jackie Robinson Rotunda back in 2009, Robinson's widow, Rachel, called it a "stunning space" that is "a superb tribute to Jack's enduring legacy."

"It is my hope that as people of all ages pass through the Rotunda," she said that day, "it will evoke their most cherished memories -- as well as serve as an inspiration to young people who we hope will share the values and ideals by which Jack lived."

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Joe Posnanski

Gossage states case against modern closers

Hall of Fame reliever doesn't want to be compared to Rivera

Gossage states case against modern closers

By now, we all know pretty much where Goose Gossage stands on just about everything.

• He believes baseball used to be better.

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Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lidge on Phils' arms: 'They've got the talent'

Former closer returns for second stint as Spring Training guest instructor

Lidge on Phils' arms: 'They've got the talent'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Brad Lidge still looks like he could pitch for the Phillies.

But on Sunday, he finished his second turn as a guest instructor at Phillies camp. He first worked as a guest instructor in 2014, but that felt a little different, with former teammates like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Cliff Lee still on the roster. This time, he saw a lot of young pitchers and a lot of new faces.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs add De La Rosa on Minor League deal

Veteran left-hander rejoins club that first signed him out of Mexico

D-backs add De La Rosa on Minor League deal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs have signed veteran left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a Minor League deal.

De La Rosa, 35, who spent the last nine seasons with the Rockies, has made 241 starts during his career. He could also pitch out of the bullpen for Arizona. He could earn $2.25 million if he makes the team, and the contract includes $600,000 in relief incentives and an additional $1 million as a starter.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tilson sidelined with stress reaction in foot

Tilson sidelined with stress reaction in foot

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson sustained a stress reaction in his right foot during Friday workouts at Camelback Ranch and he will be shut down from impact activities for 10 days.

Tilson will be re-evaluated at that point. A MRI was done Saturday on Tilson's right foot, showing the stress reaction. The left-handed-hitting native of Wilmette, Ill., had the early edge to claim the center-field job after coming over to the White Sox from the Cardinals via a trade for Zach Duke last season.

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes all business after new deal with Mets

After signing 4-year deal, outfielder in long-term driver's seat with Mets

Cespedes all business after new deal with Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- No more car shows. Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is signed long term and focused on bringing the team a championship.

With fancy rides almost as flashy as his power at the plate, Cespedes is toning down that side of himself and instead putting the emphasis back on the diamond. Having signed a four-year, $110 million contract in November, Cespedes is settling in as a cornerstone in the Mets' future.

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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.

Miggy motivated to win for Venezuela, Ilitch

Cabrera arrives at Tigers camp with heavy heart

Miggy motivated to win for Venezuela, Ilitch

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera added boxing to his training routine this offseason on the advice of Venezuelan boxer Jorge Linares. As Cabrera begins his 10th season with the Tigers, he has two motivations to fight for victories this year.

This spring, he wants to help Venezuela win a World Baseball Classic title for his troubled homeland.

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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.

Swanson gets custom glove to honor fallen friend

Swanson gets custom glove to honor fallen friend

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson takes the field this year, he'll once again be able to look at his glove and proudly remember the times he spent with Dai-Jon Parker, a former Vanderbilt University basketball player who passed away two years ago.

Swanson received his new Wilson A2000 glove before the Braves staged their first full-squad workout on Saturday. The leather that will rest upon his left thumb is adorned with the words "All Dai", a tribute to Parker, who was 22-years-old when he drowned after being involved in a tubing accident on an Indiana lake.

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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.

Phils' logjam could leave starters in 'pen

Asher, Morgan among 12 candidates for MLB, Triple-A rotation spots

Phils' logjam could leave starters in 'pen

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Alec Asher can do the math. The Phillies have 12 starters that could open the season in the big leagues or Triple-A.

Twelve starters, 10 jobs.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jennings looking for fresh start with new club

Jennings looking for fresh start with new club

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the first time in his professional career, Reds outfielder Desmond Jennings found himself with a new organization.

After being selected by the Rays in the 2006 Draft, going through their system and spending seven big league seasons with Tampa Bay, the end of his time there was marred by injuries, leaving Jennings hoping for a fresh start.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gardner glad to be a Yankee for 10th season

Club's longest-tenured player reflects on career, advises young players

Gardner glad to be a Yankee for 10th season

TAMPA, Fla. -- To Brett Gardner, it still seems like yesterday that he was viewed as one of the Yankees' rising prospects, attending Spring Training with a football number on his back while wedging his belongings into a locker between Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

As he prepares for a 10th season in pinstripes, Gardner has upgraded his real estate in the home clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field, taking over a corner locker previously used by Carlos Beltran -- an honor befitting the Yankees' longest-tenured player.

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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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Levine, Betances at odds after arbitration results

Yankees prevail vs. reliever, set to earn $3M in 2017

Levine, Betances at odds after arbitration results

TAMPA, Fla. -- Attending an arbitration hearing was an unpleasant experience for Dellin Betances, who had hoped to put those 90 minutes in the past and return to a more familiar setting on Saturday. The first day back in uniform proved to be anything but routine for the All-Star reliever.

Shortly after a panel of arbitrators determined that Betances' 2017 salary would be $3 million and not the $5 million requested by the player, Yankees president Randy Levine held a conference call during which he said that the right-hander was "a victim" of agent Jim Murray's "attempt to change the marketplace in baseball."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Intriguing position battles to keep an eye on this spring

Intriguing position battles to keep an eye on this spring

There are always some eternal questions -- the theological ones and the smart-aleck ones.

For instance, why does a round pizza come in a square box? Why do we park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? You've heard 'em.

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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.

Play Ball event caps MLB's RBI Institute

Memphis-area kids immersed in baseball at AutoZone Park

Play Ball event caps MLB's RBI Institute

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A bat, a ball and a kid. A formula for fun that has spanned parts of three centuries in America.

Multiply the kid part by 300 on a perfect Saturday afternoon at AutoZone Park, and that will stoke the game's future. That's the plan of organizers of Saturday's free Play Ball event sponsored by MLB's RBI program along with USA Baseball and USA Softball and hosted by the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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

Cervelli day to day with right foot pain

Cervelli day to day with right foot pain

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli was removed from the club's workout Sunday morning due to right foot discomfort.

Cervelli is day to day, the club announced. The origin and severity of the injury are unclear. Cervelli was walking around the Pirate City complex with no apparent sign of injury early Sunday morning during the club's annual photo day.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Machado focused on present, not future

With free agency looming after 2018, star excited to be part of 'special group'

Machado focused on present, not future

SARASOTA -- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado looked around the clubhouse on Saturday morning and smiled.

"We got a couple different faces, but I think we got a real good group here," he said. "A special group that's going to surprise a lot of people."

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gagne pondering comeback at age 41

2003 Cy Young winner is a guest instructor with Dodgers

Gagne pondering comeback at age 41

PHOENIX -- Former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne is serving as a guest pitching instructor for the Dodgers this week, but he's also been on the mound with a comeback under consideration.

Gagne, 41, will pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic this month after serving as the pitching coach for France in 2013. Gagne will continue training by throwing bullpen sessions when he's not working with Dodgers pitchers.

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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.

Mets' Wright always eager for Glove Day

Mets' Wright always eager for Glove Day

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- David Wright was one of a group of Mets players who were all smiles early Sunday morning as they strolled by the bags and bags of gloves made by Wilson Sporting Goods neatly lined up and placed outside the clubhouse.

It was the team's annual Wilson Glove Day, the day when those contracted with the company receive their mitts for the upcoming season. Some are custom designed with many different styles on display. Juan Lagares has his son's name (Juan Lagares Jr.) imprinted on his glove.

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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.

Leather man: Romine brings 8 gloves to camp

Leather man: Romine brings 8 gloves to camp

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers' new Spring Training clubhouse at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium was designed after consultation with the clubhouse crew on what players typically need. Nobody consulted with Andrew Romine about locker storage.

Most players keep a glove or two on the shelf atop the locker that was designed for it. Romine crammed four into that space, and that's just half the total he brought to camp.

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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.

New Orleans UYA hosts Urban Invitational

Day opens with Play Ball event for local youth

New Orleans UYA hosts Urban Invitational

For the fourth consecutive year, MLB's Urban Invitational was hosted at the Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans. Saturday began with Play Ball, a youth-oriented program rooted in teaching baseball's fundamentals, then featured a six-team, round-robin tournament, featuring Alcorn State's 11-3 win over Prairie View A&M, and Grambling State's 11-5 win against Southern University.

In Saturday's other Invitational matchup at the University of New Orleans' Maestri Field, UNO captured an 8-5 win over the University of Illinois-Chicago during the weekend set, televised on MLB Network.

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

Cano's goal: End Mariners' postseason drought

Second baseman looks to repeat impressive 39-homer 2016 season

Cano's goal: End Mariners' postseason drought

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Coming off one of the best seasons of his impressive 12-year career, Robinson Cano has two things in mind this spring. No. 1, do it all again. And No. 2, this time help get his team into the postseason.

The 34-year-old second baseman arrived at Mariners camp on Saturday, as Seattle's position players reported for physical exams, and pronounced himself fit and ready. But Cano also knows he set a high bar last year with his career-high 39 home runs in his seventh All-Star campaign.

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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.

A's made a special card for a young fan

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A's made a special card for a young fan

Some of the baseball-playing children of today will grow up to be the stars of tomorrow. That's just how things work.

Recently, a father sent the A's a precious photo of his young son, fully decked out in green and gold, with a question about their Spring Training roster.

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Carter excited to don pinstripes, play at Yankee Stadium

Carter excited to don pinstripes, play at Yankee Stadium

TAMPA, Fla. -- After calling the cities of Oakland, Houston and Milwaukee home through his first seven years in the big leagues, Chris Carter said that he can already tell the atmosphere is different with the Yankees, and the slugger can't wait to try on the pinstripes for real.

"It's kind of surreal," Carter said on Saturday, eyeing his locker space in the home clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field. "It's one of those teams where they've always had that legacy and prestige, a winning organization with history. It's going to be fun to play here."

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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.