Play ball: Five MLB games on tap Tuesday

MadBum to take hill for champion Giants vs. A's; three other contests available on MLB.TV

Play ball: Five MLB games on tap Tuesday

Major League Baseball games are back.

Madison Bumgarner, who threw the last pitch of the 2014 season 125 days ago for the Giants in Game 7 of an unforgettable World Series against Kansas City, is scheduled to start for the defending champs against Oakland at 3:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday in one of the first five scheduled Spring Training openers between Major League clubs.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays prospect Beckham targets Smyly's car

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Rays prospect Beckham targets Smyly's car

Rays starter Drew Smyly drives a BMW. BMW's are nice cars. So nice that one miiiight not want to park them right outside the left-field fence at Spring Training. Particularly when former No. 1 MLB Draft pick Tim Beckham is taking batting practice.

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Kang's shortstop debut in intrasquad tilt draws big cheers

Korean infielder plays three innings before Grapefruit opener Tuesday

Kang's shortstop debut in intrasquad tilt draws big cheers

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The public unveiling of Jung Ho Kang was a popular hit. It was the only hit for Kang on Monday, as he played the first three innings of his Black team's 2-1 victory over the Gold team in an annual intrasquad game, but he nonetheless considered it a success.

Kang grounded out to short off Deolis Guerra in his only at-bat of the scrimmage, minutes after cleanly fielding a grounder off Justin Sellers' bat with one out in the top of the first.

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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.

Bogaerts finding comfort zone entering second season

Moving, thinking faster could have major impact on Red Sox shortstop's defense

Bogaerts finding comfort zone entering second season

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For all the talk to this point in Spring Training about the improved first-step quickness of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, the other area he's gotten quicker in is every bit as important.

Bogaerts is now thinking faster entering his second full season, and that could have an immeasurable impact on his defense at the all-important position of shortstop.

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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.

Courageous teenager works out with Wood, Braves

Ritter played with titanium rods in back after removal of foot-long tumor

Courageous teenager works out with Wood, Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As he has undergone multiple surgeries to remove a foot-long tumor from his spine and continued to play high school sports with titanium rods in his back, Thompson Ritter has maintained a passion for baseball that was enriched when he accepted Alex Wood's invitation to work out with the Braves during Monday's practice.

Wood extended the invite on Sunday night after hearing the 17-year-old Ritter tell his inspirational story to a group of individuals who traveled to the Orlando area to participate in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Birdies and Baseball golf scramble, which was played Monday afternoon.

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

Cuban slugger's super slow home run trot

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Cuban slugger's super slow home run trot

Cuban outfielder Alfredo Despaigne is largely considered one of the greatest international sluggers of his era. And if you weren't on board with that categorization before Monday, you should be now.

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Renovation of Wrigley Field progressing as planned

Renovation of Wrigley Field progressing as planned

CHICAGO -- Phase One of the Wrigley Field 1060 Project remains relatively on target despite a cold winter, Cubs officials said Monday afternoon during a media tour of the construction zone.

The left-field concourse work and plaza development are going smoothly, while the bleachers remain a bit behind schedule, as previously announced at Cubs Convention. The center- and left-field bleachers will be ready May 11, with the right-field bleachers opening in early to mid June.

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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.

Bernard's faith in his work lands him on Tigers' 40-man roster

Bernard's faith in his work lands him on Tigers' 40-man roster

LAKELAND, Fla. -- There's a voracious reader in the Tigers clubhouse. Wynton Bernard has always found books as a way to fill the free time in a Minor League season.

When he thinks of his situation, he thinks of The Alchemist, a bestselling novel about a boy who follows a recurring dream to leave home and travel the desert to the Pyramids in Egypt to seek fortunes.

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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.

Sharp Harvey focuses on curve in live BP session

Mets batters largely unsuccessful as ace returns to original out pitch

Sharp Harvey focuses on curve in live BP session

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- This early in spring, live batting practice is an exercise inherently stacked against hitters. David Wright calls facing a game-ready pitcher "impossible" at a time when he and his peers are simply trying to rediscover their timing at the plate.

So it was entirely unsurprising to Wright when Matt Harvey unleashed a tumbling curveball Monday and the third baseman not only swung through it, but dropped his shoulder, put his head down and half-whiffed, half-walked out of the batter's box.

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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.

A-Rod sees time at DH in intrasquad tilt

Yankees play final game before Grapefruit action starts Tuesday

A-Rod sees time at DH in intrasquad tilt

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees closed out the workout portion of Spring Training with a combination intrasquad game/simulated game Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field. A pitching machine was used instead of real pitchers and situations were created. For example, both halves of the first inning began with a runner on first.

"It's hard to get the situations you want with the pitchers on the mound. We could throw the ball in the dirt when we wanted. Throw strikes. Guys can make contact. You just get a lot more out of it," manager Joe Girardi said, explaining the decision to go with "Iron Mike."

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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.

Tanaka faces hitters for first time in spring

Right-hander cautious, but feels 'perfectly fine' after throwing to Gardner, others

Tanaka faces hitters for first time in spring

TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the $155 million starting pitcher who made only two starts after July 8 last season due to a partially torn ligament in his elbow, faced hitters for the first time Monday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

It was just five pitches each to Brett Gardner, Chris Young, Ramon Flores, Jonathan Galvez and Tyler Austin, plus two pitchouts. Manager Joe Girardi and several of his lieutenants watched intently from behind the mound, and general manager Brian Cashman headed up a front-office delegation behind the batting cage.

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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

Phil Rogers

Coleman helping White Sox craft new identity

Coleman helping White Sox craft new identity

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The hallway between the White Sox clubhouse and the players' dining room is lined with large photos from their recent past, with an emphasis on the 2005 World Series team. One of those captures Scott Podsednik with the swing of a lifetime.

Podsednik is seen hitting the 12th-inning homer that won Game 2, a homer that, oddly enough, was only the second home run he hit that season. It would have been far more fitting had Podsednik been pictured sliding into second with a stolen base or sprinting around third to score from first on a double.

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

Cespedes, Tigers begin to build long-term relationship

Originally pursued by club, Cuban outfielder seeks championship in Motown

Cespedes, Tigers begin to build long-term relationship

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes believes he probably would've been here a few years ago for his first pro contract if not for a twist of fate. One bad step from Victor Martinez, one shift in priorities for the Tigers toward Prince Fielder to replace him, and Cespedes' journey from Cuba landed him in Oakland instead.

"Detroit was the team that was the most interested," Cespedes said Sunday through translator Aileen Villarreal.

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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.

Votto making strides, but won't start in Cactus League opener

Limited to 62 games last year because of quad injury, 1B hopes to play in games soon

Votto making strides, but won't start in Cactus League opener

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- When the Reds open their exhibition schedule on Tuesday vs. the Indians, the only regular position player not in the starting lineup will be the one whose status is under the most scrutiny -- first baseman Joey Votto.

Instead of Votto, non-roster invite Josh Satin will start in Votto's place. Last season, Votto was limited to 62 games because of a distal strain of his left quadriceps and didn't play at all after July 5. Votto is thrilled with his camp thus far.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers already in midseason videobomb form

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Dodgers already in midseason videobomb form

Enrique Hernandez has been on a bit of a Tour de MLB over the past year and change. Hernandez was a July 1 callup for the Astros and hit .284 over 24 games before being dealt to the Marlins along with Jarred Cosart at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. 

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Miggy moves to field for pregame BP session

Slugger, V-Mart continue to progress in rehabs

Miggy moves to field for pregame BP session

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera was not in Monday's lineup for the Tigers' unofficial Spring Training opener, a 12-2 victory against Florida Southern. He still managed to steal the show with his swing.

While Tigers players took pregame batting practice Monday morning, out came Cabrera onto the field, bat in hand, ready to join in. He ended up taking batting practice on the field for the first time this spring.

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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.

Versatile roster will keep Padres' infield in motion

Black has multiple options across diamond when filling out lineup card

Versatile roster will keep Padres' infield in motion

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Yangervis Solarte is a third baseman who also plays plenty of shortstop and second base. Clint Barmes spent parts of last season playing all four infield spots across the diamond. And Alexi Amarista has played at least five different positions in each of the past three years.

Sense a trend in San Diego? Just about every infielder expected to break camp on the Padres' roster can play multiple positions -- and play them competently. Even Jedd Gyorko, who is firmly entrenched at second for the Friars, came through the Minors as a highly touted third baseman.

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

Rodon prefers to let his game do the talking

Club's top prospect an avid outdoorsman, understated in his approach at White Sox camp

Rodon prefers to let his game do the talking

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It hasn't taken long for left-hander Carlos Rodon to grasp the Chicago bragging-rights battle between the Cubs and White Sox. That point was made evident during a sit-down interview with MLB.com on Monday, when Rodon spoke about a trip to Chicago he made while pitching for Team USA in 2013.

"Unfortunately, we went to Wrigley," said the understated Rodon with a smile.

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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.

The Phanatic is a horticultural masterpiece, now

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The Phanatic is a horticultural masterpiece, now

If the live baseball action blowing up your newsfeeds wasn't enough foreshadowing, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's Philadelphia Flower Show is here to announce that spring is about to bloom in full and give way to the boys of summer.

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Depth gives White Sox options in Sale's absence

Depth gives White Sox options in Sale's absence

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If the White Sox don't have staff ace Chris Sale by Opening Day on April 6 in Kansas City, they should have the American League Cy Young candidate during the season's first month as he works back from a fracture in his right foot.

The White Sox approached this season certainly knowing they would need contributions from more than the 12 pitchers they break camp with. So if the White Sox don't have Sale at the season's outset, they are comfortable with the possible fill-in options -- in the present and in the not-too-distant future.

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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.

Wainwright throws 41 pitches in bullpen session

Cards' ace has been limited by an abdominal strain

Wainwright throws 41 pitches in bullpen session

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though still limited in running and agility work, Adam Wainwright received the go-ahead from the training staff and returned to the mound on Monday to throw his first bullpen session in 10 days. Wainwright threw 41 pitches in the session, describing it afterward as "exactly what I wanted it to be."

Wainwright had last thrown off the mound on the day of the Cardinals' first official workout. After that, he began limiting his work due to an abdominal strain, an injury sustained while lifting weights during a voluntary workout at the team's complex on Feb. 16. But because Wainwright does not feel discomfort in his abdominal area when throwing, he will continue to build up arm strength while slowing incorporating other exercises back into his workouts.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Marlins' formula makes quick turnaround feasible

As players from 100-loss team developed, club signed Stanton, added complementary pieces

Marlins' formula makes quick turnaround feasible

JUPITER, Fla. -- Two years ago, the Miami Marlins lost 100 games. Now, without a hint of exaggeration, they can be projected as a postseason team.

What happened? This was a winning combination that started with a talented young core of players developing as hoped. That made possible a series of extremely astute acquisitions this winter.

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

Competition heavy for three open spots on Giants

Numerous candidates vying for remaining relief, bench roles

Competition heavy for three open spots on Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Tuesday's Cactus League opener against the Oakland A's, the Giants will begin conducting auditions for the few vacancies in their cast.

Given the safe assumption that they'll open the season with 12 pitchers, the Giants will have exactly one relief spot up for grabs. That's all that remains after factoring in five starters (Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson), two long relievers (Yusmeiro Petit and Ryan Vogelsong) and four veteran relievers (Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo).

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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.

Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

Candidate for Cardinals' rotation will throw between 30-40 pitches

Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- In mapping out their spring pitching schedule, the Cardinals have decided to give Carlos Martinez not just a long look, but also the first one, as Martinez pursues a job in the starting rotation.

Manager Mike Matheny announced that Martinez will start the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins on Thursday (12:05 pm CT). Martinez will be capped at around 40 pitches, which the Cardinals hope is sufficient enough for the right-hander to finish two innings.

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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.

KBO's NC Dinos wrap up inaugural spring at Compton UYA

COMPTON, Calif. -- While Major League clubs are preparing for Spring Training games in Arizona and Florida, one team from the Korea Baseball Organization wrapped up its first spring camp at Compton's Urban Youth Academy on Monday.

The NC Dinos Baseball Club called the academy home for two weeks, using the facilities to train and play exhibition games against Minor League teams. The club also traveled to a handful of Southern California universities for exhibitions against college teams, including UCLA and Cal State Fullerton.

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

One-time elite prospects set for breakout season in 2015

Young talents like Montero, Moustakas, Myers ready to take next step

One-time elite prospects set for breakout season in 2015

While we salivate at the release of the Top 100 prospect list, the fact is that very few players become superstars. Most slip into careers as relievers, journeymen and Quad-A sluggers.

But a few still manage to surprise you when most have stopped paying attention. After struggling to a .244/.328/.405 mark through 2010, Alex Gordon has become one of the most valuable players in the Majors, with the third baseman-turned-outfielder posting the third-highest Wins Above Replacement among American League position players in 2014.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Righetti a quiet constant in Giants' success

Pitching coach entering his 16th season in role with San Francisco

Righetti a quiet constant in Giants' success

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Asked early Monday morning if he ever wonders why he still seems to fly under the national radar as pitching coach of the three-time World Series champion Giants, Dave Righetti grinned, winked and said, "That's the idea."

Bruce Bochy, distinguished manager of the reigning champs, doesn't hesitate in freely praising Righetti. The Giants lost one vital coach to retirement this season with former third-base coach Tim Flannery taking his guitar to the beach, but "Rags," as he's been known in clubhouses for years, is still at Bochy's side.

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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.

Carpenter plans to be aggressive, but smart

Cardinals' leadoff hitter seeks balanced approach at the plate

Carpenter plans to be aggressive, but smart

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have shown no indication that they plan to change Matt Carpenter's placement in their lineup. However, if Carpenter accomplishes what he has set as a season goal, he'll take a different look back into the familiar spot atop the batting order.

Calling his 2014 postseason "an awakening," Carpenter hopes to take pieces of who he has been each of the last two seasons and mold himself a little differently in his third full season as a starting infielder. The ambition is lofty given that it's coming from a player on the heels of consecutive All-Star seasons.

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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.

Zimmerman puts in extra work at first base

Veteran infielder learning how much time he has during plays at new position

Zimmerman puts in extra work at first base

VIERA, Fla. -- After the Nationals completed their workout on Monday, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman went to Space Coast Stadium to get some extra work in the infield with manager Matt Williams and defensive coordinator and advance coach Mark Weidemaier.

"Hold on skipper," Weidemaier said. "I'm going to put a timer on it."

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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.