Lester battles Tribe in Series rematch on MLB.TV

Red Sox visit O's, Martinez starts for Cards among 8 to watch

Lester battles Tribe in Series rematch on MLB.TV

It's the final week of Spring Training, and there are eight Grapefruit and Cactus League games that can be seen today and tonight on MLB.TV.

Today's spring slate is headlined by a World Series rematch in Arizona, with Jon Lester starting for the Cubs opposite Danny Salazar and the Indians. Meanwhile in Florida, Carlos Martinez makes his final spring tuneup for the Cardinals in advance of his Opening Night start on Sunday.

Continue Reading

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

Elementary scoop: GM's kid leaks news?

|
Elementary scoop: GM's kid leaks news?

Look, much as we love Spring Training, there's a lot of time to fill. The fun of watching those prospects you've heard so much about and the sheer joy of seeing real, actual baseball again can only carry you so far, and after that, there's still a game to finish.

So, in the ninth inning of the Indians' loss to the White Sox on Saturday, Cleveland's radio team decided to welcome a special guest to the booth: Brody Chernoff, son of Indians GM Mike Chernoff. Things were going great at first, until (with a little prodding from play-by-play man Tom Hamilton) Brody forgot the cardinal rule of being a general manager's son -- don't talk about dad's phone calls. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

MLB.com Columnist

Joe Posnanski

Posnanski: J-Hey's glove, character critical

Posnanski: J-Hey's glove, character critical

MESA, Ariz. -- Jason Heyward has never been a typical baseball superstar. He has never hit .300; his lifetime batting average is .262. Heyward has never hit 30 home runs in a season and only once hit even 20. He has never stolen 25 bases in a season and never come particularly close to 100 RBIs or 100 runs scored. Heyward has never finished in the Top 10 in the MVP Award balloting. He has only made one All-Star team -- during his rookie season almost seven years ago.

And yet, before the 2016 season, the Chicago Cubs gave Heyward the second-largest deal ever given to an outfielder (behind only slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who couldn't be more different from Heyward as a player).

Continue Reading

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.

Rizzo tries leadoff spot, homers on first pitch

|
Rizzo tries leadoff spot, homers on first pitch

It has been a long time since Anthony Rizzo batted leadoff. He has never started a single game in the Majors or the Minors there, but on Sunday afternoon, Rizzo wanted to get his at-bats in early since he didn't play at all the previous day. So he asked to switch with Kyle Schwarber and bat first while the Cubs faced the Reds. It's certainly not a unique request from a veteran in Spring Training.

If Rizzo felt any kind of unfamiliarity leading off a ballgame instead of batting third or fourth, it was not at all apparent. On the very first pitch he saw from Tim Adleman, he unloaded and sent the offering deep into the afternoon Las Vegas sky.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Opening Day to cap week of intrigue in MLB

Opening Day to cap week of intrigue in MLB

The trucks full of gear will soon be packed up and waved back to the 30 stadiums of Major League Baseball. The Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues will soon give way to the American and National. The weather will at times go from the balmy sun of Florida and Arizona to the spring-like chill of April.

But there's no mistaking what's happening in the week ahead: Baseball officially will be back.

Continue Reading

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

Got a draft? Get an edge with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

Got a draft? Get an edge with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

Baseball, both real and fantasy, is more a marathon than a sprint. As a fantasy owner, you work 162 games across 180-plus days.

But the thing is, your full-time job isn't to run a fantasy team. And that championship trophy on your mantel isn't paying the phone bill, shiny as it is.

Continue Reading

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

Harvey hits 97 mph in best spring start

Harvey hits 97 mph in best spring start

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Don't be fooled: Matt Harvey was well aware of his flagging spring velocity and what people thought about it. Knowing that, Mets manager Terry Collins figured Harvey was determined to show off on Sunday, dialing his heater up to a monthly high of 97 mph in the Mets' 8-2 win over the Braves.

Perhaps some part of Harvey wanted to prove it to himself, also.

Continue Reading

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

Mark Feinsand

Plan B: How AL East teams might pivot in '17

Plan B: How AL East teams might pivot in '17

Opening Day is a time for hope. General managers have spent the past few months -- or years, in some cases -- to build a roster they hope will take the next step toward bringing a World Series title to their fan base.

But what happens when things don't go as planned? Each year, an injury or two can derail even the most accomplished club from its goal. A couple of ice-cold bats can transform a ferocious lineup into one that struggles to score runs with any regularity. And let's not even talk about pitchers, whose fragile arms can betray them at any time, spoiling the hopes for a franchise with championship aspirations.

The problem, of course, is that regardless of what happens during the grind of the long, grueling season, teams must still play 162 games. Adjust, adapt and advance. There's no other choice.

So what course will American League East teams take in the event that Plan A doesn't pan out as expected? We present some Plan B possibilities.

Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles' lineup is stacked, anchored by Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones. The ball should be flying out of Camden Yards with regularity. The rotation -- topped by the injured Chris Tillman -- is shaky, but the bullpen is one of the league's best, so whatever leads are given to them should be secured.

If things don't go as planned, the Orioles don't have many impact players in the Minors to bring up as reinforcements, but it's unlikely executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette would hold a fire sale, either. Machado, Jones, Tillman, Zach Britton and J.J. Hardy will all be free agents after the 2018 season, so the window for the O's to win appears to fall during the next two years.

Impending free agents Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Seth Smith could be moved for prospects, though the most intriguing name that could move would be Britton, the All-Star closer who has emerged as one of the game's best relievers. Given the haul the Yankees brought back last summer for both Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, Baltimore could move its closer in an effort to restock the system, with All-Star setup man Brad Brach (also a free agent after 2018) sliding into the closer's role and Darren O'Day still in tow to get him the ball.

Another option would be to deal away either or both of their top prospects, catcher Chance Sisco (who is blocked for the next year or two by newcomer Welington Castillo) and right-hander Cody Sedlock, in an effort to add a big league piece or two to bolster a postseason run.

Showalter on the 2017 Orioles
Continue Reading

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

Gausman gets Opening Day nod for O's

Gausman gets Opening Day nod for O's

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Kevin Gausman will get 2017 started for the Orioles. The 26-year-old was officially tabbed on Monday to be Baltimore's Opening Day starter. The O's begin the season at home, against the Blue Jays on April 3 at 3:05 p.m ET.

Dylan Bundy will start the second game against Toronto, and the O's are expected to finalize the order for the next two spots -- Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley -- after Miley throws on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

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.

April powers: Which teams are set for hot starts?

April powers: Which teams are set for hot starts?

Hope springs eternal for each of the 30 Major League teams during Spring Training, but with a slow start in April, hope can turn to worry in a flash.

Just last year, the Astros were a consensus favorite to return to the postseason, but Houston stumbled out to a 7-17 record (tied with the Twins for worst in the American League) and ultimately couldn't climb back, finishing five games shy of an AL Wild Card spot. Meanwhile, the Cubs compiled a 17-5 record in the first month to propel them to a storybook season.

Continue Reading

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

Fan barehands foul ball, keeps beer intact

|
Fan barehands foul ball, keeps beer intact

Hey, let's face facts. When going to the ballpark, there's a premium paid for beer -- both financially and in terms of time, if the line at the beer stand is especially long.

A frosty cup o' suds can be a refreshing part of your afternoon, depending on what you prefer to do while taking in a game, but the threat of a spill is always a concern. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

Be a GM with Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball

Be a GM with Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball

Since the final out of the 2016 World Series settled in Anthony Rizzo's glove, giving the Cubs a championship 108 years in the making, baseball's general managers have been preparing their clubs for success in '17.

And now, with Opening Day quickly approaching, you can join in on the excitement.

Continue Reading

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

5 trends to keep an eye on in 2017

Homers, strikeouts, relievers are dominating the game

5 trends to keep an eye on in 2017

Nothing has been decided in the baseball world this year, but one thing is for sure: The 2017 season won't resemble anything close to the game your grandparents -- or even your parents -- watched when they were growing up.

This sport is constantly evolving, and teams typically embrace new ways to play the game every five to 10 years. But the specific battle between pitchers and hitters, always a focal point of baseball, has really taken center stage in our current era. Pitchers are becoming more specialized and, in turn, more efficient at limiting contact. In response, hitters are swinging for the fences more than ever before.

Continue Reading

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

No hoodie for Belichick at D-backs camp

|
No hoodie for Belichick at D-backs camp

Two legends got together at D-backs Spring Training on Sunday afternoon at Salt River Fields. There was just one baseball icon, though. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was visiting an old friend, Tony La Russa, the D-backs' chief baseball analyst and adviser.

Since Belichick was attending the NFL meetings in Phoenix, it was an opportune time for him to say hello to La Russa, who gave him a tour of the D-backs' complex. The five-time Super Bowl champion coach also greeted All-Star outfielder A.J. Pollock, a Connecticut native and Patriots fan who was thrilled to meet him.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Nathan, Albers released, ending bullpen bids

Nathan, Albers released, ending bullpen bids

The Nationals bid farewell to two veteran pitchers battling for bullpen spots on Monday.

Right-handers Joe Nathan and Matt Albers were unconditionally released after both were told they would not make the club's Opening Day roster despite solid spring performances. Both had signed Minor League deals.

Continue Reading

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

Yanks reassign Castillo, Solano, Tejada

Yanks reassign Castillo, Solano, Tejada

The Yankees made three roster moves following Sunday's 7-4 win over the Rays.

Catcher Wilkin Castillo and infielders Donovan Solano and Ruben Tejada were reassigned to Minor League camp.

Continue Reading

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

Watch Bonds hit BP homers at Giants camp

|
Watch Bonds hit BP homers at Giants camp

Last week, the Giants announced that they were bringing franchise legend Barry Bonds back to the Bay as special advisor to the CEO. 

As part of his new job, Bonds will be working with San Francisco's hitters -- and really, what better way to learn than by watching Barry Bonds? So, during the team's batting practice session on Sunday morning, Bonds stepped into the cage and proceeded to launch dingers like it's 2001.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Strasburg gets Nats' Opening Day nod

Strasburg gets Nats' Opening Day nod

Stephen Strasburg will start Opening Day for the Nationals, manager Dusty Baker announced Sunday.

Washington opens its season at 1:05 p.m. ET on April 3 against the Marlins at Nationals Park.

Continue Reading

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

Todd Kalas honors dad's famous HR call

|
Todd Kalas honors dad's famous HR call

When your dad is a Hall of Fame baseball announcer, there's no better way to recognize his work and legacy than to be able to use one of his most famous home run calls while you're behind the mic.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Matz to skip next start due to elbow irritation

Matz to skip next start due to elbow irritation

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A flare-up of irritation in Steven Matz's left elbow has prompted the Mets to skip his next start, general manager Sandy Alderson announced Sunday. Matz had been scheduled to pitch in a Minor League game at the Mets' First Data Field complex.

"It's worrisome that he continues to be injured off and on," Alderson said, referring to Matz's checkered medical history. "That's the difficulty. We don't think it's serious. On the other hand, starting pitchers are relied on every five days. I'm not sure exactly where this is going to take us."

Continue Reading

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.

Red Sox trim roster; Travis reassigned

Marrero, Swihart sent to Triple-A Pawtucket

Red Sox trim roster; Travis reassigned

The Red Sox made several roster moves on Monday, including reassigning first baseman Sam Travis to Minor League camp.

Catcher Dan Butler also was reassigned to Minor League camp with Travis, the club's No. 4 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, while infielder Deven Marrero and catcher Blake Swihart were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Continue Reading

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

With Bryant back home, dad talks prep work

With Bryant back home, dad talks prep work

LAS VEGAS -- When Kris Bryant got back to work on his swing this offseason, his father, Mike, wanted him to remember how he was pitched to in the Minor Leagues, and that's what they worked on. His mother, Susie, was busy handling all the wedding gifts.

Bryant returned home this weekend to play two games with the Cubs against the Reds at Cashman Field, and he hit a home run and a double on Saturday and added another double on Sunday. The best part for the reigning National League Most Valuable Player Award winner was that he could spend a couple of days at his new home here.

Continue Reading

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.

Yadi goes deep in return from Classic

Yadi goes deep in return from Classic

JUPITER, Fla. -- Home runs by Yadier Molina and Dexter Fowler lifted the Cardinals to a 3-0 win over the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday. The victory was the Cardinals' 18th of spring, the most the club has had in a Grapefruit League season since 2009.

In his first plate appearance since helping Puerto Rico to a silver medal in the World Baseball Classic, Molina blasted an 0-2 pitch from Wei-Yin Chen over the wall in left. Fowler followed with his first spring home run in the third. Fowler and Molina each finished with multi-hit games.

Continue Reading

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.

Brantley feeling good, hits first spring homer

Indians outfielder goes deep in first inning Sunday

Brantley feeling good, hits first spring homer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Michael Brantley stared at the lineup sheet hanging inside the Indians' clubhouse on Sunday morning and did not see his name. The Indians' left fielder then pulled the paper off the wall, and he marched into the team's training room.

A few minutes later, bench coach Brad Mills posted a fresh lineup on the board with Brantley's name in the No. 2 spot and him starting in left field. With one mistake corrected, Brantley then took advantage of another. In the first inning of the Tribe's 6-5 win over the D-backs, the left fielder launched a two-run home run over the right-field wall at Salt River Fields.

Continue Reading

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Story works to pair strong arm with power bat

Story works to pair strong arm with power bat

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rockies shortstop Trevor Story's strong throwing would be his calling card, if not for his habit of hitting home runs -- 27 in 2016, a National League rookie record at his position. But Story notes that he cares as much for his arm as his bat.

On competitive throws to first base, Story's average "fastball" is 85.7 mph -- not bad for someone who has to throw while moving in directions other than toward first. To achieve that speed, Story, heading into his second season, finds plenty to do during batting practice when he's not, you know, batting.

Continue Reading

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

John Andreoli and his arm turned Tucker Barnhart's would-be single into a 9-3 putout

|
John Andreoli and his arm turned Tucker Barnhart's would-be single into a 9-3 putout

The best laid plans, right?

That's probably what was in the mind of Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart after a particularly rare (and probably unwelcome) sequence of events during Sunday's Reds-Cubs split-squad Spring Training game at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. 

Continue Reading on Cut4

Estrada named Opening Day starter

Estrada named Opening Day starter

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- One of the worst-kept secrets in all of baseball was made official on Sunday afternoon as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons announced veteran right-hander Marco Estrada will be his Opening Day starter.

Estrada will start the season opener on April 3 in Baltimore. J.A. Happ will pitch the second game of that series, and he will then be followed by Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano and Aaron Sanchez.

Continue Reading

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB 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

Anthony Castrovince

Martinez perseveres following final out of Game 7

Martinez perseveres following final out of Game 7

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The TV graphic flashed his uninspiring season stats -- a .242 average, one home run, four RBIs, a .574 OPS, plus three strikeouts in three postseason at-bats.

Two outs, one on, down one in the 10th inning of Game 7, and the person the Indians sent to the plate was No. 1, according to his jersey, but No. 25, according to his role.

Continue Reading

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. 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.

Efficiency key for Richards' successful return

Efficiency key for Richards' successful return

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels right-hander Garrett Richards pitched six innings in his Minor League start against the Rockies on Sunday, and said he's pleased with where he stands heading into the final week of Spring Training.

Richards allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking none and striking out four in the 69-pitch outing.

Continue Reading

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

KBO announcer goes wild at steal of home

|
KBO announcer goes wild at steal of home

Baseball doesn't get much better than a straight steal of home -- a few seconds of pure, white-knuckle suspense so startlingly brash it's as if the runner managed to put one over on the Baseball Gods. It's an increasingly rare achievement, responsible for some of the game's most iconic moments.

So, while it's still Spring Training in the KBO, when Lee Dong-Hoon of the Hanwha Eagles swiped home it was only appropriate that the broadcast team completely lost its mind.

Continue Reading on Cut4