Darvish exits spring start with tightness in right triceps

Darvish exits spring start with tightness in right triceps

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish left Thursday's start against the Royals with tightness in his right triceps muscle.

Darvish threw just 12 pitches in one inning of work. He retired three of four batters he faced and did not come out for the second inning. He was scheduled to pitch two innings and throw 30-40 pitches.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top 15 fantasy rookies led by pair of Cubs

Bryant, Soler have most potential for big league production in 2015

Top 15 fantasy rookies led by pair of Cubs

Good news, Cubs fans. The last three times your favorite team has featured the National League Rookie of the Year Award winner (Geovany Soto in 2008, Kerry Wood in 1998 and Jerome Walton in '89), it has advanced to the postseason. And Chicago has the top two rookie candidates for 2015.

Third baseman Kris Bryant and outfielder Jorge Soler have the power to help the Cubs back to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They're not only the strongest candidates for Rookie of the Year Award honors, they're also the best fantasy prospects.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes scratched with lower back tightness

Cespedes scratched with lower back tightness

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Yoenis Cespedes was scratched from the Tigers' starting lineup Thursday with lower back tightness.

Cespedes, who hit a grand slam in his first Grapefruit League game as a Tiger on Tuesday, was not on the travel roster for Wednesday's game against the Orioles in Sarasota.

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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.

Wainwright one step closer to return

Cards ace is expected to throw live BP on Sunday

Wainwright one step closer to return

JUPITER, Fla. -- With all having gone well in a high-intensity bullpen session on Thursday, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is expected to face hitters the next time he takes the mound.

It will be his own teammates stepping in against him when he throws live batting practice on Sunday. But that step alone moves Wainwright closer to being ready for Grapefruit League action. He is unsure whether he'll go through the live BP exercise once or twice before being cleared for his first spring start.

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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.

D-backs to serve a Churro Dog this season

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D-backs to serve a Churro Dog this season

Hot dogs have been a ballpark staple since the beginning of baseball time. But what happens when you're done with your hot dog? Do you eat more hot dogs? 

No.

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Mattingly confirms spring debuts for Greinke, Ryu

Mattingly confirms spring debuts for Greinke, Ryu

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Thursday confirmed that he plans to start Zack Greinke on Wednesday and Hyun-Jin Ryu the following day.

Both players missed their first Spring Training start with physical issues. Greinke from a maintenance elbow injection, and Ryu with mid-back stiffness.

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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.

Andrus on track for Cactus action next week

Shortstop's mild left knee tendinitis among Rangers' injury updates

Andrus on track for Cactus action next week

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus is full-go with his left knee, and he expects to be ready to play in a Cactus League game early next week.

Andrus has been sidelined with a mild case of tendinitis, but he's taking batting practice and going through all of his fielding drills. So far, his absence from the lineup has been referred to as a precautionary measure.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Billy Bean

Opening up about Mets visit, Murphy comments

Inclusion is about everyone, even those who might disagree with the message

Opening up about Mets visit, Murphy comments

Tuesday was one of the more compelling days I've had since being named MLB's Ambassador of Inclusion. It included the opportunity to get back in uniform for the first time in ages at the behest of one of the most respected general managers in the game, and it also afforded me the first chance to respond to an active player speaking openly and honestly about me and my role in baseball.

Some background: After making a presentation at the GM Meetings in November, Mets GM Sandy Alderson approached me about the possibility of coming to visit his club during Spring Training. And then, at the Winter Meetings a month later, he doubled down on that offer and asked me if I would consider suiting up and "playing" with the Mets for a few Spring Training games. I was stunned.

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Billy Bean is Major League Baseball's Ambassador for Inclusion. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arbitrator reportedly to decide if Hamilton goes to rehab

Angels outfielder also might face a year's suspension as fourth-time offender

Arbitrator reportedly to decide if Hamilton goes to rehab

TEMPE, Ariz. -- An arbitrator will decide whether Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton should enter a substance-abuse rehabilitation program after a four-member advisory board deadlocked on a decision, the Los Angeles Times reported late Wednesday.

In addition, Major League Baseball officials are weighing whether to consider Hamilton a fourth-time offender of its drug policy due to previous failed tests, according to the Times. A fourth-time offender is subject to at least a year's suspension. FoxSports.com reported that the MLB Players Association, which has the right to appeal any punishment, is pushing for a minimal, 15-game suspension with more emphasis on the rehabilitation program.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltran ready to reclaim role as Yanks' right fielder

Elbow hampered vet in '14, but feels good now

Beltran ready to reclaim role as Yanks' right fielder

TAMPA, Fla. -- After a frustrating season in which injuries held Carlos Beltran back from being the player he expected to be, the veteran is looking forward to putting those issues in the past and reclaiming his spot as the Yankees' everyday right fielder.

"I'm happy. I'm excited, of course," said Beltran, who is slated to make his spring debut Friday evening against the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. "I feel pretty good, making improvement every day. I'm taking a lot of swings like I used to in the past in Spring Training. The elbow feels good."

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Look at this college pitcher's acrobatic windup

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Look at this college pitcher's acrobatic windup

Some of us want to play baseball and some of us want to join the circus, but few of us are qualified to do both. Enter Murray State's John Lollar, a pitcher whose wind-up is also the finale of a Cirque du Soleil act. 

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Coke reportedly headed to Cubs on Minors pact

Coke reportedly headed to Cubs on Minors pact

MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs are in the market for some left-handed help in the bullpen, and they have reportedly signed reliever Phil Coke to a Minor League contract.

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal on Thursday reported the deal, which is pending a physical. The Cubs have not confirmed the report.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Back strain could sideline Freiman for 2 weeks

Setback might hurt his chances in battle for backup spot at first base

Back strain could sideline Freiman for 2 weeks

MESA, Ariz. -- A's first baseman Nate Freiman could miss up to two weeks of spring action because of a muscle strain in his back sustained from workouts, manager Bob Melvin said Thursday.

The setback puts Freiman at a major disadvantage in the competition for an Opening Day roster spot as a backup first baseman to expected regular Ike Davis. Rule 5 Draft pick Mark Canha, who must stay on the A's active roster all season or be offered back to the Marlins, seemingly now has the edge.

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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.

Martinez dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

Martinez dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Martinez was dominant in two perfect innings, and Matt Adams delivered a two-run single in the first that spurred the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium.

The significant news for Miami was that Giancarlo Stanton played four innings in right field, and in two at-bats, he lifted a pair of fly-ball outs. It was the two-time All-Star's first game action since he was struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

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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.

All walks of life come together for annual RBI program

ORLANDO, Fla. -- They came from all areas of the continental United States and beyond, bound by their passion and desire to grow baseball in urban communities. The RBI program -- short for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities -- kicked off its annual RBI Institute on Thursday, a three-day program that allows administrators from several different places to compare notes on their common experience.

Some groups came from the West Coast and others from the East, and there were even leagues represented from such faraway locales as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. David James, senior director of the RBI program, held court over the Institute at the Hyatt Regency in the Orlando airport, and he said the leagues gain invaluable experience from convening with their peers.

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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.

Friendly competition: Harper takes hacks vs. Strasburg

Former No. 1 overall picks face off for first time in round of live BP at Nationals camp

Friendly competition: Harper takes hacks vs. Strasburg

VIERA, Fla. -- For a moment during the Nationals' workout Wednesday morning, Field 4 was the center of attention. Stephen Strasburg was one of the pitchers who had requested to throw a second live batting-practice session in advance of facing hitters in Spring Training games.

The first hitter to step into the batter's box against Strasburg? Bryce Harper.

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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.

Panik aiming to build on special rookie campaign

Infielder looking ahead after making debut, winning title and getting engaged in 2014

Panik aiming to build on special rookie campaign

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's hard to have a better year than the one Joe Panik had in 2014.

The Giants infielder is just 24 years old, and he has plenty of time ahead of him, but it will be hard to top a season in which he made his Major League debut, won a World Series and got engaged to his high school sweetheart.

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

Black: Padres have options at closer beyond Benoit

Manager says at least five arms in 'pen could get save opportunities

Black: Padres have options at closer beyond Benoit

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manager Bud Black said Thursday that while Joaquin Benoit is pegged to close games for the Padres, other relievers at the back end of the bullpen could get a handful of saves this season as well.

"You want to get your closer in games because that means you have a lead … and if he's closing games that means you are winning," Black explained. "That means at some point, we have got to put Joaquin down [because], he can't pitch every game. That's what I want."

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Normal soreness good sign day after Werth swings bat

Nationals outfielder takes first step after right shoulder surgery with positive results

Normal soreness good sign day after Werth swings bat

VIERA, Fla. -- The Nationals are encouraged with the progress made by Jayson Werth, who experienced some natural soreness Thursday morning, one day after swinging a bat for the first time since right shoulder surgery in January.

"That normal soreness is there, which it should be," manager Matt Williams said.

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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.

Montero goes all in to prove himself at first base

Former top prospect sheds catcher's mitt, 45 pounds in effort to make club

Montero goes all in to prove himself at first base

PEORIA, Ariz. -- There's nothing easy about losing 45 pounds over five months of intense training or dealing with doubters who think your career is over before it really got started. But Jesus Montero could just now be hitting the hardest part of his recommitment to baseball, knowing he has to keep that dedication over the long haul while waiting for a chance on a team that has no obvious opening on its Major League roster.

Montero was one of the interesting stories when Mariners camp opened two weeks ago, drawing attention for his dramatic new look and improved approach. But the fact remains there's more work to be done in order to become a viable first-base candidate and contender for a 25-man roster spot.

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MLB Pipeline checks in from Orioles camp

Keller, Bleeker among breakout candidates; Berry talks Baltimore

MLB Pipeline checks in from Orioles 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, while others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates throughout the team's system. MLBPipeline.com is visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Baltimore Orioles.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Young, homegrown players have played no small part in helping the Orioles reach the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. As a result, their latest group of prospects has plenty of role models to emulate as they advance through the Minor Leagues.

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

Votto close to making Cactus League debut

Reds skipper Price says star slugger is 'champing at the bit' to get into lineup

Votto close to making Cactus League debut

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Although there hasn't been a specific date or game revealed, Reds manager Bryan Price expressed confidence Thursday that first baseman Joey Votto is close to making his Cactus League debut.

Votto, who missed 100 games last season because of a distal strain of his left quadriceps, has not been in the lineup for the first three games vs. the Indians.

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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.

Floyd's first with Tribe pushed back few days

Floyd's first with Tribe pushed back few days

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians are closely monitoring Gavin Floyd this spring as he makes his comeback from a fractured right elbow. The team plans on maintaining a cautious approach with the pitcher and has already taken a step along those lines by delaying the right-hander's first Cactus League start.

Floyd was originally scheduled to make his debut Sunday, but manager Terry Francona noted on Thursday morning that Floyd's first start will be pushed back by a few days. Francona added that he will meet with general manager Chris Antonetti, pitching coach Mickey Callaway and Floyd in the coming days to map out a plan.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Ichiro in hot pursuit of 3,000 hits

Veteran Marlins outfielder stands 156 short of milestone

Ichiro in hot pursuit of 3,000 hits

JUPITER, Fla. -- Make no mistake about it, for Ichiro Suzuki, the foreseeable future is all about 3,000 hits. The Magic Number is 156 and the Marlins have gladly given him the platform to pursue that goal.

There's no reason to look back. His days with the Mariners and Yankees are well behind him. So are the years in Japan with the Orix Blue Wave, with whom he accumulated 1,278 of his 4,122 hits on two continents. He has 2,844 playing 14 seasons in Major League Baseball.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A's schedule Gray, Kazmir for Cactus debuts

A's schedule Gray, Kazmir for Cactus debuts

MESA, Ariz. -- A's rotation leaders Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, held out of the first week of exhibition games to get some extra rest, are scheduled to make their Cactus League debuts next week.

Gray is on tap for a home start against the D-backs at 1:05 p.m. PT on Tuesday, and the left-handed Kazmir is slated to take the mound at Hohokam Stadium two days later for a Thursday meeting against the Mariners at 12 p.m.

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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.

Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

Outfielder led bigs with 17 pinch-hits in 2014

Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes vows to be a smarter hitter, even after leading the Majors with 17 pinch-hits last season.

"There were times when I just went up there to swing, and that's not very smart," said Barnes, who hit .279 in 61 pinch-hit at-bats, but .257 with a .293 on-base percentage overall.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Choi to undergo surgery, will be out 4-6 months

'Unfortunate play' leads to fractured right fibula for Mariners first-base prospect

Choi to undergo surgery, will be out 4-6 months

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners first-base prospect Ji-Man Choi will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a broken right leg after injuring himself leaping for a high throw in Wednesday's Cactus League opener against the Padres.

Choi will likely be sidelined four to six months, according to manager Lloyd McClendon, after fracturing his fibula, which is the long thin bone in the lower leg.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kemp, Upton hit ground running in debuts

J-Up launches homer for Padres in Cactus clash at Peoria Sports Complex

Kemp, Upton hit ground running in debuts

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres got the opportunity to unveil some of first-year general manager A.J. Preller's new acquisitions on Wednesday -- none more notable than outfielders Matt Kemp and Justin Upton.

And for the longest time, it was a quiet afternoon for both -- until Upton changed all that with one swing in the seventh inning.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cingrani determined to win rotation job

After hurting shoulder last season, southpaw feels fine in camp

Cingrani determined to win rotation job

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani not only sounded determined in that he wanted a spot in the club's rotation, but also that he needed it, too.

"That's what I'm going to do the rest of my career. I'm not, not going to start," Cingrani said. "It's going to happen. If I'm not starting, then there is an issue and I will address it then. Until that point, I don't need to worry about it."

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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.

Machado getting back to normal

All-Star third baseman played his first game since knee surgery last year

Machado getting back to normal

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Manny Machado has been saying since he arrived at camp this spring that he just wanted to get back to playing baseball.

On Wednesday, he finally got that chance.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.