Mets' Mejia handed permanent suspension

Mets' Mejia handed permanent suspension

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball on Friday issued a lifetime suspension to former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia, after he tested positive a third time for a performance-enhancing substance.

Mejia, 26, tested positive for Boldenone. He was in the midst of a 162-game suspension for both Boldenone and Stanozolol, for which he tested positive while serving his original 80-game ban last summer. The lifetime suspension is the longest drug-related ban MLB has issued.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Tanaka: Opening Day status to be determined

Tanaka: Opening Day status to be determined

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka said on Friday that he "can't really say" if he will be ready for Opening Day until he resumes throwing off a mound and then in Grapefruit League games.

Tanaka had surgery this offseason to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. As such, the 27-year-old is not ready to commit to being on the mound for the Yankees' opener on April 4 against the Astros, as the team expects to handle him cautiously this spring.

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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.

$400M contract? Harper: 'Don't sell me short'

$400M contract? Harper: 'Don't sell me short'

As numerous record-breaking deals were handed out to free agents this offseason, speculation quickly shifted to Bryce Harper's possible free agency after the 2018 season. More specifically, how much money could Harper, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, potentially earn if he reaches free agency at the prime age of 26?

Harper gave his thoughts when asked about a potential $400 million contract on Friday, telling Washington D.C.'s 106.7 FM The Fan, "don't sell me short" on his next big contract.

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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.

Tom Singer's sons pay loving tribute to dad

Tom Singer's sons pay loving tribute to dad

Malvina Singer is amazingly stoic, grieving the sudden loss of her husband of nearly 43 years, Tom, our 15-year colleague at MLB.com, at 67. It has been a whirlwind of shock for the family, fortunately a far-reaching, faithful, highly supportive and positive group. Mal's mom, a concentration camp survivor, was there, and stood as much as anybody for the poignant, impactful presence of Tom's spirit and the unconditional love surrounding his life.

The graveside service was moving in ways that are impossible to describe. Tom Singer, a great writer, would have framed it best. The Singers' sons did not fall far from that treasured tree. See for yourselves.

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Dinn Mann is Executive Vice President, Content for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Must-see MLB: 10 pivotal players to watch this spring

Stanton, Shark among top players to watch as camps prepare to open

Must-see MLB: 10 pivotal players to watch this spring

The first official report dates are about a week away, but the first reports are already emanating out of Spring Training camps. On Friday, for example, Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka told reporters that he "can't really say" whether he'll be ready for Opening Day until his progression from offseason elbow surgery involves throwing off a mound.

There's an instant area of intrigue for a Yankees staff with major durability concerns in the rotation. As was the case last year, given the minor ligament tear he's attempting to pitch through, Tanaka's every pitch will be watched with great scrutiny.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Mauer: 2013 concussion has affected vision

Former AL MVP says he will wear sunglasses at plate during day games in 2016

Mauer: 2013 concussion has affected vision

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins first baseman Joe Mauer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his vision has been affected by the concussion that ended his 2013 season, especially during day games, as the sun makes it tough for him to pick up the ball. Mauer's offensive production has declined the past two seasons.

Mauer, who switched to first base in 2014 after sustaining the concussion from a foul tip while catching, is going to try something new this spring, as he'll wear sunglasses while batting for the first time.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New head protection for pitchers on the way

Hybrid devices designed to be worn under existing caps

New head protection for pitchers on the way

The campaign to protect pitchers from potentially dangerous line drives hit right back at them has taken another step forward.

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have collaborated on a new design for protective headgear that will be unveiled this spring. The development was first reported by ESPN.

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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.

Australia rides combined gem to Qualifier final

Former Mariner Rowland-Smith and Co. keep South Africa at bay

Australia rides combined gem to Qualifier final

SYDNEY -- Four pitchers combined to strike out 11 as Team Australia (2-0) moved within one win of returning to its fourth World Baseball Classic following a 4-1 win over South Africa (1-1) on Friday night at Blacktown International Sportspark.

New Zealand (1-1), which eliminated the Philippines (0-2) with a 17-7 win on Friday, will play South Africa on Saturday at 2:30 a.m. ET/6:30 p.m. local time. The winner of that game will face Australia in the Qualifier championship at 2 p.m. local time Sunday (10 p.m. ET Saturday). Fans can watch all games live on MLB Network, MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com.

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

Ex-Boston farmhand's 7 RBIs keep Kiwis alive

Moanaroa goes 4-for-5 with a homer in mercy-rule win over Philippines

Ex-Boston farmhand's 7 RBIs keep Kiwis alive

SYDNEY -- Former Red Sox prospect Boss Moanaroa went 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and seven RBIs to make a winner out of 18-year-old American high schooler Jimmy Boyce (1-0) and give New Zealand (1-1) a 17-7 mercy-rule win in eight innings over the Philippines (0-2) in a World Baseball Classic Qualifier elimination game on Friday at Blacktown International Sportspark.

"This was basically our last chance," said Moanaroa. "We said in the changing room, 'This is our final chance. Let's enjoy it and have fun.' And that's what we did."

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

HS star gladly risks eligibility for Classic 'W'

Washington prep star Boyce makes most of time with Team New Zealand

HS star gladly risks eligibility for Classic 'W'

SYDNEY -- For an 18-year-old American high school kid, the world stage is a dream come true. Add to that a win that keeps your native New Zealand alive in the World Baseball Classic? For Kiwi right-hander Jimmy Boyce, pitching 7,700 miles away from home, it gets a bit more complicated.

First, to the ballgame at hand Down Under. New Zealand had just surrendered the lead with three runs and was trailing, 7-4, with two outs in the sixth inning of the elimination game at Blacktown International Sportspark. The Mount Si High Wildcat came on and surrendered a single before getting former Mets and Marlins outfielder Chris Aguila on a called third strike.

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

New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

MLB shows off on-field Flex Base designs for all 30 clubs

New, cooler spring jerseys, caps available

It is almost time for Zack Greinke to suit up for the D-backs, Todd Frazier for the White Sox, David Price for the Red Sox, Justin Upton for the Tigers, Johnny Cueto for the Giants, Jason Heyward for the Cubs, and all those other new faces in new places.

Shop now for new Flex Base Spring Training gear

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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.

7 reasons to watch 'First Boys of Spring'

Documentary recalls original Spring Training camps in Hot Springs, Ark.

7 reasons to watch 'First Boys of Spring'

Larry Foley, a professor and chair of the journalism department at the University of Arkansas, recently told his 15-year-old grandson Jeremy: "I've gone about as long as I can stand without baseball."

Pitchers and catchers are about to report to Spring Training starting on Wednesday, thankfully. And few know better than Foley just why that is about to be the case.

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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.

Snowboarders get Big Air at Fenway Park

Snowboarders get Big Air at Fenway Park

Fenway Park was home to a different type of world-class athlete Thursday evening.

Snowboarders flocked to the historic ballpark for the Polartec Big Air at Fenway, which featured numerous competitors. U.S. snowboarder Julia Marino won the women's competition, while Canadian Max Parrot was the male champion.

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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.

New teams in mix as Lazarito mulls options

Agent says 16-year-old Cuban is not close to a decision, may still sign during current period

New teams in mix as Lazarito mulls options

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Lazaro "Lazarito" Armenteros, one of the most dynamic young talents to come out of Cuba in recent memory, is still weighing his options, some of which are new.

The 16-year-old free agent was expected to make a decision Wednesday on where he will sign. But on Friday, his agent, Charles Hairston, told MLB.com that the 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder was not close to a decision and that there are new teams in the mix.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Favorite mistakes: Hitters who devour meat

Sano led MLB with 1.159 slugging percentage on fat pitches in 2015

Favorite mistakes: Hitters who devour meat

Among the many reasons Major League hitters are having a tougher time putting runs on the board these days is that pitchers simply aren't giving them much to work with. According to pitch tracking data, the percentage of pitches in the strike zone has fallen consistently each year from 2010's 50.4 percent to 2015's 47.8 percent, and that's a big deal, because we've learned that making contact on pitches in the zone as compared to outside it is among the most important things a hitter can do.

So if a hitter actually does get a fat pitch -- or a mistake, or a meatball, or one served on a platter, or whatever you want to call it -- he'd better be ready to do something with it, because he's not likely to get such a lucky opportunity again. But before we run down the best in baseball at taking advantage of the chances offered, an important question arises: What is a mistake, from a pitcher's point of view? We can't always know what a pitcher's intent is, and there's not necessarily one characteristic that always applies to identify those pitches.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

10 to watch from MLB's international showcase

Eight countries represented for first time at two-day event

10 to watch from MLB's international showcase

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Major League Baseball wrapped up its fifth annual International Prospect Showcase on Thursday with a celebration of the present and a look toward the future of the event.

The two-day showcase at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal featured 59 teenage prospects who will be eligible to sign when the international signing period begins on July 2. The eight countries represented -- the Bahamas, Colombia, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela -- was a record number for the event. What started as a matchup between the top 25 players from Venezuela versus the top 25 players from the Dominican Republic in 2012 could eventually feature prospects from such places as Europe, South Africa and Brazil.

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

Judge among Yanks' top prospects to look out for in '16

Exciting young talent hopes to grab attention of New York's brass this spring

Judge among Yanks' top prospects to look out for in '16

The countdown to Thursday, the official reporting day for Yankees pitchers and catchers, is underway. Activity has already started at the team complex in Tampa, Fla., and anticipation is kicking into high gear for the upcoming season.

In the third installment of our Spring Training preview package, "Prospects to Watch," MLB.com will take a quick glance at some of the exciting young talent that manager Joe Girardi and his staff will be evaluating at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

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

Tigers' Crespo to manage Spain in WBC Qualifiers

Tigers' Crespo to manage Spain in WBC Qualifiers

Manny Crespo, the Tigers' director of Latin American player development, will manage Spain in the upcoming Qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic.

Spain's first Qualifier game is scheduled for March 17 against Colombia at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City, Panama. France and Panama are the other teams in that group, and the winner will advance to the World Baseball Classic in March 2017.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Goldy sets the fantasy standard at first base

Rizzo, Miggy, Abreu among other safe bets at offense-friendly position

Goldy sets the fantasy standard at first base

In recent seasons, fantasy owners have come to rely on first base as one of the last outposts of premium power production. But in 2016, the list of premier players at this position is not as deep as past years. Unless owners have a specific sleeper in mind, pouncing on one of the top options in the early rounds could be a sound strategy.

Tier One: Paul Goldschmidt

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox have plenty of talent waiting in farm system

Johnson, Owens lead youngsters who could contribute in Boston this season

Red Sox have plenty of talent waiting in farm system

As MLB.com's Spring Training primer continues, it's time to focus on some of the prospects who will get a chance to demonstrate their growth.

Though the Red Sox don't have many roster spots up for grabs, spring is the time when prospects can prove they are ready in the event something opens up over the course of the season.

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

Phillies get moving to Florida on Truck Day

Equipment, various items make Spring Training journey to Bright House Field

Phillies get moving to Florida on Truck Day

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies could pack their Spring Training truck blindfolded at this point.

But they made things easier on themselves Friday morning, when they loaded the truck for its annual 1,058-mile trek from Citizens Bank Park to Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., where pitchers and catchers will have their first workout on Thursday. The truck is loaded with everything from uniforms and baseballs to golf clubs, the Phanatic's infamous hot dog launcher and one canoe.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A definitive Orbit Prank Power Ranking

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A definitive Orbit Prank Power Ranking

Unless you've been living under a particularly baseball-averse rock for the past 12 months, you know about the Houston Astros. They're young, they're exciting, they have Carlos Correa , and after coming within six outs from an ALCS appearance last season, the arrow is only pointing up. (Did we mention they have Carlos Correa?)

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White Sox reportedly in on Desmond

White Sox reportedly in on Desmond

Shortstop Ian Desmond, who continues to languish on the free-agent market, could soon find a home on the South Side of Chicago. The White Sox are among the teams considering a deal with Desmond, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported on Thursday.

The White Sox would appear to be a natural fit for Desmond. Tyler Saladino currently tops the club's depth chart at short, but the 26-year-old batted just .225/.267/.335 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 68 games as a rookie in 2015.

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

Brewers sign Boyer to Minors deal

Contract with veteran reliever includes invitation to Major League camp

Brewers sign Boyer to Minors deal

The Brewers signed veteran relief pitcher Blaine Boyer to a Minor League contract on Friday and extended the right-hander an invitation to Spring Training.

Boyer made 68 appearances out of the Twins' bullpen last season and posted a 2.49 ERA despite recording only 33 strikeouts over 65 innings. The 34-year-old made a comeback in 2014, pitching 32 games for the Padres after not appearing in the Majors from 2012-13.

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

Heyward, Mallee getting to know each other

Hitting coach impressed with Cubs' new outfielder as they get head start at spring facility

Heyward, Mallee getting to know each other

MESA, Ariz. -- Position players don't need to report to Arizona until Feb. 23, but Jason Heyward and hitting coach John Mallee are already busy at the Cubs' facility getting to know each other.

While the clubhouse staff sorted deliveries of shoes and equipment and some pitchers got a head start at the Cubs' facility, Heyward and Mallee talked hitting and what the outfielder needs to be successful.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

No dispute atop Network's catcher rankings

Posey rated No. 1 by The Shredder, both analysts

No dispute atop Network's catcher rankings

Behind every great pitcher is a great backstop, and while the hurler traditionally consumes much of the spotlight, today's crop of catchers is stacked with elite talent and some of the game's biggest stars.

As MLB Network continues to chronicle the best players at each position, the network turned its attention behind the plate Thursday, unveiling its list of the top 10 catchers. The rankings are based on results from "The Shredder" -- an algorithm based on player performance that accounts for both offense and defense that was put together by MLB Network's research department "without emotion or bias." Host Brian Kenny and guest host Dave Valle also provided their top 10s.

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

MLB Network's top right fielders can slug

Harper, Stanton, Bautista land in top 3 of each ranking

MLB Network's top right fielders can slug

Right field is home to some of the game's top hitters, as evidenced by the fact that the position ranked second behind only first base last year in home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. Though the reigning National League Most Valuable Player hails from right field, he has plenty of competition when it comes to sorting out the best right fielders in the game.

MLB Network attempted to make sense of the madness Thursday night, relying on results from "The Shredder" -- an algorithm based on player performance that accounts for both offense and defense, which was put together by MLB Network's research department "without emotion or bias." Host Brian Kenny and guest host Eric Byrnes also provided their top 10s.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Return to form could be on deck for Desmond

Free agent set for next chapter of career after dip in production

Return to form could be on deck for Desmond

Not that long ago, Ian Desmond's free agency would have been greeted with a sizable number of potential employers, offering lucrative contract offers.

Desmond was, after all, a shortstop who could hit, hit with power, run and impress on defense. He was one of the reasons that the Washington Nationals won the National League East in 2012 and '14 and were on the brink of establishing themselves as an elite team.

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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.

A high schooler got the win for New Zealand in its WBC Qualifier elimination game

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A high schooler got the win for New Zealand in its WBC Qualifier elimination game

When New Zealand defeated the Philippines, 17-7, on Friday to advance in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier tournament, reliever Jimmy Boyce picked up the win. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, gave up one hit and struck out a batter. And, oh yeah, he's in high school.

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Moustakas gets 2-year deal from Royals

Moustakas gets 2-year deal from Royals

The Royals agreed to terms with their final arbitration-eligible player Thursday, when they and third baseman Mike Moustakas agreed to a two-year contract. The deal is reportedly worth a combined $14.3 million, with Moustakas set to earn $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in '17.

Kansas City continued its streak of avoiding arbitration hearings during Dayton Moore's tenure as general manager. The Royals have now gone 10 consecutive seasons settling all cases before a hearing.

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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.