Rendon gets latest opinion, will open on DL

Rendon gets latest opinion, will open on DL

JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon received a third opinion on his left knee Tuesday in Vail, Colo., and Dr. Steven Singleton had the same opinion as the previous two doctors: Rendon has a sprained MCL in his left knee.

There is no timetable as to when Rendon will be back on the field. He will start the season on the disabled list. Rendon injured the knee making a diving play against the Braves on March 9.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

April Fools! 10 times hidden-ball trick worked

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April Fools! 10 times hidden-ball trick worked

Happy April Fools' Day, everybody! We thought about orchestrating a hoax to convince you that Derek Jeter signed with the Mets, but that just didn't seem nice. Instead, we've rounded up 10 classic instances of one of our favorite MLB pranks: 

The hidden-ball trick.

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Bid on Will Ferrell game-used gear for charity

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Bid on Will Ferrell game-used gear for charity

When Will Ferrell suited up for 10 different Cactus League teams during a single day in March, he wasn't just playing every position for his own personal entertainment. He was playing for our entertainment -- and to raise money for charity.

The extravaganza that was #FerrellTakesTheField, a partnership between MLB, Funny Or Die and HBO, raised roughly $1 million for Cancer for College. And now, Ferrell's day is being auctioned off piece by piece to raise even more money for charity, with funds going to Stand Up 2 Cancer and Umpires Care.

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Mets, Lagares nearing contract extension

Deal would buy out Gold Glover's arbitration years

Mets, Lagares nearing contract extension

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets are closing in on a contract extension with Gold Glove outfielder Juan Lagares, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Yahoo Sports first reported that the deal would be worth $23 million over four seasons after 2015, with a $9.5 million fifth-year option potentially keeping Lagares in New York through the 2020 season.

The Mets have not commented on the deal because it is not final. Lagares confirmed late Wednesday morning that he has not put pen to paper, but that talks are ongoing.

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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.

Don't laugh: Comic called Holdzkom's debut

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Don't laugh: Comic called Holdzkom's debut

Two and a half years ago, John Holdzkom was a former fourth-round draft pick and Minor League pitcher with time on his hands. So he did what any 20-something would do: He called into a podcast recording.

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MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

10 bold fantasy predictions for 2015

10 bold fantasy predictions for 2015

Today may be April Fools' Day, but the following 10 fantasy predictions are not jokes. Sure, some of them may seem a bit outlandish right now, but no one will be laughing by the end of September. And remember: You heard it here first.

Mookie Betts will lead the Majors in runs scored

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Fred Zinkie is a senior 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.

Craig hits inside-the-parker past Joey Bats

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Craig hits inside-the-parker past Joey Bats

Allen Craig is not known for his speed. In nearly 500 games, he has 11 stolen bases, so Barry Allen comparisons don't immediately jump to mind. But Craig's got hustle, and he showed it off during Wednesday's Spring Training game against the Blue Jays.

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Walker this way: Taijuan makes Opening Day roster

Righty lined up for Seattle's fifth-starter job; rookie Olson set for bullpen

Walker this way: Taijuan makes Opening Day roster

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lloyd McClendon didn't want to make an official pronouncement about his final 25-man roster on Wednesday. But after the Mariners traded right-hander Erasmo Ramirez to the Rays for left-hander Mike Montgomery on Tuesday night, the pieces of the puzzle were all in place.

"Look at the board," the second-year skipper said, nodding toward an office wall showing Taijuan Walker among his five starters and rookie Tyler Olson as the last name in the bullpen.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Pagan's friendship with Mays a source of confidence

Since joining Giants in 2012, outfielder has found legend's presence a guide

Pagan's friendship with Mays a source of confidence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Angel Pagan has had a little ritual involving Willie Mays at San Francisco's AT&T Park since coming to the Giants from the Mets in 2012.

"Before I go out on the field to play," Pagan said, "I go in his office and get my blessing. I shake his hand. It gives me a sense of confidence going out on the field. I have a blessing to be with the best player in history, to me.

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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.

Verlander's opening series availability in doubt

Right triceps soreness may lead to first career stint on disabled list

Verlander's opening series availability in doubt

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Justin Verlander resumed throwing on Wednesday at Joker Marchant Stadium, but his scheduled regular-season debut next Wednesday in Detroit is in serious question.

"It's a little bit of a stretch right now," manager Brad Ausmus said of Verlander's chances, "but I wouldn't wave it off."

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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.

Hanley expected to be 'a force' in Red Sox lineup

Hanley expected to be 'a force' in Red Sox lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In a loaded lineup that has a mix of decorated veterans and exciting young players, Hanley Ramirez sits in the catbird's seat, otherwise known as the cleanup spot.

In front of him will be the trio of Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. Behind Ramirez, you'll have Pablo Sandoval, Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino and Xander Bogaerts.

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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.

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

Get an edge in your league with Fantasy 411's Cheat Sheet

With fantasy-baseball-draft season in full swing, MLB.com put together a cheat sheet for fans in need of expert advice. Make sure to have the one-stop information shop on hand during your auctions or snake drafts.

For comprehensive coverage of the player pool, check out MLB.com/preview. And follow @Fantasy411 for daily- and annual-league tips all season long.

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

10 names to know before the season begins

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10 names to know before the season begins

You know about Yasiel Puig's arm, Mike Trout's leaping/hugging abilities and the prodigious power of Giancarlo Stanton. And although he's never had a Major League at-bat, you've probably heard of Kris Bryant. I mean, there's even a book about his life.

But there are also some interesting, talented players who you may not have heard of yet. Here are 10 names to look out for in 2015.

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MLB.com Columnist

Dan O'Dowd

Identifying 15 players who may become trade targets

Cueto, Price, Tulowitzki among high-impact stars who will be desired at Deadline

Identifying 15 players who may become trade targets

The 162-game odyssey begins in just a few days, and after Opening Day, one of the biggest days on the MLB calendar is the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31. For general managers, it's never too early to start identifying trade targets; here are 15 players you will be hearing about in trade rumors this summer.

Cole Hamels, LHP, Phillies
He's the biggest name among a few Phils who will be on the block. Closer Jonathan Papelbon will also be discussed, and perhaps second baseman Chase Utley will be as well. First baseman Ryan Howard could even get moved if he can show the ability to crush right-handers again, but Philly would need to eat a lot of what's left of the $60 million Howard is owed over the next two years.

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Dan O'Dowd is an MLB Network analyst and MLB.com columnist who served as general manager of the Rockies for 15 years, building a National League pennant winner in 2007. Prior to his time with Colorado, he worked in the front offices of the Orioles and Indians. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamels feels ready for Opening Day start

Lefty allows one earned run on six hits in final spring start vs. Braves

Hamels feels ready for Opening Day start

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cole Hamels completed his final tuneup Wednesday for his Opening Day start against the Red Sox.

He allowed six hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk with three strikeouts in six innings in the Phils' 9-2 victory over the Braves at Bright House Field. It was his final Grapefruit League start before he pitches Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park.

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

Carrasco thrilled to pair with Kluber at top of rotation

Indians' 28-year-old right-hander delivered stellar second half in '14

Carrasco thrilled to pair with Kluber at top of rotation

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Down the stretch last season, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco gave the Indians one of baseball's most dominant duos. Cleveland will begin this year with that pair of right-handers once again in the first and second slots of the rotation.

Carrasco was back in camp with the Indians on Wednesday morning, following a trip to Florida to be with his wife for the birth of their daughter, Emma Victoria. The brief hiatus from Spring Training will not alter the schedule for Carrasco, who is scheduled to make his final Cactus League start on Friday before prepping for his April 8 outing against the Astros.

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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.

Greinke likes mechanics tweak in camp start

Greinke likes mechanics tweak in camp start

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke's frustrating Spring Training might have turned the corner on a fastball away in a camp game on Wednesday.

Having given up solo home runs to two of the previous seven Dodgers Minor Leaguers (Spencer Navin and Ivan Vela), "I tried something with a pitch and it came out perfect," Greinke said of a mechanical adjustment. The pitch induced a grounder to shortstop to end the fifth inning.

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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.

Giles key to Phils as they rebuild

Reliever able to reach 100 mph with fastball, important for club's future

Giles key to Phils as they rebuild

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Ken Giles embraces the fact he can throw a baseball 100 mph.

He loves it.

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

With eye on big league return, Richard stays with Pirates

Veteran left-hander chooses not to exercise opt-out clause in contract

With eye on big league return, Richard stays with Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Veteran pitcher Clayton Richard declined to exercise the opt-out clause in his Minor League contract with the Pirates and will continue to work toward a Major League return in Florida.

The deal agreed upon Dec. 3 gave Richard, 31, the right to request his release from the Bucs if the club did not add him to its 40-man roster by March 31.

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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.

Hendriks, Goins up for Blue Jays' last roster spot

Final call hinges on whether club decides to go with eight-man bullpen

Hendriks, Goins up for Blue Jays' last roster spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Blue Jays have one final decision to make before the start of the regular season, and it comes down to choosing either right-hander Liam Hendriks or infielder Ryan Goins for the final spot on the 25-man roster.

The expectation seems to be that Toronto will begin the year with an eight-man bullpen, which would give the nod to Hendriks. The Blue Jays intend to wait another couple of days before making their intentions official.

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

Rodon reassigned to Minors after impressive spring

Top White Sox prospect worked on repertoire, built confidence and comfort

Rodon reassigned to Minors after impressive spring

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The reassignment of Carlos Rodon to Minor League camp by the White Sox on Wednesday came as little surprise to anyone, including the 22-year-old southpaw. In fact, Rodon said Wednesday that he knew about the move a couple of days before.

But the inevitable move for MLB.'s No. 1 prospect in the organization doesn't take away from his great showing in this first big league camp. Rodon, who pitched 5 1/3 innings Tuesday against the Dodgers, yielded 17 hits and six earned runs over 17 2/3 innings, while striking out 21, walking five and giving up just one home run.

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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.

Bullpen may be catalyst to take next step in 2015

Veteran relievers struggled last season, with 1.9 WAR leading crew

Bullpen may be catalyst to take next step in 2015

In the days leading up to Opening Day, MLB.com is examining various aspects of each team's roster. Today, the time has come to focus on a key number for the upcoming season. For the Tigers, it's 1.9: the highest Wins Above Replacement total for a member of the Tigers' bullpen in 2014.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers do not tend to be keen on Wins Above Replacement, the metric many cited in the case against Miguel Cabrera's Most Valuable Player Awards. In terms of the Tigers' bullpen, however, it might well sum up the value quite nicely.

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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.

McKirahan claimed off waivers from Marlins

Lefty could help fill spot in Braves' bullpen

McKirahan claimed off waivers from Marlins

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- By claiming left-handed reliever Andrew McKirahan off waivers from the Marlins on Wednesday, the Braves provided a clearer picture of who might be in their bullpen when the regular season begins on Monday.

Because the Marlins selected McKirahan from the Cubs during December's Rule 5 Draft, the Braves would be required to carry the pitcher on their Major League roster for the entire season or offer him back to the Cubs.

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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.

Dodgers officially part ways with McGowan

Dodgers officially part ways with McGowan

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers officially released reliever Dustin McGowan on Wednesday, a day after he was told he wouldn't make the Opening Day roster.

McGowan had a Major League contract that would have guaranteed him $1 million once he made the 25-man roster. Management was intrigued by McGowan's fastball velocity, but his lack of command led to a disappointing Spring Training.

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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.

New year, new team, same excitement for Zobrist

New year, new team, same excitement for Zobrist

Regardless of where he's playing, Ben Zobrist has always had a fondness for the beginning of a new baseball season.

This time around, that "clean start" is taking on a whole new meaning. Zobrist, entering his 10th year in the Majors, is gearing up for his first season in Oakland -- and his first season wearing anything other than a Rays uniform.

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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.

Reyes' health and performance go hand in hand

Full season, greater selectivity among Blue Jays shortstop's goals for 2015

Reyes' health and performance go hand in hand

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Reyes is a four-time All-Star, a former batting champion and a $106 million man. Yet, somehow, when it came to this year's Spring Training, he's also someone who flew completely under the radar.

That's what happens when the team you play for adds Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson to the heart of an order that already included Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. It's also the result of two injury-plagued seasons that have left people questioning Reyes' ability to stand out during a grueling 162-game season.

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

Puig steals base with elusive maneuver

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Puig steals base with elusive maneuver

On a 2-0 pitch to Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday's Dodgers-White Sox Spring Training matchup, Yasiel Puig attempted to steal second base. The throw from Geovany Soto was in plenty of time.

Puig made it safe anyway.

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Who is top player at each position in AL Central?

Who is top player at each position in AL Central?

The American League Central has sent a team to the World Series in two of the last three years and a pair of clubs to the postseason in each of the last two seasons. Once again in 2015, it's a division worthy of attention as the regular season heads toward the promise of October.

Some prime individual talent resides in the AL Central, too, including a two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, along with a treasure chest of Gold Glove Award winners. As 2015 begins with the Kansas City Royals defending the AL pennant, here's a look at the best of the division by way of a position-by-position breakdown:

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

5 keys for AL Central clubs

5 keys for AL Central clubs

Any number of factors can conspire to decide a division. But at the dawn of a new season, these are the five factors that look like they'll loom largest in the American League Central.

1. Royal relief regression?

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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.

McClendon ejected, runs across outfield to leave game

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McClendon ejected, runs across outfield to leave game

You already know that Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon is an ejection artist. We know you're familiar with his early work as well as some of his later shenanigans. But this week, McClendon cemented his status as the Marina Abramovic of getting kicked out of ballgames.

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