Bryant, Baez both sent down by Cubs

Shortstop prospect Russell also reassigned to Minor League camp

Bryant, Baez both sent down by Cubs

The Cubs reassigned top prospects Kris Bryant and Addison Russell to Minor League camp on Monday, and also optioned second baseman Javier Baez to Triple-A Iowa.

Bryant, who has yet to appear in a Major League regular-season game, has stood out in Cubs camp this spring thanks largely to his nine home runs in 40 at-bats.

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

Verlander to miss next spring start

Right-hander recovering from right triceps cramp

Verlander to miss next spring start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander will miss his previously scheduled Spring Training start Thursday. When the Tigers right-hander does pitch again at this point is anyone's guess.

"Especially [since] I didn't throw today, I don't think it's very feasible that I can go out and pitch Thursday," Verlander said Monday morning. "I think it's a day-by-day thing."

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

5 keys for clubs to contend for AL East crown

5 keys for clubs to contend for AL East crown

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

1. A deck without an ace

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Who is the top player at each position in the AL East?

Who is the top player at each position in the AL East?

How does the American League East stack up, position by position? Here's a stab at predicting who will be the best player at each position in the division this season. Think of it as the preseason All-AL East team.

Catcher: Russell Martin, Blue Jays
A slam-dunk decision, especially with Matt Wieters still on the mend following last year's Tommy John surgery. Martin has firmly established himself as one of the game's best two-way players at this position, as his input in calling a game is extraordinary and his consistent contact and on-base ability (.402 OBP last year) make him an ideal fit for the Blue Jays' No. 2 spot in the batting order.

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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.

NFL linebacker Magee tackles potential baseball career

Originally drafted in 2012, outfielder reports to Spring Training

NFL linebacker Magee tackles potential baseball career

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brandon Magee has already played 17 games over two seasons in the National Football League. At some point this year, he might play his first baseball game professionally at one of the Minor League affiliates for the Boston Red Sox.

It all depends on what happens with football. The Tampa Bay Bucs released Magee on Tuesday, and he was at Spring Training the next day with the team that still has his baseball rights after taking him in the 23rd round in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

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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.

Could 16-year-old Danner be No. 1 in 2017?

UCLA commit, 2011 Little League World Series star shines on another big stage at NHSI

Could 16-year-old Danner be No. 1 in 2017?

CARY, N.C. -- America's first introduction to Hagen Danner came nearly four years ago, in the 2011 Little League World Series. That summer, he starred for Huntington Beach's Ocean Valley Little League, helping the team win the championship in Williamsport, Pa.

In a game against the local favorites from Clinton County, Pa. -- with 31,000 fans in the stands and millions more watching on television -- Danner struck out 12 batters over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, and he also homered. He homered again in the title game against Japan.

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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.

Puig's insane throw worthy of NASA

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Puig's insane throw worthy of NASA

In the bottom of the fourth inning of Sunday's Spring Training game between the Dodgers and Giants, NASA unveiled its new space program.

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What to watch for in today's games

What to watch for in today's games

The first game of the regular season is now less than a week away, and Spring Training has entered the home stretch. Teams are trimming rosters and pondering final decisions, while players are running out of chances to make a good impression or tune up for April.

Here are a couple things to watch for in Monday's games (all times ET):

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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.

Mets find lefty reliever, land Torres from Padres

With Edgin out, New York acquires southpaw in exchange for prospect Mazzoni

Mets find lefty reliever, land Torres from Padres

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With less than a week left in camp, the Mets have found their lefty reliever.

The team acquired left-hander Alex Torres from the Padres on Monday in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named. Torres should slot into the Opening Day bullpen, taking the place of injured lefty Josh Edgin.

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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.

Phanatic rats out Miggy for missing keys

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Phanatic rats out Miggy for missing keys

Losing your keys might be one of the most frustrating experiences in the world, which might be what two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera had in mind when he decided to troll the Phanatic down at Spring Training on Sunday.

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Digging in: 5 unheralded relievers to watch

Phillies' Giles joined by A's duo, Rays' Boxberger, Pirates' Holdzkom

Digging in: 5 unheralded relievers to watch

Relievers are a strange lot. Ostensibly the pitchers without the stamina, pitch repertoire or command to handle a starting role, they've taken on added importance. With runs coming at a premium, GMs have decided to load up on flame-throwing relievers and simply raze the opposition from the seventh inning on.

Though "Just look at the Royals" has become a common refrain this offseason -- for everything from speedy defenders to small-market principles -- the team's playoff push largely came on the backs of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.

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Michael Clair is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Cardinals to open season with 5-man rotation

Fifth starter will likely be Martinez, but Gonzales is also being considered

Cardinals to open season with 5-man rotation

JUPITER, Fla. -- On Monday morning, manager Mike Matheny unveiled the Cardinals' plan to open the season with a five-man rotation. However, he was not ready to commit to who the fifth starter will be.

Nevertheless, the Cardinals' roster picture is beginning to crystallize. The fifth-starter competition shrunk from three to two with Jaime Garcia's recent setback, and Carlos Martinez appears to be the front-runner over Marco Gonzales for that final rotation spot. Gonzales' spring numbers have been better, but the Cardinals have all along expressed an interest in getting a sustained look at Martinez as a starter.

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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.

Quantifying Trout's importance to Halos no easy task

Quantifying Trout's importance to Halos no easy task

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's a simple question, without a simple answer: What does Mike Trout mean to the Angels?

Jerry Dipoto, the club's general manager, laughed at the thought.

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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.

M's Henry dedicates huge day to Sanchez

Mariners prospect gets last-minute call, hits HR against Padres

M's Henry dedicates huge day to Sanchez

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jabari Henry could have simply relished his own moment in the sun, an amazing story on its own after being called off a Minor League field at the last moment and told by general manager Jack Zduriencik that he was needed to start as an injury fill-in for the Mariners' Cactus League game against the Padres ... and then proceeded to smack a home run in his second at-bat in Seattle's 8-5 loss at Peoria Stadium.

But the 24-year-old outfielder wasn't performing just for himself Sunday. His good friend and Minor League teammate Victor Sanchez died in Venezuela on Saturday and Henry was playing this one for the big right-hander.

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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.

Revere breaks promise with leaping catch to rob Davis

Left fielder steals home run in Sunday's Grapefruit League game

Revere breaks promise with leaping catch to rob Davis

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis asked Phillies left fielder Ben Revere for a favor before Sunday afternoon's Grapefruit League game at Bright House Field.

"Take it easy," he said. "I need some hits."

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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.

A-Rod makes first appearance at 1B

Appearance goes smoothly; Girardi will consider alignment during season

A-Rod makes first appearance at 1B

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- At this stage of Alex Rodriguez's career, there are not many new experiences to be found between the white lines. Standing at first base, charging a ground ball and feeding it to a moving target qualified as one of them.

Making his first career appearance at first base, Rodriguez handled three chances in three innings at the position, grabbing that grounder and accepting two throws in the Yankees' 7-0 Grapefruit League victory over the Astros at Osceola County Stadium.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Featherston brings solid bat, versatility to Angels

Featherston brings solid bat, versatility to Angels

When the Los Angeles Angels traded second baseman Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers, it opened up a position that Kendrick had played since he appeared in 86 games in 2007. When I watched the Angels in Spring Training, the infield looked totally different without Kendrick playing second base.

At 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, right-handed-hitting Taylor Featherston is one of the candidates to replace Kendrick. While it's a huge order, Featherston has a nice mix of tools that could bode well for his new club.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon to keep giving Bryant work in outfield

Skipper hopes to have all prospects work at more than one position

Maddon to keep giving Bryant work in outfield

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Kris Bryant made his second start in left field on Sunday and manager Joe Maddon wants the Cubs' top prospect to get more time there.

The Cubs are emphasizing versatility among their position players, and trying to get all Minor Leaguers to play at least two positions.

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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.

Red Sox acquire catcher Leon from Nationals

Strong-armed backstop expected to fill in for injured Vazquez

Red Sox acquire catcher Leon from Nationals

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox have acted quickly to fill their need at catcher, acquiring strong defender Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals for cash considerations on Monday.

Leon packed his bags at Washington's Spring Training facility and headed to Fort Myers to report to Boston.

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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.

Verlander resumes throwing; status uncertain

Right-hander scheduled to make final spring start Thursday vs. Yankees

Verlander resumes throwing; status uncertain

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Justin Verlander resumed throwing Sunday morning, but the Tigers still aren't sure if he'll make his scheduled start Thursday.

Verlander did some "light tossing" at Joker Marchant Stadium, manager Brad Ausmus said. The right-hander still felt some tightness in his arm, but he came through the throwing session feeling OK.

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

31 times WWE and MLB universes collided

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31 times WWE and MLB universes collided

When I ventured down to Florida for the first annual Cut4 Spring Training Road Trip a-paloozafest Extravaganza earlier this month, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Clearwater -- home to Phillies Spring Training and the Hulk Hogan-themed retail capital of the world.

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Eovaldi praised by hometown legend Ryan

Strikeout king, Astros advisor watched Yankees righty's scoreless start Sunday

Eovaldi praised by hometown legend Ryan

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- One of the things that Nathan Eovaldi remembers about growing up in Alvin, Texas, is that Nolan Ryan seemed to be everywhere. His photos were on the walls of restaurants, highways were named in his honor and old-timers still talked about his greatest games as though they happened yesterday.

Eovaldi didn't realize it as he stepped on the mound Sunday at Osceola County Stadium, but the Hall of Famer was there too. Ryan watched the game in his role as an Astros executive advisor and said that he was looking forward to seeing how his fellow Alvin High School alum handled the competition.

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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.

With Uehara hurting, Mujica could step up as Red Sox closer

Farrell may also opt for bullpen-by-committee

With Uehara hurting, Mujica could step up as Red Sox closer

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Time is running out for closer Koji Uehara to be ready for the start of the season. It now seems likely that Edward Mujica will be the primary closer on Opening Day, with others (Junichi Tazawa, Alexei Ogando, perhaps even Tommy Layne) chipping in when matchups present themselves.

Uehara has been battling a left hamstring strain for the last couple of weeks. Everything had to go just perfectly for the righty to be ready for the start 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

5 trades that make sense before Opening Day

5 trades that make sense before Opening Day

It's not often that you see major trades made in the week before Opening Day, which is a shame, because this should be a time when teams should be trying to fill holes that have appeared during Spring Training.

In hopes of spurring some action, here are five trades I'd love to see happen before Opening Day. These are not trades I expect to happen, mind you, but deals that I think make sense for the parties involved.

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Jim Duquette is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Janssen getting MRI on right shoulder

Setup man having trouble loosening up, scheduled for test on Monday

Janssen getting MRI on right shoulder

VIERA, Fla. -- After watching his team defeat the Marlins, 11-7, on Sunday afternoon, manager Matt Williams announced that reliever Casey Janssen will have an MRI on his right shoulder on Monday.

Janssen was scheduled to pitch against the Mets this past Saturday, but he had a tough time getting loose, according to the skipper, so he was scratched.

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

Reynolds has inside track on Opening Day start at second

Regular starter Murphy's lingering hamstring strain likely to keep him out

Reynolds has inside track on Opening Day start at second

JUPITER, Fla. -- At the dawn of Spring Training, it seemed near-impossible that Matt Reynolds would make the Mets. Though Reynolds broke out a year ago at Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets already had their starting middle infield set with Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy. Giving Reynolds a bit more seasoning in the desert seemed apt.

But Reynolds' strong spring, combined with Murphy's lingering right hamstring strain, has cast uncertainty over the situation. With each passing day, it appears less and less likely that Murphy will heal in time for Opening Day, meaning the Mets must choose amongst Reynolds, Danny Muno or Ruben Tejada at second base.

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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.

Robertson throws sharp inning in return to mound

White Sox taking cautious approach with reliever Petricka

Robertson throws sharp inning in return to mound

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- David Robertson threw a scoreless inning of relief during the White Sox 4-1 victory over the Indians Sunday at Goodyear Ballpark. It was the first game for Robertson since March 21 against the Royals, as he has been working through soreness near his right forearm.

Robertson threw 10 of his 17 pitches for strikes in the fourth, inducing three ground balls to second baseman Micah Johnson, sandwiched around a Brandon Moss double. The White Sox closer is not scheduled yet for back-to-back games during this final week of Spring Training, but said Sunday that he could pitch one day and face one batter or throw a bullpen session the next.

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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.

Miller hopes to take recent success into regular season

Right-hander's six-inning outing vs. Pirates strongest this spring

Miller hopes to take recent success into regular season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since brushing off the brief frustration he felt during his ugly Grapefruit League season debut, Shelby Miller has shown why the Braves are looking forward to having him in their rotation for at least the next four seasons.

Miller produced his most dominant outing of the spring as he limited the Pirates to one hit over six innings on Sunday afternoon at Champion Stadium. The 24-year-old right-hander retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced and surrendered just one run, which was tallied when Austin Meadows tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the third inning.

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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.

Prospect Meadows excels in full nine innings vs. Braves

Outfielder triples, scores run in Bucs' Grapefruit League win

Prospect Meadows excels in full nine innings vs. Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It isn't even your proverbial big league cup of coffee. A sip of decaf, maybe. To future Pirates, however, it is the nectar of their nascent careers.

Austin Meadows received the treat Sunday, starting in right field and playing the entirety of the Bucs' 4-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Braves.

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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.