Dozens of scouts on hand for Hamels' first start

Lefty, who's been subject of trade rumors, holds Yanks to one hit over two innings

Dozens of scouts on hand for Hamels' first start

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is well aware of the trade speculation that has swirled around him since the start of the offseason. And if it slipped his mind, all he had to do was look behind the plate at Bright House Field on Friday afternoon where 24 scouts assembled to watch his first start of the Grapefruit League.

Hamels didn't disappoint against a Yankees split-squad lineup that included Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius. He sailed through two shutout innings, allowing one single while striking out two in a 4-1 Phillies loss.

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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.

Rodon pleased with fastball command in first outing

White Sox prospect fans 4 in 2 scoreless innings of Spring Training debut

Rodon pleased with fastball command in first outing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It was just one Cactus League start; just one two-inning effort against the Padres at Peoria Sports Complex under sunny Arizona skies.

But via the 31 pitches thrown by Carlos Rodon Friday afternoon, it was easy to see why the White Sox were thrilled that he dropped to No. 3 in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. It's just as easy to understand why the 22-year-old southpaw is in play to break camp with the team after just 24 1/3 innings of Minor League experience.

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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.

Harvey dazzles in perfect return to mound

Right-hander strikes out three in retiring all six Detroit batters he faces

Harvey dazzles in perfect return to mound

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- For the first time in forever on Friday morning, Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud showed up nervous to a Spring Training game. A reporter asked him why.

"Harvey Day," d'Arnaud replied, as if it were the most natural answer in the world.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Mets thrilled with Harvey's form after long road back

'Special' talent tosses two perfect innings in Spring Training debut

Mets thrilled with Harvey's form after long road back

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- It had the look and feel of a big event. Isn't it always going to be that way with Matt Harvey?

Eighteen months ago, Harvey was arguably baseball's best pitcher, at least in terms of pure stuff and probably in terms of attitude as well. His swagger is the kind that can lead a franchise and rally a clubhouse. His starts are must-see games.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watch Tigers turn a blooper into a double play

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Watch Tigers turn a blooper into a double play

With the Tigers and Mets squaring off on Friday afternoon, Detroit decided to pull off a Spring Training double play. What's a Spring Training double play, you ask? Basically, it's when a near foible, blooper or whoopsie -- likely due to a winter without baseball -- is turned into something exquisite.

After Anthony Recker's ground ball ricocheted off shortstop Hernan Perez, it looked like it was ticketed for a trip to the outfield grass. Instead, second baseman Andrew Romine was there to barehand the ball, step on second and fire to first base for the double play. 

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Pence hopes to heal quickly, as he has in the past

Broken forearm likely to end outfielder's consecutive-games streak

Pence hopes to heal quickly, as he has in the past

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- When the San Francisco Giants open the 2015 season, the lineup will likely have a glaring omission.

Hunter Pence has played in 383 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors, and in every game with the Giants since the team acquired him in the middle of the 2012 seasons, but that may come to an end on April 6 in Arizona.

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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.

Lester sharp in Cubs debut

Opening Night starter strikes out three in two scoreless innings vs. Reds

Lester sharp in Cubs debut

MESA, Ariz. -- Jon Lester admitted he had a few jitters in his Cubs and Cactus League debut, but didn't show it.

In his first spring start since joining the Cubs, the left-hander struck out three of the first four batters he faced, then served up a broken-bat single to the Reds' Chris Dominguez before getting Kristopher Negron to ground into an inning-ending double play. He finished with two scoreless innings.

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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.

Indians embrace Bauer's scientific approach to pitching

Cleveland alters throwing programs based on right-hander's methods

Indians embrace Bauer's scientific approach to pitching

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians have raved about the strides Trevor Bauer has made in keeping the club looped in on the things he is researching in order to improve his pitching. The give and take with Bauer over the past three years has even led to changes within Cleveland's own programs for its young arms.

Since Bauer joined the organization via trade prior to the 2013 season, the Indians have implemented a long-toss program and introduced weighted-ball drills for its Minor League pitchers. Bauer's teammate, Danny Salazar, is among the pitchers who have also bought in to using a shoulder tube, which is a long, flexible pole used for muscle strengthening.

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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.

Best of Fantasy411 Twitter chat with Fred Zinkie

Best of Fantasy411 Twitter chat with Fred Zinkie

MLB.com fantasy guru Fred Zinkie fielded questions from fans during a live Twitter chat at @Fantasy411 today. To learn from someone who has been there and won that, check out the chat transcript below and check out the @Fantasy411 Twitter handle, MLB.com's Player Preview and MLB.com's fantasy home. Questions and answers have been edited for clarity.

Q: @BrianPakett22: Who do you take at pick No. 2 in a 12-team mixed league?

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Fred Zinkie is a Fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tulowitzki trying to simulate game action

Shortstop testing surgically repaired hip with extensive workouts

Tulowitzki trying to simulate game action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The days on the practice diamonds at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick are packed for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. While teammates are playing Cactus League games in front of sunning fans, Tulowitzki is manufacturing game situations at the plate, on the field and on the bases to test the left hip labrum that was surgically repaired in August.

"I'm trying to put myself in game situations with all the things that I'm doing so that something doesn't sneak up on me that I haven't done before," Tulowitzki said Friday morning. "There are a lot of situations in a game that happen, and there are only so many days to work on those. I can't just throw them into one big session."

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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.

Weaver, Angels arms shut down Rockies

Cowgill leads strong defensive showing, drives in run

Weaver, Angels arms shut down Rockies

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Seven pitchers held the Rockies to four hits and no runs in nine innings at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Friday, leading the Angels to a 3-0 victory that gave them back-to-back wins to start their Cactus League schedule.

Grant Green made a sprawling play to his right at second base, Collin Cowgill made a perfect throw home to complete a double play and Drew Butera threw out another runner trying to steal to highlight a strong defensive showing by the Angels.

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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. 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.

Hear Hunter Pence's rendition of 'The Circle of Life'

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Hear Hunter Pence's rendition of 'The Circle of Life'

While Hunter Pence sits out of baseball for the next 6-8 weeks (he suffered a fractured forearm after getting hit by a pitch Thursday) perhaps the Giants outfielder is looking for a hobby. And perhaps that hobby is a Twitter production of "The Lion King."

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Darvish awaits results of MRI on right triceps

Rangers' ace exited spring debut Thursday after just 12 pitches due to tightness

Darvish awaits results of MRI on right triceps

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers starter Yu Darvish had an MRI on his right triceps muscle Friday, followed by an examination by team orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister.

The results of the MRI are not expected until Saturday.

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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.

Switch-pitching Venditte continues to confound

Cubs' Fowler forced to change helmet after hurler elects to use left arm

Switch-pitching Venditte continues to confound

MESA, Ariz. -- Should Pat Venditte finally get a tour of the big leagues one day, after toiling in the Minors for years with his ambidextrous glove and switch-pitching ways, the unfamiliarity and sheer disbelief and wonder with which opponents greet him will gradually dissipate.

For now, the A's pitcher will continue to perplex -- and sometimes confuse -- them.

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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.

Masterson, Hanley get back in groove in loss to Marlins

Masterson, Hanley get back in groove in loss to Marlins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Hanley Ramirez, playing his first Grapefruit League game for the Red Sox in 10 years, belted a double to the triangle in right-center to help spark a fifth-inning rally in Friday afternoon's game against one of his former teams, the Marlins. But it wasn't enough in a 5-3 loss to Miami at JetBlue Park.

Ramirez, who is transitioning to left field after playing shortstop his whole career, batted cleanup behind David Ortiz.

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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.

Shields to debut for Padres against Giants

Prized free agent squares off with Bumgarner in rematch from World Series

Shields to debut for Padres against Giants

PEORIA, Ariz. -- James Shields, who on Saturday will fire his first pitch for the Padres, will see some very familiar faces across the way when he takes the mound at Scottsdale Stadium.

Shields will face the Giants and, specifically, will be pitted against San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner in a rematch of Games 1 and 5 of the World Series last fall.

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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.

Dickey sharp in spring debut; Colabello homers

Dickey sharp in spring debut; Colabello homers

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Chris Colabello homered and Ryan Goins added an RBI triple to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-4 victory over the Orioles on Friday afternoon at Florida Auto Exchange Field.

After the game was delayed approximately one hour and 40 minutes because of rain, Colabello put the Blue Jays on the board with a two-run homer to right field. Toronto added to that lead in the third when Caleb Gindl was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

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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.

Matt Moore's dog Griffin gets a haircut for charity

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Matt Moore's dog Griffin gets a haircut for charity

Matt Moore holds his dog Griffin, a chocolate golden doodle, in high esteem: "He's as smart as some humans," the Rays pitcher has said. So naturally, when the team had their heads shaved for charity, Griffin would get in on the action, too.

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Zimmermann has grasp on what's ahead this year

Zimmermann has grasp on what's ahead this year

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Even this early on in Spring Training, Jordan Zimmermann already has a grasp on how important this season will be for him personally.

He is set to become a free agent at the end of the year, and the Nationals hope he can lead them to the World Series.

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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.

Urias wins admiration of Valenzuela in Cactus debut

Urias wins admiration of Valenzuela in Cactus debut

PHOENIX -- Facing proven Major League hitters -- including two-time National League All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez -- in his Cactus League debut on Friday against the Brewers, 18-year-old left-hander Julio Urias showed why he is one of the game's most heralded prospects.

With his father, grandfather and brother in the crowd at Maryvale Baseball Park, the kid from Culiacan, Mexico, struck out two of the first four hitters he faced, and departed after issuing his third walk. He did not allow a hit or a run. He retired three Brewers regulars -- Scooter Gennett, Jean Segura and Gomez -- in succession to end the third inning and open the fourth.

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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.

Hunter offers mentorship to Twins youngsters

Back with Minnesota, veteran outfielder enjoys giving back

Hunter offers mentorship to Twins youngsters

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The scene in the far back-left corner of the Twins' clubhouse at Hammond Stadium is nearly the same every morning.

There's 18-year big league veteran Torii Hunter sitting forward in his chair, fully engaged with Twins youngsters Aaron Hicks and Byron Buxton, giving the two of them advice and answering any and all questions the two of them have.

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

Phillies have Ruiz on program to keep him fresh

Veteran backstop won't catch many games early in Spring Training

Phillies have Ruiz on program to keep him fresh

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The last few springs catcher Darren Daulton spent with the Phillies, when the wear and tear had begun to accumulate, he was on a unique program. He usually didn't play behind the plate until around St. Patrick's Day.

The Phillies are taking a similar approach with Carlos Ruiz this year. Even though he caught Cole Hamels in Friday's 4-1 loss to the Yankees split-squad at Bright House Field, he's not likely to start at catcher often in the early days of Grapefruit League play.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Price in typical ace form on 'Harvey Day'

Tigers' ace dominates in brief Spring Training debut

Price in typical ace form on 'Harvey Day'

PORT St. LUCIE, Fla. -- It was billed as "Matt Harvey Day" at Tradition Field on Friday, but David Price certainly provided ample fodder as his understudy. The young Mets right-hander came blazing back from an 18-month absence because of Tommy John surgery to retire all six batters he faced.

But Price matched him pitch for pitch in the first inning -- throwing 11 -- nine of them for strikes, freezing lefty-swinging Curtis Granderson with a newly adapted curveball for a called third strike that was as nasty as it looked.

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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.

Minute Maid Park hosts Houston College Classic

Hawaii tops Baylor in Game 1, Texas A&M edges Nebraska in Game 2

HOUSTON -- The tandem of Alex Sawelson and Alan Baldwin was effective for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Friday afternoon. Sawelson singled in Baldwin in the second and fourth innings to lift Hawaii past Baylor, 2-1, in the first game of three-day Houston College Classic at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.

Sawelson's three-hit game was one more hit than Baylor (6-6) collected. The Bears managed a third-inning single from Matt Menard and a sixth-inning double from Adam Toth off four Hawaii pitchers.

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

Keystone quandary: Angels sorting out options

Rutledge, Green, Giavotella, Featherston among second-base candidates

Keystone quandary: Angels sorting out options

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Rutledge and Taylor Featherston got to know each other during a stint in the Rockies' instructional league. Rutledge and Johnny Giavotella faced off in college, Rutledge for the University of Alabama and Giavotella for the University of New Orleans. In the Cape Cod Baseball League one summer, Rutledge became familiar with Grant Green, too.

Now here they are, all of them, alternating time at second base and fighting for their baseball lives at Angels camp.

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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.

Angels may use Ramos as lefty specialist

'Utility pitcher' hopes he won't be inactive for long stretches with new team

Angels may use Ramos as lefty specialist

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When Cesar Ramos was acquired via trade in early November, the Angels made him one promise.

"They told me I'd be pitching," Ramos said, "and that I won't be sitting for 15 days. That's a good start."

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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.

Locke impresses as Sanchez goes deep vs. Yanks

Lefty tosses two scoreless innings; designated hitter, Decker hit homers

Locke impresses as Sanchez goes deep vs. Yanks

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tony Sanchez and Jaff Decker homered on Friday, helping lead the Pirates to a 3-1 victory over the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Sanchez cleared the right field wall in the second inning for a two-run shot off left-hander Chris Capuano. Decker extended the Pirates' lead in the fifth with a no-doubt solo shot to right on the first pitch he saw from right-hander Jose Ramirez.

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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.

Skaggs encouraged by Harvey's strong return

Angels lefty keeping eye on Mets righty and fellow Tommy John rehabber

Skaggs encouraged by Harvey's strong return

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Mets ace Matt Harvey made his first post-Tommy John surgery start on the East Coast on Friday, and Tyler Skaggs was wishing there was a TV in the Angels' clubhouse. Skaggs, the 23-year-old left-hander who will sit out the 2015 season after undergoing his own Tommy John surgery, seeks inspiration from guys like Harvey and Marlins sensation Jose Fernandez.

"I want to see how they do," Skaggs said. "I would like to think that I'd come back stronger, better. I want to see if these guys are going to do that."

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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.

Royals sign veteran Kotchman to Minor League deal

First baseman last played with Marlins in 2013

Royals sign veteran Kotchman to Minor League deal

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Royals on Friday signed 10-year veteran first baseman Casey Kotchman, a left-handed hitter, to a Minor League deal.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore confirmed the deal and said Kotchman would participate in the team's Minor League camp.

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