Gurriel brothers, top Cuban players, defect

Yulieski said to be Major League-ready; Lourdes a highly regarded prospect

Gurriel brothers, top Cuban players, defect

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Two top players from the most famous baseball family in Cuba are not expected to return to the island.

Brothers Lourdes Gurriel Jr., 22, and Yulieski Gurriel, 31, defected from Cuba's Ciego de Avila team following the Caribbean Series that concluded Sunday in order to seek contracts with Major League teams, according to sources. Lourdes is considered the top prospect in Cuba while his brother is considered the country's best player.

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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.

D-backs sign reliever Clippard to 2-year deal

Right-hander has 2.88 ERA, 53 saves in big league career

D-backs sign reliever Clippard to 2-year deal

PHOENIX -- A baseball source said that the D-backs have officially reached an agreement with free-agent reliever Tyler Clippard on a two-year contract. The club has not confirmed the move, but an announcement is expected later today.

According to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal, the deal is worth $12.25 million and includes a $4 million signing bonus, a $4.1 million salary this year and a $4.15 million salary in 2017.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baseball's on deck: Prepare to pick now!

Supporting cast helps boost Harper past Trout for top spot

Baseball's on deck: Prepare to pick now!

We're roughly two months away from Opening Day, when hope will spring anew at a ballpark near you.

Are you ready to swap sweater weather for fitted hats and baseball stats? If so, we have just what you need. Welcome to MLB.com's Fantasy Player Preview, your one-stop information shop for the upcoming campaign.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

5 players primed for Manning-esque 'last rodeo'

5 players primed for Manning-esque 'last rodeo'

Surrounded by his comrades and confetti, Peyton Manning didn't explicitly say he was retiring after his Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night. But in saying the win was a great way "to cap it off," he certainly hinted that this was his goodbye to the game -- and what a way to go.

Whether any baseball player will make a similarly enchanted exit in 2016 is a matter as-yet-undecided -- not just by the baseball fates, but also in most cases by the players themselves. But here are five who are possibly in position to achieve the ultimate walk-off win.

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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.

Road to World Baseball Classic starts Down Under

First qualifier for 2017 tournament set for Thursday in Australia

Road to World Baseball Classic starts Down Under

First, it'll be Sydney. Soon enough, it'll be the World.

Baseball's ultimate international tournament is still more than a year away, with the fourth World Baseball Classic slated for 2017. There's a lot to look forward to, including rosters packed with Major League talent.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

5 potential impact arms in wild NL West

5 potential impact arms in wild NL West

Remodeled pitching staffs make the National League West one of the most unpredictable and fascinating of the six divisions as Spring Training approaches. Any number of arms could prove pivotal in a lively race. Here are five to watch:

1. Kenta Maeda, Dodgers

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Lyle Spencer is a columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reports: Veteran outfielder Young arrested

Free-agent outfielder Delmon Young was arrested Sunday night in Miami and charged with battery after he allegedly choked and threatened a valet attendant, according to multiple reports.

A police report said that Young grabbed the attendant by the neck and began to choke him after the attendant did not allow Young to enter a nightclub at the Viceroy Hotel. Young also directed racial slurs towards the attendant and law enforcement, according to the police report.

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

Mexico's walk-off HR wins Caribbean Series

Mazatlan defeats Venezuela to give nation third title in four years

Mexico's walk-off HR wins Caribbean Series

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- The rhythmic chants began before the first pitch at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal.

"Meh-he-co, Meh-he-co, Meh-he-co."

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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.

Roberts: Reflecting on Jackie's influence

Roberts: Reflecting on Jackie's influence

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are the groundbreaking franchise of Jackie Robinson. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me, as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career, and there is plenty of unfinished business left in L.A.

Observing Black History Month is important for baseball. For me, I became aware of Jackie Robinson right around age 15-16. My father is African-American. He told me as I was getting further along in my athletic career, he kind of educated me about Jackie and his story. So as I got older and more educated and wiser, just kind of digging more into his story, and I ultimately went to UCLA, and so I played at Jackie Robinson Field. So just seeing that really resonated with me and what an impact Jackie made on society and what a leader he was.

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Dave Roberts is the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Finding a common thread among MLB's best teams

Top 5 clubs show player development, smart talent assessment can be key

Finding a common thread among MLB's best teams

Baseball people spend a lot of time thinking about successful organizations. Specifically, is there a common thread running through them? Can success be traced back to spending, drafting, managing or some combination of everything?

With that in mind, let's look at baseball's winningest regular-season teams the past three seasons:

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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.

Week Ahead: Teams prep for Spring Training

Sydney to host World Baseball Classic qualifier; free agents still remain

Week Ahead: Teams prep for Spring Training

The roar of dust and diesel kicks up as football is left in the national sports rearview mirror. Pitchers and catchers are straight ahead, with nothing blocking the roads to get there.

That's what's on tap for the week ahead in Major League Baseball: big rigs following a wonderful procession, carrying the precious gear and belongings of the 30 teams of the American League and the National League all the way to their spring homes in Arizona and Florida.

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

Indians sign Stammen to Minor League deal

Right-hander joins competition for spot in bullpen

Indians sign Stammen to Minor League deal

CLEVELAND -- After spending his entire career with the Nationals, reliever Craig Stammen is starting a new chapter with the Tribe.

The Indians finalized a Minor League contract on Monday with Stammen, who also received an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club. The veteran right-hander will go into camp with a chance at cracking Cleveland's bullpen, which has a handful of vacancies and a long list of competitors.

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

A's Gray stars in Super Bowl ad with zombies

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A's Gray stars in Super Bowl ad with zombies

Starring in a commercial is pretty cool. But what's cooler? If that commercial airs during the Super Bowl. And what's coolest? If that commercial airs during the Super Bowl and also has zombies in it. Sonny Gray, during Sunday's Super Bowl 50 XFINITY commercial, was the coolest.

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Don't worry, Panthers, the Mets and Royals want you to know that they've been there

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Don't worry, Panthers, the Mets and Royals want you to know that they've been there

After months of ups, downs and working hard to achieve the ultimate goal, losing in a championship game is hard to shake. The Carolina Panthers know this better than anyone -- they went 15-1 in the regular season and blitzed through the playoffs, only to fall just short in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday.

Alas, being a professional athlete who's lost the biggest game of his career isn't exactly a relatable experience. Without anybody to talk to, how will Cam Newton and Co. find closure and move on? Please step in, Dr. Bartolo will see you now.

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Red Sox counting on rebounds from several players

Red Sox counting on rebounds from several players

MLB.com is providing a multipart Spring Training primer over the next few days that will bring you up to speed on all the key issues as the Red Sox try to bounce back from consecutive last-place finishes.

Fittingly, the first segment features the players who are on a mission to have a rebound season.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers on the rebound entering camp

Darvish, Hamilton and Holland among players recovering from injury

Rangers on the rebound entering camp

ARLINGTON -- The time has come to begin the final countdown to Spring Training as Rangers pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 19.

The usual storylines are in play going into camp concerning position battles, top prospects, new players and those on the rebound. The last one is always crucial for a team as internal improvements have the potential of having the biggest impact.

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

New Orleans set to host third Urban Invitational

New Orleans set to host third Urban Invitational

The Crescent City will again take center stage in Major League Baseball's annual effort to highlight baseball in the inner city. The Urban Invitational is headed back to New Orleans for the third straight season, and it will feature a few youth events as well as six colleges playing at two sites.

The University of New Orleans and the Urban Youth Academy in Pontchartrain Park will serve as the hosts for this year's tourney, which will take place Feb. 19-21. Southern University returns for the ninth straight season, and rival Grambling State will be featured for the fifth time.

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

Enjoy these 10 surprising tales of player-managers who dazzled on the field and in the dugout

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Enjoy these 10 surprising tales of player-managers who dazzled on the field and in the dugout

Winning an MVP is one thing, but doing it while also juggling managerial duties is a different beast entirely. While it's no longer en vogue (much to the chagrin of Jimmy Rollins ), player-managers used to be all the rage (are the kids still saying "all the rage?") in Major League Baseball.

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10 days until Spring Training: Get your very own Marcus Stroman motivational quote

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10 days until Spring Training: Get your very own Marcus Stroman motivational quote

Spring Training is less than a month away! Let us keep you company until the first pitcher-and-catcher workouts on Feb. 18 with a team-by-team countdown of reasons to get excited for the 2016 MLB season. Today: The Toronto Blue Jays.

Previously: PHI | OAK | ATL | DET | CIN | SEA | COL | CWS | MIL | BOS | TB | ARI | MIA | BAL | SD | MIN | SF | CLE | PIT  | LAA

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Yankees counting on return to form for several

Castro, Ellsbury among group of players who could improve in 2016

Yankees counting on return to form for several

The countdown for the official report date of Yankees pitchers and catchers to Tampa, Fla., is ticking down -- it's Feb. 18, if you don't already have it circled on your calendar -- and anticipation is kicking into high gear for the upcoming season.

In the first installment of our Spring Training preview package, "On the Rebound," MLB.com will take a look at the Yankees players who are coming into camp eyeing bounce-back campaigns for one reason or another.

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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.

Duvall in mix for vacant LF spot

Slugger working to cut down K's, improve defense

Duvall in mix for vacant LF spot

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Throughout his career in the Minor Leagues, Adam Duvall has demonstrated he has power that can clear the fences. If Duvall can prove able to do that in the Major Leagues for the Reds on a consistent basis in 2016, he could emerge as their regular left fielder.

Duvall, 27, came from the Giants in the Trade Deadline deal for pitcher Mike Leake. This spring, he is part of a large pool of candidates seeking either the vacant starting spot in left field or a place on the bench.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners looking for rebound seasons from 7

Mariners looking for rebound seasons from 7

SEATTLE -- As the countdown begins to the start of Spring Training, it's time to zero in on what to expect when the Mariners gather in Peoria, Ariz., for the first time under manager Scott Servais. We'll look at all the moves made by new general manager Jerry Dipoto and what to expect when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 19.

In the coming days, we'll have a seven-part series looking at everything from players on the rebound, new guys in camp, prospects to watch, projected lineups, the three biggest questions facing the club this spring, key dates and things to look for and finally the scene in Peoria as players gather for the first workout.

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

Around the Horn: First base

Bour likely to take everyday role, with Johnson as primary backup

Around the Horn: First base

Marlins pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 19 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Full-squad workouts get underway on Feb. 24. As the workout dates approach, MLB.com takes a position-by-position look at the 2016 Marlins. The latest installment: First base.

MIAMI -- When the Marlins signed Michael Morse to a two-year contract prior to the 2015 season, Justin Bour had a pretty good idea he would open last year at Triple-A New Orleans. That's how it played out initially, but by midseason, roles had changed.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Comeback year for Saunders crucial for Blue Jays

Toronto needs bounce-back seasons from several as it attempts to defend AL East title

Comeback year for Saunders crucial for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The official start of Spring Training is almost here. Now it's time to start taking a closer look at the Blue Jays' roster in preparation for Feb. 22, when pitchers and catchers go through their first workout.

Toronto will have approximately six weeks to get ready for the start of the season as the club attempts to defend its American League East title. It won't be easy, but the task will become a bit more manageable if several players on the roster bounce back from disappointing 2015 seasons.

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

Baseball legends influenced D-backs VP Watson

Baseball legends influenced D-backs VP Watson

De Jon Watson is entering his second season as the D-backs' senior vice president of baseball operations and his 31st in professional baseball. Before joining the D-backs, Watson spent eight seasons with the Dodgers, where he rose to vice president of player development. He played in the Minor Leagues for five seasons before transitioning into a front-office role.

So many different people have impacted me in this game. I had the luxury of working in Los Angeles for a few years, being exposed to the Dodgers and their history.

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Five Royals poised for bounceback 2016 seasons

Five Royals poised for bounceback 2016 seasons

KANSAS CITY -- It's almost time for pitchers and catchers to report (Feb. 18). To get Royals fans into the spirit, we start our Spring Training preview series.

Today's first installment is called "On the Rebound," and it examines those Royals who will be looking to bounce back from disappointing or injury-filled seasons. Of course, when you're the World Series champs, it's not a long list.

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

Dizzy and Daffy Dean's shoes made sure everyone knew which brother was which

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Dizzy and Daffy Dean's shoes made sure everyone knew which brother was which

Dizzy and Daffy Dean were not twins. Dizzy was two years older and began his career four years before his brother. They didn't even look that similar -- the eldest Dean with a slightly rounder face than his brother, Daffy with a more prominent chin. It wouldn't be impossible to keep the two straight, in other words.

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MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

Step into spring: 11 storylines to follow

New managers and top prospects promise plenty of intrigue

Step into spring: 11 storylines to follow

The final whistle at the Super Bowl is also the beginning of the final countdown toward Spring Training. In fact, now that football season is over, there are just 11 days until camps open across Florida and Arizona.

With that in mind, here are 11 storylines to follow during Spring Training:

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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

Roger Schlueter

50 ways to plan for a super MLB season

50 ways to plan for a super MLB season

With a tip of the cap to Super Bowl 50, here's a checklist of 50 things to ponder, plan for, debate, celebrate and track during the 2016 baseball season. Some are on the calendar, some are almost givens, and others hopefully offer a reasonable balance between heart and head. But if any day is about high expectations and hype, it's this one. So on with the show.

Expectations

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Roger Schlueter is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.