Source: O's making progress with Gallardo

Source: O's making progress with Gallardo

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are moving closer to landing the best free-agent starter still available: Yovani Gallardo.

An industry source confirmed to MLB.com Wednesday afternoon that Gallardo and Baltimore were in serious contract discussions on a three-year deal that would give the O's a key rotation piece. Gallardo -- who has been on the Orioles' radar all offseason -- has reportedly dropped his desired contract length with Spring Training approaching, and the O's have ramped up their efforts.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Qualifier Dundee: WBC competition starts tonight

Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa vying for spot in 2017 tournament

Qualifier Dundee: WBC competition starts tonight

The first leg of the 2017 World Baseball Classic gets underway with the first of four qualifying tournaments starting at Blacktown International Sportspark just outside Sydney on Thursday (9 p.m. ET Wednesday). Australia, the favorite, will host New Zealand, the Philippines and South Africa.

The modified double-elimination tournament is scheduled to be played over four days. Sunday's finale, however, will be a winner-take-all game rather than part of the double elimination. The team that wins on the first two days gets an off-day on Saturday. Four of the six games, including the final, will be aired live on MLB Network, and all of the games will stream live on MLB.com and WorldBaseballClassic.com. ESPN Pac-Rim will broadcast games across the Oceania region, and the games will also appear on Solar Sports in the Philippines.

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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.

MLB.com loses beloved reporter Tom Singer

MLB.com loses beloved reporter Tom Singer

With news like this, there is crying in baseball.

Tom Singer, among the first journalists hired at MLB.com, passed away suddenly on Monday at his residence in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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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.

Champs load up truck for trip to spring home

Royals open Cactus League schedule March 2

Champs load up truck for trip to spring home

KANSAS CITY -- Yet another sign that Spring Training is almost here: It was Royals Truck Day at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.

Royals clubhouse personnel packed almost 60,000 pounds worth of bats, balls, luggage, video equipment, medical supplies, strength and training equipment, jackets, pine tar, bubble gum, sunflower seeds and much more into an 18-wheeler headed for Surprise, Ariz., in preparation for the beginning of Spring Training next week.

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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.

Work begins on dirt infield at Rogers Centre

Work begins on dirt infield at Rogers Centre

TORONTO -- Construction has begun, and the Blue Jays are well on their way to having an all-dirt infield installed at Rogers Centre in time for the start of the 2016 season.

The work began Monday morning and will continue until the end of March. That will give the grounds crew a full week to groom, treat and monitor the conditions in preparation for the home opener against Boston on April 8.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Fantasy's top pick: Harper, Trout, Goldy or others?

Fantasy's top pick: Harper, Trout, Goldy or others?

The collective efforts of your rabbit's foot, horseshoe and four-leaf clover have paid off -- you have been tabbed to pick first in your upcoming fantasy draft. But now the real fun begins. Because three players -- Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Paul Goldschmidt -- each present a compelling case to anchor your 2016 squad, the dilemma at the top of the draft is unusually difficult this year. Making the best choice could be the difference between a narrow victory and an agonizing defeat.

Reasons to choose Harper

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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.

The clubs that will dictate the int'l market

Padres, Braves, Nationals, Brewers, Cards, Phils, Rangers most aggressive

The clubs that will dictate the int'l market

The start of the international signing period is months away, but teams have been hard at work scouting prospects across Latin America and the Caribbean since last summer in search of future stars.

The Padres, Braves and Nationals have been very aggressive on the international market, and each team expects to have a solid class of prospects for the next international signing period that starts July 2. Milwaukee, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Texas have also been very busy and expect to sign a good crop of teenagers.

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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.

Cuban phenom Lazarito nearing decision

9 teams show strong interest in 16-year-old outfielder

Cuban phenom Lazarito nearing decision

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Lazaro "Lazarito" Armenteros, one of the most dynamic young talents to come out of Cuba in recent memory, is close to deciding on his future.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound outfielder is expected to make a decision on where he will sign Wednesday, about one month after Major League Baseball declared him a free agent.

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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.

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.

Homers' odyssey: Statcast explains epic blasts

These balls managed to leave the yard despite having a high or low launch angle

Homers' odyssey: Statcast explains epic blasts

To hit a home run, a batter must accomplish two main goals.

First, he has to hit the ball hard. Or, in the parlance of Statcast™, he has to generate a high exit velocity. The second piece of the puzzle is perhaps less sexy but, as we have learned, no less important. The batter also must strike the pitch at the proper angle.

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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

Phil Rogers

5 reasons you can't count out the Pirates

Despite big offseason moves by NL Central rivals, Bucs still very much in mix

5 reasons you can't count out the Pirates

Quickly. Who are the two best teams in the National League?

The three best? The four best?

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

White Sox remodel in big way this offseason

Frazier, Lawrie headline GM Hahn's roster moves

White Sox remodel in big way this offseason

CHICAGO -- The White Sox revamping process moved into Year 3 this offseason via the significant additions made by general manager Rick Hahn.

The second part of a seven-part Spring Training preview takes a look at these important new White Sox players:

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gattis' surgery frees up spring at-bats for others

Duffy, White, Reed and Moran among candidates to get more opportunities at camp

Gattis' surgery frees up spring at-bats for others

HOUSTON -- The loss of designated hitter Evan Gattis, perhaps until the start of the regular season or beyond following surgery to repair a sports hernia, will free up some at-bats this spring. 

The Astros will get a better gauge on up-and-comers like Matt Duffy, Tyler White, A.J. Reed and Colin Moran.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Closer Chapman headlines group of newcomers for Yanks

Castro, Hicks, Yates also among fresh faces in New York

Closer Chapman headlines group of newcomers for Yanks

The countdown to Feb. 18, the official report date of 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 second installment of our Spring Training preview package, "The New Guys," MLB.com will take a quick glance at some of the players who will be showing up to try on their pinstripes for the first time.

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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.

Donaldson, Blue Jays finalize 2-year deal

Donaldson, Blue Jays finalize 2-year deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were not going to downplay the accomplishments of Josh Donaldson, but now that the arbitration process has been avoided, the risk of upsetting their star player is no longer a concern.

Toronto officially signed the reigning American League MVP Award winner to a two-year contract worth $28.65 million on Wednesday. Donaldson is set to make $11.65 million in 2016 and $17 million in '17, then he will have one final year of arbitration in '18.

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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.

Out to repeat, Royals improve rotation, 'pen

Kennedy, Soria among GM Moore's key moves

Out to repeat, Royals improve rotation, 'pen

KANSAS CITY -- As we gear up for the beginning of Spring Training, we continue our series of previews with Part II: The New Guys.

The Royals certainly didn't get crazy with offseason free-agent signings. Royals general manager Dayton Moore maintains it is a flawed way of building a roster. But their primary focus was on retaining two key pieces to their 2015 championship run -- left fielder Alex Gordon and right-hander Chris Young -- while strengthening the bullpen and the rotation.

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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.

Tigers hope new faces help them return to postseason

Upton, Zimmermann, K-Rod among additions for Detroit

Tigers hope new faces help them return to postseason

DETROIT -- The Tigers head to Spring Training with more prominent new faces than they've brought in over any offseason since 2009, the year after their previous last-place finish. GM Al Avila was part of that offseason, serving as then-general manager Dave Dombrowski's top assistant. This offseason was different.

With a heavy payroll and a difficult economy, the big names acquired that 2008-09 offseason were Edwin Jackson, Gerald Laird, Brandon Lyon and Adam Everett, all brought in on short-term deals. This offseason, the names range from All-Stars like Justin Upton, Jordan Zimmermann and Francisco Rodriguez, to role players Mike Aviles and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring's in the air as Truck Day arrives in Pittsburgh

Spring's in the air as Truck Day arrives in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Snow covered the field at PNC Park early Wednesday morning as winter weather finally settled in along the Allegheny River. But down the dugout stairs, in the tunnel underneath the stands, was one of the first signs of spring.

Wednesday was "Truck Day" for the Pirates. Clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett and his staff packed up a moving truck and sent it on its way to Bradenton, Fla., where the Pirates will begin Spring Training next week. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to work out on Feb. 19, and the first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 23.

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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.

Belt agrees to one-year deal with Giants

Slugging first baseman avoids arbitration

Belt agrees to one-year deal with Giants

The Giants and Brandon Belt have agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, a source told MLB.com on Wednesday. 

MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported the terms to be $6.2 million.

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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.

Around the Horn: Starting rotation

Tanaka, Pineda and Eovaldi will lead fragile but potentially effective unit

Around the Horn: Starting rotation

With the start of Spring Training almost here, anticipation is building for the 2016 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, continuing this week with the starting rotation.

The Yankees never tried to keep their offseason plan a secret, sending smoke signals that they were ready and willing to make a deal that would upgrade their fragile starting rotation.

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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.

Twins add pop, defense with offseason moves

Club hoping Park's power translates to Majors

Twins add pop, defense with offseason moves

MINNEAPOLIS -- After taking a look at players on the rebound in the first part of the Spring Training preview for the Twins, it's time to shift gears and focus on the offseason additions.

The Twins were active early, signing Korean slugger Byung Ho Park and trading Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy, but have made only a series of minor moves since then.

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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.

Axford, Madson lead A's effort to bolster bullpen

Improving relief, starting pitching emphasis of Oakland offseason

Axford, Madson lead A's effort to bolster bullpen

OAKLAND -- True to their typical offseason ways, the A's remained active all winter in an effort to revamp a roster that won only 68 games in a last-place 2015 season.

Specifically, the A's overhauled their bullpen, choosing to spend much of their available resources on proven relief arms to flank closer Sean Doolittle and support their potentially sound rotation.

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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.

Funeral arrangements announced for Stowe

Visitation Sunday, funeral Monday for longtime clubhouse manager

Funeral arrangements announced for Stowe

CINCINNATI -- Funeral arrangements have been set for longtime Reds clubhouse manager Bernie Stowe, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 80.

Visitation for Stowe will be from 3-7 p.m. ET on Sunday, at the Schaeper Center in Elder High School on 4005 Glenway Ave. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. ET on Monday at the Holy Family Church, on 3006 West 8th St.

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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.

O's sign Thayer to Minor League deal

O's sign Thayer to Minor League deal

Reliever Dale Thayer signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Baltimore's Spring Training camp on Wednesday, and the 35-year-old right-hander will be trying to rebound from a season in which he posted a 4.06 ERA for San Diego.

Thayer has pitched to an 11-17 record and a 3.47 ERA in 264 big league appearances, and he had a three-season run of effectiveness for the Padres. Thayer went 9-12 with a 3.02 ERA in 203 games for San Diego from 2012-14 before struggling last season.

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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.

Trumbo to be among new faces at O's camp

Slugging outfielder/DH to be joined by Kim, Pena and others

Trumbo to be among new faces at O's camp

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' biggest move of the offseason wasn't adding a new face, as the organization signed first baseman Chris Davis to a record seven-year, $161 million deal to keep him in Baltimore. The O's also were able to retain free agents Matt Wieters and Darren O'Day, moves that have dominated -- along with Davis --  the team's headlines.

But there will be some new faces in Sarasota, Fla., over the next few weeks, hoping to make their mark and win an Opening Day roster spot. In continuation of MLB.com's Spring Training preview, let's take a closer look at some of the new guys:

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oh gets work visa; expected to report on time

Longtime closer in Korea, Japan will serve as Cardinals' setup man in 2016

Oh gets work visa; expected to report on time

ST. LOUIS -- Seung Hwan Oh, the South Korean reliever signed by the Cardinals last month, has received his work visa and is expected to report on Jupiter, Fla., on time for the start of Cardinals Spring Training.

Recent reports out of Oh's home country speculated that the 33-year-old may be delayed from traveling to the U.S. because of an extended visa application process. But he had his interview with South Korean officials late last week, and he has now received the necessary paperwork to travel.

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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, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Several new faces for Rays in Spring Training

Dickerson, Pearce and Conger among Tampa Bay's notable offseason additions

Several new faces for Rays in Spring Training

ST. PETERSBURG -- Checking out the new faces in camp is always a big part of the fun of Spring Training. Luckily, the Rays have plenty of offseason additions to get to know over the next two months, each of them looking for a chance to play a significant role for the team in 2015.

Here's a look at some of the new players fans will be able to watch once camp opens in Port Charlotte, Fla.:

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

Price, Kimbrel headline new Red Sox

Elias, Smith and Young round out list of offseason additions

Price, Kimbrel headline new Red Sox

As MLB.com's Spring Training primer continues, it's time to introduce all the new faces on the Red Sox. After a highly productive offseason by president of operations Dave Dombrowski, there are plenty of reasons to be excited.

The pitching staff has a new ace, a new closer and a new setup man. The bench has a new power bat.

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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.

Happ highlights Blue Jays' newcomers in 2016

Left-handed starter acquired to bolster Toronto's rotation

Happ highlights Blue Jays' newcomers in 2016

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays entered the offseason knowing they would retain one of the best lineups in baseball, but there were plenty of question marks about whether there will be enough pitching to repeat as American League East champions.

No. 1 starter David Price is gone, but his departure created just one of several holes on the pitching staff that needed to be filled. The club had to get better not only in the starting rotation, but also in the bullpen. After several moves, the Blue Jays feel the mission was accomplished.

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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.

Phils acquire Featherston from Halos for infield depth

Phils acquire Featherston from Halos for infield depth

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies added some infield depth to their system on Wednesday by acquiring Taylor Featherston from the Angels for a player to be named or cash.

Featherston, 26, hit .162 with a .459 OPS in 169 plate appearances last season. The Angels selected him from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft in 2014, and Featherston remained on the 25-man roster the entire season, despite his lack of production at the plate.

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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.