Rehabbing Tanaka throws off mound

Yankees right-hander had bone spur removed from elbow in October

Rehabbing Tanaka throws off mound

Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow in October, threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since the procedure, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told The Associated Press.

The throwing session took place in New York, according to Rothschild, and Tanaka's rehab is on schedule. The injury dates back to when the 27-year-old pitched in Japan.

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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.

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.

White Sox sign righty Latos to 1-year deal

White Sox sign righty Latos to 1-year deal

CHICAGO -- The White Sox strengthened the back end of their starting rotation by agreeing to a one-year, $3 million deal with right-hander Mat Latos, the club announced on Tuesday.

If the White Sox get the Latos who pitched from 2010-13 with the Padres and Reds, then they might have done more than just strengthen the fourth or fifth starter's spot. Latos posted a 51-35 record with a 3.27 ERA during that four-year-stretch, making at least 31 starts and pitching at least 184 innings in each of those four seasons.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

Spoils of WAR: Donaldson enjoys rapid ascent

Metrics illustrate how late-blooming slugger has joined Hall of Fame company

Spoils of WAR: Donaldson enjoys rapid ascent

Josh Donaldson is once again in the news. The 2015 American League MVP Award winner has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $29 million deal with the Blue Jays, which will effectively buy out his first two years of arbitration. This is a very lucrative deal for someone reaching arbitration for the first time, but Donaldson isn't just any other player. He's been a top-10 MVP finisher three years running, and his unusual career arc makes him arguably the most impressive late-bloomer in baseball history.

There are 24 position players since 1901 who accumulated a WAR of at least 23.0 for their age-27 through age-29 seasons. Of the two dozen, 19 are in the Hall of Fame, with the only exceptions being Barry Bonds and a quartet of active players: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley and Donaldson. This collection of ballplayers -- led by Babe Ruth -- finds Donaldson occupying the 19th slot, in between arguably the game's greatest second baseman, Joe Morgan, and two of its absolute top-of-the-line center fielders, Tris Speaker and Mickey Mantle. For this age, Josh Donaldson rubs shoulders with players like Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron, Duke Snider and Willie Mays, Ty Cobb and Mel Ott.

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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.

Still on the market, Fowler boasts a truly unique skill set

Free-agent OF could be the game's best switch-hitting OBP threat

Still on the market, Fowler boasts a truly unique skill set

The market for free-agent outfielders was particularly loaded this offseason, and as a result, one of the most unique players in the class seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

It's the second week of February, and Dexter Fowler still hasn't found a home. He's 29 years old -- younger than Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon -- and fresh off a season in which he manned center field and batted leadoff for a Cubs team that reached its first postseason in seven years.

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

Four-team field ready to go in Classic qualifier

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

Four-team field ready to go in Classic qualifier

The first leg of the 2017 World Baseball Classic gets underway with the first of four qualifying tournaments starting on Thursday at Blacktown International Sportspark just outside Sydney. 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.

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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.

Puig tops Dodgers' rebound wish list

Ryu, Grandal, Utley, Crawford among others eyeing '16 bouncebacks

Puig tops Dodgers' rebound wish list

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next week. In anticipation, Dodgers.com presents a series of articles previewing preparations for the 2016 season.

The first installment is "On the Rebound," covering players coming off injuries or disappointing 2015 seasons.

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

Source: Change on takeout slide rule is coming

Source: Change on takeout slide rule is coming

Major League Baseball and the Players Association could be coming closer to an agreement on redefining what constitutes a legal slide into second base, a source told MLB.com. Barring unforeseen complications, the changes should be implemented by Opening Day.

The development was first reported by ESPN.

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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

Jim Duquette

Best of the best: Top offseason moves

Braves, Rays and Dodgers just a few to earn A's this winter

Best of the best: Top offseason moves

Of the many deals this offseason, some appear to be shrewder than others. With roughly two weeks to go before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, let's take a look at five moves that I believe stand above the rest.

1. Braves acquire SS Dansby Swanson, RHP Aaron Blair and OF Ender Inciarte from D-backs for RHP Shelby Miller
In dealing Miller to the D-backs, the retooling Braves managed to acquire some major building blocks. Swanson, the first overall pick of the 2015 Draft and the No. 8 prospect in MLB, could be a batting-average and on-base-percentage machine, with solid pop from the shortstop position, perhaps sooner rather than later given his advanced skill set.

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Jim Duquette is a columnist for MLB.com. 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.

Arbitration panel rules $5M salary for Castro

Astros prevail in hearing against veteran catcher

Arbitration panel rules $5M salary for Castro

HOUSTON -- The Astros won their arbitration case against veteran catcher Jason Castro on Tuesday, when a three-person panel determined he will be paid a $5 million salary this year. Castro was seeking $5.25 million.

Castro, who will be a free agent at the end of this season, has emerged as one of the game's top defensive catchers, but he slumped offensively last season and hit .211 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs. He was the starting catcher for a pitching staff that was among the game's best.

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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.

Pillar wants crack at leadoff role

Outfielder makes case for being Blue Jays' tablesetter

Pillar wants crack at leadoff role

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have an opening at the top of their lineup, and Kevin Pillar strongly believes that he is the man for the job.

Pillar made his case to be named the club's leadoff hitter while in Toronto last week to attend an annual event for season-ticket holders. The departure of Ben Revere created a void at the top of the order, and Pillar wants a shot at being named the replacement.

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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.

This #TruckDay montage will have you more excited about packing than ever before

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This #TruckDay montage will have you more excited about packing than ever before

What is your least favorite part about traveling, and why is it packing?

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MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

Ziegler remains baseball's unlikeliest closer

Submariner has 5-year streak of most downward fastball movement

Ziegler remains baseball's unlikeliest closer

When the D-backs signed veteran reliever Tyler Clippard to a two-year deal on Monday, general manager Dave Stewart made it clear that Clippard was brought in to support closer Brad Ziegler, not supplant him. For those of us who like oddities in our world, this is good news: Ziegler will remain baseball's most unexpected closer.

No, really. There's no one working the ninth inning in baseball like Ziegler right now, and there hasn't been for years. In an era where flamethrowers like Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel are lighting up radar guns, Arizona's closer averages 84.6 mph on his primary pitch and has a near pathological aversion to strikeouts, finishing in the bottom 30 (of the 268 pitchers with a minimum 60 innings thrown) in both K/9 (4.76) and K% (13.7).

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Post Cuba: O' Brothers, Where Start Thou?

Yulieski Gurriel said to be MLB-ready; Lourdes a highly regarded prospect

Post Cuba: O' Brothers, Where Start Thou?

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.

Daniel Murphy got into a 'dizzy baseball' contest with Tottenham Hotspur player Eric Dier

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Daniel Murphy got into a 'dizzy baseball' contest with Tottenham Hotspur player Eric Dier

Though soccer players seem to love baseball as much as baseball players love soccer, it's not always easy to switch from playing one sport to the other. Remember when Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart gave batting practice a try?

That's probably why, when Daniel Murphy and Tottenham Hotspur player Eric Dier got together, Murphy made sure they were playing an entirely new game. 

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Bernie Sanders shows off baseball skills

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Bernie Sanders shows off baseball skills

This election year, every candidate will be trying to get your attention with their snazzy campaign ads in which they're acting just like normal people, doing stuff that normal people love. And then, there's this collection of clips released by CCTV, the public-access channel in Burlington, Vt., depicting Vermont Sen. and four-sport star, Bernie Sanders. 

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Source: Donaldson, Blue Jays reach 2-year deal

Source: Donaldson, Blue Jays reach 2-year deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have avoided a potentially contentious arbitration hearing by signing reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson to a two-year contract worth $29 million, a source has told MLB.com.

The agreement was first reported by Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Toronto has yet to comment on the deal, while Donaldson tweeted a rather cryptic message that said, "Mood right now" with a photo of him celebrating after a home run at Rogers Centre.

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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.

Clippard embraces setup role

Newest D-back eager to pitch in 'on any level' team needs

Clippard embraces setup role

PHOENIX -- It may have taken longer than he wanted, but in the end, Tyler Clippard said, he wound up where he wanted to be -- with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The D-backs signed Clippard to a two-year, $12.25 million deal, which 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. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Healthy Stanton, Jose critical to Marlins' success

Healthy Stanton, Jose critical to Marlins' success

MIAMI -- What could have been never materialized for the Marlins in 2015 for a variety of reasons -- ranging from instability on the coaching staff to inconsistencies of the players, along with a slew of injuries. The season never gained traction, and the team dealt with uncertainties after Mike Redmond was replaced as manager in mid-May by Dan Jennings, who had had no previous professional coaching or managing experience.

If Miami is to contend under new manager Don Mattingly, the organization is banking on its talented core staying healthy. There simply isn't enough depth to withstand any significant injuries to key players. Last season, All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon was the only starter from Opening Day to appear in more than 130 games (145).

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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.

Baker recalls lessons from Aaron, Gilliam

Nats' new skipper looks back on mentors during Black History Month

Baker recalls lessons from Aaron, Gilliam

WASHINGTON -- When Nationals manager Dusty Baker looks at the wall in his house in California, he is reminded that black history is celebrated every day, not just during Black History Month in February.

There are photos of former player and coach Jim Gilliam, Baker's former coach with the Dodgers; Hall of Famer Hank Aaron; and former Braves farm director and general manager Bill Lucas and his father, Johnnie B. Baker Sr. Baker said he has been successful for more than 50 years in professional baseball because of those people.

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

Around the Horn: Rotation depth could be key

Halos have 8 big league-caliber starters for 5 spots

Around the Horn: Rotation depth could be key

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Tempe, Ariz., by Feb. 18, it's time to dissect the Angels' 2016 roster. This is the sixth of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backup options heading into the season. Last, but certainly not least: starting pitching. (previously: catcher, corner infield, middle infield, outfield, bullpen)

ANAHEIM -- In an ideal world, the Angels would've used some of their starting-pitching depth to add an impact bat to their unstable lineup. They still might. But with nine days left until Spring Training, they still haven't, because the old baseball axiom, "You can't have too much starting pitching," still holds true, and because the Angels have a lot of uncertainty in their starting rotation.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Internet gets to help Savannah name its new Coastal Plain League team

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The Internet gets to help Savannah name its new Coastal Plain League team

Like the New Britain Rock Cats before them, a new baseball team in Savannah has resorted to crowdsourcing to find its new identity. (The Rock Cats famously asked the Internet for help in rebranding, and subsequently became the Hartford Yard Goats.)

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O's notes: Prospect Harvey among NRIs

O's notes: Prospect Harvey among NRIs

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles announced their non-roster invitees on Monday, and there were some interesting names among the 17 on the list. Chief among them was Hunter Harvey, one of the Orioles' top pitching prospects, whose 2015 season was marred by injury. The organization gave some thought to sending Harvey to Minor League camp, keeping him out of the limelight and getting him back on track, but ultimately decided to extend the invite.

First, it will give some of the Major League staff, including pitching coach Dave Wallace, another look at Harvey. Second, it was good for the youngster to learn the ropes from guys like Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman when he was in big league camp last year. While Harvey's stay may be short, he could also be what manager Buck Showalter calls a JIC (just in case) guy this spring.

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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.

Source: Tigers, J.D. come to 2-year agreement

Contract valued at $18.5M, covers arbitration seasons

Source: Tigers, J.D. come to 2-year agreement

DETROIT -- The Tigers' streak of settling arbitration cases before a hearing rolls on. The team has reached an agreement with outfielder J.D. Martinez on a two-year contract worth $18.5 million, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Monday.

The club has not confirmed the agreement, which is pending a physical. Robert Murray of Baseball Essential first reported the agreement.

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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.

Pollock, D-backs agree on two-year deal

Pollock, D-backs agree on two-year deal

PHOENIX -- The D-backs on Monday reached agreement with outfielder A.J. Pollock on a two-year contract, which avoids a salary arbitration hearing.

The deal is worth $10.25 million, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

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

MLB Showcase puts spotlight on international talent

59 players from 7 countries to participate in 2-day event

MLB Showcase puts spotlight on international talent

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Venezuela's Kevin Maitan, considered by many to be top player available during the upcoming international signing period that starts July 2, is expected to be there.

Outfielder Tirso Ornelas, the best teenage prospect in Mexico, will to be there, too. Right-handed Edisson Gonzalez will take the mound as the best teen pitcher Panama has to offer and outfielder Jeisson Rosario, one of the top outfielders from the Dominican Republic, will roam the grass at Estadio Quisqueya.

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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.

Tigers' Truck Day sparks spring excitement

Tigers' Truck Day sparks spring excitement

DETROIT -- The relatively tepid winter that Michigan has enjoyed gave way to snow showers Tuesday morning to slop up the work commute, providing a backdrop as the Tigers' clubhouse packed up gear bound for Spring Training in Lakeland, Fla.

While the weather was a reminder that winter isn't nearly over yet, Truck Day provided the Tigers' annual sign that baseball season isn't far away.

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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.

Which Yankee would look best with a beard?

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Which Yankee would look best with a beard?

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 New York Yankees.

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

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5 Reds primed for bounce-back seasons

Injuries set back Mesoraco, Bailey, Hamilton and Cozart in 2015

5 Reds primed for bounce-back seasons

Spring Training is just days away, a time when anticipation is at its highest for all baseball fans. This is the first of a series of preview stories that look at the 2016 Reds. In it, we consider players who are on the rebound. Upcoming stories will examine newcomers to the team, prospects who could contribute as well as projected lineups and pitching staff makeup.

CINCINNATI -- When a team wins 98 games, a lot has to go right during a season. For a team that loses 98 games, like the Reds did last season, a whole lot has to go wrong. For Cincinnati, attrition due to injuries took a large toll, but there were some disappointing performances that also contributed.

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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.