MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Bo knows brief baseball career, but has lasting legacy

Bo knows brief baseball career, but has lasting legacy

It was a festive Sunday at Angel Stadium, a celebrity softball game unfolding as part of the 2010 All-Star Game activities. In conversation were Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and Bo Jackson, the two-sport legend who could have been an all-time great outfielder if his career hadn't been cut short by a devastating football injury at age 28.

Henderson was telling Jackson how, as a kid in Oakland, his dream was to be a running back like his hero, Walter Payton.

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

Which prospects will make the Top 100 cut?

Buxton looking to defend No. 1 slot with 2015 rankings set to be unveiled

Which prospects will make the Top 100 cut?

After an offseason filled with transactions and intrigue, Spring Training is fast approaching. That means it's time for the unveiling of the latest MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

The annual ranking of the Top 100 prospects in baseball will be revealed Friday during a one-hour special on MLB Network and MLB.com beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The show, hosted by Greg Amsinger, will feature analysis from MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, as well as MLB Network analyst Bill Ripken.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Red Sox don't need true 'ace' at this point

In age of proactive bullpens and parity, going after starter might not be necessary

Red Sox don't need true 'ace' at this point

The absolute worst people to ask if the Red Sox need an ace are those already in Boston's rotation, biased beings that they are.

But, hey, it's good Hot Stove fodder to ask them what they think. So, in addition to general manager Ben Cherington's upbeat talk of "untapped potential" in Boston's rotation, we've seen plenty of pooh-poohing of the "Boston needs an ace" topic from members of the Clay Buchholz-Rick Porcello-Justin Masterson-Wade Miley-Joe Kelly fivesome this winter.

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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.

Legion of Boom welcomes Cruz to Seattle

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Legion of Boom welcomes Cruz to Seattle

As we approach Super Bowl XLIX, we remember the moments when a few members of the Patriots and Seahawks osmosed through the cross-sports membrane and found themselves in the world of MLB. Today: when the Legion of Boom welcomed Nelson Cruz into their ranks.

Shortly after the Mariners signed Nelson Cruz in December, he was welcomed into the ranks of the Seahawks' Legion of Boom. But that doesn't mean that just anyone can hang out with Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Just take a look at Cruz's application. 

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Veteran scout says Tom Brady had MLB tools

Patriots QB was drafted by the Expos in 1995 but opted to play college football

Veteran scout says Tom Brady had MLB tools

MIAMI -- A victory on Sunday would further cement Tom Brady's place among the National Football League's all-time greats. Already, the New England Patriots superstar stands alone as the only quarterback to guide his team to six Super Bowls, and he is aiming at joining legendary QBs Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana as the only four-time winners.

As Brady continues to build on his football legacy, there are some in the baseball world who wonder what might have happened if the 37-year-old had made a different career choice.

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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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2015 Prospect Watch: Top 10 outfielders

Twins' Buxton leads list again, followed by Pederson (Dodgers), Soler (Cubs), Winker (Reds)

2015 Prospect Watch: Top 10 outfielders

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top 10 outfielders list annually has some of the most athletic and exciting prospects in the Minor Leagues, and this year is no different. Though half of the players on last year's preseason list lost their rookie eligibility in 2014, the other half returns, led by last year's No. 1 overall prospect, Byron Buxton.

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

Penalties could keep Dodgers out of Moncada bidding

In addition to financial consequences, club would have future signing restrictions

Penalties could keep Dodgers out of Moncada bidding

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers' desire to sign Cuban free agent Yoan Moncada has been tempered by the weighty penalties that would be levied against the club if it does.

Scouts came away from private workouts comparing the 19-year-old Moncada to a young Robinson Cano, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

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

Hicks knows Seahawks' Wilson is a winner

Mariners catcher grew up and played baseball with star quarterback

Hicks knows Seahawks' Wilson is a winner

SEATTLE -- In the National Football League, Russell Wilson is the little guy doing huge things as quarterback of the Seahawks. But Mariners catcher John Hicks remembers Wilson in a different way.

To Hicks, Wilson was the big guy on their youth baseball team when they were 13 and 14 years old growing up in Richmond, Va. And he stands just as big in Hicks' eyes now, even as a 5-foot-11 quarterback.

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

Hosmer looks back on Royals' 'incredible ride'

First baseman excited for upcoming season after club's successful '14

Hosmer looks back on Royals' 'incredible ride'

Watching the Royals sweep their way through the early part of the postseason and into the World Series, it was apparent just how much the club's run energized the organization and Kansas City itself. After getting over the disappointment of the Royals' Game 7 loss to the Giants in the Fall Classic, first baseman Eric Hosmer said he's taken time to appreciate all he and his teammates accomplished in October.

"It was an incredible ride. It really was. To sweep through the American League, that's absolutely insane in itself," Hosmer said Thursday during a phone interview on MLB Network's Hot Stove. "It was an exciting World Series. Obviously the outcome didn't come out the way we wanted it to, but it was a great ride.

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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.

Recovering Hurdle keeps inspiration coming

Manager, who had double hip replacement, emails positive message to 2,500 each day

Recovering Hurdle keeps inspiration coming

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Each morning Clint Hurdle sits down behind his laptop, takes a deep breath and writes a message. Releasing an appreciative smile, he punches SEND, and the epistle is on its way to scores of recipients.

This isn't about baseball or the Pirates or the rugged National League Central Division.

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Hal Bodley is a senior correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Biggio thinking of ill friend during HOF process

Longtime equipment manager Liborio dealing with Alzheimer's

Biggio thinking of ill friend during HOF process

HOUSTON -- A young Craig Biggio burst into the Major League clubhouse at Spring Training for the first time in his career in 1988 in search of Astros coach Yogi Berra. Before he could get too far, a gruff voice with a thick New England accent stopped Biggio in his tracks by asking, "Who the [heck] are you?"

That was the beginning of a nearly 30-year-long friendship between Biggio and longtime equipment manager Dennis Liborio, who retired following the 2011 season due to health concerns. Biggio said Liborio is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and he laments his friend won't be there to see him get inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 26.

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

Ichiro 'humbled' by Marlins' efforts

All-Star introduced by team executives in his native Japan

Ichiro 'humbled' by Marlins' efforts

TOKYO -- The Miami Marlins made quite an impressive splash in Japan.

A standing-room-only crowd of reporters and photographers packed a hotel ballroom in Tokyo to watch the Marlins officially introduce national icon Ichiro Suzuki as their newest outfielder. Five club executives -- including president David Samson, president of baseball operations Michael Hill and general manager Dan Jennings -- flew 18 hours from Miami for the one-hour news conference. 

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

Marlins go the extra mile to introduce Ichiro

Samson leads contingent on 18-hour journey to Japan

Marlins go the extra mile to introduce Ichiro

MIAMI -- The Marlins went the extra mile to make a strong first impression on their latest acquisition, with five team executives traveling 18 hours by plane to Japan to properly welcome Ichiro Suzuki into their family.

To the organization, the long flight showed its commitment to a veteran with Hall of Fame credentials. To the 41-year-old Ichiro, the gesture was both humbling and energizing as he prepares for the next chapter of his brilliant big league career.

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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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Free agent Beachy to decide on team closer to camp

Former Braves righty 'getting stronger' while he rehabs from Tommy John surgery

Free agent Beachy to decide on team closer to camp

While Brandon Beachy is reportedly "getting stronger" coming off a second Tommy John surgery, his agent told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that the free-agent right-hander intends to wait until closer to Spring Training to make a decision about signing with a club.

"Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time," Beachy's agent, Rob Martin, told Rosenthal. "With each day his arm is getting stronger and he's feeling even more confident about his progress. Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to Spring Training."

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

Listen to Ernie Banks' disco single, 'Teamwork'

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Listen to Ernie Banks' disco single, 'Teamwork'

It probably won't surprise you to learn that many baseball stars have released novelty singles. There's Terry Forster's "Fat is In." The 1990 Reds recorded "Reds Hot." The '86 Mets traded rap verses on "Get Metsmerized." 

What you may find shocking is that the late, great Ernie Banks released one, too. Except he did it in his own style -- with a disco paen to the idea of teamwork. 

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Ichiro first player from Japan to suit up for Marlins

Ichiro first player from Japan to suit up for Marlins

TOKYO -- Now that the Miami Marlins have signed Ichiro Suzuki, the Cincinnati Reds are the only team in Major League Baseball for which a Japanese player has never appeared.

The Reds were the first team to gain a player from Japan through the posting system after it was created in December 1998. The player from Japan that Cincinnati outbid all other teams for in the secret bidding process was a Dominican. Pitcher Alejandro Quezada belonged to the Hiroshima Carp when they posted him before the 1999 season.

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

Around the Horn: Corner infield

Familiar tandem of Pujols, Freese aims to build off last season for Angels

Around the Horn: Corner infield

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Tempe, Ariz., by Feb. 19, it's time to dissect the Angels' 2015 roster. This is the third of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at projected starters and backup options heading into the season. Next up: Corner infield. (previously: middle infield, catcher)

ANAHEIM -- The Angels know Albert Pujols and David Freese will play the corners in 2015, marking the fourth time in the last six years they've shared the same infield (twice in St. Louis, twice in Anaheim).

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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.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Dear Fans:

On the night of August 14, 2014, I left a Baltimore hotel after being elected Commissioner of Baseball. As I began to reply to the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages coming in, it hit me that I'd just been entrusted to protect the integrity of our National Pastime and to set a course that allows this great game to continue to flourish -- now and in the years to come. Needless to say, I was deeply honored by the trust the owners placed in me.

Today is my first day as Commissioner, and I am incredibly excited to get to work. I am grateful to Commissioner Selig for his expertise and friendship. His leadership set a direction that led to historic success.  

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Kenny Lofton's favorite player: Lorenzo Cain

Kenny Lofton's favorite player: Lorenzo Cain

Kenny Lofton roamed center field for 17 Major League seasons, using his dynamic speed to track down numerous fly balls.

As a standout defender, Lofton is partial to those who share similar abilities. At the top of that list is Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who is Lofton's favorite current Major Leaguer.

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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.

Ervin turns rough patch into learning experience

After slow start to '14, outfielder remains one of Reds' top hitting prospects

Ervin turns rough patch into learning experience

CINCINNATI -- During the 2014 season with Class A Dayton, Reds outfield prospect Phil Ervin went through an extended funk at the plate for the first time in his brief professional career. How Ervin reacted to it proved to be one of the most significant learning experiences he's had.

Ervin, 22, batted .237/.305/.376 with seven home runs and 68 RBIs in 132 games. Over 561 plate appearances, he walked 46 times while accumulating 110 strikeouts.

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

My Favorite Player

My Favorite Player

Baseball players are fans, just like the rest of us. Who do they love to watch? Former Major Leaguers weigh in, with new opinions added all the time.

Kenny Lofton
Lorenzo Cain
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Mets set at second base, but shortstop's another story

Murphy remains entrenched, while Flores gets chance as prospects wait in wings

Mets set at second base, but shortstop's another story

With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Port St. Lucie, Fla., by Feb. 19, it's time to continue dissecting the Mets' 2015 roster. This is the fourth of a six-part Around the Horn series taking a position-by-position look at the projected starters and backups heading into the season. Next up: middle infielders.

NEW YORK -- Despite countless rumors to the contrary, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spent most of this offseason downplaying the possibility that his team would acquire a shiny new shortstop. All along, Alderson said that Wilmer Flores was the most likely man to start at that position for the Mets.

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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.

Minaya joins Players Association to be advisor

Former GM leaves Padres after three years as senior advisor

Minaya joins Players Association to be advisor

Omar Minaya was hired by the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday to be senior advisor to executive director Tony Clark.

The 56-year-old Minaya has more than 30 years of off-the-field experience in baseball, with the past three as a senior advisor in baseball operations for the Padres.

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

Fuld determined not to let diabetes hamper him, others

Outfielder hosting fourth annual sports camp, where he helps kids with illness and their parents

Fuld determined not to let diabetes hamper him, others

A 12-year-old Sam Fuld, still coming to terms with the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis he received two years earlier, took the field during batting practice at Fenway Park for a meeting with Tigers pitcher Bill Gullickson. A diabetic himself, Gullickson had just two minutes for Fuld, who has since lived out every word he heard during those 120 seconds.

"That's all it took," said Fuld, now 33 and entering his eighth big league season, after attending Stanford University. "I was already a pretty dedicated and inspired kid, but I think that was the extra boost for me. It really sort of set the stage for how I handle things now as a professional diabetic athlete. I like to remember how much of an impact that short experience had on me, and I try to remember that when I'm working with other kids."

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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.

In joining Marlins, Ichiro dons familiar No. 51

Veteran outfielder had worn No. 31 with Yankees

In joining Marlins, Ichiro dons familiar No. 51

TOKYO -- Uniform numbers are revered more in Japan than America. That's probably explained in part by the culture of free agency and trades in the United States decreasing the chances that a player will be identified by one number for his entire career.

The most anticipated moment of the news conference announcing Ichiro Suzuki's signing with the Marlins on Wednesday night ET was the return of his iconic No. 51 to his uniform.

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

Randy Johnson watches Randy Johnson play golf

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Randy Johnson watches Randy Johnson play golf

Randy Johnson was playing in the WM Phoenix Open Pro-Am on Wednesday. And do you know who was watching him? Randy Johnson!

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Braves announce 4-year deal with Toscano

Club evaluated Cuban outfielder during November workouts in the DR

Braves announce 4-year deal with Toscano

ATLANTA -- After aggressively scouring the international market over the past few months, the Braves opted to take a chance on Dian Toscano, a relatively obscure Cuban outfielder who might become a part of Atlanta's outfield mix after gaining some seasoning at the Minor League level.

The Braves officially announced their four-year deal (with an option for 2019) with Toscano on Wednesday afternoon. The two parties reached an agreement in early December, but it took nearly two months to complete the clerical requirements necessary to allow the 25-year-old to enter the U.S.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Prospect Watch: Top 10 shortstops

Astros' Correa, Indians' Lindor, Cubs' Russell lead strong contingent

Prospect Watch: Top 10 shortstops

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top two players from the 2014 list of top shortstop prospects graduated: Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox and the Cubs' Javier Baez. So did the last two on that top 10: Luis Sardinas, then of the Rangers, and Chris Owings of the D-backs.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

PR skipper Perez looks to relive Caribbean Series magic

PR skipper Perez looks to relive Caribbean Series magic

Former Major Leaguer Eduardo Perez can still hear the celebratory sounds on the field in the Dominican Republic the last time Puerto Rico won the Caribbean Series. There were rowdy cheers from the Puerto Rican fans in attendance at Quisqueya Stadium in Santo Domingo. Noisemakers rattled. Horns echoed throughout the stands.

Perez leapt for joy after the final out that February night. He hugged every Santurce teammate he could find and he soaked in the team's undefeated run through the round-robin. Fifteen years later, Perez is back in the Caribbean Series with Santurce, this time as the team's manager, and the baseball lifer wants to relive history.

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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.

Finding fantasy value post-Tommy John

Finding fantasy value post-Tommy John

An elbow injury that requires Tommy John surgery is among the most serious that a baseball player can suffer. Pitchers can go from fantasy studs to completely off the radar faster than you can say "right forearm strain." Hurlers who take more than a year off due to the lengthy recovery process can disappear from the memories of fantasy owners, but those who want to win their 2015 leagues will need to get reacquainted with the following players.

Matt Harvey (Mets)
Expected return: Opening Day
Expected fantasy production: 10 wins, 190 K's, 3.07 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

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