Tebow's spring journey begins at Mets camp

Former pro QB focused on process of improving baseball skills in STEP program

Tebow's spring journey begins at Mets camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Dressed in full uniform, Tim Tebow walked into the Mets' spring news conference room a few minutes before 11 a.m. on Monday, where dozens of reporters and photographers awaited. Unlike so many other anonymous Minor Leaguers who are starting to trickle in for Spring Training, Tebow drew a crowd.

Throngs will continue to follow Tebow throughout his weeks in Port St. Lucie, where he is attempting a nearly unprecedented conversion -- at age 29 -- from professional football player to Major Leaguer. If Tebow succeeds, the camera lights will only shine brighter, the lights hotter, the expectations more realistic.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arenado to realize dream of representing Team USA

Colorado slugger turned childhood disappointment into motivation to don his country's colors

Arenado to realize dream of representing Team USA

This time, Team USA called Nolan Arenado's name.

Being selected to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic allows Arenado, the Colorado Rockies' star third baseman, to finally realize a dream that was sparked when he was 13. Then a budding shortstop from Southern California, he enjoyed what he thought was a strong performance in a Junior Olympics tournament in Arizona. Afterward, organizers would choose an all-tournament team that carried with it an invitation to represent the U.S. in an international competition.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Speier confident in Turner taking over at short

Nationals bench coach quite familiar with position from his playing days

Speier confident in Turner taking over at short

JUPITER, Fla. -- During Chris Speier's first season as a starting shortstop in the Majors in 1971, he made 33 errors in 156 games.

"It should've been about 50," he said. "I had [Willie] McCovey at first base."

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mattingly: Ichiro, Gordon close to returning

Mattingly: Ichiro, Gordon close to returning

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With his brother, Nick Gordon, one of Minnesota's top prospects, second baseman Dee Gordon heavily lobbied manager Don Mattingly to make the cross-state trip to play the Twins on Monday. Mattingly, though, vetoed that, choosing the cautious route to leave Gordon, who has an eye infection, behind.

"Dee's doing better. He's going to be fine. I'm pretty sure he'll play [Tuesday]," Mattingly said. "It's nothing that's going to linger. It's just more of a contagious thing. We've had three or four eye things going on. So we're trying to keep it from taking off on us."

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

Original score! Brewer dive vs. Dodgers epic

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Original score! Brewer dive vs. Dodgers epic

It may be only February and just a few short days into Spring Training, but Brett Phillips -- TV star and Brewers top prospect/laugher -- is ready to win. He doesn't care that some people think these games "don't really count." He doesn't subscribe to the laissez-faire attitude of Spring Trainings past. In the sixth inning of Sunday's Dodgers-Brewers tilt, Phillips expertly maneuvered around the tag at home plate to give his team an 8-7 lead.

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DeSclafani pushed back due to sore elbow

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani's spring debut has been pushed back because he is dealing with right elbow tenderness, manager Bryan Price revealed on Monday.

In the original schedule, DeSclafani was slated to start on Tuesday vs. the White Sox. That start now belongs to Brandon Finnegan. DeSclafani's injury is not viewed as serious.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. 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.

Dodgers' Bellinger hits HR out of stadium

Segedin, Verdugo also club booming homers in Dodgers' win

Dodgers' Bellinger hits HR out of stadium

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers' youth put on a power show late in Sunday's 10-8 win over the Brewers, highlighted by top prospect Cody Bellinger's eighth-inning go-ahead home run that one-hopped its way out of Maryvale Baseball Park.

"I had no idea it went out of the stadium until they told me after the game," Bellinger said. "Can't wait to watch the video of it."

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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oscar winner Ali screened 'Moonlight' for A's

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Oscar winner Ali screened 'Moonlight' for A's

In addition to being a newly minted Academy Award winner, "Moonlight" star Mahershala Ali is an Oakland native and big-time A's fan. Really, he threw out a first pitch last season and everything.

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You be the ump: Can you make these calls?

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You be the ump: Can you make these calls?

If you're a baseball fan, you have almost definitely imagined yourself as a Major Leaguer, socking dingers or racking up strikeouts. Maybe you've even dreamed of being an MLB manager, making the moves that lead your team to the World Series. But have you ever wanted to be an MLB umpire?

It's not an easy gig. You have to make decisions in a split second while avoiding the occasional hazard -- or not.

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Leon likely to start, but has to improve at plate

Vazquez, Swihart also competing to catch for Red Sox

Leon likely to start, but has to improve at plate

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sandy Leon remains the front-runner to be the catcher for the Red Sox on Opening Day. But before making a final decision, manager John Farrell would like to see the switch-hitter get back to the offensive approach he had in June and July before slumping down the stretch.

"I think the workload started to get to him late in the season and we saw him expand the strike zone more than he did in the earlier months," said Farrell. "So he would have the lead on that position right now clearly, but we'd like to see that disciplined strike zone that he demonstrated early on be maintained."

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McHugh still sore, not throwing off mound

Righty dealing with 'dead arm', confident he will be ready for season

McHugh still sore, not throwing off mound

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- While every Astros pitcher has thrown at least one round of live batting practice, right-hander Collin McHugh has yet to throw off the mound this spring because of what manager A.J. Hinch described Monday as general soreness.

McHugh was already on an individualized throwing program entering camp, but Hinch said he came to camp not feeling 100 percent in his throwing program. McHugh played catch Monday morning at 150 feet, but won't throw his first bullpen until next week, he said.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Farms that should crack the 2018 Top 10 list

Farms that should crack the 2018 Top 10 list

With Spring Training underway, MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo have not only been rolling out their 2017 Top 30 Prospects lists for each of the Major League teams, they've also been busy ranking their Top 10 farm systems in baseball. The following is a transcript of a segment from this week's episode of their Pipeline podcast with Tim McMaster, in which they discuss which teams look to be on the cusp of breaking into next year's Top 10.

To hear more from the MLBPipeline.com experts, subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.

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MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Breaking down the Giants' Top 30 list

Draftees make up overwhelming majority of club's top prospects

Breaking down the Giants' Top 30 list

The Giants have won three World Series and averaged 87 wins per season this decade, thanks in large part to their ability to identify and refine talent. They signed and developed their two superstars, former first-round picks Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, as well as All-Star infielders Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik. They're set to contend for another championship in 2017, and on many days they'll have seven homegrown players in their lineup.

San Francisco's farm system never seems to receive much acclaim but keeps churning out big leaguers. The majority of the players on our Giants Top 30 Prospects list are set to arrive at AT&T Park in the next year or two, and right-hander Tyler Beede, infielder Christian Arroyo and outfielder Steven Duggar could play significant roles. There's plenty of bullpen help on the way, with Joan Gregorio and Steven Okert the most likely candidates to contribute in 2017.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maddon likes Heyward's tweaked approach

Maddon likes Heyward's tweaked approach

MESA, Ariz. -- Jason Heyward is hitless in two games this spring, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon likes what he's seen.

"It looks freer," Maddon said of Heyward's approach at the plate. "It's something I believe is going to work. Talking to him, I can tell, looking at his face, how comfortable he is with it.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hanley hopes shoulder heals in time for Classic

Red Sox slugger slated to join Dominican Republic team Friday

Hanley hopes shoulder heals in time for Classic

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Slowed by a sore right shoulder early in Spring Training, Hanley Ramirez will use the coming days to determine whether he can stick with his original plan of playing in the World Baseball Classic.

"I don't know," Ramirez said. "[Red Sox manager] John [Farrell] told me we'll talk about it and what's the best thing for me and the team. So let's see what happens."

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Along with bat, Sanchez's arm is a threat

Yanks catcher nails two runners; Starlin compares him to Cards' Molina

Along with bat, Sanchez's arm is a threat

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gary Sanchez's historic home run barrage taught opposing teams to pitch carefully when he is at the plate, and now the Yankees' catcher is reminding baserunners not to sleep on his strong arm.

Sanchez caught two runners attempting to steal second base in the third inning of New York's 7-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, nailing Jon Berti and Ezequiel Carrera by healthy margins.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

40 winks: Red Sox seek edge with sleep room

New York-based Bedgear will outfit room with custom-made bedding

40 winks: Red Sox seek edge with sleep room

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox are chasing every possible advantage both on and off the field for 2017, and that search has extended all the way beyond waking hours.

In an effort to help their players be as well prepared for every game as possible, the Red Sox are upgrading their "sleep room" at Fenway Park and outfitting each player to sleep better at home by forming a partnership with Begear.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clark impressed with Tigers' spring complex

MLBPA executive director fondly recalls Ilitch

Clark impressed with Tigers' spring complex

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ever since he was the Tigers' top prospect, Tony Clark has been coming to the club's Spring Training complex for most of the last quarter-century. Monday was the first time he got lost.

That's how big of a difference the renovation of Tigertown and Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium made. Clark, the former slugging first baseman who is now the director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, made his annual visit with Tigers players as part of his Spring Training tour, but he had to figure out where the clubhouse was first.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. 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.

Cobb confident he can return to form

Righty feels healthy after recovering from Tommy John surgery

Cobb confident he can return to form

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Alex Cobb will make his first start of the spring on Tuesday when the Rays play the Twins at Charlotte County Stadium.

Unlike last season, Cobb is healthy -- and not rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, which makes every day beautiful.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Axford puzzled, delighted by Oscars' blunder

A's film buff stopped watching before mix-up was revealed

Axford puzzled, delighted by Oscars' blunder

MESA, Ariz. -- A's reliever John Axford was already the last customer in the restaurant, and had been for a while, by the time Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway took the Oscars stage to present Best Picture on Sunday evening.

"I was so engaged in my phone and watching the Oscars that when I finally looked around and noticed nobody else was in the restaurant, it was closed, and I was like, 'Oh, maybe I should not be here anymore,'" Axford said. "But they said, 'No, no, no, just watch the end of it, it's fine.'"

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Didi excited for reunion with Classic mates

Didi excited for reunion with Classic mates

TAMPA, Fla. -- There should be plenty of inside jokes flying around the Netherlands clubhouse during the World Baseball Classic, especially when the group of Didi Gregorius, Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Schoop and Andrelton Simmons huddle together.

Suiting up for the Dutch squad will serve as an extended reunion for the players, who have known each other since they were grade schoolers growing up on the Caribbean island of Curacao.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Cuba prepping for Classic with exhibitions in Asia

Seeking to solidify pitching staff, lineup in games vs. South Korea, Chinese Taipei

Cuba prepping for Classic with exhibitions in Asia

World Baseball Classic camps formally open next week -- at least, on this continent. Team USA gathers for the first time March 7 in Fort Myers, Fla.

But national teams with fewer Major Leaguers -- or none at all -- already are playing together. Cuba is in the midst of what manager Carlos Martí told Prensa Latina will be an 11-game exhibition schedule throughout Asia.

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

Sarah's Take: How else can baseball speed up?

Anticipated intentional walk rule just one way to make game's pace faster

Sarah's Take: How else can baseball speed up?

Last week, Major League Baseball introduced an anticipated intentional walk rule in hopes of speeding up the game.

Since I have become a baseball fan, the average length of a baseball game has increased. Although part of the beauty of baseball is having no clock, it needs to be fast-paced to keep some people's interest -- especially when most games begin at 7 p.m. and people must go to either work or school the next day.

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Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Terence Moore

Brooks working to increase number of minorities in baseball

Brooks working to increase number of minorities in baseball

If you're an African-American, a woman or a minority in general, Tyrone Brooks wants you to follow your version of his journey through Major League Baseball during the past two decades, and this is a good thing.

No, this is a great thing. I'm not only referring to those I just mentioned, but to everybody who wants the national pastime to continue its efforts, under previous Commissioner Bud Selig and current boss Rob Manfred, to extend Jackie Robinson's legacy from the 20th to the 21st century, with a heavy dose of diversity from the playing field to the front office.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Joe Posnanski

2017 Azocar Awards: And the winners are ...

In honor of Oscars weekend, we celebrate baseball's best and brightest

2017 Azocar Awards: And the winners are ...

There are people who noticed that the Oscar Azocar Awards -- the baseball awards we came up with to correlate with the Academy Awards -- seem to be based on a very flimsy coincidence: That "Best Pitcher" sounds a lot like "Best Picture."

I would like to tell you that there was more thought put into the Oscar Azocars.

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Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltre weighing decision on first round of Classic

Rangers third baseman has until Thursday, when Dominican team sets roster

Beltre weighing decision on first round of Classic

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said his strained left calf muscle is better, but he is still undecided about playing in the first round of the World Baseball Classic.

Beltre said the deadline to decide is Thursday, when the Dominican Republic must set its final roster for the first round. It seems unlikely Beltre will be ready in time, but a final decision has yet to be made.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.

Top Draft prospect Greene hits slam, K's 7

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Top Draft prospect Greene hits slam, K's 7

Seventeen-year-old Hunter Greene is MLBPipeline's current No. 1 prospect in this summer's Draft. Not only is Greene projected to be the first right-handed high school pitcher to be picked at the top of the Draft, but scouts are also salivating over his potential in the field and at the plate.

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Darvish in control with scoreless spring debut

Rangers righty pleased with fastball command vs. Royals

Darvish in control with scoreless spring debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The significance of Sunday's outing came to Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish when he began to warm up by playing catch in the outfield.

Darvish was getting ready for his first Cactus League outing of the spring and his first since March 5, 2015. That was the game in which Darvish pitched one inning and then came out with tightness in his right elbow. He eventually underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the entire season.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. 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.

In Blue Jays debut, Morales makes impact

Assuming Encarnacion's DH role, veteran hits RBI single, solo homer

In Blue Jays debut, Morales makes impact

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- When Kendrys Morales was introduced before the Blue Jays' Grapefruit League home opener Sunday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, he got a nice round of applause.

That was nothing compared to the response he got when he homered off Phillies reliever Joaquin Benoit to lead off the third inning in just his second at-bat in a Blue Jays uniform.

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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.

Scherzer has first 'pen session since injury

Scherzer has first 'pen session since injury

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Max Scherzer completed his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday afternoon, the first time he has thrown off the mound since he arrived at camp still feeling the effects of a stress fracture in his right ring finger.

The Nationals announced Scherzer used a modified grip to get through the outing, but that it went well. Scherzer told the Washington Post that he threw his fastball with a three-fingered grip because the usual two-finger grip still caused him pain. He said he would continue to do so and did not rule out using the three-finger fastball grip during games.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.