Mourners gather to pay respects to Ventura

Services attended by family, Royals' front-office members, players

Mourners gather to pay respects to Ventura

They came by the thousands -- friends, fans, family and teammates included -- to pay final respects for Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura in his hometown of Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, on Tuesday.

The morning started inside the home of Ventura's mother, Marisol Hernandez, where a final viewing was held for Ventura's Royals family, who one by one hugged Marisol and offered condolences.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

6 key hitters returning from injury in '17

Brantley, Pollock, Schwarber among those who spent nearly all of last season on DL

6 key hitters returning from injury in '17

As the Hot Stove has simmered over the past few months, clubs around the Majors have sought to improve their lineups by spending money on free agents and pulling off trades.

But for some, a potentially significant "addition" already resides on the roster.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst 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

Jim Callis

Boston's Devers leads Top 10 3B prospects

Red Sox's Devers king of hot corner, Reds' Senzel, Blue Jays' Vlad Jr. follow

Boston's Devers leads Top 10 3B prospects

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Third base is definitely an offensive position. MLBPipeline's Top 10 Third Base Prospects list starts with two of the game's top power prospects (the Red Sox's Rafael Devers, the Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) and two of the best pure hitters in the Minors (the Reds' Nick Senzel, the Giants' Christian Arroyo).

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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.

Force 2B reckoned with: LA makes deal

Force 2B reckoned with: LA makes deal

LOS ANGELES -- After being rumored for months to be in heated pursuit of Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier, the Dodgers pivoted on Monday and acquired Tampa Bay's Logan Forsythe for right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

Without providing specifics, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated the additional "acquisition costs" of acquiring a different player (Dozier) wasn't in the club's best interest. In addition to De Leon, the Twins reportedly wanted another prime prospect for Dozier, who slugged 42 homers last year.

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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.

Cubs reportedly add free-agent lefty Anderson

Cubs reportedly add free-agent lefty Anderson

The Cubs have a deal in place with left-handed starter Brett Anderson, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The club has not confirmed the report.

Anderson, who made just three starts in 2016 due to various injuries, impressed the team at a recent bullpen session in Arizona, according to Rosenthal.

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

Sign and shine! 30 all-time free-agent gems

Sign and shine! 30 all-time free-agent gems

As Hot Stove season enters its final weeks, each team is doing all it can to put its best version on the field in 2017. But how do the moves they made this offseason compare to the best they've ever made?

MLB.com asked its 30 beat reporters to look back at each club's past and identify the best free-agent signing in team history. We narrowed the choices with the following parameters: The signings had to be multiyear contracts -- excluding fluky one-year deals -- and focus on players who got real commitments. And contract extensions don't count. Only instances when every team in the league had a chance to bid on the player were allowed, including international free agents who received Major League contracts.

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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.

Bogaerts, Simmons lead young Dutch team

Netherlands loaded with young talent for 2017 World Baseball Classic

Bogaerts, Simmons lead young Dutch team

The Netherlands is loading up a star-studded young infield for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Boston's Xander Bogaerts, the Angels' Andrelton Simmons, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius, the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop and the Rangers' Jurickson Profar are all expected to play for the Dutch team, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday.

The collection of talent could give the country a chance to build on its impressive run in the last Classic in 2013, when the Dutch team made it to the semifinals before falling to the Dominican Republic, which won the tournament that year. Bogaerts, Simmons, Schoop and Profar are all returnees from that team.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Bagwell's work ethic resonated with teammates

Bagwell's work ethic resonated with teammates

HOUSTON -- When Lance Berkman was hitting .095 during his first month in the Major Leagues, he had the usual questions young players have about whether they're good enough to play at this level.

That's when Jeff Bagwell pulled him aside.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Puig sporting healthier shape, mindset in '17

Dodgers outfielder working toward goal of starting, leaving injuries in rearview

Puig sporting healthier shape, mindset in '17

LOS ANGELES -- A trimmer Yasiel Puig, after serving as barista at a neighborhood coffee shop in a Dodgers community appearance on Monday, said he wants "to be a starter again, whether it's here or somewhere else."

Less than a month before Spring Training and six months after a Minor League demotion, Puig has been working out at Dodger Stadium the last two weeks. He is conditioning his leaner body to avoid injuries that have plagued him and working with batting coaches in search of regaining the impact bat that once had him on the verge of superstardom.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Lindsay Berra

For new Yankee Holliday, no time for time off

Veteran training for haul of long season with Yankees

For new Yankee Holliday, no time for time off

Matt Holliday was wearing a navy blue Yankees baseball T-shirt as he warmed up with an empty barbell on a wooden Olympic lifting platform at the Central Institute for Human Performance in Jupiter, Fla.

After eight seasons in Cardinals red, Holliday signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Yankees on Dec. 7. He will serve as their designated hitter and part-time first baseman and outfielder. Now Holliday, who turned 37 on Jan.15, is preparing for his new role -- and hoping to slow down the aging process -- with a series of exercises geared toward increasing his explosive strength and power from the ground up.

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Lindsay Berra has covered a variety of sports, from baseball and hockey to tennis and the Olympics, since 1999. She joined MLB.com in 2013. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'A terrible pain': Dominican Republic mourns Ventura, Marte

'A terrible pain': Dominican Republic mourns Ventura, Marte

Yankees first-base coach Tony Pena was already crying when someone leaned over and told him about Yordano Ventura's tragic death early Sunday morning.

New tears ran over those that had already dried.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

For new team, Moncada again top rising 2B

Moncada tops list again with Albies, Happ right behind

For new team, Moncada again top rising 2B

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

He might have changed teams, but there isn't any doubt about who owns the top of this Top 10 second base prospects list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Giants agree to deal with Hwang

Source: Giants agree to deal with Hwang

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have agreed to a deal with Korean free-agent third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang on a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Monday night.

The Giants would not confirm the deal, which industry sources said is expected to be finalized after Hwang passes his requisite physical examination and other procedural matters are addressed.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Myers takes place at center of Padres' plans

Myers takes place at center of Padres' plans

SAN DIEGO -- The rest of the Padres filed into the room first, entering quietly through back doors and filling the last three rows of the Petco Park auditorium.

Then came the newly minted face of the franchise, Wil Myers, fresh off signing an $83 million contract extension that will keep him in San Diego through at least 2022. He took the podium -- alongside manager Andy Green and general manager A.J. Preller -- and he spoke of the team's vision for the future.

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

Photo of the night: Can someone please help us find Orbit?

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Photo of the night: Can someone please help us find Orbit?

It's been a long time since the world has been blessed with some classic Orbit shenanigans. One minute he was popping his arm out of a candy bowl to frighten attendees at the Astros' Halloween party, and the next, it was radio silence.

And while you might assume that this is simply a product of a baseball-less winter, think again: We regret to report that Orbit has recently gone missing. He was last seen at Houston's Fan Fest.

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Obama speechwriter's dream day: Cubs visit

Lifelong fan writes President Obama's speech celebrating WS title

Obama speechwriter's dream day: Cubs visit

CHICAGO -- Cody Keenan went to his first Cubs game when he was 5 1/2 months old, tucked into a backpack on his father's back, so his allegiance to the team began at an early age. One week ago, he was in the East Room at the White House, listening to his boss, President Barack Obama, deliver what Keenan called his "dream speech" to salute the 2016 World Series champion Cubs.

"If you'd told me my last speech for him after 9 1/2 years would be about the Chicago Cubs World Series champs, I wouldn't have believed you," said Keenan, a Chicago native, who wrote the speech to celebrate his favorite team.

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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.

Humbled Bagwell lauded by teammates, fans

Hall of Fame electee celebrated at Minute Maid Park

Humbled Bagwell lauded by teammates, fans

HOUSTON -- Being elected into the Hall of Fame still hasn't sunk in for Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell. That much was clear on Monday afternoon when he addressed the media at Minute Maid Park prior to a pep rally in which former teammates and managers took turns praising him on stage.

A few hundred Astros fans packed Union Station to hear Bagwell talk, but not before former Astros players Craig Biggio, Brad Ausmus and Lance Berkman and former manager Phil Garner got behind the microphone to swap Bagwell stories. Former teammates Andy Pettitte and Brandon Backe were also there, along with his first big league manager -- Art Howe.

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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.

Mariners to make announcement with Edgar

Tuesday news conference will be streamed live on MLB.com

Mariners to make announcement with Edgar

SEATTLE -- The Mariners have announced they will hold a news conference on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. PT at Safeco Field that will include team president Kevin Mather and hitting coach Edgar Martinez, though the reason for the gathering was not disclosed.

The news conference will be streamed live on MLB.com and Mariners.com.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bettis thankful for fans' support at Caravan

Rox righty expected to be ready for season after cancer surgery

Bettis thankful for fans' support at Caravan

DENVER -- Seeing right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis has relieved any fears Rockies fans may have harbored.

Bettis, catcher Tony Wolters and second baseman DJ LeMahieu made three appearances in the Denver area Monday as part of the Rockies' 2017 Winter Caravan. Bettis was diagnosed in November with testicular cancer, but a surgery to remove the testicle eliminated the cancer and put him in position to start the season on time.

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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.

Thrill of adventure: Norris enjoys wild pursuits

With no health concerns, Tigers lefty trains with ex-Navy Seal, hunts game, surfs and camps

Thrill of adventure: Norris enjoys wild pursuits

DETROIT -- Daniel Norris has become as legendary for his offseason travels as he has for his on-field potential. This offseason, he tried something a little different.

Norris, you might remember, became national news as a Blue Jays prospect two years ago for living in his van during Spring Training. He became a filmmaker last offseason by riding in his van from his hometown of Johnson City, Tenn., to the West Coast with renowned filmmaker Ben Moon, then later surfing off the coast of Nicaragua.

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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.

Puig and Turner play hide-and-seek in LA

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Puig and Turner play hide-and-seek in LA

On Monday morning, Day 1 of the Dodgers' community tour leading up to their FanFest on Jan. 28, the team challenged Los Angeles to a city-wide game of hide-and-seek.

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Young: Ventura's death 'will bring us closer'

Royals right-hander shared 'mutual respect' with teammate, saw softer side of personality

Young: Ventura's death 'will bring us closer'

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Chris Young believes his teammates are the most tight-knit group he has ever been around.

And Young also believes that the loss of teammate Yordano Ventura will bring the group even closer.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka said on Monday that he has decided not to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Tanaka spoke with reporters, including The Associated Press, following a workout in Tokyo, where the right-hander is preparing for the upcoming season.

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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.

Rays land RHP De Leon in trade, sign Tolleson

Tampa Bay also signs righty Tolleson to 1-year deal

Rays land RHP De Leon in trade, sign Tolleson

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays saw an opportunity they couldn't pass up, so on Monday night they traded second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers for highly touted right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon.

"Going into the winter, this certainly wasn't on our to-do list," said Erik Neander, Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. "In our minds to acquire a talent, and acquire a pitcher we have evaluated very highly, we felt it was an opportunity that we needed to take advantage of as difficult a decision as it was. ... We had every intention of Logan being on our club until this presented itself and felt like this is the best decision for our organization moving forward."

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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.

Crew GM's Miller Park wedding cake a gem

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Crew GM's Miller Park wedding cake a gem

This offseason has been great for baseball weddings. Kris Bryant  and Bryce Harper  said their respective "I Do's," Ryan Merritt sent out thank you notes and Brewers GM David Stearns showed up to his nuptials over the weekend with perhaps the greatest wedding cake this side of one that actually grants wishes. 

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Around the Horn: Jays rotation a strength

Blue Jays' pitching staff will be a strength again in 2017

Around the Horn: Jays rotation a strength

TORONTO -- The starting rotation was supposed to be the Blue Jays' weakness last season, but it became their biggest strength. This year, the lofty expectations will be there from Day 1.

Toronto still views itself as a contender following a pair of back-to-back runs to the American League Championship Series. If the club wants to get there again, it will have to be as a result of its starting five.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. 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.

Around the Horn: Plouffe takes A's reins at third

Veteran expected to serve as bridge to prospect Chapman

Around the Horn: Plouffe takes A's reins at third

This is the fifth of a multipart Around the Horn series that features a position-by-position look at the A's projected starters and backup options heading into the 2017 season.

Who's at third base?

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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.

LeMahieu seeks improvement through metrics

LeMahieu seeks improvement through metrics

DENVER -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu considers himself "anti-numbers," but he figured they were worth a longer look after he led the National League in batting at .348 last season.

It turns out LeMahieu's search for improvement in the advanced metrics yielded mixed information.

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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.

Rumor Roundup: Several clubs target Wieters

Rumor Roundup: Several clubs target Wieters

The Hot Stove season continues, and we're keeping you up to date with the latest free-agent news, trade buzz, rumors and more.

• Hot Stove Tracker

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Rangers pitching in to benefit homeless teens

Rangers pitching in to benefit homeless teens

ARLINGTON -- Rangers radio broadcaster Eric Nadel is hosting a benefit concert on Saturday for Dallas-based Focus on Teens.

Josh Weathers and The True Endeavors, Daphne Willis, and the Hendersons, a Fort Worth-based band, will headline the Benefit Blowout for Homeless Teens to be held at Shipping and Receiving, a live music venue at 201 S. Calhoun in Fort Worth.

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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.