Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said Friday that Ryan Howard showed up to camp in the best shape "since I've known him."
Amaro made up with Howard at the beginning of spring training after saying over the winter that the club would be better off without him, and now he's bragging about the veteran's physical condition. None of it really means much. Howard is still slated to start versus righties at first base as long as he's healthy and still with the Phillies on Opening Day. He's remains capable of providing some home run pop but doesn't offer much else.
Melvin Upton has been diagnosed with sesamoiditis and is expected to miss all of spring training.
Sesamoiditis is inflammation in the bone behind the ball of his foot. Upton will be in a cast for two weeks and a walking boot for 4-6 weeks after that. He won't be allowed to resume baseball activity until at least early April, so obviously he'll begin the season on the disabled list. It's a tough break for a guy in desperate need of a bounce-back season after hitting just .198/.279/.314 in his first two seasons with the Braves. Eury Perez, Eric Young and Zoilo Almonte are options to fill in for Upton in center field.
Fangraphs' Kiley McDaniel reports that Cuban pitcher Yadier Alvares is seeking a waiver from Major League Baseball that would allow him to sign prior to July 2.
Because of his age, Alvares is supposed to be registered with MLB in order to sign in the current signing period. However, he was not allowed to register while in Cuba, so his reps are working to get him a waiver that would allow him to sign now rather than wait until July 2. McDaniel says such a waiver has been granted to Dominican kids in the past, but there's no precedent for a Cuban prospect. Also of note is that McDaniel is hearing the Dodgers "are targeting Alvares as part of an aggressive 2015 July 2nd spending push." Alvares would have to wait to sign with them, but he might be willing to do so if they're offering the most money.
Athletics placed RHP A.J. Griffin on the 60-day disabled list.
The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for Alex Hassan. Griffin will be out until around midseason as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.
Athletics claimed OF Alex Hassan off waivers from the Orioles.
It's the second time this offseason that they've claimed him. Hassan batted .287/.378/.426 with eight homers at Triple-A with the Red Sox last season and got a cup of coffee with the big club. He could compete for a bench job with Oakland.
Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com reports that the Rangers are not expected to discuss a contract extension with Yovani Gallardo during spring training.
Gallardo went to high school in Texas and is on record as saying he'd like to be with the Rangers long-term, but Cotillo says he's also excited about the potential of being a free agent for the first time. As far as the Rangers go, it would probably be wise for them to wait on an extension for Gallardo, anyway, to first see how he fares in the American League and in Globe Life Park.
Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels are not expecting a decision regarding Josh Hamilton's impending suspension anytime soon.
Fletcher adds that it "could be weeks" and the club is "hoping by Opening Day" a decision will be made. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi have reported that Hamilton is likely facing a suspension of at least 25 games following his drug relapse, but it's a complicated process and new commissioner Rob Manfred could show the oufielder some compassion given his efforts to remain sober.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday that Chris Davis will get some playing time in right field this spring.
Davis has made 39 starts in the outfield during his career, though none of them have come over the last two seasons. It's just a matter of giving him some reps there just in case he might be needed at the position, as Davis is slated to be the regular first baseman.