Padres manager Bud Black announced Saturday that Jason Lane will start the team's Cactus League opener against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Lane, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, faces an uphill battle for a spot in the team's Opening Day bullpen. He surrendered just one run over 10 1/3 innings for the Padres in 2014.
Angel Pagan (neck) will take live batting practice on Saturday.
Pagan had been held out of workouts the previous two days and was scheduled to have Saturday off as well, but felt significant improvement in his neck. While he's on track to be ready for Opening Day, he remains a significant injury risk. He has averaged just 84 games played over the past two seasons.
Reds manager Bryan Price said Saturday that Brandon Phillips is 100 percent healthy and that he expects him to rebound in 2015.
"I have not lost one bit of confidence or expectation that he’s going to have a big year" Price indicated. The 33-year-old is coming off a disappointing 2014 season where he slashed just .266/.306/.372 with career worsts of eight homers, 51 RBI and two stolen bases. While a rebound of some sort is likely, his days of fantasy stardom are long gone.
Mets manager Terry Collins admitted Saturday that Juan Lagares is the team's preferred leadoff hitter.
That's predicated on Lagares proving that he can handle the role this spring. The 25-year-old is a career .265/.315/.357 hitter in 185 at-bats out of the leadoff spot. Curtis Granderson has also been mentioned as a possible candidate to hit atop the Mets lineup, and may get the job if Lagares struggles during Grapefruit League play.
Reds manager Bryan Price said that non-roster invitee Brennan Boesch will see work at all three outfield spots, as well as first base, as he competes for a bench spot on the team's Opening Day roster.
If he can adequately cover center field and first base defensively, the added versatility would go a long way toward earning Boesch a spot on the roster. The 29-year-old is a career .256/.309/.412 hitter and would represent a nice left-handed bat off the bench.
James Paxton (forearm) is scheduled to play catch on Monday.
The Mariners are taking things very cautiously with Paxton this spring, and will build him up to throwing bullpen sessions. Their goal is to get him up to throwing five inning starts before the end of the Cactus League schedule.
Mariners pitching coach Rick Waits said Saturday that J.A. Happ has been working on his changeup and plans to use the pitch with a much higher frequency in 2015.
The changeup was arguably the veteran southpaw's worst pitch last season, which could be why he only used it 9.5% of the time, down from his career usage of 12.3%. If Waits and company can improve the pitch though, and provide more deception and separation from his fastball, it could become more of a weapon for him.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus admitted Friday that six of the team's seven bullpen spots are virtually locked up already.
The one remaining spot is for a second left-hander who has the ability to work multiple innings. That means Alex Wilson and Josh Zeid are on the outside looking in after the addition of Joba Chamberlain earlier in the week. Each will assuredly get their chance at some point during the season.