Braves optioned OF Eury Perez to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Perez had a chance to win the center field job while Melvin Upton (foot) was out, but it appears Eric Young has topped him. The speedy outfielder will give the Braves depth in the minors.
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Jace Peterson "is in line to play second base" for the Braves.
Alberto Callaspo has played better recently, but Peterson has looked better all spring and appears poised to wrestle the second base job away from the veteran. The news potentially has notable consequence in fantasy leagues, as Peterson stole 148 bases in 389 games in the minors and has hit over .300 there over the last two seasons. He's a deep league middle infield target.
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that Eric Young Jr. "appears to have the edge" in center field while Melvin Upton (foot) is out.
Even though Young is a poor defensive outfielder, it's not a surprise that he's leading the competition given his level of experience. He could even hit leadoff for the Braves for a while, giving him ample fantasy value with his ability on the basepaths. Eury Perez was optioned to Triple-A Friday, giving Young and even tighter grip on the job.
Pirates optioned LHP Bobby LaFromboise to Triple-A Indianapolis; re-assigned OFs Jose Tabata and Gorkys Hernandez, 3Bs Brent Morel and Deibinson Romero, INFs Steve Lombardozzi and Gustavo Nunez, RHPs Deolis Guerra, Josh Wall and Brad Lincoln, LHP Charlie Leesman and C Sebastian Valle to minor league camp.
Tabata is the biggest name here, but he wasn't expected to crack the Opening Day roster with Corey Hart, Andrew Lambo and Sean Rodriguez all capable of being backups in the outfield. LaFromboise struck out eight but allowed five runs over 5 1/3 innings this spring.
Brian Duensing (quad) is scheduled to return to Grapefruit League action on Friday.
Duensing has been battling a bruised left quad but is evidently over the ailment. He'll serve in middle relief for the Twins this season.
Josmil Pinto (concussion) has been cleared to resume all baseball activities.
It's not clear when he'll play in a Grapefruit League game again, but Pinto is apparently no longer experiencing concussion-related symptoms. He's been on the shelf for a week of action. Pinto is expected to open the season as the Twins' primary backup behind Kurt Suzuki.
Jeremy Hellickson was scratched from a scheduled start in a minor league game Thursday because he's going through a "dead arm" phase.
It appears that Hellickson will be fine, though, as he threw a bullpen session instead Thursday and is scheduled to start a Cactus League game on Saturday. "He got some treatment a couple of days after his last start and in his bullpen he was a little dead," Diamondbacks pitching coach Mike Harkey said. "It was a perfect time to do it now in March than do it in April." Hellickson has a 5.87 ERA over three starts this spring.
Diamondbacks catching prospect Peter O'Brien played the outfield in a minor league game for the second straight day Thursday.
O'Brien has had major issues this month in throwing the ball back to the pitcher, so the Diamondbacks are going to keep him away from the catcher position for the time being. "I think he's going to play some outfield (once the minor league season starts) and catching isn't out of the question, but we're still talking internally to figure out what's best for him," farm director Mike Bell said. The D'Backs were reluctant over the winter to pursue an upgrade at catcher mainly because they believed O'Brien would be ready to take over at the position in short order. Obviously, they didn't envision the 24-year-old developing a case of the yips. O'Brien was re-assigned to minor league camp earlier this week.