Anthony Swarzak's fastball has been clocked on average at nearly 96 mph this spring.
Swarzak was around 93 mph last season with the Yankees as a full-time reliever, but this is easily the hardest the 31-year-old has ever thrown. The righty says the adjustment is a mental rather than physical one, as he's "getting to that age where nothing is guaranteed for me so I'm kind of letting it all out there and I think I found another gear somewhere." Swarzak has a 3.86 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings this spring and has a good shot to make the White Sox' bullpen as a non-roster invitee.
Dodgers signed RHP Justin Masterson to a minor league contract.
Masterson first started auditioning for clubs well over a month ago and has finally caught on somewhere. The big right-hander failed to make it up to the majors last season, posting a 4.97 ERA and 32/26 K/BB ratio in 54 1/3 innings with the Triple-A affiliate of the Pirates. Masterson is 32 now and hasn't had any success at the big league level since 2013. He's strictly a no-risk flier.
Jesse Chavez spun six scoreless frames in a 4-2 victory over the Diamondbacks on Monday in the Cactus League.
It was a strong outing against most of the Diamondbacks’ regulars. Chavez gave up just three hits on the afternoon and walked none while striking out three. The 33-year-old owns a 2.51 ERA and 12/0 K/BB ratio in 14 1/3 innings this spring and has assured himself of a rotation spot. While Chavez pitched exclusively in relief last year between the Blue Jays and Dodgers, there could be some appeal here in deeper fantasy formats.
Shelby Miller gave up two runs over 4 1/3 innings Monday in his start against the Angels.
Miller has compiled a 6.46 ERA and 22/6 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings over five starts this spring. While the ERA hasn’t been pretty, his velocity has been up and he’s missing bats. There’s risk here after his disastrous first year with Arizona, but he could be worth a late-round flier in deeper mixed fantasy leagues.
Albert Pujols went 2-for-4 with a two-run double and two runs scored Monday against Arizona.
There were questions about Pujols’ readiness coming into the spring after he required surgery in December for plantar fasciitis, but he has proved his health by hitting .343 (12-for-35) with a .981 OPS during Cactus League action. The 37-year-old might not be the hitter he once was, but he’s still capable of piling up valuable counting stats, especially with Mike Trout hitting in front of him.
A.J. Pollock went 0-for-3 with a strikeout Monday against the Angels.
This hasn’t been the smoothest spring for Pollock, as he’s batting just .160 (4-for-25) and was recently sidelined for nearly two weeks due to a groin injury. Fantasy owners will have to hope that he can use the remaining days of spring training to get back into the swing of things. There’s big-time upside if he can stay on the field.
Cubs optioned LHP Rob Zastryzny to Triple-A Iowa; re-assigned 2B Ian Happ, OF John Andreoli and C Taylor Davis to minor league camp.
Zastryzny had a shot at a bullpen spot, but he struggled with a 7.36 ERA this spring. He'll be up at some point when a lefty reliever is needed.
Cubs optioned RHP Eddie Butler to Triple-A Iowa.
Butler held a 3.07 ERA and 0.95 WHIP for the Cubs this spring, although he struck out just seven over 14 2/3 innings. The former top prospect will be part of Iowa's rotation.