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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels could trade or release Joe Blanton.

Barring injury, there's no spot for Blanton in the team's rotation, and manager Mike Scioscia has indicated that he might not carry a long reliever. "You’d love to have a guy with length," he said. "We’re looking for guys that are going to hold leads and help us win games. If we have really good arms that are getting guys out and don’t have much length, I don’t think that will keep them from our pen." Blanton is owed $7.5 million this season and has a $1 million buyout on his 2015 option. The Angels would have to eat nearly all of that in order to make a trade happen.
Fri, Feb 28, 2014 10:37:00 AM

Marcus Semien homered twice and drove in four runs in Tuesday's Cactus League win over the Giants.

Not a bad way to kick off his Oakland career. Semien took World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner deep to center field in the first inning, singled in a run in the second and again went deep to center field in the fifth. He also tried to steal a base but was thrown out. Some scouts question whether Semien will be able to hit at the big league level, but there's no doubt he possesses an intriguing power/speed combo.
Mar 3 - 6:51 PM

Rusney Castillo felt some pain in his left side in his final at-bat of Tuesday's spring game.

Castillo will be examined by Red Sox doctors on Wednesday morning. The 27-year-old Cuban is battling Mookie Betts for the starting center field job. Betts played in the early game Tuesday against Northeastern University and Castillo played the late-afternoon tilt versus Boston College. A spring trade of Shane Victorino could open regular playing time for both Castillo and Betts.
Mar 3 - 6:00 PM

Ryan Howard said Tuesday that he cut sugar from his diet over the winter and has lost 15-20 pounds.

This comes a few days after Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said that Howard showed up to camp in the best shape "since I've known him." It's no secret that the Phillies would like to move on from him, so it appears that he has used the constant speculation about his future as motivation. It might not result in better numbers at the plate, but it's something. As of now, Howard still projects to get most of the playing time at first base for the Phillies this season.
Mar 3 - 3:03 PM

Nick Castellanos left Tuesday's Grapefruit League game after suffering a left hand hand contusion.

Castellanos was hit in the hand by a pitch, but fortunately X-rays came back negative. He's considered day-to-day, so it's not a major concern.
Mar 3 - 2:58 PM

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that free agent right-hander Chris Young is planning to review offers and make a decision on where to sign by the end of the week.

The market for Young was extremely quiet over the winter despite him posting a 3.65 ERA over 29 starts and one relief appearance with the Mariners last season. It's hard to count on him to stay healthy, but he'd be useful rotation depth for a handful of teams.
Mar 3 - 1:22 PM

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday that the club hasn't finalized a contract with Francisco Rodriguez.

The Brewers outrighted right-hander Brooks Hall to Triple-A on Tuesday, presumably to clear a spot for Rodriguez on the 40-man roster, but the deal isn't official yet. K-Rod is expected to receive a two-year, $13 million deal with a club option for 2017. It's unclear when he'll travel from Venezuela to Brewers' camp.
Mar 3 - 1:03 PM

Luke Hochevar (elbow) faced hitters Tuesday for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

It's a big step for Hochevar, who is nearly a full year removed from Tommy John surgery. He still has some hurdles to cross, but the Royals believe he'll be ready for Opening Day or close to it. He could be a big weapon for a bullpen which was already a strength last season.
Mar 3 - 12:57 PM

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that Jimmy Rollins will serve as the team's leadoff man.

Mattingly indicated last week that he wasn't completely committed to Rollins in the leadoff spot, but he said Tuesday that they "don't truly have anyone else who fits in that role." He's not wrong, but Rollins isn't the ideal leadoff hitter either, as he owns a .319 on-base percentage over the last three seasons. Still, it certainly enhances his fantasy value for 2015 if he sticks there.
Mar 3 - 12:11 PM

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons wouldn't commit to using Brett Cecil as his closer, according to John Lott of the National Post.

Gibbons was ambivalent about having Cecil close, saying, "He could do it. He might not. It might be somebody else." Aaron Sanchez is the other candidate to grab the role. Alternatively, Gibbons could play match-ups with both pitchers. Cecil, since becoming a full-time reliever in 2013, has a 2.76 ERA and a 146/50 K/BB ratio in 114 innings over the last two seasons.
Mar 3 - 12:04 PM

Indians manager Terry Francona said Tuesday that Jason Kipnis (finger) will likely make his Cactus League debut this weekend.

The Indians are easing Kipnis into things after December surgery to repair tendon damage in his left ring finger. The 27-year-old is coming off a disappointing season in which he batted just .240/.310/.330 with six home runs and 41 RBI over 129 games, but there's serious rebound potential if he's feeling good.
Mar 3 - 12:04 PM

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said "it's fair to say" that the Mets have had little to no trade talk involving Dillon Gee.

A recent rumor indicated that the Rangers were considering Gee. The right-hander has been pushed out of the Mets' starting rotation with the return of Matt Harvey, so he'll operate as a swingman, pitching initially out of the bullpen. Gee, who can become a free agent after the 2016 season, should continue to find his name in trade rumors throughout the season.
Mar 3 - 10:25 AM




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