Spring Training News & Notes, 3/12: Catching Up With Everyone

Follow along with this stream as we check out what's going on in every camp for every team in baseball. Updates will be provided on a division-by-division basis.

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Around NL West Spring Training, 3/12: Aggressive Padres And Jet-lagged Dodgers

Diamondbacks Steve Gibert reports that the club let free-agent pitcher Kris Benson work out on Friday morning, in a simulated game at their minor-league complex. GM Josh Byrnes said the session had nothing to do with the question-mark over Brandon Webb – though I’m not sure I entirely believe that. Said Byrnes, “Every club is always wanting to ensure pitching depth. It’s an evaluation worth doing. We’ll see how we proceed.”

Dodgers Los Angeles lost the opening game of their three-match set in Taiwan, 5-2. Eric Stults pitched three scoreless frames for the Dodgers, but Hyang-Nam Choi took the loss against the CPBL All-Stars, and the visitors were shut out until the eighth inning. Maybe they were jet-lagged, as they eked out only three hits, while surrendering 12. Local boy Chin-Ling Hu drove in both of LA’s runs with a single.

Giants Pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner is experiencing a drop in velocity: in his outing on Thursday, his fastball was 85 mph in the second inning. Said Bruce Bochy, “I’m not sure if he got tired. He started winging away. He’d worked hard out there. You’ll see these guys get stretched out and get their stamina.” Given he’s slated as the #5 starter, Grant is concerned: “I’m trying to think of a happy ending to the Bumgarner-lost-his-velocity story, but I really can’t.”

Padres The Padres’ coaching staff wants to see the team be aggressive on the base-paths, especially at PETCO. Dave Roberts – who took the odd important base in his time – has been brought in to help, and says it’s “not just stealing bases but taking aggressive leads, forcing errant throws. It’s something we as an organization are trying to impose on guys.” GM Jed Hoyer agrees: “And in our ballpark, we play a lot of one-run games. It could make a difference.”

Rockies The day after locking up Todd Helton for the rest of his career, the Rockies announced they’ll be honoring Dante Bichette on April 26. That will be the 15th anniversary of the first game at Coors Field – Bichette won it for the Rockies with a 14th-inning walkoff homer, off Mike Remlinger. A charter member of the ‘Blake Street Bombers’, Bichette played seven years in Colorado, from 1993-99, hitting 316 with a total of 201 home-runs and four All-Star appearances in purple.


Around AL East Spring Training, 3/12: Shields Named Rays' Opening Day Starter

Every single AL East team was rained out on Friday. All of 'em.

Blue Jays: Filed under the good news category is Joey Gathright has a very good chance of making the Opening Day roster for the Blue Jays. Oh, sorry, that should read "bad news." ... Previewing the Blue Jays for 2010.

Orioles: Now that he's back in the setup role for the O's, Jim Johnson is hoping for a better season. Johnson said he over-pitched when he assumed the closer role when George Sherrill was traded. ... Camden Chat breaks down the AL East position by position, with today's topic the DH.

Rays: James Shields was announced today as the starter for the Rays on Opening Day. Matt Garza will be the No. 2 man, while David Price or Jeff Niemann will be No. 3. ... DRaysBay is wondering where J.P. Howell is. No, seriously. Where is he?

Red Sox: Jason Bay was booed by Red Sox fans in Jupiter on Thursday. Nobody really understands why that happened, though. ... Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell have yet to play for the Red Sox this spring. Varitek will likely play Sunday while Lowell could go on Monday.

Yankees: Despite a lot of rain in Florida, Andy Pettitte was able to get in some dry work in a simulated game on Friday. Pettitte is expected to face the Phillies on Wednesday. ... The old Yankee Stadium is already crashed down. Have you noticed?


Around NL East Spring Training, 3/12: Filling In For Reyes

Mets: With Jose Reyes out of action for the time being, 20 year old Ruben Tejada is looking like a strong possibility to be the Mets' starting shortstop on Opening Day. Alex Cora is also hanging around, but Jerry Manuel seems to favor the rookie...Mike Jacobs hit his second homer of the spring on Thursday as he battles for a roster spot...Mack's Mets takes a look at Mets prospects that a good fan of the team ought to know.

Braves: Derek Lowe, who left Wednesday's game with a blister on his toe, is doing better and expects to start on Monday...Scott Proctor, returning from Tommy John surgery, should return to game action sometime around March 19th, says Bobby Cox...Jair Jurrjens is set to make his spring debut Friday morning.

Marlins: Hayden Penn is sporting an impressive mustache...an ugly outing from Leo Nunez on Thursday leaves open the possibility of another contender, such as Mike MacDougal, drawing consideration for the closer role...Joe Frisaro has an article up discussing Penn's chances of making the team, in the rotation or in the bullpen...Brett Carroll has a new approach at the plate...Josh Johnson turned in a strong outing on Thursday, bouncing back from a rough debut.

Nationals: Catcher Devin Ivany and first baseman Josh Whitesell were assigned to minor league camp...Cristian Guzman is expected to return to camp on Saturday. Prospect Ian Desmond has taken advantage of Guzman's absence, however, and stands a chance of taking over at shortstop sooner, rather than later...Federal Baseball makes its predictions for what the pitching staff will look like to begin the season. Absent? One Stephen Strasburg.

Phillies: Joe Blanton recorded 12 outs and kept 11 of them on the ground in a shutout appearance on Thursday...both games scheduled for Friday were rained out...starters Blanton, Roy Halladay, Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, and J.A. Happ have combined to allow five runs in 30 innings so far this spring.


Around AL Central Spring Training, 3/12: Royals All-Decade Team Somehow Named

Twins: Francisco Liriano is pitching well. Plus, your daily "who will close for the Twins??" story.

Indians: Updates concerning the Tribe's rotation race as well as a health/status update on Russell Branyan. Finally, Plain Dealer scribe Bud Shaw talks somewhat aimlessly about Omar Vizquel, the Indians, old memories, and the Hall of Fame.

White Sox: Ozzie on Torii Hunter's Latin impostors. Paul Konerko talks close games and further mis-remembers the glories of the 2005 White Sox.

Tigers: Jim Leyland wants strike-throwers in his rotation. Period. Take 75 North discusses the latest roster moves, while Old English D talks Miguel Cabrera.

Royals: The Royals all-decade team has been named. Angel Berroa, your gift package is waiting for you in a locker a the Kansas City Airport. Meanwhile, the Royals are impressed with their new toys, specifically Rick Ankiel and Scotty Pods. Oh, to be the new guy in Spring Training. Finally, Rany talks at length about the team's pitching depth and history with lefties.


Around AL West Spring Training, 3/12: Rob Johnson Should Watch His Back

Mariners: Chone Figgins, who is 0-9 so far in the spring, has drawn seven walks and has a .438 OBP...Ian Snell threw well on Thursday and was "giddy" with his performance...prospect Adam Moore continues to draw raves for his performance, hitting well to all fields while playing tremendous defense...Moore will catch Felix Hernandez on Sunday, as Rob Johnson, who was originally scheduled to catch that game, has been pushed back...Jack Hannahan will be shut down for 7-10 days with a strained groin.

Athletics: Star reliever Michael Wuertz, who has been throwing side sessions to build up his arm strength, plans to make his spring debut next Wednesday...Justin Duchscherer should throw about two innings to live hitters today for the first time as he returns from a bad back...Jason Jennings tossed two scoreless innings as he improves his odds of breaking camp with the team...Dallas Braden drew a walk in Thursday's game despite being instructed not to swing the bat.

Angels: Torii Hunter clarified his statements published in the USA Today as the story continues to swirl despite just a few poorly-chosen words...Scot Shields is scheduled to make his spring debut Friday as he returns from knee surgery...Fernando Rodney, battling sore shins, will throw a simulated game in the coming days and is nearing game action.

Rangers: Keith Law has some nice things to say about Alexi Ogando, a 26 year old righty in the system who needed five years to receive a valid work visa...Chris Davis, coming off a miserable 2009, collected four hits on Thursday as he looks to seize firm control of the first base job and erase the memories of his down season...Warner Madrigal's right forearm is causing him some trouble...Scott Feldman is still working out some kinks in his delivery.


Around NL Central Spring Training, 3/12: Lance Berkman's 'Puffy" Knee

Astros: Lance Berkman’s bruised left knee is "puffy," according to GM Ed Wade, and he’s scheduled to get it examined by team doctors Friday. Berkman doesn’t believe the injury is serious and has played in five games since missing the Grapefruit League opener, but he’s had to have fluid drained out of it twice this week and continues to deal with swelling.

Brewers: Ryan Braun was scratched from the travel roster for the team’s split-squad game against the Reds Thursday, but stayed home and hit a home run while playing in the home game against the A’s. Manager Ken Macha said he kept Braun home so he’d have more immediate access to treatment after the game.

Cardinals: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols continue to be held out of spring training action, and manager Tony La Russa doesn’t have a lot to say about it. Pujols has been held out of several games with weakness in his lower back, while Holliday missed Wednesday’s game with soreness in his right ribcage. Friday’s game against the Red Sox is a likely washout after three inches of rain fell overnight, so both players will likely get another day of rest.

Cubs: Team President Crane Kenney met with members of the media yesterday to discuss the state of the franchise, including plans for a new spring training facility in Mesa. Kenney told Carrie Muskat that he’s hoping the Cubs will identify a location for the planned facility in the next two weeks, and the venture could be paid for without the highly controversial Cactus League ticket surcharge.

Earlier this week, Kenney and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts answered questions for Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue – you can read that interview here.

Pirates: Reliever Joel Hanrahan continues to rehab a flexor-pronator strain in his pitching elbow, but has yet to throw off a mound and general manager Neil Huntington now says it’s unlikely he’ll be ready in time for Opening Day. Hanrahan may be able to pitch in a few Grapefruit League games before the Pirates break camp, but will remain in extended spring training until he’s ready to rejoin the team sometime in April.

Reds: The team announced Thursday that all-time great Barry Larkin will return to the team as a spring training instructor for ten days in camp this spring, joining Ellis Burks and Tony Phillips. This is the first time Larkin has been a part of Reds training camp since retiring following the 2004 season.


Spring Training News & Notes, 3/12: Catching Up With Everyone

Follow along with this stream as we check out what's going on in every camp for every team in baseball. Updates will be provided on a division-by-division basis.

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