Spring Training News & Notes, 3/29: Catching Up With Everyone

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Around AL East Spring Training, 3/29: Yankees Highest Paid Team In World

Blue Jays: After being shut down with a "dead arm," pitcher Brandon Morrow threw a simulated game on Monday and said he felt great. Morrow faced 14 pitchers and allowed one hit and one walk while throwing 52 pitches. ... Joey Gathright was released, making Bluebird Banter take a deeper look at the Jays' bench.

Orioles: Pitcher Koji Uehara will most likely start the season on the disabled list due to a strained left hamstring. Uehara came over from Japan last season, going 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 12 starts last season. ... Third baseman Garrett Atkins had a bad 2009 and is hard at work to make 2010 a better season with his new team.

Rays: The Rays need a much better season from Pat Burrell this year to make a playoff push. Burrell hit .221 with 14 home runs last season. ... Willy Aybar played some first base during a minor league game on Sunday and is expected to be healthy for Opening Day.

Red Sox: Pitching prospect Junichi Tazawa was in Alabama meeting with famed Dr. James Andrews. Tazawa is having elbow discomfort and has had a rough spring training. ... The John Lackey-to-Boston deal over the offseason was perplexing for most baseball fans. But perhaps the Red Sox were just making an early move to replace Josh Beckett.

Yankees: Pitching prospect Pat Venditte is ambidextrous -- and he's pitching for the first time for the Yankees on Tuesday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he's been waiting all spring to see him pitch. ... The Yankees are the World Champions of payroll. The Yankees are the highest paid team in the world, followed by three soccer teams and six NBA teams.


Around NL East Spring Training, 4/29: Strasburg/Obama '10

Mets: Johan Santana will pitch against the Memphis Redbirds tomorrow...Jerry Manuel maintains that the fight for the final spot on the Mets' bench is "too close to call." Mike Jacobs adds power to the bench, but his main competition, Frank Catalanotto is more versatile defensively and a better all-around hitter...Kelvim Escobar has begun playing catch again. It seems reports of his retirement were extremely premature, but he shouldn't be expected to be ready anytime soon...Jose Reyes took batting live practice, but his timetable is still uncertain.

Phillies: J.C. Romero looked "sharp" in his game debut, but only faced four batters due to rain...The Phillies released12 minor leaguers, including OF Brad Wilkerson...Joe Blanton gave up 11 runs to minor leaguers...Ryan Madson will start the season as the team's closer. Brad Lidge is rehabbing his knee and shoulder, but should be back by the third week of the season.

Nationals: President Obama will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day in Washington, continuing a tradition honored on and off by others in office. Ivan Rodriguez will catch...Speaking of politics, Alberto Gonzalez has made his way back to Washington, on the Nats' bench...Jordan Zimmermann and Chien-Ming Wang both threw 45 pitches today in the bullpen...Stephen Strasburg will make his debut for the AA Harrisburg Senators on April 11, keeping him on schedule to become the Nats' fifth starter at the coming of the chosen one...Livan Hernandez is in the rotation and he's not the fifth starter. Take that Strasburg!...The Nationals claimed Mets catcher Chris Coste off waivers, but he likely won't make the major league squad.

Braves: Jason Heyward is out with shin splints, but is expected to be ready for opening day...Yunel Escobar is also out with a tightness in his back...Bobby Cox says the last spot on the roster, the utility infielder, is a toss-up between Joe Thurston and Brooks Conrad.

Marlins: Hayden Penn was claimed off waivers by the Pirates...Logan Morrison and Scott Strickland were reassigned to minor league camp...Logan Morrison's reassignment yesterday assures long-time prospect Gaby Sanchez is the opening day first baseman for the fish. 


Around AL Central Spring Training, 3/29: Robertson Makes His Pitch

Royals: Alberto Callaspo is out of action with a sore right side, and though the team doesn't think the injury is serious, he may not be healthy by Opening Day...Gil Meche, who was pulled from last week's start with shoulder soreness, reported no problems throwing 120-foot long toss...Bryan Bullington was re-assigned to minor league camp...Robinson Tejeda will be working out of the bullpen, and not the rotation...Royals Review asks if you could build a decent combination team out of three lousy teams.

Twins: Matt Tolbert, Mike Maroth, Ben Revere, and Danny Lehmann were cut from big league camp. Tolbert's dismissal paves the way for Alexi Casilla to step in as the last guy on the bench...Jacque Jones had a big spring as he attempted a comeback, but he will not make the Twins...barring a trade, the Twins are prepared to go with a closer-by-committee approach, headed by Jon Rauch.

Indians: Russell Branyan, who still hasn't appeared in a game so far this spring, will begin the season on the DL with back trouble. Matt LaPorta will get time at first base in Branyan's absence. Left field will be decided by a competition between Michael Brantley, Austin Kearns, and Trevor Crowe...In Fausto Carmona's 20 innings this spring, he's allowed only one run and two walks, and he's drawing rave reviews...Carlos Carrasco had a rough start on Sunday as he competes for a rotation slot with David Huff...1B/3B Andy Marte may stand to benefit from Branyan's injury, as the former top prospect, who's out of options, could serve as a backup at both corners in the early going.

White Sox: Gordon Beckham was scratched from Friday's game with a sore side, but he should be just fine...Ramon Castro injured his foot while running the bases on Sunday, but he should also be fine. Not a lot of roster questions, here.

Tigers: Daniel Schlereth and Wilkin Ramirez were cut from big league camp...Bobby Seay has a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. He's going to try to rehab and work through without getting surgery, but it's a significant problem. An operation would cost him a year. Phil Coke will take over as Detroit's top bullpen lefty...Austin Jackson is officially going to be the center fielder and leadoff hitter...Nate Robertson had a solid start on Saturday as he continues to complete with Dontrelle Willis and Jeremy Bonderman for one of the last two rotation slots. So far this spring, Robertson has 19 strikeouts and seven walks in 19.2 innings, Willis has ten and eight in 15, and Bonderman has ten and five in 13. There are rumors that all three are available in trade talks.


Around NL West Spring Training, 3/29: Teams Move Into The Final Stretch

Diamondbacks Rodrigo Lopez appears to have won the #4 spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation for Opening Day. He blanked the Brewers for 5.1 innings on Sunay, and with a Cactus League ERA of 2.35, has a clear edge over the other contenders, Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey. The Diamondbacks will likely go with four starters and eight relievers to begin the season, since they don’t need a fifth rotation member until April 17.

Dodgers Russell Martin’s recovery continues to go well, and True Blue LA believes he may not need a trip to the DL, and will simply be carried as an active but injured reserve on the 25-man roster for a few days. Clayton Kershaw and the LA bullpen posted a solid performance on Sunday, beating the Reds 2-1, and allowing only six hits and a walk, striking out seven batters. Kershaw will start the second game of the season, if kept on normal rest, following Vincente Padilla

Giants San Francisco has had a very productive spring as far as pitcher extensions goes, locking up starter Matt Cain yesterday, adding that to the contracts recently signed by reliever Jeremy Affeldt and closer Brian Wilson. However, Nate Schierholtz’s poor Cactus League numbers have them looking for credible alternatives. John Bowker and Mark DeRosa are possibilities, though neither are ideal for the position of right-field.

Padres San Diego announced Jon Garland would get the Opening Day start for the team, facing his old outfit in Arizona on April 5th. It’ll be the first new Opening Day starter since 2005 for both teams. However, Gaslamp Ball reckons that Chris Young will remain the “true” #1 of the staff, and notes that the way this sets things up, Young will now be starting the first game at Petco on April 12th.

Rockies Colorado are enjoying the somewhat unusual, for the franchise, position of being the favorites to win the NL West. “Consensus of scouts in Arizona is that Colorado Rockies are hands down best team in the NL West,” says one report, going on to quote a scout as saying “No weakness. Bench has best depth of any team in the game.” However, Tim Redding’s poor outing on Saturday has probably cost him a spot on the 25-man roster.


Around AL West Spring Training, 3/29: Rangers Find Their Utility Guy

Mariners: Doug Fister, coming back from a line drive to the arm, threw 65 pitches in a minor league game Monday and felt good...Erik Bedard threw off a mound for the first time, but wasn't anywhere close to being at full speed...Cliff Lee's suspension appeal was supposed to take place Monday, but has been postponed because not all parties could attend the conference call...both Ian Snell and Ryan Rowland-Smith spun solid starts over the weekend as they work their way into game shape...the Mariners re-signed starter Yusmeiro Petit to a minor league contract...Milton Bradley will begin the season as the Mariners' cleanup hitter...Eliezer Alfonzo, Guillermo Quiroz, and David Pauley were cut from big league camp.

Angels: Ervin Santana came back from an inflamed bursa sac in his elbow to throw pretty well on Sunday, although the results were poor...Maicer Izturis was sidelined with back stiffness on Saturday, but has made a rapid recovery.

Athletics: The A's addressed a hole in the bullpen and added some rotation depth over the weekend when they signed Chad Gaudin...Jon Meloan was placed on the 60-day DL as he's due to undergo ligament replacement surgery on his elbow...Michael Wuertz was scratched from his scheduled Sunday appearance and will see a specialist about his shoulder...Vin Mazzaro, Michael Taylor, and Chris Carter were re-assigned to minor league camp...Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill continue to battle for the fifth rotation slot...Justin Duchscherer got hit around on Sunday by the Royals. He says he was "throwing decent pitches," but his command isn't where he wants it to be...Dallas Braden has an infection in his left shin. He's scheduled to throw on Wednesday.

Rangers: Derek Holland, Brandon McCarthy, Craig Gentry, and Alexi Ogando were all cut from big league camp, cementing the big league rotation picture. Noticeably absent: Neftali Feliz, who, sure enough, will begin the year in the Ranger bullpen...the Rangers added infielder Andres Blanco over the weekend from the Cubs for a player to be named or cash considerations. Blanco, who turns 26 in two weeks, doesn't bring much of a bat, but he's got a solid glove, and it seems he's already won the bench spot competition over Esteban German and Joaquin Arias...Ian Kinsler gives himself a 95% chance of making the Opening Day roster...Texas is still paying attention to Mike Lowell...Scott Feldman will get the start on Opening Day.


Around NL Central Spring Training, 3/29: Derrek Lee Sits, Tyler Colvin Stands Out

Cubs: Derrek Lee, who had to be removed from a game last week with a sore back, was scratched from the lineup Sunday with a bruised foot. He might not return to the lineup until Tuesday...Tyler Colvin was informed he made the team on Sunday: he's hit .468/.468/.710 in 62 at bats this spring, prompting manager Lou Piniella to tell Carrie Muskat, "If we can't keep Colvin after the spring he's had, something's wrong."...the team freed up a roster spot Saturday by trading infielder Andres Blanco to the Rangers for a PTBNL or cash. Blanco was out of options and unlikely to make the team...Rule 5 pick Mike Parisi won't open the season with the team but will remain in the organization: He was offered back to the Cardinals but had the right to refuse an outright assignment to the minors, and re-signed with the Cubs as a free agent.

Astros: Rookie shortstop Tommy Manzella's quad injury was only supposed to keep him out of action for a week, but his return has been pushed back. He last played on March 20, and is still expected to be ready for Opening Day...reliever Yorman Bazardo underwent an MRI to check for structural damage in his throwing shoulder, but the results came back clean. He hasn't thrown off a mound since leaving a game with tightness in the joint on March 13...In rare good injury news, Michael Bourn returned to the lineup Saturday after missing a week with a strained oblique. He went 1-for-3 at the plate and reported no issues while playing six innings in center field.

Cardinals: The team optioned Adam Ottavino to the minors on Saturday, more or less cementing their Opening Day pitching staff. Jaime Garcia will likely be the fifth starter, with Kyle McClellan getting the final job in the bullpen...Ryan Ludwick left Sunday's game early after fouling two balls off his left shin in a third inning at bat against Mike Pelfrey. Ludwick stayed in to finish the AB and hit a home run, but was removed afterwards as a precautionary measure.

Reds: Aroldis Chapman returned to the mound Sunday for the first time since being sidelined with back spasms. He pitched one inning in a minor league game, hitting 97 with his fastball, and told reporters he "felt like before" afterwards...Some recent comments from manager Dusty Baker may suggest the team is leaning towards keeping Travis Wood as the fifth starter. 2009 draft pick Mike Leake is also a candidate, but Baker noted Leake's inexperience pitching in a five-man rotation.

Brewers: Rickie Weeks and Alcides Escobar stayed home in Maryvale Sunday while the rest of the team made their final trip to Tucson. The team had some issues holding runners on second base on Saturday and manager Ken Macha wanted them to get some extra work on it...Macha has also asked new center fielder Carlos Gomez to work on getting on base. Gomez has excellent speed (he leads all players with ten stolen bases this spring), but has a sub-.300 career OBP...Corey Hart continues to struggle this spring with new corrective lenses. He's now wearing contacts at the plate and went 1-for-7 over the weekend. On Sunday he went 1-for-3 with a single, but was caught stealing.

Pirates: With Brandon Moss, Ramon Vazquez and Rule 5 selection John Raynor all competing for one roster spot, the team is reportedly considering opening the season with an 11 man pitching staff to create an extra opening on the bench. Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Phillies was rained out, but Ross Ohlendorf was pitching in the other half of a split-squad day, so the Pirates' rotation remains on schedule.


Spring Training News & Notes, 3/29: 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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