Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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It's mid-February, which means that we're currently in the midst of "The Best Shape of His Life" season. You know how this goes -- with pitchers, catchers and early birds who aren't pitchers or catchers reporting to spring training, we're hearing stories about how guys are reporting to camp slim, trim and looking like the picture of health as they get ready for another season. These stories are basically the equivalent of flowers blooming during March, so imagine the shock when one of those flowers actually turns out to be a dud and someone doesn't show up to camp in The Best Shape of Their Life.
This appears to be the case with Pablo Sandoval of the Boston Red Sox, who is not in The Best Shape of His Life. Reportedly, Red Sox officials wanted Sandoval to show up to camp a little lighter. Well, Sandoval reported to camp on Sunday and he looked like the Sandoval we all know and love. That's to say that he probably didn't lose weight over the offseason, and if he did, it was pretty negligible.
Full disclosure -- "fat" athletes in sports are one of the best things about sports in general. It's fantastic watching portly people pull off amazing feats of athleticism because it goes against everything we've been trained to accept as a society when it comes to this sort of thing. With that being said, it might have been in Pablo Sandoval's best interests to trim down a bit. Granted, he'll probably never be slim, but showing up to camp a little lighter would've gone a long way in showing that he's ready to bounce back from what was an awful 2015 season for the Panda. Instead, 2016 is already off to a rocky start, and the Red Sox definitely don't need that if they plan on contending in what may be an extremely competitive AL East this season.
- The Dodgers and 24-year old Cuban pitcher Yasiel Sierra have officially agreed to a six-year, $30 million contract.
- Dexter Fowler may be the next free agent to be headed to the Baltimore Orioles, with the two parties reportedly inching closer towards a two-year deal worth $24 million.
- Meanwhile, the Orioles and Camden Yards appear to be cutting back on a "local" brew, and that's got O's fans feeling bummed out.
- Yu Darvish has been hard at work rehabbing his right arm after Tommy John surgery, but he may be hiding a secret weapon in his left arm.
- In other Rangers news, a fan won free season tickets by hitting a home run at their stadium. That's one way to save money!
- The Brewers have officially confirmed that Ryan Braun is headed back to left field, which is where he'll be playing for the first time since the 2013 season.
- Barry Bonds recently received a Hall of Fame endorsement from Ken Griffey Jr. It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement, but it was an endorsement nonetheless!
- Two minor league Rays pitchers showed up for a 9 a.m. meeting at 8:28. Apparently that still wasn't early enough for Chris Archer, who told both of them off while in front of reporters.
- Don Mattingly has revived an old Marlins policy and a famous Yankees tradition: A ban on facial hair.
- Mark Melancon and Jared Hughes -- both of the Pittsburgh Pirates -- decided to give the new protective headgear for pitchers a whirl during Sunday's activities. We'll probably be seeing more and more of this as spring training progresses.