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Spring training 2014: Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Barnes highlight AL East NRIs

The AL East's group of non-roster invites includes a few veterans who are looking for another big league shot and a couple of prospects who are hoping to impress in major league camp.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Each AL East squad has announced their non-roster spring training invitees for the upcoming season. Per usual, these players are an odd mix of highly touted prospects, organizational depth, and former big league veterans. Some might do enough to put themselves in the mix for the 2014 season, while others will be discarded, either sent down to minor league camp or released outright.

Here are a few of the more notable names to keep an eye on in the AL East as spring training unfolds over the next few weeks.

Blue Jays

Familiar Face: Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki endeared himself to baseball fans last year with his plucky play and happy-go-lucky attitude. He'll get a chance to make the Jays again this year based on that alone, though his ability to play multiple infield positions is valuable as well. In 96 games for Toronto in 2013, Kawasaki hit .229/.326/.308 with one home run and 24 RBI. There may not be much to get excited for with Kawasaki, but every major league team needs a utility infielder who can fill in when necessary.

Other notable names: Many of the team's top prospects are too young to garner a major league invite. The Jays will have a few veterans in camp who have made an impact in the majors, however. Chris Getz could be in the mix for Toronto's vacant second base spot. The 30-year-old hit .220/.288/.273 for the Royals in 2013 and has played in the majors for six seasons. Adam LaRoche and Dan Johnson have made sporadic big league appearances throughout their careers, while 37-year-old Tomo Ohka is hoping to return to the majors after last appearing for the Indians in 2009.


Familiar Face: Delmon Young. Young has never become the type of hitter that his early potential suggested he might. Still, he has some pop in his bat and could make the Orioles as a designated hitter-type out of spring training. Last year with the Phillies and Rays, Young batted .260/.307/.407 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 103 games. Prior to that, he had some decent seasons with the Tigers, including an 18-home run campaign in 2012.

Other notable names: Things ended poorly for Alfredo Aceves with the Red Sox, but the right-hander has been a useful bullpen piece in the past. He compiled a 2.61 ERA in 114 innings for Boston back in 2011. Other notable names in Orioles camp include Eduardo Rodriguez and Mike Wright, both of whom pitched effectively in the upper levels of the minors in 2013. Wright will likely arrive in the majors first, but the left-handed Rodriguez is the better prospect, and either of them might appear in a thin Orioles rotation by the end of the season.


Familiar Face: Mark Lowe. Lowe has been an effective bullpen piece in the past despite a poor 2013 campaign for the Angels in which he finished with a 9.26 ERA in 11 appearances. Prior to that, Lowe put together a couple of decent seasons with the Rangers, posting a 3.43 ERA in 36 games in 2012 and a 3.80 ERA in 52 games in 2011. The 30-year-old right-hander could earn a spot in the back of Tampa Bay's bullpen.

Other notable names: Youngsters Mikie Mahtook and Matt Andriese are appearing in their first big league camps. Mahtook hit .254/.322/.386 with seven home runs as a 22-year-old in Double-A last season, while Andriese finished with a 2.37 ERA in Double-A before getting the call to Triple-A and posting a 4.45 ERA in 12 games. Veterans Jayson Nix and Jerry Sands have bounced around the majors and Triple-A in recent seasons, and both bring the type of positional versatility that could given them an opportunity if injuries impact the Rays roster.

Red Sox

Familiar Face: Brandon Snyder. Snyder appeared in 27 games for the Red Sox in 2013, batting .180/.212/.360 with two home runs, and has also played in the majors for the Rangers and Orioles. He doesn't have a ton of upside, but could be a decent bench bat if injuries affect the roster. Another familiar face is Brayan Villarreal, who pitched effectively for the Tigers bullpen back in 2012, compiling a 2.63 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 54.2 innings. He'll have a chance to earn a bullpen role after bouncing around in the minors since 2012.

Other notable names: The Red Sox have also invited a number of their top prospects to major league camp. Right-hander Matt Barnes, the team's first-round pick in 2011, will get a chance to impress after reaching Triple-A last season. Barnes could get a shot later on this summer with the Red Sox after compiling a 4.13 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 113.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A in 2013. In addition, other prized youngsters like Henry Owens, Blake Swihart, and Deven Marrero will practice with the big club as well, though each probably remains a year away from making the majors.


Familiar Face: Scott Sizemore. Sizemore has barely played the past two seasons after suffering back-to-back ACL tears in 2012 and 2013. Prior to that, he featured for Oakland and Detroit in 2011, hitting .245/.342/.399 as a second and third baseman. Given the Yankees' depth problems in the infield, Sizemore has a good shot to make the team if he can stay healthy. Another familiar name, David Herndon, pitched for the Phillies in parts of three seasons before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. He pitched in the minors for the Yankees last year, but never quite made it back to the majors after the surgery.

Other notable names: Two of the team's top prospects in Tyler Austin and Mason Williams garnered invites to spring training. Austin could have a chance to reach the majors later this summer if he can stay healthy. The 22-year-old batted .257/.344/.373 with six home runs in Double-A last season, but suffered from a wrist injury that affected his play. Williams, on the other hand, stayed healthy, but struggled mightily after receiving a call-up to Double-A in the middle of the summer. A strong fielder with fine speed out in center, Williams will need a little more seasoning before he is called up to the Bronx.

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