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Last Build Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:25:42 PST

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Wieters joins Nationals; Judge hits long homer for Yankees (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 19:25:42 PST

Matt Wieters finally has a new team. ''It's tough finding a team when you can't do anything baseball-related,'' Wieters said Friday, when the catcher took batting practice and ran conditioning sprints at spring training with the Washington Nationals after his signing was announced. Now Wieters is working on getting up to speed with the pitching staff for the reigning NL East champions.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:58:18 PST

Trades don't surprise Drew Smyly anymore. At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014.

Cubs closer Wade Davis reunited with manager Joe Maddon (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:51:12 PST

Wade Davis was a promising starting pitcher when he made his major league debut for Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays almost eight years ago. Then he was a reliever, and then a starter again and then a reliever. Now he gets the ball from Maddon once again - only this time as the closer for the Chicago Cubs.

MLB players union head says 2020 Olympics difficult (The Associated Press)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:39:46 PST

The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 - in the middle of baseball's season. ''There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,'' Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles' spring training camp.

Tanaka prepares for Tuesday start with simulated game (The Associated Press)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:43:14 PST

New York Yankees scheduled opening-day starter Masahiro Tanaka threw 74 pitches off a bullpen mound and during a simulated game Thursday in preparation for his first spring training appearance next week. The Japanese right-hander threw 30 pitches over two innings against Chase Headley, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter in the simulated game. Tanaka was a concern at the start of spring training last year after arthroscopic surgery in October 2015 to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.

AP source: Matt Wieters, Nationals agree, pending physical (The Associated Press)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:26:16 PST

After waiting and waiting to find a free-agent deal, four-time All-Star catcher Matt Wieters finally found a match with the Washington Nationals. Wieters and the Nationals agreed in principle on a $10.5 million contract for 2017, pending a physical, according to a person familiar with the deal. Wieters has played his entire career in the AL with the Baltimore Orioles after being taken with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft.

Tigers' center field position is up for grabs (The Associated Press)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:24:17 PST

Open competition for a starting position has become a rarity in spring training. ''The guys involved know it's open, and it's a performance-based game,'' manager Brad Ausmus said. Tyler Collins, who started 22 games in center field for Detroit last season, and Mikie Mahtook, acquired from Tampa Bay, will get long looks.

Going deep: Dodgers add Gutierrez to already loaded roster (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:24:51 PST

Although Franklin Gutierrez officially joined the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday afternoon, the veteran outfielder had already been working out at their spring training complex for two days. The Dodgers reached a deal with him last week, but they couldn't formally announce his arrival because they hadn't been able to clear a spot for him on their 40-man roster until they traded veteran left-hander Vidal Nuno to Baltimore for a prospect on Sunday. Such is the nature of the Dodgers' remarkable roster depth heading into a season of enormous expectations.

Longoria optimistic Rays can be better in 2017 (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:21:48 PST

Evan Longoria is sporting a new look in spring training and feeling better about what the Tampa Bay Rays have done in hopes of giving themselves a better chance to win. ''We were all a little bit upset by the loss of Logan. Coming off a 68-94 finish that was the club's worst since 2007, the Rays sought upgrades in several areas, signing catcher Wilson Ramos and outfielder Colby Rasmus in free agency and trading Forsythe and starting pitcher Drew Smyly in separate deals that brought pitching prospect Jose De Leon and speedy young outfielder Mallex Smith to Tampa Bay.

Veteran Lester thinks Cubs' youth helps chance for repeating (The Associated Press)

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:04:12 PST

No baseball team has repeated as World Series champions since the New York Yankees reigned from 1998 through 2000. Jon Lester, a three-time World Series champion, thinks the Chicago Cubs have a few legs up on the situation. ''The biggest positive on our side is we have so many young guys who aren't banged up, who don't have a lot of innings or at-bats,'' said Lester, who helped Boston to titles in 2007 and 2013, as well as helping to anchor the Cubs' rotation last year.

Utley agrees to 1-year, $2 million deal with Dodgers (The Associated Press)

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 14:19:09 PST

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Veteran free agent infielder Chase Utley has officially returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers, agreeing to a one-year, $2-million contract on Saturday.

Tommy Hunter agrees to minor league contract with Rays (The Associated Press)

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 11:39:44 PST

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) -- Reliever Tommy Hunter has agreed to a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are giving the 30-year right-hander an opportunity to earn a job in a revamped bullpen.

Rays' Nick Franklin took on a very normal second job this winter (Big League Stew)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:53:10 PST

Nick Franklin seems to enjoy his second job. Back then, before salaries exploded, baseball players couldn’t make a living solely playing the game. Times have changed. Player salaries have grown exponentially, and there’s no need for players to take on a second job in order to make ends meet.

Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:19:16 PST

(corrects dateline) Feb 14 (The Sports Xchange) - Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery this spring. The former Minnesota Twins manager said he was diagnosed earlier this month. A blood test taken during his physical exam cited the possibility and an MRI exam confirmed he had prostate cancer. Surgery will be performed after Gardenhire completes the preparation process. The 59-year-old Gardenhire told Arizona team officials that doctors told him the cancer was detected early. ...

Archer, Rays ready to leave disappointing season behind (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:30:22 PST

As the leader of a pitching staff that underperformed last season, Chris Archer relishes the challenge of helping the revamped Tampa Bay Rays re-emerge as playoff contenders. Archer acknowledged before the first workout for pitchers and catchers that the Rays are built to thrive on a strong starting rotation. ''But I think it's time for us to shift away from relying solely on starting pitching.

Rangers get Gamboa from Rays; Fielder, Diekman to 60-day DL (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:25:06 PST

The Texas Rangers acquired right-handed knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday, when they placed reliever Jake Diekman and first baseman Prince Fielder on the 60-day disabled list. Since Fielder didn't formally retire, he had to remain on the Rangers' 40-man roster during the offseason.

Stroman, McHugh, Odorizzi win; Wacha, Anderson, Walker lose (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:08:15 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi, Houston's Collin McHugh and Toronto's Marcus Stroman won their salary arbitration cases Tuesday, and St. Louis' Michael Wacha, Milwaukee's Chase Anderson and Arizona's Taijuan Walker lost.

Rays finalize $2M, 1-year deal with injured pitcher Eovaldi (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:12:21 PST

The Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a $2 million, one-year contract with injured pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, a deal that allows him to earn an additional $5.5 million in 2018. The 27-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the 2017 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery last August, when he was with the New York Yankees. Eovaldi can earn $3.5 million in performance bonuses each year as a starter and $3 million as a reliever.

Joe Girardi wants to manage Yankees past 2017 (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:47:10 PST

Starting his 10th season as New York Yankees manager, Joe Girardi wants to lead the team beyond 2017 and watch the Baby Bombers mature. Girardi is entering the final season of a $16 million, four-year contract. The Yankees won the 2009 World Series in his second season but have missed the postseason in three of the past four years, have not won a postseason game since the 2012 AL Division Series and pivoted toward youth last summer.

Grady Sizemore returns to the Indians with a brand new job (Big League Stew)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 08:21:08 PST

Grady Sizemore is returning to baseball and to the Cleveland Indians. Grady Sizemore has returned to the Cleveland Indians. The 34-year-old former center fielder has started a new chapter in his life, one where he doesn’t play baseball, but instead helps the players of today get prepared for what tomorrow may bring.

Jake Odorizzi, Michael Wacha go to arbitration (The Associated Press)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:14:54 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Jake Odorizzi of Tampa Bay and Michael Wacha of St. Louis have gone to salary arbitration and are among six first-time eligible starting pitchers who could get decisions Tuesday.

Diamondbacks sign Matusz, Jepsen to minor league deals (The Associated Press)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:25:30 PST

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to minor-league deals with left-hander Brian Matusz and right-hander Kevin Jepsen.

Mariners constantly in motion with Jerry Dipoto in charge (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:41:24 PST

Jerry Dipoto keeps proving the ''Trader Jerry'' nickname is a valid one. The Seattle Mariners general manager is constantly tinkering, trying to create a club that can once again be a contender instead of an afterthought. ''There was a question about Jerry that a media member posed and they described him as 'uncomfortably energetic.' ... You stay busy, but in a good way,'' said director of baseball operations Justin Hollander, who had previously worked with Dipoto with the Los Angeles Angels.

Rays re-tool for 2017, as well as future success (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:50:06 PST

The goal of playing meaningful games in September and beyond remains the same for the cost-conscious Tampa Bay Rays, who feel a busy offseason has improved their chances of contending for a postseason berth. Escaping the basement in the AL East won't be easy, especially after trading left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly and lead-off man Logan Forsythe, however general manager Erick Neander likes the way the roster is shaping up heading into spring training. The Rays think they not only still have a chance to field one of the better rotations in the league, but have strengthened the offense and defense, too, while operating within a limited budget.

Dodgers retain 3 key free agents in bid to unseat Cubs in NL (The Associated Press)

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 12:48:55 PST

After coming within two games of reaching the World Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a simple plan going into the offseason: keep their roster intact and make a couple of additions. Now if they can just stay healthy in 2017 and have youngsters Corey Seager and Julio Urias continue to mature, the Dodgers could be well positioned to challenge the World Series champion Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out in the NL Championship Series.

Stanton, Jones headline US roster for World Baseball Classic (The Associated Press)

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 18:19:17 PST

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Baltimore star Adam Jones are among the returnees on the 28-man U.S. World Baseball Classic roster, which also includes Colorado's Nolan Arenado, Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt, San Francisco's Buster Posey and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen.

Rays acquire catcher Jesus Sucre from Mariners in trade (The Associated Press)

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 11:54:10 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired catcher Jesus Sucre from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named or cash.

Hot Stove Digest: Rangers finally agree to terms with Mike Napoli (Big League Stew)

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:45:29 PST

After months of rumors, Mike Napoli is finally going back to Texas. FINALLY: The Texas Rangers have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with first baseman Mike Napoli. The 35-year-old Napoli hit .239/.335/.465, with 34 home runs, for the Cleveland Indians last season. It had been assumed Napoli would sign with the Rangers for weeks now, but the two sides put off finalizing a deal until now.

Decisions held back for 1st-time eligible starting pitchers (The Associated Press)

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 16:27:49 PST

NEW YORK (AP) -- Salary arbitration decisions for starting pitchers who are eligible for the first time will be held back until all the cases involving those players are finished.

Rays finalize $2.5M deal with Morrison, trade Romero to Nats (The Associated Press)

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 15:55:11 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Free agent first baseman Logan Morrison and the Tampa Bay Rays have finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract.