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Last Build Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:25:30 PST

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Mets minor leaguer Tebow hits 9 homers in batting practice (The Associated Press)

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 17:25:30 PST

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -- Tim Tebow quickly got into the swing of spring training, hitting nine home runs in batting practice Monday during his first workout with the New York Mets.

John Axford did great on his Oscar picks, Sean Doolittle not so much (Big League Stew)

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 07:10:39 PST

John Axford of the Oakland Athletics looks like he’s pretending to hold an Oscar in his right hand. It’s the day after the Academy Awards, and besides the insane Best Picture mix-up, what everyone’s talking about today is this one topic: how did you do in your Oscar pool? Did you choose “La La Land” to win it all, or did you pick “Moonlight” and get a huge surprise?

John Axford wants Oscar winner Mahershala Ali to throw out Athletics first pitch (Big League Stew)

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:22:37 PST

The Oscars were pretty crazy on Sunday night. And you may wonder what baseball has to do with the biggest and most prestigious film awards show of the entire season.

Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 16:48:25 PST

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is facing another trip under the knife on his left knee as he attempts a comeback from last season's reconstructive surgery. The former American League MVP is experiencing discomfort in the knee and may require arthroscopic surgery as soon as Monday, according to the Rangers. Hamilton felt sharp pain while running recently and was given a platelet-rich plasma injection last week.

Sonny Gray not eligible for WBC after being denied insurance coverage (Big League Stew)

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 11:00:58 PST

Oakland A’s ace Sonny Gray has been forced to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic after being denied insurance coverage for the event. Gray was on the DL for more than 60 days last year and he didn’t play in more than 10 innings after coming off the DL at the end of the season. “I know Sonny’s bummed,” Oakland general manager David Forst said Sunday.

Spring Training 2017: Michael Bourns adds name to weird injury list (Big League Stew)

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 19:32:44 PST

Michael Bourn will miss at least four weeks with a broken ring finger. WEIRD INJURY OF THE DAY: Orioles outfielder Michael Bourn will be sidelined four weeks with a broken ring finger on his right hand. As noted in Roch Kubatko’s tweet, throwing footballs around the ballpark has become customary during spring training and pregame workouts.

Harper homers, Ventura remembered, Bourn hurt (The Associated Press)

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 18:14:06 PST

Welcome to spring training, Bryce Harper. Harper hit a long solo homer and a single, helping the Washington Nationals to an 8-6 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday at Port St. Lucie, Fla. Andrew Stevenson and Matt Skole also connected for Washington, and Gio Gonzalez struck out one in a scoreless first inning.

Montgomery, Anderson competing for 5th spot in Cubs rotation (The Associated Press)

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 16:59:39 PST

Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson are competing for the fifth slot in the Chicago Cubs' rotation. Competition for the opening began in earnest Saturday when Montgomery worked a scoreless inning against Oakland in the home half of Chicago's split-squad games in its first spring training action.

Burns keeper of goldfish, mantis mascots (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:16:10 PST

Billy Burns keeps getting assigned to team mascot duty. When the Oakland Athletics first called up the outfielder in September 2014, he had to travel with a goldfish as part of his rookie hazing. ''I took it to all the clubhouses,'' Burns said.

Oakland's Phegley back in form after knee problem (The Associated Press)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:51:19 PST

A change in his catching stance has Josh Phegley feeling fine and ready to resume his role as part of the Oakland Athletics' platoon at the position. Phegley, after taking some cuts in the batting cage early at spring training Thursday, leaned back and slightly to the side to demonstrate his previous staggered stance.

Athletics hopeful Santiago Casilla to arrive in coming days (The Associated Press)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:09:37 PST

As Santiago Casilla awaits his final paperwork to depart the Dominican Republic and rejoin the Oakland Athletics, he has been speaking with young baseball players at the team's academy in his home country. A's manager Bob Melvin is hopeful that could be ''any day'' for the right-handed reliever, who has been delayed by visa issues - a common occurrence in the Dominican Republic for baseball players and something he regularly dealt with during his first stint with Oakland. Casilla didn't sign his $11 million, two-year contract with the A's until Jan. 20, so there wasn't much time between then to secure a visa before pitchers and catchers reported to the team's complex in Mesa on Feb. 14.

Powerful presence: Encarnacion gives Indians booming bat (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:03:56 PST

As fans lining the chain-linked fence next to Cleveland's main practice field jockeyed for better position to snatch an autograph or selfie with the team's newest star, Edwin Encarnacion showed no emotion. With his glove balanced on his head, Encarnacion signed baseballs, bats, cards and whatever else was thrust in front of him. ''Hey,'' he told Encarnacion.

Swisher, 2 years after last game, says he has retired (The Associated Press)

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 15:41:49 PST

At spring training with the New York Yankees as a guest instructor, Nick Swisher says he has retired as a player. Slowed by knee injuries the past several years, Swisher appeared in 76 games with Atlanta and Cleveland in 2014. The 36-year old slugger played in 55 games last season for the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre team, then ended his season in July when his second child was born.

Former Diamondbacks manager Hale at home with A's as coach (The Associated Press)

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:25:01 PST

The day in early October when Chip Hale lost his job as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, he called his good friend Bob Melvin. The two go back many years in baseball - Hale was Melvin's third base coach in Arizona from 2007-09 and bench coach in Oakland from 2012-14 - and Hale considers Melvin his baseball coaching mentor.

Rajai Davis eager to get started in second stint with A's (The Associated Press)

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:44:00 PST

Rajai Davis pulled on his Athletics cap straight away when he walked into Hohokam Stadium, then grabbed his sparkling new white cleats specked with green and took an admiring glance at the shoes before reaching for his green No. 11 jersey and putting it on right over his long-sleeve shirt with black slacks. Davis returned Thursday to start a second stint in Oakland and is eager to carry the momentum from his World Series run with Cleveland last fall to make the A's a contender again when nobody expects it. Davis bounced around the ballpark saying his hellos and still riding the momentum of reaching the World Series.

Barry Zito is first Cy Young winner to appear on Billboard chart (Big League Stew)

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 08:45:56 PST

Barry Zito has always shown an interest in music. Barry Zito’s post-baseball career is going pretty well. The former pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants released an EP of country songs in January, and played a sold-out show the night before its release.

With so many options, A's may not need traditional closer (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:18:17 PST

If the Oakland Athletics can jump out to a lead this season, they should be in great shape. As pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday, manager Bob Melvin reflected on his numerous options to close out games. ''We may not have one particular closer,'' Melvin said.

Youthful A's rotation key to club's success in 2017 (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:33:32 PST

A key to the Oakland Athletics' young and relatively inexperienced starting rotation will be to consistently get the ball to the bullpen with a lead or a tie. ''It'll be fun but it will also be something that is going to have some people step up, including myself,'' No. 1 starter Sonny Gray said on reporting day for Oakland's pitchers and catchers. For that to change, Oakland will need to get better results out of a projected starting rotation whose ace, Gray, had a down year in 2016, going 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA.

With championship drought over, 'That's Cub' has new meaning (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:21:56 PST

A lot has changed for the Chicago Cubs in the past year. The Cubs arrive this week at Sloan Park as World Series champions and manager Joe Maddon and Co. are grabbing onto a relatively fresh term: ''That's Cub.'' Maddon, of course, loves to find creative ways to keep the players fresh and focused during a long season. ''That would be Cub, 'That's Cub' to move it forward, to win a World Series and then come back the next season and you're happy and you're impressed and you love what you've done, but you have to continue to move it forward,'' Maddon said.

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.

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.

Cubs no longer sole favorite to win World Series according to odds (Big League Stew)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:52:54 PST

The first repeat championship in Chicago since the late ’90s Chicago Bulls dynasty has been put on hold. After being favored to win the 2017 World Series all offseason, the Chicago Cubs now have some competition to bring home baseball’s ultimate prize. The company released its latest World Series odds Monday, and for the first time all offseason, the Cubs are not the odds-on favorite.

Adam Rosales is mentor for Hawaiian high school shortstop (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:26:42 PST

Lai learned to focus on the goal of taking his baseball career to the next level and the work it demands. Rosales called Kealakehe High coach Josh Hansen and told him he would be staying outside Kona for a month during the offseason, inquiring about using the school's facilities to lift weights, hit and take groundballs. ''He has ambitions to play college ball and he wants to be in the major leagues,'' Rosales recalled.

Stroman, McHugh latest pitchers to go to salary arbitration (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:09:43 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Toronto's Marcus Stroman and Houston's Collin McHugh became the latest pitchers to go to salary arbitration.

Stolen bases an afterthought as spring training starts (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:23:45 PST

The stolen base has been stolen from baseball, an afterthought when spring training starts next week. Baltimore swiped just 19 bases last year, the fewest for any team in more than four decades. In 1982, Rickey Henderson stole his 19th base on April 28 - Oakland's 20th game of the season.

A's ace Sonny Gray ready to leave disappointing 2016 behind (The Associated Press)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 09:01:45 PST

Sonny Gray is starting fresh, ready to be Oakland's reliable ace again. Gray was scratched from his scheduled outing opening day because of food poisoning and never had the kind of season he envisioned as the leader of the rotation. ''It started off on a sour note with getting sick,'' Gray said.

Prince Fielder is trying something new in his life after baseball (Big League Stew)

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 08:05:17 PST

Prince Fielder is enjoying his post-baseball life, and is trying something brand new. Fielder, the former slugger for the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers, had to hang up his bat for good in 2016 when persistent neck problems forced him to retire much earlier than planned. Fielder’s new project is in a whole different direction from baseball: he’s hosting a food show.

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.

Phelps beats Marlins in arbitration, will make $4.6 million (The Associated Press)

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:02:41 PST

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Pitcher David Phelps won his arbitration case against the Miami Marlins and will have a $4.6 million salary this season.

Giants look to closer Mark Melancon to help steady bullpen (The Associated Press)

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 10:13:15 PST

The San Francisco Giants' even-year demise came down to a shaky bullpen that had been oh so reliable in the club's World Series championships of 2010, '12 and '14. Closer Mark Melancon landed a $62 million, four-year contract in December. ''This was our No. 1 need,'' manager Bruce Bochy said.