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Last Build Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 18:14:06 PST

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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.

Cards say Garcia could make it to big leagues this year (The Associated Press)

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:14:20 PST

Cuban outfielder Adolis Garcia could make it up to the St. Louis Cardinals at some point this season, according to general manager John Mozeliak. Garcia, who turns 24 next Thursday, agreed Friday to a minor league contract with a $2.5 million signing bonus and was in camp Saturday ahead of the Cardinals' exhibition opener against Miami. Garcia earned MVP honors in Serie Nacional, Cuba's highest league, in 2016 after hitting .319, with 14 homers and 71 RBIs in 81 games with 15 outfield assists.

Cardinals sign Cuban league MVP to minor league contract (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 18:30:16 PST

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals have signed Cuban outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia to a minor league contract and invited him to their big league spring training camp.

Former NFL DB Commings signs minor-league deal with Braves (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 14:49:48 PST

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Former NFL and Georgia defensive back Sanders Commings is looking to play another sport.

World Baseball Classic 2017: Can two star pitchers make Colombia a surprise team? (Big League Stew)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:48:21 PST

From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s team: Colombia. Colombia has this going for it as it enters World Baseball Classic play for the first time: It’s young and hungry. Colombia qualified for the WBC for the first time this year, which is a great story in itself since the country didn’t even try in 2013.

FANTASY PLAYS: Potential busts for 2017 fantasy season (The Associated Press)

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 09:06:49 PST

In fantasy draft prep, you'll hear three terms more than any others: breakout, sleeper, and bust. A bust can be a player who doesn't live up to his average draft position (ADP) or high expectations but still has a good year, or it can be someone who was just plain awful.

The Braves are giving another football player a chance to try baseball (Big League Stew)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:32:16 PST

Sanders Commings has reportedly signed with the Braves after a short NFL career. The Atlanta Braves have continued their franchise lineage of two-sport athletes by reportedly signing ex-NFL cornerback Sanders Commings to a minor-league deal. The news was first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Revamped lineup gives Braves plenty of hope heading into '17 (The Associated Press)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:10:18 PST

A lineup that was downright embarrassing at the beginning of last season looks a whole lot more imposing, bolstered by slugger Matt Kemp, top prospect Danby Swanson and three-time All-Star Brandon Phillips. ''It's going to be an exciting year for us,'' said Freddie Freeman, another key part of the batting order. The Braves began to turn things around when they acquired Kemp from the San Diego Padres just ahead of the trade deadline, a move that essentially came down to taking on a contract that pays the outfielder $21.5 million annually through 2019.

AP study: 113 percent average raise in baseball arbitration (The Associated Press)

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:55:32 PST

San Diego Padres first baseman Wil Myers landed the biggest raise of all the hefty salary increases in arbitration. The 168 players eligible for arbitration as of mid-December averaged a 113 percent raise, according to a study by The Associated Press on Thursday. St. Louis right-hander Carlos Martinez was next with a 18-fold hike from $539,000 to an average of $10.2 million in a $51 million, five-year deal, followed by Atlanta outfielder Ender Inciarte with an 11-fold raise from $523,000 to an average of $6.1 million in his five-year deal worth $30,525,000.

Column: Baseball should get serious about speeding up games (The Associated Press)

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:18:40 PST

There are all sorts of ways to give baseball a much-needed boost of speed. ''All of it is stupid,'' Atlanta Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips said Wednesday. Over the last 35 years, the length of a regular-season game has increased by nearly a half-hour - much of that extra time consumed by batters stepping out of the box between every pitch for the always-thrilling helmet tug, enough meetings on the mound to bring about world peace, and so many pitching changes one can only assume managers are investing in companies that make bullpen door hinges.

Cardinals' Schafer aims to be 2-way utility player (The Associated Press)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:29:25 PST

On any given spring day, Jordan Schafer double-checks the schedule to confirm whether live batting practice means he needs to bring a bat or heat up his arm. For a St. Louis Cardinals team that values versatility, Schafer, a former outfielder-turned-pitcher, could become the ultimate utility player. Three times this camp, Schafer has taken his mid-90s fastball to the mound, twice for bullpen sessions and once for live batting practice.

World Baseball Classic 2017: Canada has a very tough road ahead (Big League Stew)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:00:54 PST

From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s entry: Canada. What to make of Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic? Many of Canada’s best players are sitting this one out, including Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Michael Saunders and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin.

Super subs are now key players on pitching-dominated rosters (The Associated Press)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:59:11 PST

The Atlanta Braves have two of them, in fact. Peterson can play second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield positions. Chase d'Arnaud does him one better, having added first base to his repertoire this spring.

Ankiel says he drank vodka before starts to tame anxiety (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 23:37:49 PST

Rick Ankiel says he drank vodka before his first two starts in 2001 to quell anxiety after throwing five wild pitches in one inning during the previous season's playoffs. Ankiel had a promising rookie season as a 20-year-old with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2000, but he lost his control in the postseason. Ankiel pitched five innings and got the win against Arizona.

Oldest rookie managers in Major League Baseball history (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:50:04 PST

The oldest first-time managers in Major League Baseball history:

At 61, 'late-bloomer' Snitker savors shot as Braves manager (The Associated Press)

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:49:16 PST

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Let's face it, Brian Snitker had pretty much given up on his dream.

Abreu now a mentor to young White Sox roster (The Associated Press)

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:15:28 PST

Jose Abreu begins his fourth season in the majors in a much different situation than when he first joined the Chicago White Sox. When Abreu arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in 2014, the White Sox were a veteran team with players like Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, John Danks and Alexei Ramirez. Now Chicago is rebuilding, and Abreu finds himself as one of the team's veterans and leaders.

Spring Training 2017: Nick Swisher retires after 12 MLB seasons (Big League Stew)

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:05:12 PST

Nick Swisher calls it a career after 12 MLB seasons. Here you’ll find a quick recap on everything from the latest injury news to translations, along with other stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time. THE DREAM IS OVER, BABY!: Those were the words of Nick Swisher, who announced his retirement in an article for The Players’ Tribune on Friday.

Braves' Phillips happy to be traded back home (The Associated Press)

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:08:08 PST

Brandon Phillips was struck by the oddity of being traded to a team that includes 43-year-old pitcher Bartolo Colon. ''It's crazy being on he same team with the guy I got traded for,'' the new Atlanta Braves second baseman said Friday after his first spring training workout. Actually Phillips, now 35, never made it up to the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:28:36 PST

Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Rodriguez underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder this week and likely will miss the upcoming season. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery Tuesday on Rodriguez, who signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract in November after a career season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rodriguez is expected to miss as many as eight months as he recovers, putting his potential return date toward the final month of a season on a team that isn't expected to contend.

Old starters among new faces as Braves remake rotation (The Associated Press)

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 12:54:35 PST

The Atlanta Braves were ready to add some more experience to their starting rotation - and boy, did they succeed. Bartolo Colon, the 43-year-old right-hander whose longevity and jovial disposition have turned him into one of the game's fan favorites, joined Atlanta in November. Around the same time, the Braves acquired R.A. Dickey, the 42-year-old knuckleballer who is one of baseball's elder statesmen - but whose big league debut back in 2001 came four years after Colon's.

Bruce Chen comes out of retirement to pitch for China in WBC (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 15:40:22 PST

Nearly two years after he retired from baseball, left-hander Bruce Chen is getting ready to pitch for China in the World Baseball Classic. The 39-year-old Chen retired after the Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment on May 15, 2015, and none of the other teams claimed him off waivers. When the team from China reached out to him late last year, Chen wondered if it was looking for a pitching coach.

Jose Quintana is ace of the Chicago White Sox - for now (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:17:14 PST

Jose Quintana is the ace of the Chicago White Sox - for now. With Chicago rebuilding, the 28-year-old All-Star left-hander knows he could be traded. Chicago dealt ace Chris Sale and outfielder Adam Eaton during the offseason for prospects.

Braves' infielder Sean Rodriguez has shoulder surgery (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:50:53 PST

Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Rodriguez has had surgery to repair the rotator cuff in his left shoulder. The Braves said Wednesday the procedure was performed on Tuesday by Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Springs, Florida. General manager John Coppolella told The Associated Press Rodriguez will miss an ''indeterminate period of time.'' Coppolella said the team ''won't rule him out for the year.'' Rodriguez throws and hits right-handed.

Braves start spring with 3 new pitchers, new outlook (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:45:38 PST

Eager for a fresh start and armed with a new rotation, the Atlanta Braves started spring training with an air of confidence and optimism, especially for a team coming off a season of 93 losses. ''Hopefully this is not a rebuild,'' said left fielder Matt Kemp, an early arrival on the day of the first organized workout for pitchers and catchers. Kemp, who came in a trade from San Diego at the end of July, was not around for the dismal start that doomed Atlanta to a last-place finish.

New York Mets to play exhibition game at West Point (The Associated Press)

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:39:17 PST

The New York Mets are returning to West Point to play Army in an exhibition game for the first time in 33 years. The Mets announced Wednesday that the game will be held at Doubleday Field at Johnson Stadium on March 31 at 3 p.m. The contest will be the Mets' final exhibition game before the start of the 2017 season, which begins April 3 at Citi Field against the Atlanta Braves.

Dusty Baker is back in West Palm Beach with his Nationals (The Associated Press)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:04:57 PST

Like most Dusty Baker stories, this one starts a long time ago and involves Hank Aaron. In the spring of 1967, Baker attended a week of minor league camp for the Atlanta Braves in West Palm Beach. Baker left college to join the Braves, who were anchored by Aaron.

Don Mattingly has relaxed the Marlins' facial hair policy (Big League Stew)

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:48:37 PST

Don Mattingly, manager of the Miami Marlins and the former owner of a luxurious mustache, instituted a no facial hair policy for Marlins players in 2016. And now, a year later, he’s reversing course. Marlins players are now free to grow mustaches and beards and goatees. Mattingly changes facial hair policy this season.

Indians, LHP Russell agree to minor league contract (The Associated Press)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:57:47 PST

Free agent left-hander James Russell has agreed to a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians. Russell's deal, which is pending him completing and passing a physical exam, includes an invitation to spring training. Russell, 31, will join a group of lefties trying to make Cleveland's roster.

Diamondbacks report with essentially same team as in 2016 (The Associated Press)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:32:34 PST

The Arizona Diamondbacks reported to spring training on Monday with a roster pretty similar to the one from last season. With new general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo at the helm, the Diamondbacks are planning to give their young players another shot to turn the organization around. Arizona has been in a rut since winning the NL West in 2011, a downward spiral that culminated with a 69-93 season in 2016.