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  • Braves release lefty reliever James Russell
    Braves released LHP James Russell.

    Advice: By releasing him now, the Braves will only have to pay Russell $606,000 of the $2.425 million he's owed. Still, it's a surprising decision given how steady the southpaw has been the last few seasons. Russell posted a 2.97 ERA and a 42/20 K/BB ratio over 57 2/3 innings while pitching out of the bullpen for the Cubs and Braves. The 29-year-old will catch on elsewhere in short order.
    44 minutes ago
  • Hector Neris optioned to Triple-A
    Phillies optioned RHP Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley; re-assigned RHP Paul Clemens, C Koyie Hill and INFs Chris McGuiness and Chris Nelson to minor league camp.

    Advice: Clemens had an outside shot at a rotation spot this spring but didn't pitch well with a 5.19 ERA and six walks over 8 2/3 innings. Neris should get a shot in the Phillies' bullpen at some point this season.
    Today, 5:28 am
  • Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez optioned to Triple-A
    Phillies optioned RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

    Advice: Gonzalez will never get a better opportunity to make the Opening Day rotation than the one he had this spring, but he blew it by posting a 7.54 ERA with 25 hits allowed over 14 1/3 innings. The Cuban defector is looking like a big-time bust to this point.
  • Peralta allows two runs in loss to Indians
    Wily Peralta allowed two runs on six hits over six innings in Saturday's Cactus League game against the Indians.

    Advice: Peralta wasn't dominant, but the only runs he allowed came on a Jason Kipnis two-run homer. The right-hander has a 2.51 ERA in 14 1/3 spring innings. Peralta has a spot in the Brewers' rotation locked up, but he's not a great bet to repeat last season's 17 wins.
    Yesterday, 4:19 pm
  • Jacob deGrom goes seven strong in win
    Jacob deGrom limited the Nationals to one run and four hits over seven innings in a win Saturday.

    Advice: Bryce Harper positively crushed a home run off deGrom, but that was the only problem with the right-hander's outing. The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year should remain a very strong starter this year, though the Mets' poor defense will take at least a minor toll on his fantasy value.
    Yesterday, 2:10 pm
  • Charlie Morton earns win over Jays
    Charlie Morton yielded three runs in six innings Saturday in a win over the Blue Jays.

    Advice: Originally expected to begin the year on the DL following hip surgery, Morton instead recovered quickly enough to enjoy a normal spring. He hasn't been particularly effective, what with his 6.46 ERA, but he'll be a part of the Pittsburgh rotation, and he should be a solid NL-only starter.
    Yesterday, 1:34 pm
  • Garcia scratched after setback with shoulder
    Jaime Garcia was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday after experiencing a setback with his surgically repaired left shoulder.

    Advice: Garcia has some discomfort in the shoulder, so the club has decided to "hit the brakes" with the left-hander, manager Mike Matheny said. Marco Gonzales will start for the Cardinals in Garcia's place, and it could open the door for Carlos Martinez to win the fifth spot in the rotation after he had appeared to be on the outside looking in. More should be known about Garcia's outlook in a day or two.
    Yesterday, 1:08 pm
  • Carlos Villanueva gives up run to Tigers
    Carlos Villanueva gave up a run in his inning of relief Saturday against the Tigers.

    Advice: It might have been Villanueva's final outing before the Cardinals make a decision on whether to carry him; he has an out in his contract next week if he's not going to make the team. It'd make a lot of sense for the Cardinals to bring him up north if they decide to send Carlos Martinez down to start games in Triple-A. If Jaime Garcia is in the rotation and Martinez is in the pen, there probably wouldn't be room for Villanueva.
    Yesterday, 1:01 pm
  • Ken Giles throws perfect inning
    Ken Giles bounced back from Thursday's poor outing with a perfect inning Saturday against the Twins.

    Advice: Giles gave up four runs against the Blue Jays two days ago. He had walked a total of seven batters in 7 1/3 innings this spring, but he managed to find the strike zone today.
    Yesterday, 12:48 pm
  • Greinke to pitch in minors game on Wednesday
    Zack Greinke is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday.

    Advice: He made it through Friday's Cactus League game without any issue, despite his command being worse than he would like. He owns an 11/6 K/BB ratio over 12 2/3 innings on the spring and looks to be ready to go for Opening Day.
    Yesterday, 10:29 am
  • Cubs option Eric Jokisch to Triple-A Iowa
    Cubs optioned RHP Eric Jokisch to Triple-A Iowa.

    Advice: The 25-year-old could have competed for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, but posted a 6.00 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 7/2 K/BB ratio in 12 spring innings. He'll provide organizational depth at Triple-A.
    Yesterday, 10:12 am
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  • James Shields named as Opening Day starter
    Padres manager Bud Black officially named James Shields as the team's Opening Day starter.

    Advice: The move doesn't come as a major surprise, as the 33-year-old hurler was signed this winter to be the ace of the Padres staff. His fantasy value continues to rise as he's pitching in the friendly confines of Petco Park.
    Yesterday, 9:42 am
  • League expected to be placed on 60-day DL
    Brandon League is expected to be sidelined for the next two months and is attempting to avoid surgery on his ailing shoulder.

    Advice: League expects to begin the season on the 60-day disabled list, and may be out considerably longer. He can safely be written off in all but the deepest of NL-only formats.
    Yesterday, 9:24 am
  • Wada (groin) to throw simulated game Saturday
    Tsuyoshi Wada (leg) is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Saturday.

    Advice: Wada has been dealing with a sore left groin that forced him to leave Saturday's start. He has appeared in just two Cactus League contests thus far, posting a 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in 1 2/3 innings of work. He appears to be on the outside looking in for the final spot in the Cubs rotation.
    Yesterday, 7:54 am
  • Shields gives up five runs in loss to Rockies
    James Shields had a rough outing against the Rockies on Friday, allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits over his 4 1/3 innings.

    Advice: Big Game James punched out five on the evening and walked one. It was the roughest start of the spring for the 33-year-old hurler, who still sports a respectable 3.31 ERA and outstanding 21/5 K/BB ratio across 16 1/3 innings. With his move to the National League and the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park, he has been a very popular commodity on fantasy draft boards this spring.
    Friday, 10:36 pm
  • Garza defeats Reds despite his struggles
    Matt Garza struggled but still picked up a victory over the Reds on Friday despite allowing five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.

    Advice: On the plus side, the veteran right-hander did rack up six strikeouts while issuing only one free pass. He has had a rough go of it this spring, posting a 6.16 ERA and 1.63 WHIP over his 19 innings. He'll have at least one more chance to right the ship before the regular season begins.
    Friday, 10:10 pm
  • Zack Greinke struggles in latest spring start
    Zack Greinke struggled in Friday's Cactus League outing against the Giants, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits over 3 2/3 innings of work.

    Advice: Greinke also issued a pair of walks while punching out three. The important thing to note is that Greinke felt good after the outing, even though his command wasn't where he wanted. The 31-year-old now boasts a 3.55 ERA and 11/6 K/BB ratio 12 2/3 innings on the spring.
    Friday, 9:55 pm
  • Brandon League shut down for three weeks
    Brandon League will be shut down for the next three weeks due to right posterior shoulder inflammation.

    Advice: League met with two different doctors on Friday after undergoing an MRI on Wednesday. The good news is that there doesn't appear to be any structural damage, but League will surely begin the season on the disabled list and manager Don Mattingly indicated that he expects League to be out at least a couple of months.
    Friday, 3:40 pm
  • Ken Giles gives up four runs to Jays
    Ken Giles was charged with four runs in two-thirds of an inning Thursday against the Blue Jays.

    Advice: Giles walked two and allowed two hits, one of them a three-run homer off the bat of Steve Tolleson. We still don't imagine Giles' shaky spring will cost him a roster spot, but he's up to seven walks in 7 1/3 innings. He does need to be better over this next week.
    Thursday, 2:26 pm
  • League getting second opinion on shoulder
    Brandon League will get a second opinion about his right shoulder Friday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

    Advice: League underwent an MRI on the shoulder Wednesday, but the Dodgers haven't revealed the results. The 32-year-old right-hander has been dealing with shoulder discomfort for much of March and obviously won't be ready for Opening Day. He's owed $8.5 million in 2015.
    Thursday, 9:53 am
  • Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez gives up four runs
    Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez surrendered four runs and eight hits in four innings Wednesday against the Astros.

    Advice: This should just about settle matters as far as Gonzalez opening the season in Triple-A. He has a 7.53 ERA this spring, having allowed a whopping 25 hits in 14 1/3 innings.
    Wednesday, 1:26 pm
  • Brandon League to go for MRI on shoulder
    Brandon League will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder Wednesday.

    Advice: It's a troubling development for the Dodgers. League has been dealing with shoulder soreness this spring and didn't feel right during his bullpen session Tuesday. He now appears likely to begin the year on the disabled list.
    Wednesday, 8:54 am
  • Cards to go with Garcia as fifth starter?
    Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said on 920 AM in St. Louis that the schedule currently points to Jaime Garcia beginning the season as the fifth starter.

    Advice: Nothing is official yet, but Garcia is healthy and has posted a 3.86 ERA and 13/3 K/BB ratio in 9 1/3 innings across three starts this spring. The Cardinals had him throw an 80-pitch simulated game on Tuesday to keep him in line for the second series of the season or perhaps soon after. He's competing with Marco Gonzales and Carlos Martinez for the fifth spot in the rotation.
    Tuesday, 10:21 am
  • Ken Giles throws perfect inning
    Ken Giles pitched a perfect ninth for a save Monday against the Twins.

    Advice: Giles was wild early this spring, giving up a run his first time out and five walks total in his first four innings. It looks like he's settling down now, though, pitching 2 2/3 innings without a free pass in his last two appearances. As long as it keeps up, his role as the Phillies' eighth inning guy will be safe.
    Monday, 1:37 pm
  • Garza pitches decently against White Sox
    Matt Garza fared decently in Sunday's Cactus League start against the White Sox, surrendering two runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

    Advice: The veteran right-hander struck out three and walked one on the day. The White Sox scratched out a run in the first then tacked on another before chasing Garza in the fifth inning. While he owns an unsightly 5.40 ERA on the spring, his 9/5 K/BB ratio through 13 1/3 innings is somewhat encouraging.
    Mar 22, 6:37 pm
  • Shields tosses five hitless innings vs. Cubs
    James Shields held the Cubs hitless -- and scoreless -- over five innings on Sunday.

    Advice: It was a pitcher's duel, as Jason Hammel matched Shields blow-for-blow. Shields walked two and struck out six in the effort, lowering his spring ERA to 2.25. The right-hander has a 16/4 K/BB ratio in 12 innings so far, looking quite ready to start the regular season with his new club.
    Mar 22, 4:20 pm
  • Charlie Morton gives up seven runs to Astros
    Charlie Morton was tagged for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings by the Astros on Sunday.

    Advice: Morton had his first bad day of the spring after posting a 1.80 ERA in his first two starts. His stuff isn't quite up to par yet following hip surgery, but he remains on schedule to open the season in the rotation.
    Mar 22, 1:51 pm
  • League (shoulder) could pitch Thursday
    Brandon League (shoulder) could pitch in a Cactus League game as early as Thursday.

    Advice: League threw a 15-pitch bullpen session Sunday with no ill effects. He'll throw another bullpen Tuesday before getting into a game. League has been dealing with some soreness in the shoulder, but he expects to be ready for the start of the season.
    Mar 22, 12:00 pm
  • Greinke throws four scoreless innings vs. TEX
    Zack Greinke tossed four scoreless innings in Saturday's exhibition start versus the Rangers.

    Advice: Greinke looked good, limiting the Rangers to three hits and a walk while striking out six. The right-hander is potentially entering his final season with the Dodgers as he has the option to opt out of his six-year contract after the season. Greinke, 31, may be able to secure himself more money if he's able to match last season's 2.71 ERA and 207/43 K/BB ratio over 203 1/3 innings.
    Mar 21, 2:12 pm
  • Miguel Gonzalez holds Pirates to one run
    Miguel Gonzalez allowed one run and five hits in 3 1/3 innings Friday against the Pirates.

    Advice: Gonzalez struck out one and walked one. He hasn't exactly been impressive this spring, but he has gotten gradually better with each outing. The encouraging thing is that the walk today is the only one he's allowed in 10 1/3 innings. Less encouraging is that he's allowed three homers and 17 hits. Even as desperate as the Phillies are for pitching, starting Gonzalez off in Triple-A still makes the most sense.
    Mar 20, 1:39 pm
  • Brandon League to throw off mound Sunday
    Brandon League (shoulder) is slated to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.

    Advice: League received the go-ahead for mound work after playing catch with no issues. The reliever has been dogged by a shoulder issue for a week, but an anti-inflammatory injection and he expects to be ready for Opening Day. League could be in the mix for saves while Kenley Jansen (foot) is out.
    Mar 20, 10:40 am
  • Jaime Garcia strikes out seven Mets
    Jaime Garcia fanned seven Mets while allowing two runs in four innings on Thursday.

    Advice: The strikeouts are certainly nice, but Garcia did up five hits, including a Wilmer Flores homer. Even though Marco Gonzales has a better ERA than both, it will probably come down to Garcia and Carlos Martinez for the fifth spot in the Cardinals' rotation. Martinez opened the spring as the favorite and probably still is, though it seems like a waste to put Garcia in the pen while he's healthy.
    Mar 19, 2:53 pm
  • League (shoulder) expects to be ready
    Brandon League (shoulder) expects to be ready for the beginning of the regular season.

    Advice: League has been shut down for several days due to shoulder soreness, but he got an anti-inflammatory injection on Monday and will resume throwing Thursday. League will likely work in middle relief for the Dodgers this season, but this is a bullpen without clearly defined roles at the top. Kenley Jansen (foot) may miss all of April.
    Mar 19, 9:24 am
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