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Player Notes

  • Pierzynski and Flowers to share catching duty
    David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that A.J. Pierzynski and Tyler Flowers will share the catching duties for the Braves in 2016.

    Advice: When asked about it, Pierzynski said that the ideal situation would be to have each catch 80 games. The 39-year-old is coming off a nice season where he slashed .300/.339/.430 with nine homers and 49 RBI in 113 contests. It's discouraging news for his fantasy value if he's only going to play half the time, especially in deeper two-catcher formats. Today, 1:51 pm
  • Tanaka looks good in first bullpen session
    According to Yankees' pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) looked good in his first bullpen session on Sunday.

    Advice: Tanaka, throwing off a mound for the first time since undergoing offseason surgery to remove a bone chip in his elbow, threw around 20 pitches in the session. The Yankees believe that he's right where he should be at this point in his recovery, though his stamina is slightly behind the other starters in camp. Today, 1:05 pm
  • Yadier Molina (thumb) has cast removed
    Yadier Molina has had the cast removed from his surgically-repaired left thumb.

    Advice: Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in an interview on KMOX 1120 in St. Louis on Sunday that the club should know within the next 2-3 weeks whether Molina is on pace to be ready by Opening Day. The catcher had to undergo a second procedure on his thumb in December after an operation in October didn't take. Even if Yadi makes it back for the opener, his offense has declined the last couple years and coming back from a twice-repaired thumb won't help. Today, 9:45 am
  • Astros have talked extension with Keuchel
    Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and Dallas Keuchel "have had substantial talks about extensions... but to no avail."

    Advice: Keuchel's agent, Darek Braunecker, said in early January that the two sides had not had any discussions about a long-term deal this offseason, but it sounds like they may have engaged in talks between then and now. Either way, it doesn't appear that any traction was ever gained. Keuchel will be paid $7.25 million in 2016, which is a record one-year deal for a first-time arbitration-eligible player. Today, 7:40 am
  • Astros, Castro have discussed extension
    Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros have discussed a two-year deal and a three-year deal plus an option with Jason Castro this winter.

    Advice: Obviously neither proposal worked, and the two sides wound up going to an arbitration hearing last week (the Astros won and will pay Castro $5 million in 2016). The fact that a hearing was needed despite just a $250,000 difference in figures would seem to indicate that a long-term contract isn't in the cards anytime soon. Castro is slated for free agency after 2016. Today, 7:36 am
  • Jenrry Mejia claims he didn't use PEDs
    Jenrry Mejia told Hector Gomez of Z101 in the Dominican Republic that he is "certain I did not use anything (illegal)."

    Advice: "It’s not like they say," Mejia said in Spanish. "I am certain I did not use anything. I have a lot of faith. I have to clear my name." It's frankly hard to believe Mejia after he was given a lifetime ban by Major League Baseball following his third failed PED test over the last year. But, he'll eventually have a chance to defend himself, as he can apply for reinstatement in one year. The suspension must last at least two years, though, and in all likelihood Mejia's career in baseball is over. Today, 6:58 am
  • Red Sox interested in Franklin Morales
    Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox have interest in Franklin Morales.

    Advice: It would be on a minor league contract. Morales held a 3.90 ERA over two-and-a-half seasons for the Red Sox from 2011-13 and put up a 3.18 mark over 67 appearances last season for the Royals. The southpaw has limited left-handed batters to a .210/.288/.326 line in his career. Today, 6:38 am
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  • Late April/early May for Brantley (shoulder)?
    Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes that a date for Michael Brantley's (shoulder) projected return is "still hazy," but it could happen "maybe late April or early May."

    Advice: Brantley still isn't sure when he'll be allowed to begin a hitting program following November labrum surgery on his right shoulder, so any timetable is educated guesswork at this point. A clearer picture on Brantley's status should be available during spring training. The 28-year-old will be a risky fantasy investment this spring as he works his way back from major surgery. Rajai Davis is slated to hold down left field for the Indians until Brantley is ready. Today, 6:28 am
  • Whitley (Tommy John) on same schedule as Cobb
    Chase Whitley (elbow) should return around the same time as Alex Cobb.

    Advice: Both are recovering from Tommy John surgery and should be back around late July. Whitley has made 16 starts for the Yankees over his last two seasons but may have to settle for a long relief role in Tampa. The 26-year-old owns a thoroughly underwhelming 5.02 ERA across 95 big-league innings. Yesterday, 8:52 pm
  • Red Sox to use Roenis Elias in long relief
    Roenis Elias is a favorite for the Red Sox's long relief role.

    Advice: Boston acquired Elias from Seattle as part of the Wade Miley trade earlier this offseason. Elias has mostly been used as a starter throughout his career but Boston's rotation is already set. Knuckleballer Steven Wright was an innings eater out of the pen last season and could occupy a similar role for the Sox in 2016. Yesterday, 6:59 pm
  • Carlos Santana to see time at outfield?
    Indians manager Terry Francona hinted Carlos Santana could play in the outfield this season.

    Advice: Santana has seen time at catcher and third base in the past but last year he was limited to only playing first base. Though Santana will still get most of his reps at first, it's possible he could make a few outfield cameos with Michael Brantley (torn labrum) sidelined for the first month. Infielders Michael Martinez, Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez could also fill in at outfield if needed. Yesterday, 6:11 pm
  • Indians likely to carry five outfielders
    Collin Cowgill and Joey Butler are the favorites to land Cleveland's last two outfield spots.

    Advice: With Michael Brantley (labrum) likely out for the first month, the Indians will have to mix and match at outfield. Rajai Davis, Abraham Almonte and Lonnie Chisenhall are assured roster spots, but the rest of Cleveland's outfield is up for grabs. Cowgill has 308 games of big league experience while Butler saw a career-high 257 at-bats for Tampa Bay last season. Michael Choice, Robbie Grossman and Shane Robinson will also be at Indians camp. Yesterday, 5:58 pm
  • Hendricks, Warren vying for last rotation spot
    Kyle Hendricks and Adam Warren are expected to compete for the No. 5 spot in the Cubs' starting rotation.

    Advice: The other spots will be filled by reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jason Hammel. Hendricks was quietly solid for the Cubs last year, finishing with an ERA under four and a respectable 8.35 K/9. Warren, who was acquired in the Starlin Castro trade, spent most of last season bouncing back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Clayton Richard could be a fallback option for Chicago if Hendricks and Warren fail to impress in spring training. Yesterday, 4:46 pm
  • Aaron Harang an option for Marlins?'s Joe Frisaro suggests the Marlins could target free agent right-hander Aaron Harang to fill out their starting rotation.

    Advice: Frisaro also lists Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Kyle Lohse and Alfredo Simon as possible rotation candidates. Harang previously hinted that 2015 may have been his last season though he has yet to officially announce his retirement. The veteran right-hander began last year strong but faded in the second half with an ugly 6.11 ERA after the All-Star break. Yesterday, 1:42 pm
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  • Padres may wait to trade James Shields
    According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the "feeling among a few executives" is that the Padres won't look to move James Shields until the trade deadline.

    Advice: Shields allowed a league-leading 33 home runs last season. That stat is especially alarming because 16 of his 33 starts came at the famously pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Shields will need to put together a strong first half to rebuild his trade value. The right-hander is entering the second year of a four-year contract. Yesterday, 1:17 pm
  • Bumgarner to take the hill on Opening Day
    Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed the obvious on Saturday, tabbing Madison Bumgarner as his Opening Day starter.

    Advice: The announcement comes as no surprise as the 26-year-old is the Giants' ace and one of the top hurlers in the league. He owns a terrific 3.04 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 through his first 1171 major league innings and looks poised to get even better in 2016. Yesterday, 11:45 am
  • Avisail Garcia could be expendable in Chicago
    Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes that Avisail Garcia could be expendable in Chicago if they add another outfielder such as Dexter Fowler.

    Advice: The White Sox have been looking to add a big bat to their outfield all winter, either through trade or free agency, and the fact that they continue to pursue those options doesn't bode well for their opinion of Garcia. While he has a decent blend of power and speed, his tools haven't translated as expected at the big league level and he slashed a disappointing .257/.309/.365 in 2015. Yesterday, 11:40 am
  • Nottingham addition doesn't impact Lucroy
    Brewers general manager David Stearns said Saturday that the acquisition of Jacob Nottingham doesn't impact Jonathan Lucroy.

    Advice: While it doesn't sound as though this will speed up the timeline to deal Lucroy, having the catcher of the future in tow has to make the club feel more confident in the decision. Expect him to be dealt at some point before the trade deadline. Yesterday, 11:03 am
  • Joe Panik (back) claims he's fully recovered
    Giants second baseman Joe Panik told Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area that he's feeling "100 percent" and fully recovered from his back injury.

    Advice: Panik wound up on the disabled list in August due to inflammation in his lower back and he only wound up playing in three games the rest of the season before getting shut down. The All-Star second baseman indicated that he has altered his offseason workout plan with the goal of preventing the issue from returning. Panik slashed .312/.378/.455 with eight homers, 37 RBI and three stolen bases in 100 games last season. Yesterday, 7:24 am
  • Orioles and Gallardo continue to work on deal
    According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, the Orioles continue to work on a three-year deal with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

    Advice: Kubatko notes that while things certainly appear to be heading in the right direction, nothing is imminent. The deal is believed to be in the range of $40-$45 million and may also include an option. As the O's would be forced to surrender their first round pick in order to sign Gallardo, there has been speculation that they could then go after another free agent tied to draft pick compensation, such as Dexter Fowler. Yesterday, 5:31 am
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