How the Royals are using sports science to gain an advantage

Sports / Baseball /

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- On most days this spring, Whit Merrifield sets his alarm clock for around 6 a.m. One hour later, he's already on site at Royals camp, preferring a workout in the morning and a protein-laden breakfast inside the clubhouse kitchen before the day officially starts. His routine is simple.

Merrifield, the Royals' second baseman, ...Read more

Windup a bit of a stretch for Dodgers' Wood

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX -- The realization struck Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood one day last September. He was watching a game in the dugout with fellow pitcher Brandon McCarthy, and they got to talking about how pitchers use two deliveries. Wood would later refer to this conversation as "an epiphany."

"What idiot created the windup and the stretch?" ...Read more

Cubs' Javier Baez can earn more plate appearances with plate discipline

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- The chances of Javier Baez getting as many as 600 plate appearances in 2018 will improve if Ben Zobrist needs more rest.

But perhaps a bigger factor will be if Baez can become a more polished hitter.

"He's at that point now (that) to get those 500 to 600 plate appearances, (he needs to) organize (his) strike zone, accept walks ...Read more

Padres believe Eric Hosmer's arrival will be big for Wil Myers

Sports / Baseball /

Wil Myers readily embraced the role of team leader last season. It was something he didn't seek but was thrust upon him by virtue of a big contract signed in January and his relative seniority among a young team's position players.

No one can truly know the effects of shouldering the expectations Myers so badly wanted to fulfill and also the ...Read more

Cameron Maybin reunites with Marlins after signing free-agent deal

Sports / Baseball /

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cameron Maybin is a Marlin again.

Miami signed the 30-year-old outfielder to a one-year deal, the team announced Wednesday, an early-spring addition that gives the Marlins much-needed stability in the outfield and a veteran presence in what is expected to be a young clubhouse.

The deal is worth $3.25 million, FanRag Sports ...Read more

Anthony Rizzo on MLB teams wearing Stoneman Douglas caps on Friday: 'It's awesome'

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo was pleased to learn that all 30 major-league teams will wear Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps to honor the 17 people who died in a shooting last week at his alma mater.

"I think it's awesome," Rizzo said Wednesday, less than one week after he spoke at a vigil in his hometown of Parkland...Read more

Yu Darvish makes quick favorable impression on new Cubs teammates

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- After watching one of Yu Darvish's pitches during a batting-practice session Tuesday, Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber merely said, "Oh, God."

"Insane," Willson Contreras added after catching Darvish's first bullpen session and then following Schwarber in the cage.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to provide perspective as he looked at his ...Read more

Mound visit rules troublesome to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- Try to stop an animated Willson Contreras from making the Cubs' seventh trip to the mound without a pitching change.

That will be the task for umpires assigned to enforce new rules governing pace of play, and Contreras has no intention of taking risks that would put his pitcher in jeopardy.

"I've been reading a lot about this ...Read more

MLB teams planning to wear Stoneman Douglas caps Friday in Florida and Arizona

Sports / Baseball /

JUPITER, Fla. -- To honor the victims of last week's school shooting, Major League Baseball teams intend to wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas caps on Friday for the start of spring training games in Florida and Arizona.

The league's official cap company, New Era, is making the special caps for players to wear when play begins in both the Grapefruit...Read more

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw satisfied after first session of live batting practice

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX -- The first pitch of Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's spring met an unfortunate demise. Yasiel Puig cracked it into center field to open the session of live batting practice. On a chilly day at Camelback Ranch, Kershaw did not expect an ambush.

"I probably should have," Kershaw said with a grin. "I didn't realize they faced guys yesterday...Read more

Marlins plan to wear Stoneman Douglas hats Friday

Sports / Baseball /

Miami Marlins plan to carry a small piece of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High with them before their first game of spring training, and that's not just a figure of speech.

The team ordered dozens of Douglas baseball caps for players and field staff to wear Friday, in support of the school following last week's mass shooting. The Marlins plan to ...Read more

Marlins' Don Mattingly to Nationals' Bryce Harper: 'Take care of your own dugout'

Sports / Baseball /

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly responded Tuesday to Bryce Harper's comments Monday by telling the Washington Nationals outfielder to "take care of your own dugout."

"It's our job to take care of ourselves. It's not really his place to comment on us," said Mattingly, who didn't come off as particularly mad or annoyed. "He doesn't really ...Read more

Eric Hosmer honors former teammate Yordano Ventura with Padres number

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Eric Hosmer knew what he wanted to do when he found out his old number was not available with his new team.

With No. 35 taken -- retired, actually, in honor of former Cy Young winner Randy Jones -- Hosmer decided on wearing No. 30 as a Padre.

It is a tribute to former Kansas City Royals teammate Yordano Ventura. The pitcher, ...Read more

New Padre Hosmer eager for 'great moments' in San Diego

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Now it's Padres season.

"Spring training starts today," Eric Hosmer said. "I'm just happy to go play baseball."

The Padres on Tuesday introduced the player they gave the largest contract in team history with the expectation he will be a cornerstone of their building process as both a star on the field and a mentor in the ...Read more

Dodgers officially get back to work, 110 days after losing the final game of the World Series

Sports / Baseball /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A gentle chorus surrounded Dodgers manager Dave Roberts as he walked through two rows of fans at Camelback Ranch. Gone were the questions about Game 7 and the cries of "One more win!" which he heard all winter, from the South Bay to his home outside San Diego.

Now he received a greeting more polite than pained.

"Good morning...Read more

Cubs Anthony Rizzo on Parkland school shooting victims: 'They'll be in my heart every day'

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- First baseman Anthony Rizzo rejoined his Cubs teammates Monday after traveling to Parkland. Fla., a community devastated by the mass shootings that killed 17 people at his high school.

Rizzo said that looking into the eyes of the families and friends of the victims "was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Just going back, you don...Read more

Big-name free agents abound, Beltre wants them with Rangers

Sports / Baseball /

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The advice Adrian Beltre offered general manager Jon Daniels and Texas Rangers ownership Monday morning is nothing new from the win-at-all-costs -- heavy emphasis on "costs" -- future Hall of Famer.

Beltre wants to win a World Series before his playing days are done and believes the current Rangers roster can compete for ...Read more

Miguel Cabrera on paternity suit: I'm here to play baseball

Sports / Baseball /

A day after reporting to spring training in Lakeland, Fla., Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera declined to comment on his ongoing paternity suit.

"I'm just here to play baseball," Cabrera said Monday.

Cabrera is being sued by his ex-mistress, Belkis Rodriguez, claiming he isn't paying enough child support for the two children he ...Read more

Now 20 pounds lighter, Jorge Soler will fight for an outfield job with Royals

Sports / Baseball /

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- At times throughout the offseason, Royals outfielder Jorge Soler would park himself in front of the refrigerator in his suburban Miami home, open the door and never reach for anything.

It was an unintentional game of torture, borne of old habits. In the past, he would have walked away from the temptation only to return ...Read more

Marlins owner Bruce Sherman: Derek Jeter & Co. have 'made all the right moves

Sports / Baseball /

The Miami Marlins have plenty of money, had a very successful offseason and have received lots of positive fan reaction in recent months, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter said Monday, despite public belief to the contrary.

And, Sherman added, he's happy to be here.

"Finally, it's spring training," said Sherman, the Marlins' chairman and principal...Read more