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Paul Sullivan: Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts has a new 'guy' and believes Craig Counsell will be the one

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. — On the final day of the 2023 season, after the Chicago Cubs collapsed to blow a National League wild-card spot, Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters in Milwaukee that manager David Ross was still “our guy.”

“He’s a great manager, he creates a great clubhouse culture, the players love playing for him,” he said.

A month...Read more

Meg McLaughlin/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

Padres catcher Luis Campusano knows a 'beautiful opportunity' awaits him in 2024

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz. — Ethan Salas' locker is located in a corner of the Padres' big league clubhouse at the Peoria Sports Complex, nestled amongst those of peers nearly twice his age. He's just 17 years old, so of course the directive is to soak up as much as he can before heading to the minors — likely back to high Single-A Fort Wayne — to ...Read more

Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Aaron Nola, a Phillie since 2015, relishes his journey with the team -- and a new role as mentor

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. — It took seven years for David Buchanan to make it back to the Phillies, an odyssey that included stops in Japan and South Korea. He was gone for so long that everything, even the name of the spring-training ballpark, is different now.

Well, everything except the occupant of the locker near the far door.

“Aaron [Nola’s]...Read more

Michael Cunningham: Braves need Ian Anderson back to help shaky pitching depth

Sports / Baseball /

NORTH PORT, Fla. — First things first: Ian Anderson doesn’t know when he’ll pitch for the big-league Braves again. He’s throwing on flat ground about 10 months after Tommy John surgery and said he’s feeling good about his recovery. But there’s a lot of steps between now and competitive games against professional hitters.

“I don’...Read more

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'Everybody knows what we need': Rafael Devers calls out Red Sox

Sports / Baseball /

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The only way Rafael Devers could’ve been more clear about his feelings on the state of the Red Sox would’ve been if he’d said along the lines of, “Spend some money, for heaven’s sake.”

He didn’t need to get into specifics to get his message across, though. In his first media availability of spring training, ...Read more

Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times/TNS

Rays' Zack Littell hopes 2023 move to rotation was just start of things

Sports / Baseball /

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Zack Littell reported to Rays camp last week with his arm feeling great, his body strong, his mechanics timed up and his pitches sharp.

The only thing off was a nagging feeling that he was behind where he typically would be to start the spring.

That was actually by design, as he altered his offseason workout regimen to...Read more

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Aaron Judge ready to pick Juan Soto's brain, do some recruiting on Yankees' behalf

Sports / Baseball /

TAMPA, Fla. — When Juan Soto made his first comments of the spring on Monday, the Yankees’ newest star said that he would assist Aaron Judge in any way he could.

“I don’t think he needs much” help Soto said of the 2022 MVP, but “I’ll be there for him.”

From the sound of things, Judge is actually going to seek Soto’s help on a...Read more

Tigers, RHP Jack Flaherty embark on joint $14-million revitalization project

Sports / Baseball /

LAKELAND, Fla. — The notion that the Tigers are trying to “fix” Jack Flaherty seems wonky. You don’t go out and sign a starting pitcher for $14 million if you think he’s broken.

Flaherty is 28 years old and almost two years removed from any serious injury. His fastball still hums in at 93-94 mph. His curveball still misses bats (40.2%...Read more

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Vázquez went looking for answers after rough first season with Twins

Sports / Baseball /

FORT MYERS, FLA. — A little more than a week after the Twins were eliminated in the postseason by the Houston Astros, Christian Vázquez flew to Washington to visit Driveline, the data-driven baseball facility.

After one of the worst offensive seasons of his career, he immediately wanted to figure out a solution. His .223 batting average, ....Read more

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Kansas City Royals starter Brady Singer aims to reset with 'normal' spring training

Sports / Baseball /

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Kansas City Royals pitcher Brady Singer sought a level of normalcy. Last offseason, Singer got the opportunity to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Singer enjoyed the WBC experience. However, he didn’t spend much time throwing in actual games. He tossed two innings and allowed four runs in ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Paul Sullivan: Selling his plan for the Chicago White Sox is just part of the gig for new GM Chris Getz

Sports / Baseball /

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Chris Getz was only 2 years old when the Chicago White Sox came up with one of their most infamous marketing campaigns.

The Sox had removed announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson from the broadcasting booth in 1986 and named him executive vice president in charge of baseball operations, giving him free rein to fix an ...Read more

Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Whit Merrifield has done a lot in his career -- except win. He chose the Phillies to try to change that.

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A few weeks ago, Whit Merrifield met up with his friend Christian Walker. Merrifield and Walker, who is from Norristown, Pa., were teammates at the University of South Carolina, where they won a College World Series together in 2010.

Fourteen years later, Walker was playing first base for the Arizona Diamondbacks and ...Read more

Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS

White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to meet with legislative leaders over stadium proposal

Sports / Baseball /

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is scheduled to meet with Illinois legislative leaders on Tuesday in Springfield as he seeks state funding for a new baseball stadium in Chicago’s South Loop.

A spokesperson for House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said the Hillside Democrat is set to meet with Reinsdorf Tuesday...Read more

SF Giants don't plan to hand shortstop job to Marco Luciano

Sports / Baseball /

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Marco Luciano needed no translation to answer this question.

The 22-year-old, one of the San Francisco Giants’ most anticipated prospects since he signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2018, is no stranger to major-league spring training. But this year, the circumstances are different.

After the departure of Brandon ...Read more

Mariners' strike-throwing machine George Kirby hones his craft in solitude

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz. — "Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god."

It's unlikely that George Kirby studied the teachings of Greek philosopher Aristotle and used him as a guide for his offseason throwing program to turn himself into a strike-throwing god.

But it's in solitude where he hones the focus and intent to make a ...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

A Spanish radio station in Las Vegas adds MLB broadcasts -- of the Dodgers, not the A's

Sports / Baseball /

The Oakland Athletics plan to move to Las Vegas in 2028. The Latino Media Network owns three radio stations in Las Vegas. One of those stations will add Spanish-language broadcasts of a Major League Baseball team this season.

The A's? Guess again.

It's the Dodgers, the favorite team in Las Vegas.

The network is expected to announce an ...Read more

Bryce Miller: 'Mea Culpa Padres' hit reset button after buzz of 2023 spring faded

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz — Meet the Mea Culpa Padres. They knew their bullish potential in 2023. They reveled in it at the mosh pit known as FanFest, playing along with the boundless sense of it all before learning that winning requires, well, the winning.

Yes, there was noise. Unprecedented noise. Relentless noise. Juan Soto! Josh Hader! Machado and ...Read more

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Tony Clark says MLBPA will protect the right for deferred contracts like Shohei Ohtani's

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX — Like the rest of the baseball world, Tony Clark reacted with surprise at Shohei Ohtani's decision to defer $680 million of his $700 million contract with the Dodgers this offseason.

Unlike some voices around the industry, however, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association didn't question whether MLB's ...Read more

Meghan Montemurro/Chicago Tribune/TNS

4 things Tom Ricketts addressed at Chicago Cubs camp, including the payroll, Cody Bellinger and an All-Star Game at Wrigley Field

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. — For the last 15 years, Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts’ speech to the team on the first full-squad workout day has remained consistent.

Treat Cubs fans like gold. Remember how much this team means to so many people.

Ricketts again conveyed that to the 59 players in big-league camp before the Cubs’ first workout Monday. ...Read more

Heather Khalifa/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

David Murphy: On the wisdom of the Whit Merrifield signing, and a familiar philosophical struggle for the Phillies

Sports / Baseball /

It's amazing how easily bright baseball men can be pushed to the conclusion that what their team really needs is less of the thing that their team is best at. It's especially confounding when the thing that their team is best at is the thing that produces the most runs. Namely, reaching base and hitting for power.

Think back to 2010 and 2011. ...Read more