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Zack Wheeler's early-career hype with Mets will help him handle being Phillies' $118 million man

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Eleven months after surgery to reconstruct a ligament in his right elbow, Zack Wheeler arrived at spring training in 2016, dressed in full uniform, grabbed a ball, and posed on the mound for photos with the other studly New York Mets pitchers who were supposed to make up baseball's next super-rotation.

Cue the hype machine. ...Read more

Jeremy Jeffress wants to help the Cubs lock down their bullpen — and feed fans with his fried seafood truck

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- Fried seafood has been one of Jeremy Jeffress' lifelong passions, and the new Cubs reliever hopes his food truck can make a visit to Wrigley Field this season.

"That's a passion of mine," Jeffress said. "Bring good food to people and good smiles and good excitement."

If Jeffress can rekindle the National League All-Star form he ...Read more

There's no such thing as thinking too much for Clay Holmes

Sports / Baseball /

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The directive has never made sense to Clay Holmes. Throughout his professional career, coaches have pleaded with Holmes to think less and rely more on his physical abilities. Pick a spot, they'd tell the Pirates' 6-foot-5 reliever with a power sinker, and fire.

That approach never resonated with Holmes because he likes to ...Read more

Dodgers split on whether MLB should eliminate access to video during games

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX -- Corey Seager, Dodgers shortstop and obsessive swing artist, is usually found carrying a bat at the ballpark. His maniacal drive to perfect his hitting mechanics is a never-ending, around-the-clock pursuit. The vocation includes regularly studying video of himself at the plate -- before, after and often during games.

Seager estimated ...Read more

Yu Darvish is a strong candidate to start opening day for the Cubs: 4 takeaways from spring training

Sports / Baseball /

Here are four takeaways from Cubs spring training Sunday:

1. Yu Darvish could start the season opener.

The Cubs rotation is lining up in a manner that could lead to Yu Darvish starting the March 26 opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Darvish will throw live batting practice Monday before making his Cactus League debut later this week. ...Read more

Royals young arms Singer, Lynch, Bubic and Kowar all get first taste of Cactus League

Sports / Baseball /

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The pitching quartet that highlighted the Kansas City Royals' 2018 draft class, a group that has quickly become living symbols of hope for the franchise's future, took the mound in major-league camp for the first time Sunday.

Yes, all of them pitched on the same day in the same location. It wasn't the original plan, but ...Read more

Twins will ease into figuring out a regular batting order

Sports / Baseball /

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Sunshine soaked Hammond Stadium on Sunday as catcher Mitch Garver slipped on a pair of shades and looked out at some of his Twins teammates as they went through drills before their game against Toronto.

The batting order included Garver, Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano. It was Donaldson's Grapefruit League debut with the ...Read more

Indians manager Terry Francona discusses robo umps

Sports / Baseball /

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- As Major League Baseball tries anything and everything it can think of to improve and/or speed up the game, the use of a robotic strike zone could be next.

This spring MLB will test a system in which pitches are tracked electronically, with the call being relayed to the home plate umpire, who then gives the signal. In short, ...Read more

Phillie Phanatic's makeover still honors original 'fat, green, indefinable' mandate

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Forty-two years ago, when Phillies president Bill Giles commissioned the creation of a team mascot, he outlined a few, relatively vague specifications.

"Fat, green, indefinable," Giles wrote in his 2007 memoir. "And lovable."

As the Phillies unveiled the Phanatic's new look at the spring-training home-opener here Sunday, ...Read more

Phillie Phanatic's makeover still honors original 'fat, green, indefinable' mandate

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Forty-two years ago, when Phillies president Bill Giles commissioned the creation of a team mascot, he outlined a few, relatively vague specifications.

"Fat, green, indefinable," Giles wrote in his 2007 memoir. "And lovable."

As the Phillies unveiled the Phanatic's new look at the spring-training home-opener here Sunday, ...Read more

'He's focused, he's high energy': White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal showcasing his skills while battling for the starting job at second base

Sports / Baseball /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Nick Madrigal stood in the box.

Dallas Keuchel stood on the mound.

Every opportunity during the spring is a chance to grow. A chance to learn. And there was no better time for the White Sox prospect to gain experience against top competition than Friday against the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner.

"I've been ...Read more

7 questions — and answers — with Len Kasper about Marquee Sports Network and his national plans for 2020

Sports / Baseball /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Len Kasper is entering his 16th year as play-by-play man for the Chicago Cubs, matching Harry Caray's 16-year run on the North Side from 1982-97.

And at the age of 49, Kasper doesn't look much different than when he replaced Chip Caray in 2005, with the exception of a gray hair or two.

As he begins a new season as the voice ...Read more

Dee Gordon blames himself for his struggles with Mariners, and he's ready to rebound: 'My tenacity is back'

Sports / Baseball /

PEORIA, Ariz. -- "You understood what I was saying, right?"

A few hours after he met with the media on his first day back in Mariners camp, Dee Gordon wanted to make sure his words weren't misconstrued.

Gordon had referenced Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard's do-it-all, me-against-the-world mindset and the "trash team" he ...Read more

Julio Urías set to be part of Dodgers' starting rotation this season

Sports / Baseball /

LOS ANGELES -- When naming the left-handed options for his bullpen this season Saturday morning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts listed three: Caleb Ferguson, Scott Alexander and Adam Kolarek. One notable name not mentioned was Julio Urias.

That's because the Dodgers plan on having Urias, nearly four years removed from his hyped debut and after an...Read more

Giants give Billy Hamilton a chance to thrive, show he's more than a runner

Sports / Baseball /

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First basemen are known to have some of the most interesting conversations on the baseball field, but their creativity seems to disappear when Billy Hamilton stands alongside them.

Hamilton said they all give him the same line.

"When are you going? Which pitch are you going to go on. I'm like, I don't know yet," Hamilton ...Read more

Yu Darvish wants to reach career highs this season with Cubs — all while maintaining his wicked humor on social media

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- David Ross first saw Yu Darvish up close on May 5, 2013, when the light-hitting Red Sox catcher homered off the once-stoic Rangers pitcher.

More than five years later, Ross noticed a change in Darvish, now with the Cubs, from team President Theo Epstein's suite at Wrigley Field.

After Darvish struck out the Reds' Yasiel Puig to ...Read more

Dodgers 'lefty killer' Adam Kolarek isn't panicking over new three-batter rule

Sports / Baseball /

PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball's decision to implement a rule requiring every pitcher to face at least three batters starting this season is expected to affect left-handed relievers more than anyone else. Many have resided on rosters as specialists for years, used to face a left-handed batter or two before handing the ball back to the manager....Read more

A's pitcher Mike Fiers, who blew whistle on Astros, has received death threats

Sports / Baseball /

And now for something completely predictable.

A's pitcher Mike Fiers, who blew the whistle on the Houston Astros' elaborate and egregious sign-stealing scandal, has received death threats.

The cheating dated back to 2017, which would have encompassed two Astros World Series appearances, including the only World Series championship in the 57-...Read more

J.T. Realmuto says Phillies took advantage of outdated arbitration process

Sports / Baseball /

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- J.T. Realmuto did not yet know the result of his arbitration case when he stood Thursday afternoon inside a batting cage underneath Spectrum Field. Less than 24 hours earlier, Realmuto and his agent, Jeff Berry, had argued in Arizona against the Phillies, fighting what proved to be a losing battle to earn the catcher a record...Read more

Will A's be target of Astros' beanballs after Fiers outed Houston's cheating?

Sports / Baseball /

MESA, Ariz. -- Retribution in the wake of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal is expected to be handed out in the form of beanballs and brushbacks.

But Astros batters might not be the only ones with a target on their backs this season.

Outfielder Mark Canha is one of several A's players who say they are concerned Oakland players will be ...Read more