OUTMichael Brantley LF CLE 16 minutes ago
Sources say the Indians have no certainty for when Brantley (shoulder) will debut this season, despite the optimism offered by general manager Mike Chernoff and other officials, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports.
Heyman suggests 2017 is a lot like 2016, in that Cleveland is hoping Brantley can make significant progress. His complex surgeries and recovery should force fantasy owners to express similar caution, though as his price craters, it'll be hard to pass on the talented bat, for whatever portion of the season he plays.
OUTMax Scherzer SP WSH 16 minutes ago
Scherzer (finger) is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time this spring on Saturday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.
This is the next step in his return, as Scherzer was able to play catch with his normal grip for the first time on Monday, reporting only slight soreness afterwards. The Nats are in no hurry to rush their ace back, but if all goes well Saturday, they should be able to ramp up his activity level and start preparing him for Opening Day. It is definitely a situation to monitor closely, as the bullpen session Saturday will likely give a better idea as to whether or not the 32-year-old will be ready for the start of the season.
Franklin Barreto SS OAK 33 minutes ago
A's manager Bob Melvin said Barreto will spend his time at shortstop and second base this spring, John Hickey of The Mercury News reports.
The club's top prospect is knocking loudly on the door for a job with the big club sometime this coming season. Though Marcus Semien has locked down shortstop, Barreto may have a shot at second base, currently occupied by injury-prone Jed Lowrie and other uninspiring options. Whenever he's called up, he may immediately jump toward the top of the order. He's a difference-making bat worth stashing in deep leagues, though the wait is much easier to endure in AL-only games because of the late-season upside he'd offer.
Kyle Schwarber LF CHC 34 minutes ago
Schwarber is the early favorite to bat leadoff for the Cubs in 2017, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports.
The 23-year-old missed nearly all of 2016 with a torn ACL and MCL, however, he made a miraculous comeback in the playoffs for the World Series champs, slashing .412/.500/.471 in 20 plate appearances during the postseason. Although it was a small sample size, manager Joe Maddon is apparently sold on his ability to get on base and will give him the chance to lead off next season. When Schwarber is resting, Ben Zobrist will likely step in to bat leadoff.
Dellin Betances RP NYY 43 minutes ago
Betances looked effective in throwing live batting practice Thursday, and he's looking to strengthen his arm early, considering his throwing schedule has moved up because of the World Baseball Classic, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports.
Betances admitted he suffered from fatigue near the end of that session, but in general he looks close to ready for spring and WBC action. Despite losing save chances again to Aroldis Chapman, the tall setup man will remain relevant in many fantasy leagues because of his copious strikeout totals.
DTDJ.J. Hardy SS BAL 50 minutes ago
Hardy received a cortisone injection in his back, and manager Buck Showalter said it was scheduled, Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com reports.
Hardy likely will sit a bit longer before resuming his spring preparation. Previous tests revealed no structural damage, so assuming he avoids setbacks, he should be set to roll on Opening Day.
Corey Kluber SP CLE 53 minutes ago
Kluber said he's planning to take the mound on Opening Day, though manager Terry Francona said if Kluber isn't ready, the Indians might delay his debut, Chris Assenheimer of the Chronicle-Telegram reports.
Kluber isn't injured, but Cleveland wants to limit him this spring considering the right-hander has logged more than 700 innings in the last three years, including the postseason. Perhaps he'll miss a handful of starts during the season even if healthy, though despite concerns over his recent workloads, he's still one of fantasy's best starting pitchers.
Nick Castellanos 3B DET 1 hour ago
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Castellanos wants to hit second, Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports.
The Tigers have discussed J.D. Martinez and Castellanos for the spot, and Castellanos certainly seems open to the idea. Ausmus said he wouldn't want his young third baseman to change his approach, but batting second would limit the RBI opportunities. However, Castellanos would see plenty of pitches to hit batting in front of Miguel Cabrera, and he could make a push for 30 home runs if he stays healthy.
Mike Pelfrey SP DET 1 hour ago
Pelfrey will follow Michael Fulmer on the mound in Friday's spring training game against Baltimore, Jason Beck of MLB.com reports.
Pelfrey is battling for a spot in the rotation this spring, but he's likely behind Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd for the final two spots. Pelfrey could establish himself as a viable long relief candidate, however. He's slated to throw about 30-35 pitches on Friday.
DJ LeMahieu 2B COL 1 hour ago
Rockies manager Bud Black said he'll likely keep LeMahieu near the top of the lineup, Patrick Saunders of The Denver Post reports.
In this case, the 2016 NL batting champion again will occupy the two-hole most often behind Charlie Blackmon. LeMahieu crossed the plate 104 times last year, which fueled his fantasy value just as much as the .348 batting average, and keeping a spot near the top increases the odds he'll come close to scoring that much again in this lethal lineup. This news doesn't make Trevor Story owners happy. He'd likely bat seventh with LeMahieu at No. 2.