Heath Hembree RP BOS 14 hours ago
Hembree has a good shot of making Boston's roster for Opening Day due to being out of minor league options, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports.
The Red Sox will have to keep Hembree on the roster all season or risk losing him if he's designated for assignment. The right-hander, who has a career 2.95 ERA over the last two seasons in a variety of roles for Boston, will almost surely be claimed if he pops up on waivers. Right-handed batters have hit .218 with a measly .634 OPS against Hembree since he broke into the majors with San Francisco in 2013. However, with the back end of the bullpen all set, the 28-year-old is looking at a multi-inning, middle-relief role. In that event, he'll need to be better against left-handers, who had an .890 OPS against him last season, up from .862 the previous season.
Evan Longoria 3B TB 14 hours ago
Longoria (illness) was feeling better and returned to workouts Wednesday, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
The veteran third baseman had been dealing with a high fever recently, forcing him to miss the past two days of camp. Although he didn't miss much, he missed some conditioning and him and manager Kevin Cash will have to figure out when he's physically ready to make his Grapefruit League debut.
Chad Bettis SP COL 15 hours ago
Bettis, who has been declared cancer-free, threw a healthy bullpen session Wednesday, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports.
This also came with the news that he was given a healthy prognosis after blood tests and a tumor marker assured doctors that he remains free of cancer. After he was cleared, he slid back into a near-regular offseason throwing program and should be ready for the start of the season. He'll still require blood work every three-to-six months to assure that the cancer hasn't resurfaces, but he'll likely assume his role in the Rockies' rotation after leading the team with 14 wins last season.
OUTKyle Zimmer SP KC 15 hours ago
Zimmer (shoulder) threw his second bullpen session of spring on Tuesday, noting he felt no pain afterwards, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
This is obviously good news for the 25-year-old, who at this point last season was already starting to feel pain and taper off. The Royals are continuing to bring him along slowly, after he failed to pitch more than 65 innings in each of the last three seasons due to injuries. He is set to start his first Cactus League game Sunday.
Kenta Maeda SP LAD 16 hours ago
Maeda has added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame in an effort to reach his goal of 200 innings pitched this season.
Maeda had a strong major league debut last season but faded down the stretch, posting a 4.25 ERA in the second half compared to a 2.95 ERA in the first. The added muscle could help prolong his effectiveness and give a better representation of the pitcher he could be over the course of a whole season. Maeda is also working on adding a cutter to his repertoire in an effort to deal with left-handed batters better, who he allowed over 30 more batting average points against last season. Even with last year's second-half slump he still turned in usable fantasy numbers, so these changes made during spring training could result in improved numbers in his sophomore season.
Rookie Davis SP CIN 16 hours ago
Davis will start Friday's spring training game against the Giants to open the Cactus League season for the Reds.
Davis is loosely in the competition for the Reds' fifth starter job, but he's behind a host of other pitchers, young and old. Triple-A Louisville is his most likely destination to begin the season.
Matt Shoemaker SP LAA 16 hours ago
Shoemaker pitched to live hitters for the first time since being struck in the head with a line drive and suffering a skull fracture last September and "felt great," Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports.
Shoemaker reported to camp healthy after undergoing offseason surgery and Wednesday's live session was another step in the right direction. He pitched with a protective piece inserted into his hat and reported no issues of discomfort. It is looking more and more like the head issue is completely behind him and we can treat Shoemaker like the solid middle of a rotation fantasy asset he was prior to his injury. With a 4.8 K/BB ratio, there is a possibility he could be even more than what he has shown so far in his young career.
Jeff Samardzija SP SF 16 hours ago
Samardzija has been named the fourth starter in manager Bruce Bochy's spring training rotation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
No surprises here, as the top four of San Francisco's rotation had been known heading into spring training, it was simply a matter of what order they would be slotted in. Samardzija had a bit of a rocky ride in the first year of his five-year contract, but the end results were solid (3.81 ERA) and were a huge step in the right direction after his abysmal 2015. He will be one of the better fourth starters on paper and should get some favorable matchups early in the year when fourth starters face off against other fourth starters.
Tony Cingrani RP CIN 17 hours ago
Cingrani is working on another pitch to add to his repertoire in 2017, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports.
The southpaw has relied on his mid 90s four-seam fastball heavily throughout his career, throwing it more than 87 percent of the time in 2016. He is working on a breaking pitch in order to mix things up and keep batters guessing. He led the Reds with 17 saves while posting a 4.14 ERA in 65 appearances last season, although he'll likely see fewer save opportunities in 2017 as the Reds are contemplating a four-man closer committee.
Henry Owens SP BOS 17 hours ago
Owens has been named the starter for Friday's game against the Mets at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers (Fla.), Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports.
Owens will turn 25-years-old during the 2017 season, so time is slipping away for a former top pitching prospect in the organization. The tall left-hander has struggled to consistently command his fastball, as evidenced by his 8.2 BB/9 in 22 innings for Boston in 2016. He was the first one to get a callup to start for Boston last season, but that may not be the case in 2017. Brian Johnson, Roenis Elias and former major-leaguer Kyle Kendrick will also be considered should Boston need an emergency fill-in starter.