Brett Anderson SP CHC 8 hours ago
Anderson will start the year in the rotation and pitch the fourth game of the year April 7 in Milwaukee, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Anderson was competing for the fifth spot this spring, but he will pitch fourth so he and fellow lefty Jon Lester, the team's No. 1 starter, don't go back-to-back. The decision means Mike Montgomery will start the year in the bullpen.
Miguel Socolovich RP STL 8 hours ago
Socolovich, who owns a 4.00 ERA over nine spring innings, sees command of his fastball as a pivotal part of winning a roster spot, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. "If I throw more fastballs for strikes, it's going to make my changeup and my slider better," Socolovich said. "They're not going to be able to be ready for just one pitch. They're going to have to be ready for three. I want to prove that I can throw my fastball for a strike and locate it, too."
Socolovich owns a 1.89 ERA, .175 BAA, 0.94 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 since debuting with the Cardinals in 2015, with the first two figures tops among any relievers on the team with a minimum of 18 innings pitched over that span. That said, he's still fighting for the final bullpen spot, with the fact that he's out of minor league options potentially giving him a slight leg up. The team has encouraged Socolovich to throw his fastball with greater regularity and he's followed suit, firing it with 12 percent greater frequency in 2016 as compared to the season prior. The pitch was key in helping get off to a strong start this spring, and despite some struggles over his last three innings, he retains the confidence of manager Mike Matheny. "He's been terrific," Matheny said. "He's got a good enough fastball to come at anybody, and that will make his secondary pitches better. He was a hard thrower even before we got him. [We're] just making sure he knows he can trust the fact that that should be a good pitch."
Matt Cain SP SF 8 hours ago
Despite an 8.10 ERA Cactus League ERA, Cain remains the favorite to win the Giants' fifth starter spot, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area reports.
Cain was hit hard again Wednesday, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out four in his five innings of work. The veteran's pitch count of 70 is another indicator that the club views him as their fifth starter. Declining performance and an inability to stay healthy have caused the former All-Star to become an afterthought in fantasy circles over the past few years. In fact, he hasn't posted an ERA below four since 2012. We would have to see some sort of consistent success from Cain in the regular season before recommending him as a fantasy option in most formats.
Jake Buchanan RP CHC 8 hours ago
Buchanan was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports.
This isn't too surprising, as Buchanan accumulated a 7.65 ERA across 8.1 innings through spring. The Cubs are simply too deep in the bullpen, so the 27-year-old should see most, if not all, of his time at Triple-A Iowa next season.
Jeff Hoffman SP COL 8 hours ago
Hoffman was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday, The Denver Post reports.
The pitching prospect seemed like a good bet to crack the Rockies rotation, especially in light of recent injuries to Chris Rusin (oblique) and Chad Bettis (illness), but after serving up nine hits and walking two batters in his 5.2 spring innings, the Rockies opted to send Hoffman back to the minors for more seasoning. The 24-year-old struggled with command at times last season, most notably posting a 4.9 BB/9 in 31.1 big league innings, but given his prospect pedigree, it's likely that he'll get the call back to the majors once he's able to work on his mechanics and fill up the strike zone more consistently. This development likely puts German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, and Harrison Musgrave in better position to claim one of the final two rotation spots in Denver.
Yadier Molina C STL 8 hours ago
Molina, who played for Team Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, was a unanimous choice for All-WBC honors, Manny Randhawa of MLB.com reports.
The veteran backstop became only the second two-time All-WBC honoree, joining Daisuke Matsuzaka, who accomplished the feat in the 2006 and 2009 editions of the tournament. Molina hit .333 (8-for-24) with two home runs and six RBI over six games. He hopes to bring some of that offensive prowess with him back to Cardinals camp, where he'd hit just .176 (3-for-17) with a double, two RBI, two walks and three runs over seven games before departing for the WBC.
Hisashi Iwakuma SP SEA 8 hours ago
Iwakuma will throw in a Friday minor league start, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
The veteran right-hander last pitched Saturday against the Giants, an outing in which he racked up five strikeouts over 3.2 innings but also surrendered three runs. Iwakuma is scheduled to go "five or six innings" in an effort to keep him on pace for the regular season.
DTDAdrian Gonzalez 1B LAD 8 hours ago
Gonzalez (elbow) is out of the Dodgers' lineup on Thursday but is expected to return on Friday, Eric Stephen of SB Nation reports.
Gonzalez's elbow has bothered him at multiple times this spring, but him and the Dodgers have dismissed it as anything overly serious. The 34-year-old said he feels better, and barring any setbacks, the issue shouldn't affect his readiness for Opening Day.
Nick Vincent RP SEA 8 hours ago
Vincent, who's given up five home runs in 5.2 innings this spring, is nevertheless not the subject of manager Scott Servais' concern, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I'm anxious to get him out of this environment. It's tough for him and how he pitches. He pitches up in the zone and is a fly-ball pitcher. It hasn't worked out so great for him this spring. But he's healthy, he feels fine."
Vincent tends to give up plenty of flyballs and sported the worst HR/9 rate of his career last season (1.64), but the Mariners remain confident in their 30-year-old reliever. The dry air typically present in Cactus League games has not done Vincent any favors this spring, as he's seen the ball leave the yard in five of his six appearances thus far. However, he's being counted on as a key bullpen piece after amassing 17 holds and three saves over 60.3 innings last season, his first in Seattle.
Mark Trumbo RF/DH BAL 8 hours ago
Trumbo admitted to feeling frustrated with his spring performance, but he's confident that a minor adjustment will get him "rolling," Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports.
Trumbo, who signed a three-year deal this offseason to remain in Baltimore, is hitting a measly .162 (6-for-37) with just one extra-base hit (a double back on March 5). "The results haven't been there," Trumbo said. "I've been through things like this more times than I can count in my career, and it's something that will improve." Expecting the slugger to repeat last season's performance -- one in which he led MLB with 47 homers -- is a bit bullish, but owners shouldn't worry about a savvy veteran like Trumbo based on unimpressive spring stats.