Nick Swisher had not faced live pitching since last August until stepping to the plate for a live batting practice session Saturday morning. The veteran was welcomed back by hard-throwing Indians right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.
News that White Sox left-hander Chris Sale — likely the Opening Day starter against the Royals on April 6 if healthy — suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his right foot naturally was of interest to Royals manager Ned Yost.
Austin Barnes has the rare skill set for catching and second base, but the Dodgers have told him to put away the infield glove. For now, he will work exclusively as a catcher, general manager Farhan Zaidi said.
Juan Pierre, the catalyst of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series title team and one of the most prolific base stealers of his generation, has announce his retirement. The 37-year-old speedster is walking away from the game after an impressive 14-year career.
The Blue Jays and Athletics are among the clubs who are in active talks with free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. Previous reports have suggested varying levels of interest from the Indians and Reds. Viciedo has never reached the performance levels that had once been hoped for, but remains an interesting talent at just 26 years of age. With power to spare and outstanding numbers against lefties, Viciedo has struggled to play serviceable defense and reach base against right-handed pitching. He also can be controlled through 2017 via arbitration. Toronto is potentially in the market for at least a temporary fix in the corner outfield after losing Michael Saunders for the first half of the season. Though a left-handed bat would probably be the better fit for a right-leaning lineup, pickings are obviously rather slim at this juncture. As for Oakland, Viciedo would not only make potential sense as a right-handed bench bat/reserve first baseman, but could challenge for a larger role in the corner outfield. The team’s candidates to provide right-handed pop (Nate Freiman and Rule 5 pick Mark Canha) are hardly certainties. And, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, left field is not locked down for Oakland, with slick defenders Sam Fuld and Craig Gentry each coming off of rough campaigns at the plate
As Braves reliever Michael Kohn has spent the past couple of days digesting reports that have suggested Josh Hamilton might have had a drug relapse that could lead to a suspension, he has kept his focus on his former Angels teammate’s long-term well being.
D-backs GM Dave Stewart decided after last season that right field would be a better fit for Mark Trumbo than left, where he began the 2014 season.
The Padres will enter the 2015 season with a new starter at the shortstop position, as Alexi Amarista will take over the role after impressing the organization with his play in 2014,
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Friday that MLB.com’s Statcast technology will be in place at all 30 Major League ballparks by Opening Day 2015, as he laid out some of the ways that the groundbreaking technology will make its way to fans and clubs in the new season.