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  • Bourn again will be with Orioles in 2017
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    Baltimore Orioles veteran outfielder Michael Bourn agreed to a minor league contract on Monday and an invitation to spring training.

    • Multiple outlets reported that the contract will be worth $2 million if the 34-year-old Bourn makes the major league club.

      "Michael Bourn's all-around play helped the club earn a 2016 playoff spot, and the O's are glad to have him back for '17," general manager Dan Duquette said.

      Bourn batted .283 with two homers and eight RBIs in 24 games after being acquired by the Orioles in September. The two-time All-Star served as the team's leadoff hitter in the American League wild-card game.

      Bourn batted .264 with five homers and 38 RBIs in 113 games between Baltimore and the Arizona Diamondbacks last season.

  • Ankiel admits to drinking vodka before two starts
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    Former major league pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel admitted on Monday that he drank vodka before his first two starts of the 2001 season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

    • Ankiel was attempting to calm his nerves after he famously threw five wild pitches in one inning for the Cardinals during Game 1 of the 2000 National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. All told, he threw nine wild pitches in four innings during his meltdown.

      "Before that (first) game ... I'm scared to death. I know I have no chance," the 37-year-old Ankiel said on 590 The Fan, a St. Louis radio station. "Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Lo and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted.

      "I'm sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. I had never drank before a game before. It was one of those things like the yips, the monster, the disease ... it didn't fight fair, so I felt like I wasn't going to fight fair either."

      Ankiel recorded the win against Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks in his first start, but the alcohol didn't help in his second when he took the loss versus the Houston Astros.

      Ankiel's pitching days ended in 2004 before he returned as an outfielder in 2007, playing the position for St. Louis, the Kansas City Royals, Atlanta, the Washington Nationals, Houston and the New York Mets.

  • Report: LHP Niese moves to Yankees
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Jon Niese is moving across New York.

    • The former New York Mets left-handed pitcher signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

      Niese, 30, spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Mets before he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates in December 2015 in exchange for second baseman Neil Walker.

      His time in Pittsburgh was a disappointment. Niese went 8-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 23 games (18 starts), losing his spot in the rotation at midseason in 2016.

      Niese was dealt back to the Mets on Aug. 1 in exchange for reliever Antonio Bastardo and cash. He went 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA in six games (two starts) for New York, then underwent season-ending left knee surgery on Aug. 25.

      In 211 career games (197 starts), Niese has a 69-68 record with a 4.07 ERA.

      Niese figures to compete for a spot at the back end of the Yankees' rotation in spring training.

  • MLB notebook: Blue Jays' Donaldson sidelined with calf ailment
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson expects to be sidelined two to three weeks due to a right calf strain.

    • Donaldson admitted that he felt something grab his muscle while running sprints during a workout on Friday. The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Star underwent an MRI exam the following day and required the use of crutches while walking in the clubhouse on Sunday.

      "It's something that we don't necessarily want to push too much, just for the simple fact that we have a little extra time with spring training right now," the 31-year-old Donaldson said. "I'm just making sure that whenever I step back on the field, it's ready to go and I'm ready to be able to push it."

      Donaldson batted .284 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs in 2016 to record his second straight AL Silver Slugger Award for third basemen.

      --Chicago White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson will be shut down from impact activities for the next 10 days as he deals with a stress reaction in his right foot.

      An MRI exam on Saturday revealed the injury for Tilson, who is aiming to return from a torn left hamstring that occurred in his lone game with the White Sox last season.

      Tilson, who is bidding to be Chicago's starting center fielder this season, was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade deadline deal for left-hander Zach Duke in July. Tilson, however, saw his season come to an end on Aug. 2 after attempting to run down a blast from Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.

      --Clayton Kershaw is the no-brainer decision to start for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day when the left-handed ace will tie a franchise record.

      Kershaw, who is healthy after missing 2 1/2 months last season with a back injury, was officially named the starter by manager Dave Roberts on Saturday, tying him with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton with seven.

      Kershaw will make his seventh consecutive Opening Day start when the Dodgers begin the season at home against the San Diego Padres on April 3. He has a 0.93 ERA in his six Opening Day starts, going 4-0 as the Dodgers won all of those games.

      Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, was having another superb season in 2016 when he was shut down with a herniated disc in his back after losing in Pittsburgh on June 26. He was dominant before his injury, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.79 ERA. Kershaw returned to the starting rotation in September and finished the regular season 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA in 21 games.

      --The Arizona Diamondbacks signed veteran left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training.

      De La Rosa, 35, is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending most of his 13-year major league career as a starter.

      De La Rosa appeared in 27 games (24 starts) for the Colorado Rockies last season, going 8-9 with a 5.51 ERA over 134 innings pitched.

  • Diamondbacks ink LHP De La Rosa to minor league deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    The Arizona Diamondbacks signed veteran left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a minor league deal on Sunday with an invitation to major league spring training.

    • De La Rosa, 35, is expected to compete for a bullpen role after spending most of his 13-year major league career as a starter.

      De La Rosa appeared in 27 games (24 starts) for the Colorado Rockies last season, going 8-9 with a 5.51 ERA over 134 innings pitched.

      De La Rosa spent the past nine years with the Rockies (2008-16). He also pitched for the Kansas City Royals (2006-2007) and Milwaukee Brewers (2004-2006).

      For his career, De La Rosa is 101-84 with a 4.64 ERA in 306 games (241 starts).

  • White Sox OF Tilson out with foot injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Chicago White Sox outfielder Charlie Tilson will be shut down from impact activities for the next 10 days as he deals with a stress reaction in his right foot.

    • An MRI exam on Saturday revealed the injury for Tilson, who is aiming to return from a torn left hamstring that occurred in his lone game with the White Sox last season.

      "Certainly I guess you could say I'm disappointed, but it's a very minor setback and it's part of the process," the 24-year-old Tilson said. "I had a major repair, and these things come up, and hopefully we can minimize them as much as we can, and hopefully this is the last one. I'm just going to deal with it and do whatever I can to move forward.

      "It's certainly something I'm aware of, my right leg early on in the process of recovering was bearing a lot of weight. As much as I try to stay even and that's a lot of what the rehab is, unfortunately something like this came up. Fortunately we were very proactive about it."

      Tilson, who is bidding to be Chicago's starting center fielder this season, was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade deadline deal for left-hander Zach Duke in July. Tilson, however, saw his season come to an end on Aug. 2 after attempting to run down a blast from Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera.

  • Blue Jays 3B Donaldson sidelined with calf ailment
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson expects to be sidelined two-to-three weeks due to a right calf strain.

    • Donaldson admitted that he felt something grab his muscle while running sprints during a workout on Friday. The 2015 American League Most Valuable Player and three-time All-Star underwent an MRI exam the following day and required the use of crutches while walking in the clubhouse on Sunday.

      "It's something that we don't necessarily want to push too much, just for the simple fact that we have a little extra time with spring training right now," the 31-year-old Donaldson said. "I'm just making sure that whenever I step back on the field, it's ready to go and I'm ready to be able to push it."

      Toronto general manager Ross Atkins told MLB.com that Donaldson's calf issues last season are unrelated to the current ailment.

      Donaldson batted .284 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs in 2016 to record his second straight AL Silver Slugger Award for third basemen.

  • Dodgers LHP Kershaw earns seventh straight Opening Day start
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Clayton Kershaw is the no-brainer decision to start for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Opening Day when the left-handed ace will tie a franchise record.

    • Kershaw, who is healthy after missing 2 1/2 months last season with a back injury, was officially named the starter by manager Dave Roberts on Saturday, tying him with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton with seven.

      "It's really special company," Kershaw said. "You take a little bit of pride in wanting to do it every year. I'm thankful to get to do it so long for the same team. Not a lot of people get to do that. It's pretty cool."

      Kershaw will make his seventh consecutive Opening Day start when the Dodgers begin the season at home against the San Diego Padres on April 3.

      "Obviously Clayton will be the starter and do what he does," Roberts said in Glendale, Ariz. "I'm looking forward to having all of us there in Los Angeles."

      Kershaw has a 0.93 ERA in his six Opening Day starts, going 4-0 as the Dodgers won all of those games.

      "Any time you get to do it is special. ... It's always fun to get the season going and to be a part of it," said Kershaw, who turns 29 on March 19. "I hope I get to do it for 10 more years. I don't feel old, but getting to do it seven times, I guess I've been around a little bit."

      Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, was having another superb season in 2016 when he was shut down with a herniated disc in his back after losing in Pittsburgh on June 26. He was dominant before his injury, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.79 ERA.

      Kershaw returned to the starting rotation in September and finished the regular season 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA in 21 games. He was 2-1 with a 4.44 ERA in the postseason with his first career save. For his career, Kershaw is 126-60 with a 2.37 ERA.

  • Yankees beat Betances in arbitration, team president rips agent
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    The New York Yankees won their arbitration case over reliever Dellin Betances on Saturday and then team president Randy Levine criticized Betances and his agent for requesting $5 million.

    • The three arbitrators chose the Yankees submission of $3 million but Levine was highly displeased after the decision. He cited that Betances' agent, Jim Murray, spent a large portion of Friday's 90-minute hearing saying that the three-time All-Star setup man was as valuable as a closer.

      "What his agent did was make him a victim of an attempt to change a marketplace in baseball that has been well-established for 30 or 40 years," Levine told reporters at the Yankees' spring training headquarters in Tampa, Fla. "And I feel bad for Dellin that he was used in that way by his agent, because anyone who knows about this process (realizes) that the history is very much established -- that $5 million goes to elite closers."

      Murray insisted that the fact Betances doesn't pitch in the ninth inning is irrelevant.

      "It is like me saying, 'I'm not the president of the Yankees, I'm an astronaut,'" Levine said. "I'm not an astronaut, and Dellin Betances is not a closer, at least based on statistics, not whether he could be or couldn't."

      Betances recorded 12 saves last season while striking out 126 batters in just 73 innings. He went 3-6 with a 3.08 ERA. In 225 career appearances with New York, he has a 2.16 ERA, 22 saves and has struck out 404 in 254 2/3 innings.

      Betances indicated that he planned to move on after the contentious arbitration case. His mindset changed when the New York native heard Levine's comments.

      "I was planning on putting everything behind me until I was aware of Randy Levine's comments saying I was the victim in this whole process and saying how much they love me," Betances said. "But then they take me in a room, trash me for about an hour-and-a-half. I thought that was unfair."

      Betances leads all relievers in innings pitched over the past three seasons. He said he will consider making himself unavailable to pitch multiple innings on some occasions this season.

      Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Betances hasn't declined to enter a game over the past three seasons. Girardi believes the situation will be resolved by the time the regular season arrives.

      Murray said hard feelings will remain -- Betances will be eligible for free agency following the 2020 campaign -- due to Levine's public comments.

      "As you know, it's not my style or our style as a company to comment to the media on anything," Murray told Fox Sports. "However, we are not going to be bullied by the Yankees' team president. His statements are reprehensible and outright false. His desire to conduct a news conference today amounts to nothing but grandstanding and trying to mislead the media.

      "With regards to Dellin, it was very ironic to hear the Yankees' president express his love and affection when he spent the only portion of the hearing to which he contributed, calling this player by the wrong first name. It is Dellin, for the record.

      "He then proceeded to blame Dellin for the Yankees' declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history while trying to bully the panel, saying something to the effect that the sky will fall if they rule for the player. He is not going to bully this player."

  • Gagne, 41, makes Team Canada WBC roster
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Former Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has not pitched in the major leagues since he was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 -- and he was not very good that season, compiling a 5.44 ERA in 46 1/3 innings.

    • But the dream to play again lives on for the 41-year-old, who has earned a spot on Team Canada's roster for the World Baseball Classic later this month. He's also been serving as a guest pitching instructor for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and all signs point to Gagne attempting a comeback.

      Gagne told mlb.com that his fastball has been clocked in the 90s and that his go-to pitch that helped him win the Cy Young in 2003 -- the changeup -- has returned.

      "I feel great. It's almost scary," he said.

      Gagne has had throwing sessions with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. The last time he appeared in a spring training camp was with the Dodgers in 2010. But Gagne was feeling the effects of multiple surgeries on his elbow and back and was assigned to the Dodgers' minor league camp. He asked for his release, which was granted.

      He served as a pitching coach for France in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

      Last season, he pitched in one game for Ottawa of the independent Canadian-American Association. He allowed just one run, two hits and struck out six in five innings.

      In a 10-year career that included stops in Texas, Boston and Milwaukee in addition to Los Angeles, Gagne compiled 187 saves, including 55 in 2003. He recorded 718 strikeouts in 643 2/3 innings.

  • Padres, P Weaver agree to 1-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Veteran right-hander Jered Weaver and the San Diego Padres on Saturday agreed to a one-year deal worth $3 million.

    • The San Diego Union-Tribune said the deal is pending on Weaver passing his physical.

      The deal makes Weaver the Padres' highest-paid pitcher, and he joins a rotation that will be significantly different than last year's, which included Andrew Cashner, James Shields and Tyson Ross, all of whom are no longer with the team.

      "The idea behind the signing (of Weaver) was somebody who can log innings, somebody who still has a lot to prove and wants to pitch," San Diego general manager A.J. Preller told the Union-Tribune.

      "He's always been a winner his entire career. Guys that have been there, been in the postseason, I think from that standpoint he brings a lot to our team and some of the other pitchers that are in that locker room."

      Weaver spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Angels and compiled a 150-93 record with a 3.55 ERA. He appeared in three straight All-Star games from 2010-2012.

      The 34-year-old suffered his worst season last year. He went 12-12 in 31 starts and gave up a league-leading 37 home runs.

      Weaver is expected to join veteran Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard in the Padres' starting rotation.

  • Dodgers re-sign 2B Utley at 38
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    The Los Angeles Dodgers officially re-signed second baseman Chase Utley to a one-year contract on Saturday.

    • The Dodgers opened a roster spot for Utley by releasing infielder/outfielder Darin Ruf so he could sign with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization.

      The 38-year-old Utley was the Dodgers' starting second baseman in 2016, but he returns in a bench role after the team acquired Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays in a trade last month.

      "I'm going to make sure Chase gets his at-bats," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said recently. "It's going to work itself out. But the big thing is Chase wanted to be here and be part of what we've got going on."

      Utley batted .252 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs in 138 games last season. Over his 14-year major league career, he is hitting .278 with 250 home runs and 977 RBIs.

  • Swisher officially retires
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Nick Swisher won't be returning the major leagues this year or in the future.

    • After not having played in a big-league game since 2014, Swisher officially announced his retirement on Thursday through a statement in The Players Tribune.

      "Your body tells you when it's time to call it quits," Swisher said. "And this offseason, my body was screaming, 'The dream is over, baby!' And I can't argue with that."

      Knee injuries took their toll and made the 36-year-old Swisher decide during the offseason that he had enough.

      Swisher won't be out of work, though. In addition to working as a guest instructor during spring training with the New York Yankees, he'll start a new TV gig with Fox Sports as a studio analyst.

      Swisher played in 76 games in 2014 with the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians in his last major league action.

      Last year, Swisher attempted to resume his career and he played in 55 games for the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise. He left in July when his second child was born.

      Swisher hangs it up with a .249 career batting average, 245 home runs and 803 RBIs in 12 major league seasons. His stops included the Oakland Athletics (2004-07), Chicago White Sox (2008), Yankees (2009-12), Indians (2013-15) and Braves (2015).

      Swisher's best seasons were 2006 with the Athletics, when he hit 35 home runs and had 95 RBIs and a .254 batting average, and in 2010 with the Yankees, when he batted .288 with 29 homers and 89 RBIs.

      The No. 16 overall selection in the 2002 amateur draft out of Ohio State, Swisher was part of a World Series championship team with the Yankees in 2009.

  • Rangers' Beltre out 3 weeks with calf injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre showed up with a surprise injury when he reported to spring training on Friday at Surprise, Ariz.

    • Beltre informed the Rangers he strained his left calf while working out at his California home on Tuesday. An MRI exam confirmed the strain.

      The injury is expected to sideline Beltre for three weeks.

      The timetable could prohibit Beltre from playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, which begins March 9 for the Dominican team.

      "I'm going to go on how I'm healing and I'm going to go on how I feel," Beltre told reporters. "Right now, I'm not going to say I'm not going to play. I can't say it yet.

      "I've just got to be smart about this because there's a lot at stake here (with the Rangers). I don't want to rush anything. It's too early for me to think about a decision.

      "If I'm feeling 100 percent and I'm ready to play, then why not? Obviously, I'm not going to force anything. I know my main concern is getting ready for the season. We have a lot we can accomplish here."

      Beltre, 37, said he also could join the Dominican team later in the tournament if it advances.

      Beltre, a four-time All-Star, batted .300 with 32 homers and 104 RBIs last season. He is 58 hits away from reaching 3,000 for his career, which began in 1998.

  • RHP Brach hands Orioles first arbitration loss in 22 years
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    Beating the Baltimore Orioles in arbitration was a tough thing to do until three arbitrators ruled in favor of right-handed reliever Brad Brach on Friday.

    • Brach was awarded $3.05 million to become the first Baltimore player to beat the team in arbitration in 22 years. The team had won its previous nine hearings.

      The Orioles submitted $2.525 million in the case against Brach, who went 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA in 71 appearances last season. Brach made $1.3 million last season.

      Pitcher Ben McDonald had been the last Baltimore player to win a case against the club when he was awarded $4.5 million in 1995.

  • MLB notebook: Braves INF Rodriguez likely lost for season
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Rodriguez underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder this week and likely will miss the upcoming season.

    • Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery Tuesday on Rodriguez, who signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract in November after a career season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

      Rodriguez is expected to miss as many as eight months as he recovers, putting his potential return date toward the final month of a season on a team that isn't expected to contend.

      Atlanta acquired veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips last weekend and is expected to be the team's starter.

      --Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Tony Watson was unsuccessful in his salary arbitration bid and will make $5.6 million this season as opposed to $6 million.

      The ruling was learned on Thursday, one day after a three-person arbitration panel heard both sides of the argument.

      Watson posted a 2-5 mark with a 3.06 ERA in 70 relief appearances for Pittsburgh last season, during which he earned $3.45 million. An All-Star in 2014, Watson has posted a 26-13 record with a 2.56 ERA in six seasons with the Pirates.

      --Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley isn't close to being ready to play in spring training games and his availability for the start of the regular season is also in jeopardy, according to manager Terry Francona.

      Brantley is recovering from surgery to repair a torn right biceps. He played in just 11 games last season due to a shoulder injury and underwent the biceps surgery in August.

      Francona doesn't have a timetable for when the 29-year-old Brantley will start playing in spring-training games.

      The Indians advanced to the World Series without Brantley, who finished third in the American League MVP balloting in 2014. Brantley has a .292 career average with 61 homers and 400 RBIs in eight seasons with the Indians.

  • Indians OF Brantley not close to being ready to play
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley isn't close to being ready to play in spring training games and his availability for the start of the regular season is also in jeopardy, according to manager Terry Francona.

    • Brantley is recovering from surgery to repair a torn right biceps. He played in just 11 games last season due to a shoulder injury and underwent the biceps surgery in August.

      The Indians advanced to the World Series without Brantley, who finished third in the American League MVP balloting in 2014.

      "He's following the protocols the medical people put in place," Francona told reporters. "By all accounts, he's doing everything. This kid has worked his (tail) off. We just need to be patient and allow him to try to get to the point where he can not only come back, but stay back.

      "After not having him for a whole year, he deserves to do it right. He's worked so hard, and to have him back will be so nice. We're going to do it right so he can have his best chance to be successful."

      Francona doesn't have a timetable for when the 29-year-old Brantley will start playing in spring-training games.

      "I don't think that's fair to him," Francona said. "We all see how hard he's working. I think we're just going to go off of him. As he gets things accomplished with the proper amount of intensity, he'll move on to something else. I think that's the timetable we need to abide by."

      Brantley has a .292 career average with 61 homers and 400 RBIs in eight seasons with the Indians. He batted. 327 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs during his All-Star season of 2014 and batted .310 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs in 2015 before his injury plagued season of last year.

  • Pirates LHP Watson loses in arbitration, gets $5.6M
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Tony Watson was unsuccessful in his salary arbitration bid and will make $5.6 million this season as opposed to $6 million.

    • The ruling was learned on Thursday, one day after a three-person arbitration panel heard both sides of the argument.

      Watson posted a 2-5 mark with a 3.06 ERA in 70 relief appearances for Pittsburgh last season, during which he earned $3.45 million.

      An All-Star in 2014, Watson has posted a 26-13 record with a 2.56 ERA in six seasons with the Pirates. He is eligible for free agency after this season.

  • Braves' Rodriguez likely out for season after surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Atlanta Braves infielder Sean Rodriguez underwent surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder this week and likely will miss the upcoming season.

    • Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery Tuesday on Rodriguez, who signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract in November after a career season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

      Rodriguez is expected to miss as many as eight months as he recovers, putting his potential return date toward the final month of a season on a team that isn't expected to contend.

      Atlanta acquired veteran second baseman Brandon Phillips last weekend and is expected to be the team's everyday starter.

      Rodriguez hit .260 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs in the past two seasons with the Pirates. He batted .270 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs last season in 140 games -- all career highs -- when he made $2.5 million.

      Rodriguez played two years with the Los Angeles Angels and five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. He is a career .234 hitter with 67 home runs and 259 RBIs.

  • Royals snag another former Cub, sign LHP Wood
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    Travis Wood agreed to a two-year deal with the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.

    • Wood, a left-hander who worked primarily out of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs last season, was a starter for the Cincinnati Reds before he was dealt to Chicago. He spent five seasons with the Cubs, and moved to an exclusively relief role in 2016, when left-handed batters had a .128 average against him.

      Wood is scheduled to make $10.5 million in the first two years of the deal.

      The contract includes a mutual option for 2019.

      Wood pitched in relief effectively in the postseason for the World Series champions in 2016. He joins Jason Hammel, who signed a two-year deal with the Royals after starting for the Cubs last season, in Kansas City as pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

      Outfielder Jorge Soler, acquired in the trade that sent closer Wade Davis to the Cubs, is also now in Kansas City.

      To make room on the roster, the Royals placed pitcher Brian Flynn on the 60-day disabled list.

      Wood, 30, had a 3.94 ERA in 220 games (98 starts) in Chicago. In 2016 as a reliever, he had a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings in 77 games.

  • Cardinals' stud prospect Reyes out for season
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    St. Louis Cardinals rookie right-hander Alex Reyes, whose fastball tops out at 100 mph, is out for the season.

    • Manager Mike Matheny confirmed Wednesday that Reyes would miss the 2017 season recovering from Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm.

      The hard-throwing starter was expected to break camp in the Cardinals' starting rotation. He was ranked as the top pitching prospect in baseball last month.

      The Cardinals were counting on Reyes after the 22-year-old put up a 1.57 ERA and struck out 52 in six starts in the final month of the 2016 season.

      Because of the possibility of re-injury, many teams are giving pitchers at least 16 months to recover from Tommy John surgery, meaning Reyes might not return until the 2018 All-Star break.

      Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Mike Leake and Michael Wacha are expected to start for the Cardinals but the No. 5 spot in the rotation is up for grabs.

  • MLB notebook: Gardenhire diagnosed with prostate cancer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery this spring.

    • The former Minnesota Twins manager said he was diagnosed earlier this month. A blood test taken during his physical exam cited the possibility and an MRI exam confirmed he had prostate cancer. Surgery will be performed after Gardenhire completes the preparation process.

      The 59-year-old Gardenhire told Arizona team officials that doctors told him the cancer was detected early. It is conceivable he could return to the team six weeks after the procedure.

      Gardenhire is in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He was fired by the Twins following the 2014 season after 13 seasons as manager. Gardenhire compiled a 1,068-1039 record with the Twins and was American League Manager of the Year in 2010.

      --Embattled third baseman Jung Ho Kang will not be able to report to Pittsburgh Pirates' spring training on time because of an ongoing legal situation in his native South Korea, the team announced.

      Kang, 29, is expected to go on trial for DUI-related charges on Feb. 22.

      Kang was arrested in December and charged with leaving the scene of a DUI accident near a Seoul subway station with a blood alcohol level 0.084 (the legal limit in South Korea is 0.05).

      Kang signed a four-year, $11 million contract with the Pirates in 2015 after spending nine seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization. Last season, Kang hit .255 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs in 103 games.

      --The Cincinnati Reds placed right-hander Homer Bailey on the 60-day disabled list, six days after he underwent elbow surgery.

      Bailey had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, marking his third surgery in the region. The 30-year-old hopes to return in June.

      The Reds also claimed right-hander Nefi Ogando off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 27-year-old Ogando has a 3.66 ERA in 18 career relief appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins.

      --Houston Astros right-hander Collin McHugh won his arbitration case and will earn $3.85 million this season.

      The Astros submitted a salary of $3.35 million but the three-person panel opted for McHugh's request.

      McHugh went 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA and a career-best 177 strikeouts last season. McHugh, 29, is 43-26 with a 3.71 ERA in three seasons with Houston. He won a career-best 19 games in 2015.

      --Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman will receive $3.4 million in 2017 after it was revealed that he won his arbitration case against the club.

      The three arbitrators chose Stroman's request over the $3.1 million the Blue Jays submitted. Stroman was 9-10 with a 4.37 ERA in 32 starts in 2016.

      The 25-year-old won a career-best 11 games in 2014 before missing the majority of the 2015 season due to a torn ACL in his left knee. Stroman, 25, is 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in five postseason starts for Toronto over the past two seasons.

      --Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi won his arbitration case, meaning his 2017 salary of $4.1 million will be nearly eight times higher than his 2016 wage.

      The three arbitrators chose Odorizzi's figure over the $3.825 million submitted by the Rays. Odorizzi made $520,700 last season.

      Odorizzi, who turns 27 next month, was 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts last season. Odorizzi is 30-30 with a 3.75 ERA in 101 career appearances (98 starts).

      --The St. Louis Cardinals were involved in an arbitration case for the first time in 18 years and were deemed winners in their case against right-hander Michael Wacha.

      The three arbitrators chose the club's $2.775 million submission over Wacha's request of $3.2 million. Wacha, 25, was 7-7 with a career-worst 5.09 ERA in 27 appearances (24 starts) last season. The campaign was a dropoff from 2015 when Wacha went 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA.

      Wacha was the first player to take the Cardinals to arbitration since left-hander Darren Oliver in 1999. St. Louis won the case against Oliver.

      --Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson lost his arbitration case and will make $2.45 million, it was announced.

      Anderson sought $2.85 million but the three arbitrators felt the club's proposal was more acceptable. Anderson made $520,200 last season in his first season with Milwaukee. He went 9-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 31 appearances (30 starts).

      The 29-year-old spent his first two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is 24-24 with a 4.60 ERA in three big-league seasons.

      --Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker lost an arbitration case against his new club and will receive $2.25 million this season.

      Walker, acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, requested $2.6 million. The 24-year-old made $528,600 last season while going 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 25 starts for the Mariners.

      Walker was traded to Arizona as part of the package that sent infielder Jean Segura to Seattle. Walker is 22-22 with a 4.18 ERA in 65 career appearances (62 starts).

  • Reds' Homer Bailey headed to 60-day DL
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    The Cincinnati Reds placed right-hander Homer Bailey on the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday, six days after he underwent elbow surgery.

    • Bailey had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow, marking his third surgery in the region.

      The 30-year-old hopes to return in June.

      Bailey posted a 2-3 mark with a 6.65 ERA in six starts last season following his July return from Tommy John surgery.

      Bailey has logged just 180 innings since signing a six-year, $106 million extension prior to the 2014 season.

      Bailey, who has thrown two no-hitters, boasts a 60-54 career mark with a 4.24 ERA in 10 seasons with the Reds.

      The Reds also claimed right-hander Nefi Ogando off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 27-year-old Ogando has a 3.66 ERA in 18 career relief appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins.

  • Diamondbacks RHP Walker loses arbitration case, will make $2.25 million
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker lost an arbitration case against his new club and will receive $2.25 million this season.

    • Walker, acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the offseason, requested $2.6 million.

      The 24-year-old made $528,600 last season while going 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 25 starts for the Mariners.

      He was often bothered by his right arch and ankle last season and underwent ankle surgery after the season.

      Walker was traded to Arizona as part of the package that sent infielder Jean Segura to Seattle.

      Walker is 22-22 with a 4.18 ERA in 65 career appearances (62 starts).

  • Gardenhire diagnosed with prostate cancer
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire revealed Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery this spring.

    • The former Minnesota Twins manager said he was diagnosed earlier this month. A blood test taken during his physical exam cited the possibility and an MRI exam confirmed he had prostate cancer.

      Surgery will be performed after Gardenhire completes the preparation process.

      "I'm going to fight it and deal with it," Gardenhire said in a statement. "It's a bump in the road, and it's not how I envisioned starting spring training with a brand-new team, but it's part of life.

      "With the backing of this ballclub, we'll get through it."

      The 59-year-old Gardenhire told Arizona team officials that doctors told him the cancer was detected early. It is conceivable he could return to team six weeks after the procedure.

      Gardenhire is in his first season with the Diamondbacks. He was fired by the Twins following the 2014 season after 13 seasons as manager.

      Gardenhire compiled a 1,068-1039 record with the Twins and was American League Manager of the Year in 2010.