Spring training roundup: Dodgers top A's in opener
Davidson, who agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers on Feb. 16, started the opener as the Dodgers' designated hitter. Corey Seager also drove in a run for Los Angeles on a bloop single in the third inning.
Seth Brown drove in a fifth-inning run for the A's, who had just two hits in the seven-inning game.
Rays 9, Braves 7
Tristan Gray hit a game-ending home run in the seventh inning as Tampa Bay upended Atlanta at Port Charlotte, Fla. Gray also had a two-run triple in the fifth inning.
Brewers 7, White Sox 2
Keston Hiura hit a three-run home run in the first inning and Milwaukee went on to defeat Chicago at Glendale, Ariz. Tyrone Taylor, Avisail Garcia and Dylan Cozens also hit home runs for the Brewers.
Pirates 6, Orioles 4
Gregory Polanco and Todd Frazier hit home runs as Pittsburgh defeated Baltimore in an eight-inning game at Sarasota, Fla. Polanco drove in three runs.
Nationals 4, Cardinals 4
St. Louis scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on an error by Nationals shortstop Jackson Cluff to forge the tie at Jupiter, Fla. Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty gave up three runs on four hits and three walks over one inning.
Twins 7, Red Sox 6
Kyle Garlick's sacrifice fly in the sixth inning put Minnesota on top for good in the seven-inning victory over Boston at Fort Myers, Fla. Jeter Downs hit a home run and drove in three runs for the Red Sox.
Tigers 10, Phillies 2
Will Castro, Daniel Pinero and Eric Haase all hit home runs as Detroit rolled to the seven-inning victory over Philadelphia at Lakeland, Fla. Phillies starter Ivan Nova was charged with five runs in the first inning.
Marlins 6, Astros 1
Jazz Chisholm and Lewis Brinson each hit home runs in a four-run first inning as Miami rolled to the seven-inning victory over Houston at West Palm Beach, Fla. JJ Bleday also hit a home run for the Marlins.
Blue Jays 6, Yankees 4
Rowdy Tellez had a two-run double in the first inning and Cavan Biggio had an RBI double in the second as Toronto earned the seven-inning victory over New York at Dunedin, Fla.
Indians 5, Reds 1
Gabriel Arias' RBI single in the sixth inning put Cleveland up for good in the eight-inning victory over Cincinnati at Goodyear, Ariz. Arias had two hits as did the Reds' Joey Votto, who drove in his team's lone run.
Angels 5, Giants 2
Taylor Ward started the scoring with an RBI single in the second inning, while Jose Quintana pitches a scoreless frame as Los Angeles topped San Francisco in a seven-inning game at Scottsdale, Ariz.
Royals 3, Rangers 2
Ryan O'Hearn and Salvador Perez each hit home runs as Kansas City went on to the six-inning victory over Texas at Surprise, Ariz. Joey Gallo hit a two-run home run for the Rangers.
Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 2
Josh Fuentes and Garrett Hampson each had two hits as Colorado rallied to the eight-inning victory over Arizona at Scottsdale, Ariz. Trayce Thompson hit a home run for the Diamondbacks.
Mariners 5, Padres 4
Julio Rodriguez's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Seattle the victory over San Diego at Peoria, Ariz. Wil Myers and Jorge Ona hit home runs for the Padres.
Padres' Tommy Pham 'lucky' to take field again
Pham went hitless in two at-bats out of the cleanup spot in the Padres' Cactus League opener against the Seattle Mariners.
"I'm lucky," Pham said Sunday, speaking to reporters about the October incident for the first time. "I'm lucky to even be able to play."
In a bizarre string of events, Pham was returning to his car in San Diego when he came across an argument taking place near his vehicle. He was stabbed when he asked those involved in the argument to move away from his car.
According to reports, he needed 100 stitches to close his wounds and underwent an extensive rehabilitation process. He was told his muscular frame might have helped him avoid even more serious injuries.
Essentially given a second chance, Pham is working hard toward improving on some disappointing numbers in 2020. He batted just .211 in his first season in San Diego with three home runs and 12 RBIs over 31 games.
This offseason, he agreed to an $8.9 million contract to return to the club.
"We have so much expectations this year to do better, and go further," said Pham, who has reasoned that it wasn't his time to go yet. "We're all pulling for that ultimate goal."
Cubs activate LHP Kyle Ryan from COVID-19 list
Ryan went 1-0 with a 5.17 ERA, 11 strikeouts and six walks in 15 2/3 innings out of the bullpen spanning 18 games in 2020. In a six-year career, he is 13-8 with a 3.87 ERA, 139 strikeouts and 79 walks in 204 2/3 innings in six seasons, spending the first four with the Detroit Tigers and the past two with the Cubs.
Ryan joined the Cubs for a workout on Saturday after missing the first couple of weeks of spring training with the coronavirus.
He is expected to be a piece of a rebuilt bullpen that could include right-hander Ryan Tepera, who the Cubs signed this week, camp invitee and right-hander Pedro Strop, right-hander Brandon Workman and left-hander Andrew Chafin.
Orioles' Trey Mancini singles in first at-bat since cancer treatment
Mancini missed the 2020 season after he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer nearly one year ago. Against the Pirates on Sunday, he hit a 3-2 pitch from Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl to center field for a single.
As he stepped into the batter's box at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., Mancini received a long ovation from the crowd, filled to 25 percent capacity because of social distancing guidelines.
Earlier this week, Mancini, 28, said he was excited to be back.
"Just being able to come out here and feel like myself and feel great and participate in everything fully is something that I'm very appreciative of and I don't take for granted at all," he said.
Mancini received the cancer diagnosis after his 2020 spring training physical revealed abnormalities that required additional testing. He had surgery and went through six months of chemotherapy but took part in offseason workouts.
Orioles pitcher Thomas Eshelman, who threw the first inning, said he was happy to have his teammate back.
"It's something that is super special, to happen to a great human being," Eshelman said of Mancini's single. "I'm just excited to have him back there on the field. It's something that he has beat, so it's great to see him back in the lineup and obviously get a knock in his first at-bat."
Mancini was named the Orioles' MVP in 2019 after batting .291 with career highs of 35 home runs and 97 RBIs.
Report: Royals signing 3B Hunter Dozier to 4-year extension
The deal would buy out two potential free agent years for Dozier, 29, and includes incentives and bonuses that could max out the value at $49 million over five years, per the report.
Dozier batted .228 with six homers and 12 RBIs in 44 games during the shortened 2020 season.
One year earlier, he batted .279 with 26 homers and 84 RBIs in 139 games. He also had 65 extra-base hits and tied for the major league lead with 10 triples.
A first-round pick (eighth overall) by the Royals in 2013, Dozier has a career .253 batting average with 43 homers and 131 RBIs in 293 games since making his debut in 2016.
Kansas City avoided arbitration with Dozier in December by signing him to a one-year deal worth a reported $2.72 million plus incentives.
Rockies receive approval to have 12,500 fans at Coors Field
The number represents 25 percent of the stadium seating capacity.
"To create a safe and healthy experience for fans, players and staff, the Rockies have implemented all required CDPHE, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and MLB policies and guidelines," the team said in a statement. "The Rockies and CDPHE will continue to monitor the conditions, with the hope of safely adding to the capacity number in the future."
The Rockies begin the regular season at home against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers on April 1.
Speaking of Los Angeles, a final decision has yet to be made about letting fans in Dodger Stadium for the team's home opener against the Washington Nationals on April 9.
As for the Padres, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Thursday requested Gov. Gavin Newsom allow fans to return to Petco Park.
Braves extend manager Brian Snitker through 2023
Snitker, 65, led the Braves to a 35-25 record and a third straight National League East title during last season's shortened campaign.
"I am thrilled that Brian will continue to lead our club on the field and in the clubhouse," Braves president Alex Anthopoulos said. "Three consecutive division titles speak to the impact of Brian and his staff, and we are pleased that he will continue to guide our club through 2023."
Snitker is entering his 45th season in the organization and his fifth full season as manager. He was named the interim manager on May 17, 2016, before formally taking the helm on Oct. 11, 2016.
Snitker, the 2018 NL Manager of the Year, has a 353-317 record and is the only manager in team history to reach the postseason in three of his first four seasons.
The Braves open the season on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 1.
Tigers prospect Spencer Torkelson out after cutting finger
Torkelson, the top overall pick in the 2020 draft, needed stitches after cutting his right index finger Wednesday at his rental home near the Tigers' Lakeland, Fla., spring training facility.
Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday, "He can do some fielding work, but he's not going to hit or throw for a couple of days. ... You're going to see him limited."
Torkelson did participate in the Tigers' fielding drills on Thursday, according to MLB.com.
The 21-year-old third baseman is sharing a spring training home with fellow Tigers minor-leaguers Riley Greene and Jake Rogers.
Hinch said of Torkelson, "I'm glad he wasn't at a restaurant. If he did it in a restaurant, we'd have a problem with the (COVID-19) protocols. He was following the rules. Maybe part of his development is going to be opening a can, I don't know."
Torkelson starred at Arizona State before the Tigers selected him last year and gave him the richest draft signing bonus in baseball history, $8,416,300.
He maintained a sense of humor about the incident.
"When life cuts your finger, buy a can opener and then laugh it off," Torkelson posted on Twitter.
Report: Blue Jays sign LHP Tommy Milone
Milone, 34, will compete for a spot on the back end of the Blue Jays' starting rotation. The Blue Jays' starters include Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, Tanner Roark and Robbie Ray, with Nate Pearson also vying for a spot.
Last season, Milone went 1-4 with a 6.69 ERA in nine combined starts with the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves. Home runs proved to be an issue as he surrendered nine long balls in 39 innings.
In his career, Milone is 51-51 with a 4.56 ERA in 183 games (145 starts). He has pitched for eight teams including the Orioles, Braves, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics.
Fan attendance plans not universal to start 2021 season
Still, the number of fans at stadiums across the United States varies widely.
Most teams are allowing fans at their spring training sites, but far below maximum capacity and with safety restrictions related to COVID-19 enforced.
No fans were permitted for regular-season games in 2020, a pandemic-shortened season capped with a neutral-site World Series in Texas. MLB allowed 11,000 fans for the NLCS and World Series at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
MLB and the state of Ohio have not revealed whether capacity could be increased later in the 2021 season as other markets continue to wrestle with proposals for fan admittance.
Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts told CNBC last week that he's hopeful Wrigley Field and other stadiums will be close to capacity by the end of the season.
There is no ruling yet in Illinois as to whether the Cubs or Chicago White Sox will host fans for Opening Day.
In New York, Yankee Stadium was approved to host 5,500 fans and the Mets will be permitted to have around 4,500 at Citi Field when their home seasons open.
California, where coronavirus safety restrictions have been strict, has made no final decision about letting fans in Dodger Stadium for the World Series champions' home opener on April 9.
Angel Stadium is set to open April 1 with the Angels in action against the White Sox, but current restrictions make fan attendance uncertain.
There could be more immediate relief in sight for the Padres. San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond on Thursday requested Gov. Gavin Newsom allow fans to return to Petco Park.
"Many other cities and teams have changed the way they operate to keep their fans safe, by limiting areas where they can congregate and making masks mandatory," Desmond said in a letter to Newsom.
Yankees' Domingo German apologizes for domestic incident
"I want to sincerely apologize to the Steinbrenner family, my teammates, the front office and those around me who love me," German said through an interpreter on Wednesday. "I have made mistakes of which I am not proud of, and for that I want to apologize."
German's public apology came one day after he addressed his teammates. One teammate, reliever Zack Britton, made critical comments about German last week, saying "Sometimes you don't get to control who your teammates are ... that's the situation. I don't agree with what he did. I don't think it has any place in the game or off the field at all."
German, 28, addressed Britton's comments on Wednesday.
"I did see his comments. He has a right to do that," German said. "I understood where he was coming from. The good thing is I had the opportunity to talk with him and he basically gave me really good advice on how I can improve.
"At the same time, the comments he made were not to be taken personal, (they were) more on a professional level. Like I said, from that conversation, he gave me really good advice which I'm thankful for."
German did not discuss the specifics of his actions that led to his suspension, but did confirm that he still has a relationship with his girlfriend.
"My partner and I, thank God we've been able to have and had a good relationship," German said. "We're together and when you ask 'how can I be a better person,' I think one of the ways is through my actions. Showing how I can be a better person through my actions."
German posted an 18-4 record with a 4.03 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) in 2019, He owns a 20-11 mark with a 4.52 ERA in 55 career games (38 starts) with the Yankees
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu tests positive for COVID-19
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Abreu is "completely asymptomatic." Abreu thinks he contracted a mild case in January, Hahn said, adding that's "reinforced by the presence of COVID antibodies in additional testing."
"Other than being frustrated, Jose feels great and, like the rest of us, is looking forward to when he rejoins the club in the not-too distant future," Hahn said.
Abreu hit .317 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs in 60 games last season, leading the White Sox to their first playoff appearance since 2008. It earned him league MVP honors.
Abreu was Rookie of the Year in 2014 and is a three-time All-Star. He's a career .294 hitter with a slugging percentage of .520. He has hit 198 home runs in his seven seasons with the White Sox.
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis to miss season
The 21-year-old is the top prospect in the Twins organization and was the No. 1 pick in the 2017 MLB Draft.
He is scheduled to have reconstructive surgery on Friday in Minneapolis and will miss nine to 12 months, said Derek Falvey, the team's president of baseball operations.
Lewis reported feeling soreness in his knee when he got to camp in Fort Myers, Fla., and an MRI revealed the damage.
With the 2020 minor-league season wiped out because of the pandemic, that means Lewis will go at least two seasons without playing a game.
He closed the 2019 season at the Double-A level. In 302 minor-league games, he has a .266 average with 30 homers and 150 RBIs.
Andrelton Simmons is expected to play shortstop for the Twins this season.
"He's Royce," Falvey said of Lewis. "He's got a smile on his face. He knows he's going to have a rehab year ahead, knows he's going to have to put in a lot of work, but he's prepared and ready to do that."
Tigers sign former All-Star Julio Teheran to minors deal
Teheran, 30, will earn $3 million plus incentives if he makes the big league club, according to multiple reports.
Teheran spent last season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, going 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). Prior to then, he had spent the first nine years of his career with the Atlanta Braves, where he had posted a 3.67 ERA in 229 games (226 starts).
Teheran's best season earned him his first All-Star berth in 2014, when he finished with a 2.89 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 221 innings. He was an All-Star again in 2016.
Teheran is expected to compete for a spot in Detroit's rotation along with former No. 1 overall draft pick Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and others.
Mariners leaders vow to move past Kevin Mather comments
"It's been a difficult couple of days ... for our players, for our staff, for me, our baseball operations team, and all of the Mariners, that's the reality," general manager Jerry Dipoto said in an unscheduled video conference call with reporters. "I think the most important thing was to spend some time with you, answer the baseball questions, and just re-humanize our players."
Mather spoke earlier this month via Zoom with the Breakfast Rotary Club in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. His comments were made public over the weekend, and Mather apologized Sunday night. He commented on everything from poor English skills among some foreign-born players to the manipulation of service time.
Dipoto said Tuesday that team leaders need to show their commitment to the players.
"We need to be sensitive and make sure that they understand where we are, and frankly to address the stigma that's now associated with our team, which I don't think is the way we see ourselves, and that includes our players and our staff," Dipoto said.
"It's something I hope we're able to shed pretty quickly and get back to who we are. But we can't get beyond the situation that exists today. And we have to address it head on."
Manager Scott Servais agreed.
"I'm very grateful for how they've handled everything that's happened in the last 48-72 hours, and it doesn't surprise me," Servais said about the players. "It really doesn't. We talk about doing the right thing, and they continue to do it and it's because of the character of this group.
"We talk about character, and what adversity does. Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. And I really like what I've seen in how we've handled this so far. It hasn't been easy."
Alex Cora happy to be reunited with Red Sox
Spearheading that is manager Alex Cora. After a season away from Boston -- fired as manager in January 2020 amid Major League Baseball's investigation into illegal sign-stealing with his former organization, the Houston Astros -- the Red Sox rehired him last November after his season-long suspension expired.
"I don't have to explain to you guys how I feel about this game. I don't have to tell people I love the game and I'm very passionate about it. You guys know that. So I don't have to explain that," Cora, 45, told reporters recently. "But at the same time, coming here, and it's not about me -- it's about seeing guys and working with guys and going to the field, and when the game is over or the practice is over, to sit at your desk and be like, 'Oof, I gave everything today.'"
After finishing the abbreviated 2020 season with a 24-36 record under manager Ron Roenicke, the Red Sox seem to be happy to have Cora back, too.
"(Cora) has just a charisma about him where people feel lifted up by being around him, and that's a great thing in somebody who you have leading your group, where he can bring the best out of people," said Chaim Bloom, the team's chief baseball officer, on Sunday. "That's what we're looking for in a manager, and he connects as well as anybody that I've seen.
"Already, I've been struck by players that are new to camp, that we try to have some conversations with for the first time, he's gotten all of them already, he's talked with everybody. He just has a good way over the course of the day of circulating, making sure he touches every player, that he gets to know everybody. He's fun to be around, and he brings a lot of energy and a lot of optimism to the group."
Cora led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2018 in his first season as manager. A season later, they finished 84-78 and in third place in the American League East.
"You know everything we went through, winning the World Series in 2018, I just feel happy that he's back," pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez said. "He's like a father, like a brother. Sometimes I feel like a teammate when I talk to him, and that's part of the relationship that we have together and we can make it better. We will make it better."
Reports: Shin-Soo Choo to continue career in Korea
Choo, 38, spent the past seven seasons in Texas after signing a $130 million deal in December 2013.
The South Korea native signed with the Mariners in 2000 and made his major-league debut five years later. After just 14 games with Seattle, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians in 2006, then to Cincinnati before the 2013 season.
Choo made his only All-Star team in 2018.
In 1,652 games over 16 seasons, Choo hit .275 with 218 home runs and 782 RBIs. He had 1,671 hits and an on-base percentage of .377.
He was limited to 33 games in the injury-shortened 2020 season and hit .236 with five homers and 15 RBIs.
White Sox SS Tim Anderson backs Tony La Russa
The flamboyant and energetic Anderson said when La Russa was hired that he was concerned he'd need to tone down the spice in his game, something he was not ready to change.
But after a face-to-face meeting in Arizona as the White Sox opened spring training, Anderson, 27, said he's all-in on the 76-year-old manager.
"Just to see what page he's on is definitely awesome," Anderson said Monday, noting he arrived in Arizona ahead of schedule for the purpose of meeting with La Russa. "Just have conversations with him -- very motivating. The drive to want to win, he has that. I'm behind him 110 percent. That's the ultimate goal, is to win and to win a World Series here. I'm behind him."
La Russa was last a manager in 2011 and has largely been in an administrative or advisory role since that season with the St. Louis Cardinals ended.
Anderson hit .322 in 2020 and won the American League batting title in 2019. After the meeting and a sitdown with media, Anderson said he's more confident the White Sox "got the right man."
Reports: D-backs bring back RHP Tyler Clippard on one-year deal
The deal is worth a guaranteed $2.25 million, according to the Arizona Republic, with a mutual option for $3.5 million in 2022 or a $500,000 buyout.
Clippard pitched one of his 14 seasons with the Diamondbacks, posting a 4.30 ERA in 40 games in 2016 before he was dealt to the New York Yankees at the non-waiver trade deadline.
The 36-year-old has pitched for 10 teams and has a career 3.13 ERA over 777 appearances. All but 14 of those games have been in relief.
In 26 games for the Minnesota Twins last season, Clippard was 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 26 innings.
Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. wants monumental career to match big contract
Less than a week after it was revealed that Tatis had agreed to the third-largest contract in major league history at $340 million, he backed that up by saying he wants to go down in Padres lore. The club made the contract official Monday.
Tatis not only wants to be remembered in the border town in the same regard as Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman, he wants to earn a spot for all time, perhaps in the grassy plaza beyond the left-center field wall at Petco Park.
"Why not go to a statue contract?" Tatis said, recalling negotiations with the team. "People are saying, 'Oh, too many years.' But I just love what I'm seeing, what we're going to do. I want that statue on one team. I want to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in San Diego."
Gwynn and Hoffman have their own statues at Petco Park, but they also earned spots in the Baseball Hall of Fame to get the honor. Unsaid in Tatis' "statue" intention is that he would like to earn his way to Cooperstown, too, but only because he kept the Padres a winner for years to come.
Tatis helped the Padres into the playoffs last season, the first time the team had been on the October stage since 2006. The Padres dispatched the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card round but were swept away in the division series by their nemesis to the north, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A few weeks later, the Dodgers earned what Tatis has targeted for his own club: a World Series title.
San Diego might not have a major-city vibe, but Tatis intends to pattern his career after New York legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.
"I was already thinking about that since I got to the big leagues," Tatis said as the Padres approached their first full-squad workout of the spring at Peoria, Ariz. "In my dreams, the players I admire the most, they stay on one team, they build a culture, and they become winners with that team. I'm over here trying to do the same."
Tatis' extension, trails only Mike Trout's 12-year, $426.5 million pact with the Los Angeles Angels and Mookie Betts' 12-year, $365 million extension with the Dodgers. However, the 14-year deal is the longest in terms of additional years ever signed by a player in baseball history, according to MLB.com.
Tatis, 22, won a Silver Slugger award after hitting .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in 59 games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He finished fourth in National League Most Valuable Player voting behind the Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman, Betts and Padres teammate Manny Machado.
His 39 home runs in 143 career games are the most by a primary shortstop in his first 150 games, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Tatis burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2019, when he hit .317 with 22 homers and 53 RBIs in 84 games. In two seasons, he has batted .301 with 98 RBIs, 27 steals and 111 runs.
In other words, if he intends to live up to Jeter's lofty status, he is off to a fine start.
"He's got a chance to set his mark by winning World Series," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. "It starts with one, and then you build on that."