Astros manager Dusty Baker said Friday that he doesn't expect Yordan Alvarez (knees) to play much in the outfield this season.
Alvarez was barely considered playable in the outfield before having double knee surgery, so this revelation doesn't come as a surprise. Fantasy managers should plan on the young slugger being DH-only eligible in 2021. Alvarez is being eased into workouts this spring following last August's operations.
Mets signed C Caleb Joseph to a one-year contract.
It's a split deal that will come with different salaries whether he's in the majors or the minors. Joseph, 34, has a rough .220/.270/.351 career batting line in 1,367 plate appearances at baseball's highest level.
Kevin Plawecki (COVID-19) is going through intake processing for Red Sox camp on Thursday.
Plawecki was placed on the COVID-19 injured list last week, on the first official day of spring training, but it sounds like he has recently returned a negative test result. He should be in camp this weekend.
Franchy Cordero (COVID-19) could join Red Sox camp as early as Monday.
Cordero landed on the COVID-19 injured list last weekend, but it would appear that he is now in the clear or will be very soon. The 26-year-old was acquired from the Royals as part of a three-team trade in early February and should have a chance to claim at least some share of the starting left field job in Boston.
Austin Slater got a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right arm over the winter.
Slater was limited to DH duties down the stretch last season due to a flexor strain and he hit a plateau in his rehab at some point this offseason, which prompted him to seek the PRP treatment. He is able to make throws from the outfield now in Giants camp and should be ready to rock for the beginning of the 2021 campaign. The 28-year-old projects to operate in a sort of platoon role between San Francisco's corner outfield spots.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Thursday that he expects Corey Knebel to pitch in a high-leverage role for the Dodgers this season.
High-leverage really is in the eye of the beholder, but considering the talent Los Angeles has in the back of its bullpen like Blake Treinen, Brusdar Graterol and Victor Gonzalez -- not to mention presumed closer Kenley Jansen -- this is a bit of a surprising statement. It's less surprising when you consider how dominant Knebel was before his injuries, however, and the 29-year-old will get a chance to show off that impressive stuff over the Grapefruit League. At the very least, he's an arm to keep an eye on in the Cactus League.
Padres pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters that MacKenzie Gore has impresses thus far in camp.
Gore is the top pitching prospect in baseball, but there were some mechanical issues at the alternate site that led to reported command issues. Rothschild said those issues from last summer have been "worked out and plus." The 22-year-old should make his debut this summer, and his ability to miss bats and limit self-inflicted damage give him a chance at fantasy relevance -- and then some -- when that occurs.
Greg Garcia will be in the running for an opening day roster spot.
Garcia will be given a chance at a roster spot via more at-bats this spring, in part due to infielder Spencer Torkelson being sidelined after cutting his finger. In 2020 for San Diego, Garcia hit .200/.279/.250 in 71 plate appearances over 35 games. He's a versatile defender that can play any infield position. Zack Short and Kody Clemens will also be given some at-bats in the Grapefruit League and have a chance to earn one of those final spots.
Gregory Polanco clarified Thursday that he never broke his wrist this winter.
Polanco was said to have suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist while playing for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, but he told reporters in Pirates camp that it was a miscommunication from that club's management and medical staff. Whatever the case, the 29-year-old outfielder is healthy now and will be looking to bounce back from a wretched .153/.214/.325 batting line in 2020.
Braves signed OF Terrance Gore to a minor league contract.
Gore boasts an astonishing 40 stolen bases in 77 career major league plate appearances but also a .224/.325/.284 batting line. The 29-year-old has mostly been used as a pinch-running threat in the bigs.
Astros OF prospect Chas McCormick revealed Thursday that he suffered a Grade 2 quad strain while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
But he is fully recovered now and told reporters that he would be "upset" if he did not make his major league debut sometime this season. McCormick, 25, posted an .818 OPS with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 110 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019 and should be on the radar in deep dynasty formats.
Didi Gregorius has arrived at Phillies camp and will go through intake testing on Friday.
Gregorius was a little delayed because of visa issues, but all is well now and he could probably see some Grapefruit League action by the end of next week. The 31-year-old shortstop was re-signed for two years, $28 million in February after batting .284/.339/.488 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI over 60 games in 2020.
Angels acquired INF Jack Mayfield from the Braves for cash considerations.
Mayfield was designated for assignment by Atlanta earlier this week to free up a roster spot for outfielder Guillermo Heredia. The 30-year-old infielder holds a career .170/.198/.283 major league batting line.
Angels designated INF/OF Robel Garcia for assignment.
This move clears out a 40-man roster spot for infielder Jack Mayfield, who was acquired from the Braves on Thursday. Anaheim had claimed Garcia off waivers from the Mets in the first week of February.
Stephen Vogt (COVID-19) joined Diamondbacks camp on Thursday morning.
Vogt was diagnosed with COVID-19 during intake processing at the start of spring training, but it was apparently a relatively mild case. The veteran catcher will aim to claim the backup job in Arizona behind Carson Kelly.
Aaron Hicks said Thursday that he finally feels fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.
Hicks acknowledged in December that he didn't feel quite right for most of the delayed 2020 season after undergoing the reconstructive elbow procedure in October 2019. He still finished last year with a decent .793 OPS with six home runs and four stolen bases in 54 games, and he makes for an attractive late-round fantasy pick for 2021, what will be his age-31 campaign. 240.1 is his current ADP on Yahoo.
Rays manager Kevin Cash raved about Austin Meadows' physical conditioning in camp on Thursday.
Meadows got svelte but also added muscle over the winter as he aims to rebound from a poor 2020 that can be blamed in part on COVID-19 and a Grade 2 oblique strain. The 25-year-old had tremendous fantasy hype this time last year after slashing .291/.364/.558 with 33 homers and 12 steals over 138 games in 2019.
Kyle Hendricks will start the Cubs' Cactus League opener on Monday.
Which should also put him in line to start the Cubs' regular-season opener on April 1 against the Pirates. Hendricks, 31, delivered an excellent 2.88 ERA, 0.996 WHIP, and 64/8 K/BB ratio over 81 1/3 innings (12 starts) for Chicago in 2020 and currently has an overall average draft position of 87.4 on Yahoo.
Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy said Thursday that it might be "ambitious" to expect Rowan Wick (intercostal) to be ready for the start of the 2021 season.
Wick finished the 2020 campaign on the injured list because of an intercostal/oblique issue that has also limited his activity at the start of Cubs camp. It usually doesn't take too long for relievers to get geared up in spring training, but there will need to be some signs of progress here soon. The 28-year-old right-hander is slated for a prominent setup role this season in Chicago behind closer Craig Kimbrel.
Anthony Alford (elbow) has been limited defensively so far in Pirates camp.
Alford needed surgery to repair a fractured right elbow after crashing hard into the outfield wall at PNC Park last September 5, and he's apparently still in rehab mode to some degree. "He is having a little bit of challenges with the throwing, just to get more velocity on the balls and to continue to gain confidence," said Pirates head trainer Todd Tomczyk, "but we believe that we’re taking nice strides in regards to his throwing."
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