Once hailed as the franchise savior, Ackley returns on the bottom rung of the clubhouse hierarchy – a non-roster invitee with almost no chance to make the roster. Ackley’s initial chance, if it comes, almost certainly would occur with Class AAA Tacoma.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager enters the 2019 season after a physical and dietary remake. He learned to embrace flexibility training, spinach, and a long-term health plan. Seager played the second half of last season with a broken left big toe, which affected his ability to plant and drive forward and led to a .221 batting average and a .273 on-base percentage, both career lows.
While Manny Machado agreed to a pending $300 million, 10-year contract with San Diego and Bryce Harper is likely to top Giancarlo Stanton’s record $325 million, 13-year deal, many less-than-superstar veterans have been routed on the free-agent market. Management could be open to negotiations for alterations to the collective bargaining agreement as part of an extension of the current deal, set to expire in December 2021.
After playing through foot injuries and some clubhouse tension last season, Dee Gordon is back healthy and will play full time at second base rather than bounce between positions.
Don Newcombe, the hard-throwing Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher who was one of the first black players in the major leagues and who went on to win the Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards, has died. He was 92. The team confirmed that Newcombe died Tuesday morning after a lengthy illness.
A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that All-Star infielder Manny Machado has agreed to a $300 million, 10-year deal with the rebuilding San Diego Padres, the biggest contract ever for a free agent. Machado’s deal, if completed, would be the second-largest in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million, 13-year deal signed with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2015 season.
Omar Narvaez is expected to do plenty with the bat as the Seattle Mariners’ new catcher – but he’s doing important work this spring with a 5-iron, too.
Ichiro Suzuki is back in spring training with the Seattle Mariners at age 45. He insists his focus is on each day and not the season-opening series in Japan that would offer him an opportunity to play MLB games in his home country. The Mariners expect him to be part of their expanded 28-man roster for those two games if he’s healthy. The former MVP says he’s very satisfied with how things went during the first full-squad workout.
Detroit beat pitcher Michael Fulmer in the last salary arbitration case this year, leaving players with a 6-4 final record in decisions. Fulmer was awarded a raise from $575,200 to $2.8 million rather than this $3.4 million request. Fulmer was the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 2017. A right-hander who turns 26 on March 15, Fulmer was 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 132 fraction>1/3/fraction> innings last year, sidelined by a left oblique strain and later a torn right lateral meniscus.
Mickey Callaway’s first season as a manager with the New York Mets was messy. As he prepares to begin his second spring training in charge, Callaway is already under plenty of pressure in a potentially dicey situation.
Madison Bumgarner put rookie Joey Bart to work on the San Francisco Giants’ first day of spring training workouts. Bumgarner’s hopes to bounce back from a disappointing 2018. The left-hander didn’t make his season debut until June 5 after breaking the pinkie of his pitching hand when hit by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield late in spring training. Bumgarner went 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 21 starts.
Adam Wainwright says he is healthy following an injury-wrecked 2018 season. Wainwright had minor elbow surgery after the 2017 season and was just 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA last year, appearing in only eight regular season games. His average fastball velocity dropped 1 mph to 89.75 mph, down from 92 mph in 2013, when he went 19-9 and helped the Cardinals reach the World Series.
Yu Darvish says he felt pressure after signing a $126 million, six-year contract with the Chicago Cubs. Darvish went 1-3 with 4.95 ERA in eight starts last season, the last coming on May 20. He was sidelined by triceps and elbow injuries, and his season ended in August when an MRI showed a stress reaction in his arm after one inning of a rehab start.
There was something special for new Rangers manager Chris Woodward when pitchers and catchers had their first spring training workout. Woodward thinks long-term and appreciates the everyday grind of the game. Still, he allowed himself to consider where he had come from to being a first-time manager. He was a utility infielder over a dozen seasons and was in the World Series each of the past two years as a third base coach.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are already pleased with what they’ve seen from Russell Martin, who is back with the team after a January trade. He has reunited with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for a bullpen session. He’s also connecting with returning catcher Austin Barnes. Martin was with the Dodgers from 2006 to 2010 and helped lead Los Angeles to three playoff appearances.
Matt Kemp was part of the Reds’ biggest offseason deal, coming to Cincinnati in a deal with the Dodgers that also brought Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood. His challenge is finding playing time in an outfield that has gaps to fill, including center field.
The Chicago White Sox opened spring training waiting for Manny Machado. Machado, among the offseason’s top free agents, still hasn’t agreed to a deal. Alonso spoke with the All-Star infielder on Tuesday. Chicago hasn’t had a winning season since 2012 and is coming off a 100-loss season. The White Sox have added Alonso, right-handers Ivan Nova, Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome, and outfielder Jon Jay.
There have been years in his managerial career where Don Mattingly has arrived for the first day of spring training without any mystery regarding who would be on the 25-man roster coming out of camp. This is not one of those years. And that’s just fine with the manager of the Miami Marlins, who is entering his fourth season – and the last under his current contract – with the club that is entering 2019 in a rebuilding mode that has no end in sight.
Boston expects its new closer to emerge from the current Red Sox roster. All-Star Craig Kimbrel turned down a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the World Series champions, and the seven-time All-Star remains a free agent. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski mentioned three possibilities to close as spring training workouts started: Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Tyler Thornburg.
Shohei Ohtani says he has “no regrets” about last year as he begins his second spring with the Los Angeles Angels. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year is recovering from Tommy John surgery on Oct. 1 with the hope he will be able to bat in the Los Angeles lineup as early as May. He continued hitting for the Angels until last season’s end even though it meant delaying reconstructive surgery and his ability to pitch again until 2020.
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