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Blue Jays Name Hutchison Opening Day Starter

Blue Jays Name Hutchison Opening Day Starter

Photos.com/Thinkstock(DUNEDIN, Fla.) -- The Toronto Blue Jays say 24-year-old Drew Hutchison wil be their Opening Day starter when they face the Yankees on April 6 in New York."It's really exciting -- Opening Day is special," Hutchison said. "At the end of day, it's a long game. But as we all know, it's Opening Day. The excitement, the energy -- everything that goes into it is exciting."Hutchison missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He rebounded nicely in 2014 making 32 starts, pitching 184 2/3 innings, and striking out 184 batters while compiling a 4.48 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.Hutchison will become the youngest Opening Day starter in Blue Jays history.

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Red Sox Send Catcher Vasquez to DL, Uehara May Follow

Red Sox Send Catcher Vasquez to DL, Uehara May Follow

Major League Baseball(BOSTON, Ma.) -- The Boston Red Sox have sent catcher Christian Vasquez to the 60-Day disabled list after being diagnosed with a right elbow sprain.

Vasquez was sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion after an MRI discovered a problem in the right elbow of the 24-year-old catcher.  In a corresponding move, the Red Sox acquired catcher Sandy Leon from the Washington Nationals.

The Red Sox were expected to employ both Vasquez and Ryan Hanigan, whom the team acquired from the San Diego Padres in exchange for third baseman Will Middlebrooks, as a platoon for the team's catching position.

Additionally, the team's closer Koji Uehara will likely start the season on the disabled list after the 39-year-old felt tightness in his hamstring upon concluding a 30-pitch bullpen session.

"I don't know when I'll be back," Uehara said through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. "It's a day-to-day process. I have to do what I have to do to get ready."

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Mariners Prospect Passes Away After Boating Accident

Mariners Prospect Passes Away After Boating Accident

Major League Baseball

(NEW YORK) -- Victor Sanchez, a 20-year-old prospect of the Seattle Mariners, lost his life from injuries sustained in a February boating accident, according to the team.

Sanchez reportedly suffered a double skull fracture and brain hematoma after being struck in the head by a propeller while swimming in the Venezuelan coastal town of Campano.

"The Seattle Mariners are saddened to learn of the passing of Victor Sanchez," said Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik through a team statement. "Victor was a tremendous young man and a wonderful teammate. He was a very talented player who was close to fulfilling his promise as a major leaguer. He will be missed by his teammates and the coaches and staff at the Mariners. The entire Mariners organization sends our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time."

Sanchez pitched a 4.19 ERA last season, while earning a 7-6 record for the Mariners Double A club.

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Cubs Phenom Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein at Odds Over Major League Call-Up

Cubs Phenom Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein at Odds Over Major League Call-Up

Brian D. Kersey(MESA, Ariz.) -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has arguably been the best player in the Major Leagues during spring training. Despite the dominance he's shown at the plate, he's still expected to start the season in the minors.

Bryant is leading all Major League players this season with nine home runs while also hitting .406 and has 15 RBIs.

"I look at it as 'Why not me?' " Bryant said Friday morning. "I think I'm the type of guy that can go out there and do it. I've made it a point of mine to come out here and show them that I can."

This has not come at of nowhere as Bryant is regarded as one of the best minor league prospects in all of baseball. Which could be why the team could ultimately decide to keep him in the minors, for now.

If Bryant makes the Cubs' Opening Day roster, he'll be a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs keep him in the minors till at least mid-April, he won't be eligible for free agency till after the 2021 season.

"I've never put a guy on an Opening Day roster who hadn't played in the big leagues previously. In 13 years, I've never done it," Epstein told ESPN. "I'm not saying I'd never do it, but the general rule, the presumption, is to allow those guys to go out, play, get comfortable, get in rhythm, and come up when you handpick just the right moment for them to have success."

In AA and AAA combined in 2014, Bryant hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBIs.

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Verlander Leaves Game with Triceps Injury

Verlander Leaves Game with Triceps Injury

Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images (DUNEDIN, Fla.) -- Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander left his spring training start against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, with cramping in his right triceps.Despite leaving the game in the third inning, the former American League MVP doesn't seem too concerned about the injury. He cites not drinking enough water and a tweak in his mechanics as being possible reasons for the cramping."I don't think I'm injured," Verlander said. "The only concern I have is if it would linger. Just felt crampy."Verlander pitched 2 2/3 innings of one-hit ball before exiting."Not overly concerned," Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus said. "He said it felt like more of a cramp than a strain. It doesn't mean we're out of the woods. It's not as concerning of an area."

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David Ortiz Dismisses Steroid Suspicion, Says He Belongs in Hall of Fame

David Ortiz Dismisses Steroid Suspicion, Says He Belongs in Hall of Fame

G. Fiume/Getty Images(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz still believes he is a future Hall of Famer, despite testing positive for a banned substance by the MLB.

"Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me -- love me, hate me. But I'm no bulls------. I never knowingly took any steroids," Ortiz wrote on The Players' Tribune website. "If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.''

"In some people's minds, I will always be considered a cheater," Ortiz continued. "And that's bulls---. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I've been tested since 2004? More than 80."

"They say these tests are random. If it's really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It's no joke," he clarified. "Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.'"

Ortiz was one of the players listed in the Mitchell report that was released in 2007 and has been under the microscope since then.

"Some people still look at me like I'm a cheater because my name was on a list of players who got flagged for PEDs in 2003," Ortiz wrote. "Let me tell you something about that test. Most guys were taking over-the-counter supplements then. Most guys are still taking over-the-counter supplements. If it's legal, ballplayers take it. Why? Because if you make it to the World Series, you play 180 games. Really think about that for a second. One-hundred-and-eighty games."

"Your kids could be sick, your wife could be yelling at you, your dad could be dying -- nobody cares. Nobody cares if you have a bone bruise in your wrist or if you have a pulled groin. You're an entertainer. The people want to see you hit a 95-mile-an-hour fastball over a damn 37-foot wall,'' he explained.

The nine-time All-Star has .285 batting average with 466 career home runs in his career and believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"Hell yes I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame," Ortiz wrote. "I've won three World Series since MLB introduced comprehensive drug testing. I've performed year after year after year. But if a bunch of writers who have never swung a bat want to tell me it's all for nothing, OK. Why do they write my legacy?"

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ESPN: MLB Investigating Marlins P Jarred Cosart for Gambling

ESPN: MLB Investigating Marlins P Jarred Cosart for Gambling

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(JUPITER, Fla.) -- Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart is being investigated by Major League Baseball for possible involvement in sports related gambling, according to ESPN.com.Trouble came Cosart's way when he allegedly exchanged multiple direct messages with a gambling authority on his Twitter account. This exchange became public when it was shared on the site by a third party. Cosart has since deleted his Twitter account.According to ESPN.com, MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirmed that the commissioner's office is investigating the situation.ESPN.com also reports it's unclear whether the allegations involve baseball betting or sports betting in general.MLB Rule 21 states clearly you can't gamble on baseball."Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has no duty to perform, shall be declared ineligible for one year," the rule states. "Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible."The 24-year-old Cosart seems to have created an unconfirmed Twitter account. On it, he claimed Wednesday that his original account had been hacked.The Marlins acknowledged the situation in a statement, "Major League Baseball is aware and they are investigating it and we have no further comment at this time."

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Dodgers Sign Cuban Infielder Hector Olivera to 6-Year Deal

Dodgers Sign Cuban Infielder Hector Olivera to 6-Year Deal

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has signed a six-year, $62.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to his agent Greg Genske.The soon-to-be 30-year-old Olivera's contract includes a $28 million signing bonus, the rep notes. Olivera's main position in Cuba was second base, but he's expected to play third for the Dodgers, who already have Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins playing in the infield.Olivera has played 10 seasons for Santiago de Cuba. During that time, he's compiled a .323 batting average, 96 home runs, 433 RBIs, and a .407 on-base percentage.

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Twins Reward Second Baseman Brian Dozier with Four-Year Contract Extension

Twins Reward Second Baseman Brian Dozier with Four-Year Contract Extension

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Coming off the best season of his of his young career, the Minnesota Twins have rewarded second baseman Brian Dozier with a four-year contract.

Dozier's new deal with the Twins will pay him $20 million and will run through the 2018 season. The new deal also includes no option years.

Originally, Dozier was supposed to make $590,000 this season with the Twins. He will now make $2 million in 2015. His annual salary will increase each year until his new deal is up.

The 27-year-old Dozier emerged as not only one of the best players on Twins in 2014, but he was also one of the most productive second baseman in all of Major League Baseball. In 156 games played in 2014, he batted .242 with 23 home runs, 71 RBIs, 112 runs scored (second in all of baseball), and 21 stolen basses.

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Rockies Release Starting Pitcher Jhoulys Chacin

Rockies Release Starting Pitcher Jhoulys Chacin

Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) -- In a move that has surprised many around Major League Baseball, the Colorado Rockies have released starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.

"It's a tough day," manager Walt Weiss said. "A tough day for us, for me having to have that conversation with Jhoulys, who has been a warrior for us."

At one point during his career, Chacin was the Rockies' top starting pitcher, but his performance has declined in recent seasons. Limited to just 11 starts in 2014, Chacin went just 1-7 with a 5.40 ERA, which was the worst mark of his career.

"We just felt like Jhoulys was behind a few of the other guys," Weiss added.

The Rockies were hoping to see the Chacin of old during spring training, but that didn't happen. He posted a 6.52 ERA in four Cactus League Starts.

In six seasons with the Rockies, Chacin went 38-48 with a 3.78 ERA.

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Dodgers Shut Down Starting Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dodgers Shut Down Starting Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu

Matt King/Getty Images(GLENDALE, Ariz.) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation depth has taken a hit before the regular season has even started as the team has shut down starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu after he experienced discomfort in his left shoulder.

Ryu was sent back to Los Angeles by the team so that he can meet with team doctors. He will start the season on the disabled list.

"I think he's feeling something. If he was feeling nothing, we wouldn't be trying to get him in front of Doc," Don Mattingly said. "We know to move forward it's going to be a heavier workload, so we've got to be sure where we're at. I saw the look on Hyun-Jin's face and it wasn't typical Hyun-Jin."

Ryu started to experience shoulder issues on March 18. The team decided to shut him down once he was unable to play catch on Sunday.

Entering his third Major League season, Ryu has been consistently effective during his brief career in American baseball. In 56 starts, he's gone 28015 with a 3.17 ERA.

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Yankees Prospect Out of Hospital After Wall Crash

Yankees Prospect Out of Hospital After Wall Crash

NY Yankees/MLB(PORT ST. LUCIE, Fl.) -- New York Yankees prospect Jose Pirela was released from the hospital Sunday after crashing into the outfield wall in a game against the New York Mets.

Pirela sustained a concussion after slamming into the wall head-first while chasing a fly ball off the bat of Mets' Juan Lagares in the first inning. Pirela attempted to stand up but collapsed back to the ground.

"Obviously you're concerned when a player doesn't get up," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's having some tests run right now. I'm not sure how long it's going to take for him to get back, but he did not look good."

Pirela was taken to the hospital after experiencing dizziness. He was tested with a CT Scan and an MRI; both tests came back negative and he was released.

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Yankees Prospect Out of Hospital After Wall Crash

Yankees Prospect Out of Hospital After Wall Crash

NY Yankees/MLB(PORT ST. LUCIE, Fl.) -- New York Yankees prospect Jose Pirela was released from the hospital Sunday after crashing into the outfield wall in a game against the New York Mets.

Pirela sustained a concussion after slamming into the wall head-first while chasing a fly ball off the bat of Mets' Juan Lagares in the first inning. Pirela attempted to stand up but collapsed back to the ground.

"Obviously you're concerned when a player doesn't get up," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's having some tests run right now. I'm not sure how long it's going to take for him to get back, but he did not look good."

Pirela was taken to the hospital after experiencing dizziness. He was tested with a CT Scan and an MRI; both tests came back negative and he was released.

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Orioles Catcher Matt Wieters May Not be Ready for Opening Day

Orioles Catcher Matt Wieters May Not be Ready for Opening Day

Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Still recovering from Tommy John Surgery he underwent last season, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged catcher Matt Wieters will likely start the season on the disabled list.

Wieters underwent the surgery back on June 17, and was making steady progress in spring training. He caught on Tuesday for the first time since the surgery, but was shut down on Wednesday for a week. He will be reevaluated on March 25.

“This is usually a 10-month [process] at least, especially with catchers. You’re hearing people go down with this and you are talking 12 to 14 months. We’re on if not ahead of schedule. A lot of people when it originally happened though even May 1 was a push,” Showalter said via CSNBaltimore.com.

“I think from Matt’s standpoint I don’t want him to have some false deadline where someone would view it as [a setback]. I’m excited about where we are with it. It is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when."

The 28-year-old Wieters was in the midst of having the best season of his career in 2014 before undergoing surgery, hitting .308 with five home runs and 18 RBIs in 26 games.

He has spent his entire six-year career with the Orioles.

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Brewers Pick Up Roenicke Option

Brewers Pick Up Roenicke Option

iStockphoto(PHOENIX) -- The Milwaukee Brewers exercised Manager Ron Roenicke's 2016 option on Thursday afternoon.

Roenicke replaced Ken Macha after the 2010 season and has led the Brewers to a 335-313 record. Milwaukee won the NL Central in his first season, then finished third and dropped to fourth in 2013.

Milwaukee started 20-7 last season and led the division for five months, but lost 22 of its last 31 games and finished third at 82-80. The Brewers announced at the end of the season that Roenicke would return for 2015.

"It makes me feel good," Roenicke said. "It's uncomfortable, especially when I concentrate so much on what I'm doing with my job -- I don't want to have to answer questions about the personal side of it."

Roenicke said he has a great working relationship with general manager Doug Melvin.

"I really like where I am. I love the city. I love the management," he said. "He went out on a limb and gave me this opportunity."

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White Sox Agree to Contract Extension with Adam Eaton

White Sox Agree to Contract Extension with Adam Eaton

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(GLENDALE, Ariz.) -- The Chicago White Sox are doing all they can to lock up their core players, the latest being outfielder Adam Eaton.

The team announced they've agreed on a five-year, $23.5 extension with the speedy outfielder.

"We have a kid here who we think is going to be an essential part of our success over the next couple of years and is a rare piece in this game, a top of the order player who plays in the middle of the diamond, plays a premium position and brings you plus offense and the ability to get on base and run," general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's an important piece to any successful club and we're happy that we can work out something that extends his stay in a White Sox uniform to potentially seven years."

Eaton came over to the White Sox from the Arizona Diamondbacks via trade last offseason.

In 123 games for Chicago last season, Eaton hit .300 with 76 runs scored and 15 stolen bases.

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Mets’ Zack Wheeler Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Mets’ Zack Wheeler Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images(PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.) -- New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss at least 14 months of baseball action.

Wheeler fully tore his ulnar collateral ligament during a spring training game last week. He is set to have surgery next week.

"Of course I'm nervous about it, but you've got to do it and have that mindset when you're coming back that you're going to be 100 percent and better than you were before," Wheeler said. "... I knew it probably eventually was going to happen. You aren't meant to throw overhand and throw hard."

Wheeler has been throwing hard his entire career and saw this injury coming.

"Honestly, I've had pain in that spot in my elbow since I got drafted -- since before I got drafted," Wheeler said. "It just happened to really flare up and be a little more painful last year, but not enough to where I was actually like, 'Oh my gosh.'"

Wheeler was 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA with 187 strike outs last year.

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Tigers Name David Price Opening Day Starter

Tigers Name David Price Opening Day Starter

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Detroit Tigers named David Price the Opening Day starter over Justin Verlander on Friday.

Verlander had been given the ball seven straight times on Opening Day, but instead, Price will get his fourth straight season opening start.

"Looking at it from a baseball perspective, I felt this was the (right) decision and it wasn't an easy decision," Brad Ausmus told the Detroit News. "Justin Verlander has been an outstanding pitcher for a long time. He has done a lot for the Tigers and this organization. But, I have to make a decision based on baseball and what is best for the 2015 Tigers."

Price came over to Detroit in a trade last season after spending his entire career with the Rays. Price was 15-12 with a 3.26 ERA last season between both teams.

Verlander was 15-12 with a 4.54 ERA last year and had 159 strike outs.

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Report: Marlins Agree to Seven Year Deal with OF Yelich

Report: Marlins Agree to Seven Year Deal with OF Yelich

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Miami Marlins have agreed to a seven-year deal with outfielder Christian Yelich on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

Yelich will receive $49.5 million with a club option for an eighth year, according to reports.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond voiced his support for Yelich.

"He's very mature for his age," Redmond said on Wednesday. "It's amazing when you watch him play and watch his at-bats, and his approach, how professional they are at such a young age."

"He's hungry, and that's what you want," Redmond continued. "You want young guys to come to the big leagues, and they aren't satisfied with one good year. They want to be better, and that's how you build championship teams, is to have young players that are hungry and want to win, and will do whatever they can to help the ballclub."

Yelich batted .284 with nine homers and 54 RBI's last season.

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Rays Pitcher Alex Cobb Won’t Start on Opening Day

Rays Pitcher Alex Cobb Won’t Start on Opening Day

Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(DUNEDIN, Fla.) -- The Tampa Bay Rays announced on Wednesday that pitcher Alex Cobb won't start on Opening Day after being diagnosed with tendinitis.

Cobb pitched three perfect innings against the Phillies on Tuesday, but had "a little bit" of right forearm-tightness leading up to the start.

Cobb was 10-9 with a 2.87 ERA with 149 strike outs last season.  The Rays originally selected Cobb in the fourth round of the 2006 amateur draft. In four big league seasons, he has compiled a record of 35-23 along with a 3.21 ERA.

The Rays will most likely lean on Chris Archer on Opening Day.

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