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9:45 AM ET, March 15, 2019

Ballbug

 Top News: 
Associated Press:
Dodgers' Seager plays SS for 1st time since April  —  GLENDALE, Ariz. — Corey Seager played shortstop in a game for the first time since April 29, logging three innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a minor league exhibition.  —  The 2016 NL Rookie of the Year had surgery May 4 to repair …
RELATED:
Jorge Castillo / Los Angeles Times:
Dodgers' split squads defeat Reds and Padres at spring training  —  Dodgers 3, Cincinnati 3 (SS)  —  Dodgers 12, San Diego 0  —  ON THE MOUND: Hyun-Jin Ryu started the first game against the Reds and gave up two runs on five hits in four innings before throwing a simulated inning in the bullpen.
Discussion: True Blue LA
Jon Tayler / Sports Illustrated:
The Tao of Yasiel Puig: The Reds' New Star Riffs on Bat Flips, Life and His Rocky End With the Dodgers
Adam Grosbard / Orange County Register:
Jordan Roberts' game-winner completes Long Beach State's comeback win over Hawaii at Big West Tournament  —  ANAHEIM — An 18-point deficit in the opening minutes seemed to spell doom for Long Beach State against Hawaii in the Big West Tournament quarterfinals Thursday night.
RELATED:
Bob Keisser / Orange County Register:
UC Irvine rides stingy defense past UC Riverside, into Big West tourney semifinals  —  ANAHEIM — Some teams play tough defense because it's a necessity.  UC Irvine plays defense because it loves the sound of breaking an opponent's heart.  —  That has been the Anteaters' style since Russell …
Rick Hummel / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Another strong outing for Wacha, who might be in Cards camp for last time  —  JUPITER, Fla.  • Michael Wacha seems to be having more fun in the Cardinals' clubhouse this spring than he probably ever has.  —  Part of that surely could attest to his side feeling good …
RELATED:
Derrick Goold / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Cardinals narrow their focus to Hudson vs. Gant for final rotation spot  —  JUPITER, Fla.  • With the Cardinals' search for a fifth starter narrowing and innings starting to vanish in Grapefruit League games, righthander John Gant went to the back fields for the team called a “reboot” of his schedule.
David Schoenfield / ESPN:
Predicting the next top-100 player for all 30 teams  —  This won't shock you if you have last year's standings memorized, but the premium talent in baseball isn't exactly spread evenly across the sport.  The Yankees had nine players crack the MLB Rank top 100, the Astros had seven …
Discussion: NESN.com
RELATED:
Mark Zuckerman / Nationals Pastime:
Taylor injures left knee making diving catch (updated)
Discussion: Federal Baseball
Eddie Matz / ESPN:
Life after Harper? Juan Soto can be what Bryce was ... and more
Discussion: NBCSports.com
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:
Theo Epstein is impressed by the Cubs' bullpen depth, and they'll need it after so many injuries  —  Who does what for the Cubs?  A look at the franchise's organizational flowchart, from the front office to the dugout to the bullpen.  —  Chicago Tribune  —  After their pleas …
RELATED:
Paul Sullivan / Chicago Tribune:
Column: Win now and win later: The Cubs and White Sox are eyeing different goals as opening day nears  —  Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish discusses his struggles with his fastball after a spring training game against the Rangers on March 14, 2019, in Mesa, Ariz.  —  Chicago Tribune
Discussion: South Side Sox
Tim Healey / Newsday:
Zack Wheeler picking up where he left off for Mets  —  JUPITER, Fla. — Long on talent and short on on-field production for years, Zack Wheeler reached another level last summer, posting a 1.59 ERA in his last 10 starts and consistently pitching into the late innings.
RELATED:
Mike Puma / New York Post:   Mets backup shows why he is a ‘dangerous weapon to have’
Bob Nightengale / Corpus Christi Caller-Times:
MLB's new rule could force pitching specialists to become extinct  —  MESA, Ariz. — The left-handed relief pitchers, particularly the specialists, fear it will cost them their jobs.  —  The managers believe it will ruin strategy.  —  And baseball traditionalists despise it.
RELATED:
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:
5 takeaways from Cubs spring training, including the future of left-handed specialists …
Bob Nightengale / USA Today:   MLB's new rule could force pitching specialists to become extinct
Charlotte Knights / The Charlotte Observer:
Gabriel Burns: Why can't Ronald Acuna be the 2019 MVP?  —  BY GABRIEL BURNS THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION  —  Tuesday was the typical afternoon for Ronald Acuna.  Before homering in his second consecutive game, he drew oohs and awes in batting practice, twice putting balls over the mountainous scoreboard in center field.
Deesha Thosar / New York Daily News:
The Pete Alonso Dilemma: games in April count as much as games in September  —  PORT ST. LUCIE — Pete Alonso is the type of slugger Mets fans would pay to see from Opening Day to the end of his tenure.  —  The reality is, if the Mets hold Alonso in the minors until a few weeks into the regular season …
Stefan Stevenson / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Why do managers and coaches sit outside the dugout during spring training games?  —  If you've ever watched a spring training baseball game you probably noticed it.  —  The manager and his coaches are typically sitting outside the dugout, closer to home plate, sitting in chairs, usually behind a protective netting.
Matthew Florjancic / WKYC-TV:
Former Indians OF Coco Crisp signs one-game contract with Lake Erie Crushers  —  Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Coco Crisp will play one game for the Lake Erie Crushers during the 2019 season.  —  CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Indians outfielder Coco Crisp is set for a return to the baseball diamond, for a limited engagement.
RELATED:
Joe Noga / Plain Dealer:
Which of the new MLB rules changes will impact the Cleveland Indians the most?
Discussion: Let's Go Tribe
Ken Davidoff / New York Post:
What Judge, Yankees think about HR Derby winner getting $1 million  —  TAMPA — A pinstriped update on the 2019 Home Run Derby, in the wake of Thursday's announcement there will be $2.5 million in prize money, including $1 million for the winner, added to the proceedings:  —Aaron Judge is very likely out.
Discussion: baseballmusings.com
Daily Record:
Masahiro Tanaka is headed in the right direction toward Yankees' opening day start  —  TAMPA, Fla. — Above all, Masahiro Tanaka felt that Wednesday's start gave him an indication that things are moving in the right direction.  —  Nearly two weeks away from his scheduled opening day start …
RELATED:
Pete Caldera / USA Today:   Bryce Harper: ‘Never heard’ from Yankees, New York unlikely after Giancarlo Stanton trade
 
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 More News: 
Don Brennan / Toronto Sun:
Improved discipline at plate paying off for Blue Jays' Teoscar Hernandez
Jason Henry / Orange County Register:
Santa Anita announces tighter rules on medication, whips in wake of 22nd horse death
Associated Press:
Tigers shelve RHP Fulmer to work on mechanics
Stefan Stevenson / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Watch Hunter Pence and Joey Gallo battle in ‘Game of Thrones’
Keith Law / ESPN:
Former top-10 pick Carter Stewart having delivery issues
Andy McCullough / Los Angeles Times:
MLB eliminates multiple trade deadlines, 40-man September rosters
 Earlier Picks: 
Daily Record:
Yankees' Dellin Betances feels he's headed in the right direction
Associated Press:
Chacin to start Brewers' opener against Cards
Discussion: Brew Crew Ball
Kelly Doyle / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
This Rangers pitcher has over 45,000 Instagram followers and jokes for days
Dave Sheinin / Chicago Tribune:
Manny Machado and the Padres already feels like a solid marriage
Discussion: MLB Baseball News …
Dave Clark / Cincinnati.com:
Cincinnati Reds' ‘Born to Baseball’ videos feature Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin
Coley Harvey / ESPN:
Is Estevan Florial ‘a young Bernie Williams’ or a future bust?
 

 
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