Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nate McLouth, Miguel Gonzalez Lead Orioles; Homer Bailey Goes Six Scoreless for Reds

Players of the Day for Saturday, March 30, 2013

Grapefruit League

Miguel Gonzalez
Wrapping up exhibition season, the Orioles celebrated their Grapefruit League championship by pounding on the Mets in a 7-1, 1-hit victory.

Nate McLouth
Nate McLouth socked a pair of solo homers to supply more than needed runs for starter Miguel Gonzalez, who gave up the only hit by the Mets, a single by Marlon Byrd, who came around to score on Ruben Tejada's sacrifice fly.

Gonzalez worked the first five innings, fanning five while issuing just the one hit and one walk. Five Oriole relievers proceeded to the mound thereafter to finish off the Mets - and Spring training - in hitless fashion.

The Orioles finished up with a 19-9 record, 2 1/2 games better than the Tigers and Braves.
Bailey: 6IP, 1H, OER

Cactus League

Cincinnati didn't have a very successful exhibition season in terms of wins (13-20), but they managed to finish up in good style, with a 7-0 blanking of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Homer Bailey worked six innings for the victory, his second win with one loss, shutting out the D'Backs on one hit while striking out seven

Baily had a modestly successful 2012 with the Reds, going 13-10 in 33 starts. His 3.38 ERA spanned 208 innings. He is expected to have another solid season as the Reds try to win the NL Central again. They won it by nine games over the Cardinals in 2012.

Saturday marked the end of Spring Training for all major league clubs. On Sunday, the Rangers visit Houston to kick off the regular season as the Astros have defected from the NL Central to the AL West, so it's an AL opener.

The Astros haven't been competitive in the NL Central for the better part of two decades, so they were the likely team to be booted from the NL to even up the leagues at 15 teams each, with five teams in each division. Houston, with its record of fantastic failure in the NL, can now begin to set records for mediocrity in the AL West. We wish them luck.

More clubs will be in action on Monday, April 1, with 12 games on what is the official opening day.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mark Buehrle Shuts Down Phillies in Toronto Shutout; AJ Ellis Slams Angels in Dodger Victory

Players of the Day for Friday, March 29, 2013

American League

With additions to their regulars and pitching staff, the Toronto Blue Jays have built a franchise that will be competitive in the wide-open AL East this coming season.
Buehrle: smokin'

One of those pitching add-ons is starter Mark Buehrle, who went to the mound Friday in his final tune-up and delivered five innings of two-hit ball, blanking the Phillies for five innings en route to a 1-0 Blue Jay win.

Buehrle fanned five and recorded his first victory of the exhibition season in six starts, without suffering a loss.

The 34-year-old veteran played 12 seasons with the White Sox before spending 2012 in a Miami Marlin uniform. With the wholesale restructuring of the Marlins underway during the off-season, Toronto made the move to bolster their rotation, of which Buehrle will be an integral part of this season.

With 174 wins, Buehrle is a workhorse, averaging more than 200 innings over the past 12 seasons.

Ellis: slammin'
National League

A.J. Ellis, the Dodger's stating catcher, stroked a first inning grand slam off Angels' starter, Jason Vargas, catapulting the Dodgers to an early advantage as they held off the Angels, 9-8, for their second straight win.

Ellis was the Dodger starter behind the plate all of 2012. He batted .270 with 13 homers and 52 RBI, appearing in 133 games.

The slam was his first home run of the spring, upping his RBI total to nine while batting .356. Ellis added a single in three at-bats.

While Ellis was solid behind and aside the plate, Josh Beckett struggled on the mound, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits over four innings. Beckett did not issue any walks and struck out five, but did allow a pair of Angel long balls.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Lance Lynn Shuts Out Marlins over Six; Royals Wrap Up Cactus League as Eric Hosmer Leads

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 28, 2013

Grapefruit League

Lynn: 6IP, 2H, 0ER
With exhibition season winding down and opening day just a few days off, starting pitchers are getting in the final tune-ups.

Lance Lynn, last season's rookie phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals, has to be feeling good after blanking the Marlins for six innings on two hits in St. Louis' 1-0 victory.

The burly right-hander struck out five, didn't allow a walk and improved to 2-3 in his final Grapefruit League start. Three Cardinal relievers each worked an inning to keep the shutout intact, sending the Cardinals to a 16-14 record, good for fourth place in the standings.

Lynn was 18-7 in 2012, with a 3.78 ERA. He fanned 180 hitters in 176 innings.

Cactus League

Eric Hosmer
Kansas City wrapped up the Cactus League title with an 8-3 win over Cincinnati, winning as they have all Spring, by battering the opposition with a relentless attack.

The Royals banged out 16 hits against a parade of six Reds' hurlers, scoring five in the third and three more in the fifth.

Alex Gordon hit his seventh homer, catcher Salvador Perez whacked his fourth and Eric Hosmer went 3-for-5 (all singles) and scored a pair of runs. Hosmer is having a spectacular Spring, batting .385 with two homers and 14 RBI.

Kansas City stands 3 1/2 games in front of Seattle in the Cactus standings, with just three games remaining. The Royals have posted a 24-7 in exhibition play.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ryan Zimmerman's Three Homers Lead Nationals; Yovani Gallardo Stops KC

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grapefruit League

Ryan Zimmerman
Opening Day is less than a week away, so players are making sure to get their best swings in as the exhibition season winds down.

One fellow who got a number of good at-bats on Wednesday was Washington's Ryan Zimmerman, who socked a trio of homers in the Nationals' 11-2 win over Atlanta.

Zimmerman was 3-for-4 with a pair of solo shots and a two-run donk, raising his RBI total to nine in 16 Spring games along with a .308 average.

Washington, NL East champions in 2012, haven't exactly been tearing up the Grapefruit League, tied with the Yankees near the bottom of the standings, at 13-17.

Cactus League
Yovani Gallardo

Somebody had to slow down the runaway KC Royals, so, leave it to one of the top National League hurlers, Yovani Gallardo, to apply the brakes to Kansas City hitters.

Blanking the Royals over the first three innings, Gallardo went on to record his first victory of Spring (against two losses), going 6 1/3 innings, giving up a single earned run on two hits and three walks while fanning two.

The Brewers banged out 16 hits, winning, going away, 9-1.

At 11-17, Milwaukee is still 11 games back of the Cactus League leading Royals, who need only win one more game to claim the exhibition championship, a feat they haven't done in the regular season since the days of George Brett back in 1985, when they won the World Series.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Brandon Short's Two Homers Lead White Sox; Aaron Hicks Continues to Rake for Twins

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Grapefruit League

Aaron Hicks
Aaron Hicks is making the Twins feel great about their outfield, now that they're assured he'll be their starter in center this season.

Hicks led the Twins to a 9-5 win over the Orioles on Tuesday, going 3-for-5 with a tripe and a pair of singles, driving in two runs and scoring twice.

A rookie with no major league experience, having spent five seasons in the minors, will get the opening day start - April 1 at Target Stadium vs. the Tigers - in center, according to the announcement made Sunday by Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire. Looking like a keeper, with a .379 average, 18 runs and 18 RBI this Spring, Hicks should patrol the outfield well and give the Twins a capable leadoff hitter with speed.

Cactus League

Brandon Short
The White Sox certainly appear to have plenty of hitters in their upcoming 2013 regular season lineup, with the likes of Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Dayan Viciedo.

In their 11-3 win over the Rangers, they got an unexpected power display from the bottom of the lineup, as rookie prospect, Brandon Short, playing in right field and batting ninth, belted a pair of homers and drove in four runs.

Short's initial blast was a three-run job in the fourth, staking starter Chris Sale to a 4-1 lead. Sale earned his fourth victory wihtout a loss, going four innings, fanning five. The only hit he allowed was a solo homer by the Rangers' Geovany Soto.

Short added a solo shot in the ninth and also singled in four at-bats, scoring three times. The homers and RBI were his first of the Spring; his 3-for-4 effort raised his average to .375.

Spending last season in AA Birmingham in the Southern League, there's no word on whether or not Short will be on the opening day roster.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

J.P. Arencibia Busts Out for Blue Jays: 2 HR, 5 RBI; Jesus Montero Slams with 6 RBI in Seattle Rout

Players of the Day for Monday, March 25, 2013

Grapefruit League

In their 13-4 win over the Phillies, Toronto banged out 15 hits, 14 of them off Philadelphia starter, John Lannan, who worked four painful innings, allowing all but one of the Blue Jay runs.

J.P. Arencibia, batting in the cleanup spot behind slugging Jose Bautista, got a good look at some fat pitches, going 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of homers (a three-run blast and a two-run job), driving in five runs and scoring three times.

The regular catcher for Toronto the past two seasons, Arencibia hasn't hit well for average, but he fits the power-packed profile of the Blue Jays. He had 23 homers and 78 RBI in 2011; in 102 games in 2012, he scoked 18 with 56 ribbies.

The win got the Jays closer to the .500 mark, at 12-16, but still behind the 13-15 Phillies.

Cactus League

3-3, GS, 6RBI
Jesus Montero went 3-for-3 with a grand slam homer and six RBI as the Seattle Mariners hammered Homer Bailey in a 16-0 pounding of the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.

Bailey lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on nine hits and a pair of walks.

The Mariners scored three in the first, three in the second, four in the fourth and five in the fifth. For good measure, they added another run in the top of the ninth.

Montero's slam was just his second of the season, and the six RBI upped his total to 10. He's batting .401 in 16 exhibition games this Spring.

The Yankees swapped Montero over to the Mariners after the 2011 season. He played in 135 games for the Mariners in 2012, batting .260 with 15 home runs and 62 RBI as a true rookie. This season is shaping up to be a breakout year for the Seattle catcher, who has a brother by the same name in the St. Louis organization.

The Seattle victory, though magnificent, didn't touch Kansas City's 3 1/2 game bulge in the Cactus League. The Royals topped the Dodgers, 8-2, for their fifth straight win.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jeff Francoeur Leads Amazing Royals to 4th Straight Win; Aaron Hicks, Joe Mauer Power Twins

Players of the Day for Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grapefruit League

Mauer: 6RBI
Minnesota pummeled the Blue Jays, 14-5, as Joe Mauer socked a first-inning, three-run homer and Aaron Hicks went 4-for-4 and scored three runs, raising his batting average to .350.
Hicks: 4-4, 3R

Mauer, who won the AL batting tittle in 2006, 2008 and 2009, is certain to be the Twins' starting catcher once again, while Hicks, who spent last season at AA New Britain, appears to be headed to the center field job vacated by departed Ben Revere, who moved over to the Phillies in the NL.

Mauer added a double to finish 2-for-3 with six RBI and is batting an even .400 in eight Spring training games.

Cactus League

Kansas City just keeps rolling along with a .778 winning percentage atop the Cactus League standings.

Jeff Francoeur
The Royals, perennial cellar-dwellers of the AL Central division, have been nothing short of spectacular this Spring, though one can only wonder how long the aura of invincibility will last once the games actually count.

Kansas City dumped the White Sox, 8-2, for their fourth straight win, improving their record to an outstanding 21-6, 3 1/2 games better than their nearest competition, the Seattle Mariners.

Jeff Francoeur delivered a pair of doubles in four at-bats, driving in two runs to spearhead the Royals' attack. A seven-year veteran, Francoeur, who spent five seasons in the National League with Atlanta and the Mets, starts his third season as a Royal. Starter Jeremy Guthrie took the win, throwing six innings, allowing two runs on six hits while fanning eight.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chase Utley Belts a Pair as Phillies Top O's; Eric Sogard Batting .538 for A's

Players of the Day for Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grapefruit League

Chase Utley
Chase Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies wasted little time in knocking off Grapefruit League-leading Baltimore, scoring ten runs in the first four innings before the O's finally put a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth en route to a decisive, 13-4 win on the road.

Utley, who missed the first half of last season due to injury, is healthy this time around. He blasted a pair of homers off O's starter Wei-Yin Chen, driving in four runs to get Philly off and running.

The win got the Phillies to .500, with a 13-13 mark. Baltimore remained in first place, leading Atlanta by 1 1/2 games and Detroit by two. Philadelphia is tied with Minnesota, Boston and the Mets, 4 1/2 games out.

Cactus League

Eric Sogard
Meeting their Bay-area rivals at the Giants' Springtime home in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Oakland A's roughed up starter Tim Lincecum for five runs in the opening three innings and proceeded to punish a parade of six San Francisco relievers in a 13-5 romp.

Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Rosales and Eric Sogard each homered, Cespedes touching up Lincecum with his third Spring homer.

Sogard added a pair of singles in three at-bats, driving in two runs and scoring twice against the Giants.

Eyeing the starting shortstop position, Sogard, who played in 68 games for the A's from 2010 through 2012, is batting a remarkable .538 though 20 games. He has 21 hits in 39 at-bats. His homer was his first of the exhibition season, upping his RBI total to six.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Erik Kratz Powers Phillies over Braves; Alcides Escobar Scores 4 as Royals Keep Winning

Players of the Day for Friday, March 22, 2013

Grapefruit League

Kratz, 3-4, HR, 3RBI
Phillies' catcher Erik Kratz isn't exactly a household name, but the Atlanta Braves got to know him a little better on Friday, as the journeyman receiver went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, his second homer of the Spring, three RBI and two runs as the Phillies slipped past the Braves, 7-6.

At 12-13, the Phillies aren't exactly tearing up the Grapefruit League, but Kratz, who's spent a decade in the minor league, is making an impression that could land him the backup job behind starter Carlos Ruiz.

Kratz played in 50 games for the Phillies last season, technically making him a second year major leaguer, but those ten years of minor league play have given him experience at the plate and behind it, handling pitchers of all variety.

Cactus League

Escobar: 2-2, 4R
Kansas City continues to amaze fans in Arizona, leading the Cactus League by 1 1/2 games with a 19-6 record.

On Friday, the Royals did it again, winning their second straight, with a 14-hit attack that resulted in a 13-9 victory over the Angels.

Alcides Escobar, the likely starter at short when the regular season starts, didn't club any homers or drive in any runs, but he did reach base safely four times - two walks and two singles in two official at-bats - steal a base and score four runs.

Escobar, who started playing full time for the Brewers in 2010 and has been a mainstay of the Royals infield the past two seasons, really came into his own in 2012, batting .293 with 177 hits and 35 stolen bases.

Always a slick fielder, Escobar has honed his skills at the plate over the past few years, currently batting .279 in 15 Spring games.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Carlos Corporan Blasts a Pair as Houston Downs Detroit; Leonys Martin Heroic in Texas Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 21, 2013

Grapefruit League

Corporan: 2HR, 3RBI
The Houston Astros displayed a rare show of home run power Thursday, and they did it against one of the game's top hurlers.

At the Tigers' exhibition home in Lakeland, Florida, Houston mashed the Tigers, 7-2, smacking four homers, three of which came against Tiger ace, Justin Verlander.

Matt Dominguez, Brandon Laird and Carlos Corporan connected off of the Detroit starter, who allowed four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings of work. Corporan set off his second bomb of the day in the seventh inning against reliever Al Albequerque.

Corporan added a single to go 3-for-4 with two runs and three ribbies.

The Astros have a gaggle of catchers in camp, but Corporan - who has major league experience, may be the one to snag the starting job. He's batting .370 with his two homer and has seven RBI in 12 games.

Cactus League

Martin, 3-5, 4RBI
After singling twice, Leonys Martin came to the plate with the bases chock full of Ranger teammates in the bottom of the ninth and delivered a double to left field, clearing the bases to produce a 10-9 comeback win for Texas over the LA Angels.

Martin had earlier singled in a run in the second inning, when the Rangers plated six, and singled again in the fifth, his two-bagger giving him four RBI in a 3-for-5 effort and a serious shot at replacing the departed Josh Hamilton in center field. Hamilton, who socked a fourth inning solo homer - could only watch as his potential replacement played hero for his former team.

A Ranger farmhand, Martin played in 32 games for Texas in 2011 and 2012, but only put up a .204 average. Currently, with a full-time major league job in front of him, he's making the most of his playing time, with a .378 average and 11 RBI in 19 games. Martin is 25 and a native of Cuba.

The Rangers, who banged out 17 hits, improved their Spring record to 13-12.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman Lead Atlanta Rout; Ryan Vogelsong, Chris Narveson Each Go Six Scoreless in 0-0 Tie

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Grapefruit League

Wednesday was the first day of Spring, an appropriate time for the Braves to break out the good wood, it appears, as Atlanta trounced the Pirates, 18-9, in exhibition action.

Getting the most out of their at-bats were shortstop and leadoff hitter, Andrelton Simmons, and first baseman Freddie Freeman, both of whom crashed a pair of homers.

Simmons, who barely retained his rookie status by playing in 49 games for the Braves in 2012, went 3-for-4 with the two dingers, a double, three runs and four RBI. Freeman matched his teammate in the runs and RBI categories, but was 4-for-4, also with a double and a single.

For Simmons, the homers were his first two of the Spring, while Freeman has cleared the fences seven times and is batting .373 with 15 RBI.

The Braves improved to 15-11 with the win, tying Detroit for third place, 2 1/2 behind Grapefruit leader, Baltimore. Tampa Bay is in second place, two games out.

Cactus League

Only during Spring training can there be tie games, and that's what happened when the Brewers traveled to Scottsdale Stadium to take on the Giants.

The two teams combined for ten hits over ten innings, 10 pitchers combining to produce parallel shutouts in the resultant 0-0 tie.

Ryan Vogelsong had his best outing thus far, hurling six scoreless on three hits, walking one and fanning seven.

His effort was dutifully matched by Milwaukee's Chris Narveson, also going six scoreless, but allowing just one hit without issuing a walk. Naveson struck out four Giants' would-be hitters.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Yasiel Puig Turns Heads as Dodgers Top A's; Luke Scott Slams as Rays Rip Tigers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Grapefruit League

Luke Scott
Luke Scott whacked a grand slam off Detroit starter, Doug Fister, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to an 11-4 victory over the Tigers.

Scott, who also had a double and scored in his only other official at-bat, raised his batting average to .375 in nine exhibition games. Scott's slam was his third homer of the exhibition season, four more of his nine hits have been doubles and he's driving in runs, with eight RBI.

After joining the Rays as a free agent from Baltimore in 2012, Scott produced a disappointing season with a .229 batting average, 14 homers and 55 RBI. He will likely fill the DH slot for the Rays should he continue his progress this Spring.

The Rays improved to 14-9 with the win and trail the Orioles by 1 1/2 games in Grapefruit League standings.

Cactus League

Yasiel Puig
There probably isn't room in the Dodger outfield (Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier) for newcomer Yasiel Puig, but the Cuban right fielder is certainly making his case.

Puig led the Dodgers to a 7-1 win over the Oakland A's Tuesday, as LA banged out 13 hits against four A's hurlers. Puig had four of them in four at-bats, and came up a double shy of hitting for the cycle.

Puig smashed his third exhibition homer, singled twice and tripled, making up for his lack of a double by stealing a base, his fourth swipe of the Spring. He drove in two and scored twice.

With three homers and 10 RBI, Puig has made an impression on LA coaches, going 23-for-46 for a stunning .500 batting average.

Whether he makes the roster or not, Puig is a player to watch as he develops. His only US baseball experience prior to this Spring is 23 minor league games.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rangers Stop Royals as Ian Kinsler Goes 3-for-3; Justin Upton Socks a Pair, Drives in Six in Atlanta Rout

Players of the Day for Monday, March 18, 2013

Grapefruit League

When the Phillies and Braves have gotten together for a ball game n recent years, the usual expectation is of a pitcher's duel of some kind. Playing an exhibition game at the Braves' Springtime home at Champion Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida, was a little bit different.

Upton: 2HR, 6RBI
The Braves pounded Philly pitching for 19 hits - four of them home runs - in a 17-10 romp in which the Braves scored in every inning except the sixth.

Justin Upton led the assault with a pair of homers. He socked a two-run, first inning blast off starter Rodrigo Lopez, and later pounded a three-run shot in the third off reliever Colton Murray. Upton was not done, however, connecting for an RBI single in the fifth off Antonio Bastardo to give him six RBI on the day. He also walked and scored in the second.

Upton was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Braves during the off-season and brings a lively bat to the Atlanta lineup. He batted .280 in 2012 with 17 homers and 67 RBI. He is expected to patrol left field alongside his brother, B.J., who was acquired via free agency by the Braves after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.

With rising star, Jason Heyward, in right field, the 2013 Braves will field one of the fleetest and productive outfields in the major leagues.

Cactus League
Kinsler: 3-3, HR

With the Kansas City Royals running away with the Cactus League, the Rangers took a step Monday at putting their reign to an end, topping the Royals, 8-2, with their second straight win, improving to 12-10 in exhibition play.

At the top of the order, where he's been a mainstay for nearly a decade, Ian Kinsler went 3-for-3, with a home run and two RBI. Kinsler also scored twice and stole his second base of the Spring. He's expected to start the 2013 season at second base for the Rangers.

Derek Lowe worked three innings of scoreless ball, getting the win, his first of the exhibition season. The Royals were held scoreless until the ninth, when they plated their only runs of the game.

The loss reduced KC's lead in the Cactus to just 1 1/2 games over Seattle, winners of five straight.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Luiz Mendoza, Royals Blank White Sox; Chris Carter Socks a Pair for Houston

Players of the Day for Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grapefruit League

Carter: 2 HR, 5 RBI
Chris Carter has been working his way through the minors to the major leagues since 2006, and finally appears ready to make the roster of a parent team.

After playing 83 games with Oakland last season, posting a .239 average with 16 homers and 39 RBI, Carter may end up the starting first baseman for Houston, which acquired his rights during the off-season.

In Sunday's 11-2 mashing of Toronto, Carter showed off some of his impressive power, belting a pair of two-run homers, scoring three times while getting five RBI in a 2-for-3 performance at the plate. Carter will have to work on compacting his big swing, as he's already struck out 14 times in 42 at-bats this Spring, but he's socked four homers and has 11 RBI for a team that is in desperate need of a run-producer.

Cactus League

Luis Mendoza
Kansas City continued its assault on the Cactus League, winning for the 17th time against just four losses as they pounded out 18 hits in a 10-0 blanking of the Chicago White Sox.

While the KC regulars were batting balls around Arizona's Surprise Stadium, Luis Mendoza and four relievers were limiting the Chicagoans to five hits and no runs.

Mendoza, who started 30 games last season for the Royals and finished with a respectable 8-10 mark, worked five full innings against the Sox, giving up four hits and a walk, while punching out four on strikes. He's 2-0 for the Royals with an 0.82 ERA in two exhibition starts this Spring.

Thw win gave the Royals a 2 1/2 game lead over Seattle.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Matt Harrison Shuts Down Dodgers in Texas Win; Shawn Hill Looks Solid for Tigers

Players of the Day for Saturday, March 16, 2013

Grapefruit League
Shawn Hill

Detroit moved into a tie for second place with Tampa Bay in the Grapefruit League with a 3-0 win over St. Louis, the shutout the work of Shawn Hill and three relievers, who combined to hold the Cardinals to just four hits.

Hill (shown here in a Toronto cap), acquired by Detroit from Toronto following the 2012 campaign, hurled four innings of scoreless ball, allowing just one hit and one walk while fanning three.

A ten-year veteran, Hill hasn't made a major league start since 2010 with the Blue Jays, but is hoping to fill out an already-solid Detroit staff. After being bombed for 10 hits and five earned runs in his first outing this Spring, Saturday's effort was a huge step toward that end.

Cactus League

Matt Harrison
The Texas Rangers have developed some promising starters over the past few seasons, but none is more impressive than Matt Harrison, who tossed five innings of one-hit ball in Texas' 4-0 win over the 7-11 Dodgers.

Harrison didn't walk a batter and struck out three, dueling with Dodger ace, Clayton Kershaw, who threw six innings of shutout ball. Neither starter received a decision, as the Tigers didn't score until the seventh inning, when they plated all of their runs.

Harrison started 32 games for the Rangers in 2012, going 18-11 with a 3.32 ERA.

Texas evened its exhibition record at 10-10.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adam Wainwright Goes Six in Cardinal Win; Jordan Danks, Dayan Viciedo Power 15-3 White Sox Victory

Players of the Day for Friday, March 15, 2013

Grapefruit League

Adam Wainwright
While it appears that the Cardinals won't have Chris Carpenter for the 2013 season, they can pin their pitching hopes on veteran hurler Adam Wainwright, who improved to 3-1 with his longest outing of the Spring in a 5-1 win over the Nationals.

Wainwright got the win by going six solid innings, giving up three hits and a walk while fanning two, not giving up the nationals' only run of the game until his final inning of work, by which time the Cards had established a comfortable lead.

In 2009, Wainwright led the league in starts (34), innings (233) and wins (19), and is expected to give the Cardinals plenty of innings this season.

10-8 St. Louis moved into a tie for fourth with Boston in the Grapefruit standings while the Nats dropped to 9-9.

National League
Viciedo: GS, 6 RBI

Judging by the 15-3 beatdown it would appear that the White Sox are the team to beat in Chicago this year, as they topped the crosstown rival Cubs for the second time in exhibition play.

Danks: 3-4, 5 RBI
The Sox hammered out 15 hits - eight of them for extra bases. Left fielder, Dayan Viciedo, nicknamed "the Tank," socked an opposite field grand slam in the fourth inning and drove in two more with a double to give him a game-high six RBI.

Fellow outfielder Jordan Danks also doubled and homered, and added a single in four at-bats, driving in five runs in the rout. Danks has spent the majority of the past three years with Charlotte in the International Leauge (AAA), while Viciedo - also a product of the White Sox farm system - smashed 25 homers and drove in 83 runs for Chicago in 147 games last season.

The 9-7 White Sox have outscored opponents by 26 runs this Spring and are looking to challenge the Tigers in the AL Central throughout the regular season.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Maicer Iztuis, Melky Cabrera Lead Toronto's Rout of Yankees; Mike Trout Tuning Up for Angels

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grapefruit League
Melky Cabrera

Despite their 8-10 exhibition record, the Toronto Blue Jays are looking like the class of the AL East, especially after bashing the Yankees, 17-5, at their Spring home in Dunedin, Florida.

Maicer Izturis
Leadoff batter, Maicer Izturis was 2-for-3 with three runs and five RBI to pace the Jays. Further down the order, Melky Cabrera singled and doubled twice in three at-bats, driving in four runs and scoring twice.

Izturis was acquired from the LA Angels in the off-season. Cabrera came to the Jays via Oakland.

The Blue Jays totaled 13 hits in the rout, but were helped by nine walks by Yankee pitchers and three errors by New York infielders.

Cactus League

Mike Trout
LA's Mike Trout was the talk of the baseball universe last season, taking home rookie of the year and silver slugger honors after posting incredible numbers (.326, 30 HR, 83 RBI) in his inaugural season as a major leaguer.

Trout is tuning up for another season atop the Angels' lineup, already boasting a .407 average, despite LA's struggling 4-11 start.

In Thursday's 12-5 clobbering of the White Sox, Trout had one of his better days at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a homer (his first) a double, a stolen base, two RBI and three runs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Prospects Anthony Rendon, Johnny Monell Star for Nationals, Giants

Players of the Day for Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Grapefruit League

Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rendon, a prospect who's never played a major league game, is making a splash in Washington's Spring camp, crashing his fourth home run of the exhibition season and going 4-for-5 with three RBI in the Nationals' 9-7 win over the Astros.

Rendon, a third baseman, is getting a good look by the Nats, though he'll likely need more seasoning before attaching to the big club. His only AA experience was 21 games in the Eastern League in 2012.

Washington improved to 8-8 with the win, while Houston dropped to 7-9.

Cactus League

San Francisco improved to 7-8 with a 9-5 road win over Cincinnati, getting a 3-for-4 effort from catching prospect Johnny Monell.

Monell delivered a pair of doubles and a single, driving in three runs and scoring three times in four at-bats for the Giants, boosting his average to a stratospheric .600 (9-for-15).

After playing a full season of AA ball with Richmond in the Eastern League, Monell is being scrutinized by San Francisco coaches this Spring but has not made the official roster.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ramon Santiago Slams, Tigers Rough Up Halladay; Mark Teahen Leads Arizona over Seattle

Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grapefruit League

Santiago: Slammer
Ramon Santiago socked a rare grand slam off Philly starter Roy Halladay - who also surrendered a homer to Don Kelly - as the Detroit Tigers routed the Phillies, 10-6.

Halladay, who surrendered seven runs on six hits and four walks, lasted only 2 2/3 innings, taking his first pre-season loss against two winning outings.

Known more for his defensive skills at second base than his hitting prowess, Santiago has played part-time in the Detroit infield for the past six seasons, batting just .206 last year. He has 27 homers lifetime, but victimized Halladay on Tuesday, also collecting a single later in the game. Catcher Alex Avila had two doubles and a single in four at-bats and drove in a run for the 10-8 Tigers.

Cactus League

Mark Teahen
Mark Teahen had just one at-bat, but made it worthwhile, sending a pitch from Seattle's Hector Noesi out of Peoria Sports Complex for a three-run homer, helping Arizona to a 5-4 win over the Mariners.

Teahen's shot came in the fourth inning and put the Diamondbacks up, 4-0. Arizona added another run n the fifth, and their bullpen barely held on for the win, the seventh for Arizona against nine exhibition losses.

The well-traveled Teahen has played with Kansas City, the White Sox and Toronto, but spent last season in AAA with Syracuse of the International League. The Diamondbacks are giving him a go at third base, where he's batting .318 with seven RBI. The homer was his first of the Spring.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hiroki Kuroda Hurls Four Scoreless as Yankees Top Cardinals; Giants Previal, 2-1, over Rangers, Madison Bumgarner Earns Win

Players of the Day for Monday, March 11, 2013

Grapefruit League

Hiroki Kuroda
Some much needed good news for Yankee fans came in the form of four solid innings from the mound by Hiroki Kuroda (1-1), who will likely fall into the role of #2 starter behind C.C. Sabathia once the regular season gets underway.

With sluggers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez nursing injuries, the Yanks will need good starting pitching and Kuroda delivered on Monday, blanking the Cardinals for four innings on three hits, fanning six without allowing a walk. New York went onto the 4-0 victory, a string of four relievers finishing what Kuroda started.

After four years with the Dodgers, Kuroda spent 2012 with the Yankees, posting a record of 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA.

Even with the win, the Yankees remain at the bottom of the Grapefruit League standings with a troublesome 5-11 record.

Madison Bumgarner
Cactus League

10,025 fans set out to Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona but had a surprise of a different kind as Madison Bumgarner and four relievers shut down the Rangers on six hits in a 2-1 victory for the Giants, their sixth win against seven losses.

Texas fell to 7-8 as Bumgarner delivered four strong innings, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out four.

Notching his first win of the Spring without a loss, Bumgarner is looking to fill his role on one of baseball's best starting staffs. Last season, he went 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA for the world champion Giants, but was 1-2 in the post-season.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Billy Butler Leads KC Slug-fest over Angels; Chone Figgins 4-for-4 in Marlins' Victory

Players of the Day for Sunday, March 10, 2013

Grapefruit League

Chone Figgins
Breaking out the good wood with 15 hits, the Miami Marlins improved to 6-7 in Grapefruit League play with a 10-2 victory over NL East rival, Atlanta.

Leading the Marlins charge was transplanted infielder, Chone Figgins, a long-time fixture in the AL West, first with the Angels and most recently (2010-2012) with the Mariners, with a 4-for-4 effort - all singles - a pair of runs and two RBI.

Figgins, traded to the Marlins in the off-season, appears to be a solid candidate for the starting spot at second base, though he's also played third in the past. The hot corner will likely fall to either Kevin Kouzmanoff or Placido Polanco, players with a bit more pop than the singles-hitting Figgins.

Figgins is batting .333 thus far in the exhibition season.

Cactus League

Billy Butler
Like a 70s radio show, the hits just keep on coming for the amazing Kansas City Royals, this time belting out 18 hits in a 17-11 win over the power-packed Angels, who socked four homers but committed six errors - three by catcher Hank Conger - in defeat.

Billy Butler, the regular DH for the Royals, rapped out a pair of singles and a double in four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in four runs.

The 7,417 fans in attendance were treated to an offensive fireworks show which included a combined 33 hits and at least one run scored in each inning, though the Royals had theirs in bunches, scoring five in the fourth and piling on seven in the sixth.

Butler is batting .387 with 11 RBI. The Royals have lost just once in 14 games and have a three-game lead over 11-5 Seattle in the Cactus league standings.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adam Wainwright Goes 4 2/3 Scoreless for Cardinals; KC Wins Again, Johnny Giavotella goes 3-for-4

Players of the Day for Saturday, March 9, 2013

Grapefruit League

Adam Wainwright
If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to contend in the NL Central this season, they'll need their full complement of starting pitchers and that includes one Adam Wainwright, the 2010 All-Star who missed all of 2011 due to injury and surgery and came back in 2012 healed, but not as overpowering, posting a 14-13 mark with a 3.94 ERA.

In a positive sign for the lanky right=hander, Wainwright tossed 4 2/3 shutout innings in his longest outing of the exhibition season thus far, allowing three hits while fanning six as the Cardinals topped the Marlins, 2-0.

Wainwright was sharp, walking just one to run his record to 2-1, getting help from Pete Kozma, who drove in both St. Louis runs with a fourth-inning double.

The Cardinals improved to 8-5, good for third place in Grapefruit standings, while the Marlins fell to 5-7.

Cactus League

Johnny Giavotella
After suffering their first loss of the Spring on Thursday (a 12-2 loss to Seattle) and having a pair of split-squad games rained out on Thursday, the Kansas City Royals got back to their winning ways with a 13-2 smashing of the world champion San Francisco Giants.

The Royals padded their stats with 20 hits off seven San francisco hurlers, seven players had multiple-hit outings. One of those was backup second baseman Johnny Giavotella, who cracked three singles in four at-bats, scored once and drove in four runs.

Johnny G. played 53 games for the Royals in 2012, but hit just .238. He's battling with Chris Getz for the starting spot at second, and is batting .318 thus far with seven hits and seven RBI.

Kansas City continues to lead the Cactus League standings with a 12-1 record. The Giants are just 4-7.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Evan Gattis Leads Braves Past Astros; Cactus League Games Postponed

Players of the Day for Friday, March 8, 2013

Grapefruit League

Evan Gattis
Atlanta's Evan Gattis singled, doubled and socked a three-run homer in four at-bats as the Braves downed the Houston Astros, 14-9, in exhibition action.

The Braves banged out 17 hits, decimating Houston's string of eight pitchers used in the game. Gattis scored three times and finished with four RBI.

Gattis, a 6'4" prospect who advanced last season to the AA Southern League, is looking for a backup spot to regular catcher, Brian McCann, and is having a solid Spring, batting .440 with a pair of homers and seven RBI.

Cactus League

All Cactus League games were postponed on Friday due to adverse weather conditions.