Scott Lauber: Inside the Phillies’ plan to improve their infield defense
Some problems are easy to spot. When a bullpen, let’s say, blows 14 saves in 60 games and has a 7.06 ERA, it doesn’t take a two-time World Series-winning general manager to recognize the need for better relief pitchers. Diagnosing poor defense isn’t as simple. The Phillies know they didn’t catch the ball well last season. There were some explanations. Left fielder Andrew McCutchen lost mobility after coming back from knee surgery. Ditto for utilityman Scott Kingery after fighting off COVID-19. Both are expected to be healthier this year. But questions about the overall team defense lingered in...
The Philadelphia Inquirer
After big scare, Padres’ Tommy Pham working toward being what he, team expect
PEORIA, Ariz. — Tommy Pham could have lost his life. He very well might have been relegated to a wheelchair, unable to move his legs for the rest of his days. If he were not so muscular, doctors told him, a stabbing that left a gash several inches long would have penetrated deeper near the base of his spine and would likely have resulted in one of those two outcomes. Pham recalls being rushed to the hospital late on the night of Oct. 11, speaking with Padres General Manager A.J. Preller and head athletic trainer Mark Rogow on the phone and telling them his career was probably over. “I thought ...
The San Diego Union-Tribune
For Yankees, having fans back in stadium like ‘having little butterflies’ and ‘getting back to your first at-bat’
TAMPA — Just after one o’clock, the unfamiliar noise broke out. The usual routine of spring training — the announcing of the players, managers, coaches and staff of a minor-league version of what will happen in a month — was welcomed with an unusually loud and sustained, real live cheer of fans yelling and clapping. The assistant bullpen coach and hitting coaches probably got the biggest cheers of their careers, because not only were the Yankees back at George M. Steinbrenner Field for the first time in 2021, but so too were their fans. “One of my favorite things is just the interactions in be...
New York Daily News
Noah Syndergaard is handling Tommy John surgery rehab like ‘a total pro’ and hitting all the milestones
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Noah Syndergaard is still at least three months away from potentially joining the Mets rotation, but the constant flattery for his Tommy John rehab continues to be a positive sign for the flamethrower’s return. “The work ethic is never in question with Noah,” Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said on Sunday. “He’s one of the strongest guys in camp. It’s going very, very well. He’s progressing as he should and right on that timeline to get back to help us at some point this year.” Syndergaard, 28, hit somewhat of a milestone on Saturday when he threw three sliders, accord...
New York Daily News
Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals close in on four-year contract extension: reports
The Kansas City Royals are reportedly close to locking up third baseman Hunter Dozier to a multi-year contract extension that will buy out his remaining salary-arbitration eligible seasons as well as his first few potential years of free agency. FanSided national baseball insider Robert Murray reported the sides were closing in on a four-year contract extension with a club option for a fifth year. This winter marked the first arbitration-eligible offseason for the former first-round draft pick. Dozier, 29, and the Royals agreed to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed $2.72 million for 2021. ESPN...
The Kansas City Star
It’s Cubs outfielder Joc Pederson’s time to seize his opportunity: ‘I don’t think I am respected as an everyday player’
Joc Pederson is betting on himself. The new Chicago Cubs outfielder turned down multiyear offers elsewhere for a one-year deal in Chicago because the organization offered the main thing he coveted. Pederson wanted an opportunity to play every day, and he will get a chance to show he’s more than a platoon option as the Cubs’ starting left fielder. Pederson, entering his eighth big league season, knows it is on him to deliver. Manager David Ross isn’t going to keep running him out there if Pederson doesn’t come through against left-handers. Ross brought that up during a phone conversation with P...
Mets’ Pete Alonso wants ‘Friday Night Blackouts’ at Citi Field
Pete Alonso’s desire to bring back the iconic Mets’ black jerseys goes deeper than just a fashion statement. “I really do hope that we get them, because I think that it’d be exciting not just to have a different jersey, but we gotta make it a thing: Friday Night Blackouts,” Alonso said. “I’m just picturing in my mind everybody in the stadium with a blacked-out jersey. I think it’d be so intimidating, a sea of black shirts out there in the outfield, with music banging out of the speakers, lights going.” If Alonso’s vision for Friday nights in Flushing fails to convince even the strongest black-...
New York Daily News
Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in spring training: 'I feel like I did back in 2014'
LAKELAND, Fla. — Former two-time American League MVP Miguel Cabrera, the elder statesman of the Detroit Tigers, took batting practice Friday, surrounded by up-and-coming prospects, at Joker Marchant Stadium. And then the soon-to-be 38-year-old explained why his body feels like it did in 2014, just two years after he sat on baseball's throne as the Triple Crown winner. That year, at age 31, he played 159 games — more than in any season since. "Right now, I feel like I did back when I was in 2014," Cabrera said Friday. "I feel more like when I was healthy, with my legs, my hips. I can move my bo...
Detroit Free Press
Yankees' Gary Sanchez gets early shot to catch ace Gerrit Cole
TAMPA, Fla. — Gary Sanchez and Gerrit Cole are going to get right back at trying to get on the same page this spring. After having to turn to backup catcher Kyle Higashioka to catch the Yankees ace last year, Aaron Boone plans to have Sanchez catch Cole in his first spring outing. Cole is expected to start on Monday when the Yankees host the Tigers. Sanchez is coming off a disaster of a year defensively and offensively. Not only did he lose the job of catching Cole, he was benched in September and had just eight at-bats in seven Yankees playoff games. Sanchez spent the winter working on his de...
New York Daily News