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Taylor Rogers has a 2.00 ERA this spring (2 ER in 9 IP) and appears to be a lock to win a spot in the Minnesota bullpen, Patrick Reusee of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.


Rogers will be the top lefty specialist in the bullpen. His rookie season featured a decent 3.96 ERA, but an impressive 9.4 K/9 and a 51.4 percent groundball rate. He was even better against left-handed batters with a .547 opponents' OPS. If he can improve against right-handed batters, he could become a top setup man.

Phil Hughes gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits and two home runs over two innings in Wednesday's loss to Houston.


Hughes struggled at the start of spring training but was coming off a good outing before this clunker. His spring ERA rose to 6.75. However, his numbers may not be that important since he's a veteran with a set spot in the rotation as the No. 2 or No. 3 starter. It's more important that Hughes is healthy at this point in the spring after an injury-plagued 2016 season. Hughes is returning from season-ending surgery in July to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome where part of his rib was removed to relieve nerve pressure on his shoulder.

Chris Heston gave up six earned runs on seven hits and one walk over 2.1 innings in Tuesday's 8-5 Cactus League loss to the A's.


Heston surrendered five doubles among his seven hits and came unraveled in the third, when the A's touched him up for six runs overall. The right-hander is expected to start the season at Triple-A Tacoma and figures to be a prime candidate for a call-up at some point in the regular season when the Mariners are down a man in their rotation.

Jharel Cotton (2-0) gave up five earned runs on five hits and five walks over 3.2 innings in Tuesday's 8-5 Cactus League victory over the Mariners. He struck out two.


Despite being credited with the win, Cotton was nowhere close to having his best stuff, and his win was largely the product of the A's offense staking him to a 6-0 lead after three innings. The A's projected No. 4 starter when the staff is at full health, Cotton began unraveling in the fourth inning when he issued three of his five walks. He fired 79 pitches overall and despite the struggles, came out of the game knowing exactly what the source of his problems was. "The command wasn't there as much," Cotton said. "There's some stuff I've got to work on in my sides and get back after it next time. I was just rushing a bit, but I think I should be fine. I know my stuff is there, I just need to prepare myself better and throw it over the plate."

Tim Beckham is set to open the season as the starting shortstop in the wake of Matt Duffy's (heel) continued absence, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I think he came in very motivated and has basically taken to an opportunity to make the most of it," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Beck's always been a guy who's been adamant about playing time, and he's earned some playing time, no doubt about it. We're happy for him."


The mercurial utility man has enjoyed an excellent spring, hitting .306 with four doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBI, six walks and eight runs. Beckham has also been making plays in the field and perhaps just as important, has displayed a stellar attitude and work ethic. Both of those traits have been questioned in the past, such as the lackadaisical play Beckham exhibited in late August that earned him a demotion to Triple-A Durham for the balance of the season. Barring any unforeseen personnel moves, the 27-year-old is projected to start the season at shortstop and eventually slide into what should still be a sizable utility role when Duffy returns.

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched 5.2 innings in a game for High-A Salem on the back fields of the Red Sox's training facility in Fort Myers (Fla.) on Wednesday, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports.


Rodriguez tossed 85 pitches (59 for strikes) and struck out eight while walking one. He admitted pitching to minor leaguers is not the same as facing major leaguers, but was pleased to throw all of his pitches. With David Price (elbow) expected to begin the regular season on the disabled list and the uncertainty surrounding Drew Pomeranz (triceps), Rodriguez is certain to start the season in the rotation. Once there, his performance will determine how long he remains there.

Yolmer Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a home run and a triple in Wednesday's game against Oakland.


Sanchez appears destined to be the White Sox's utility infielder as Tyler Saladino has earned the right to replace Brett Lawrie as the team's starting second baseman. He's hitting .289 (13-for-45) with two homers and five RBI.

Miguel Gonzalez allowed four runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out four over 4.1 innings Wednesday against the Athletics, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.


Gonzalez made his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic. The right-hander isn't going to be overpowering hitters so there's a lot of pitch-to-contact in his game. Sometimes that contact is hard and turns into hits. To Gonzalez's credit, he didn't write off the outing as just getting his work in. He admitted to Van Schouwen that he needs to execute pitches.

Matt Andriese struck out six but allowed three earned runs on seven hits over 4.2 innings Wednesday against Triple-A Rochester, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.


The Rays' projected No. 5 starter wasn't exactly at his most impressive considering the lower level of competition but did get his work in. Andriese threw 86 pitches overall, keeping him on schedule with his throwing program. He's been a mixed bag this spring, with his solid 2.84 ERA offset by a .345 BAA and 1.89 WHIP.

Alex Cobb gave up three earned runs on six hits, a walk and a wlid pitch over 5.1 innings in Tuesday's 5-4 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates.


The right-hander improved as the game went on, overcoming the first-inning home run he gave up to John Jaso and the wild pitch that allowed Jose Usuna to score in the fourth. Cobb described himself as starting off "a little timid" and "too mechanical" before settling in. The 29-year-old was able to demonstrate improved command of his fastball and got his typical assortment of groundball outs with his changeup as the game went on. Cobb also worked on his curveball early in counts as he continues to refine his mechanics in anticipation of serving as the team's No. 3 starter.

Matt Garza owns a 6.57 ERA, 2.11 WHIP, and 5:6 K:BB in 12.1 innings over five appearances this spring.


Garza has hardly had a productive spring, but he is due $12.5 million in 2017, so he still has a shot to break camp with a spot in the starting rotation. He is coming off his best outing of the spring, one in which he gave up just one earned run over 3.2 innings, but he did allow the opponent to average over two baserunners per inning for the fourth straight outing.

Jake Buchanan (illness) gave up four runs in two innings of work his last time out, allowing six hits while striking out two batters against the Brewers.


Buchanan is now sporting a 7.56 ERA across 8.1 innings through spring. With the Cubs' offseason bullpen acquisitions, it seems Buchanan will spend the year in Triple-A, although he could see some major league innings if injuries take toll on Chicago's bullpen.

Alex Bregman (B3, Hou)

Alex Bregman will return to training camp after the World Baseball Classic ends and is expected to play in a Grapefruit League game Friday, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.


Bregman has barely played in the WBC and really needs to get some at-bats in game action before the regular season hits. That's why he'll hit the ground running in Houston while Carlos Correa, Nori Aoki and Carlos Beltran will resume spring training Saturday.

Jett Bandy went 1-for-17 over his last six spring games and now owns just a .519 OPS during the exhibition season.


Bandy got off to a good start this spring, but his recent stretch has done quite a bit of damage to his statistics. His slump is not doing him any favors in the competition for playing time behind the plate with the big league club – particularly because it coincides with a hot stretch for fellow backstop Manny Pina – but he is still seemingly the favorite to open the season as the Brewers' top catcher ahead of Pina and Andrew Susac.

Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out three over five innings in Wednesday's game against Minnesota, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports.


Other than a lengthy third inning, Keuchel pitched well during his third Grapefruit League start. Overall, the left-hander was pleased that he was able to escape hitter's counts and induce weak contact in the form of nine groundball outs. All signs point to Keuchel taking the ball Opening Day at home against Seattle on April 3.

Billy Hamilton (O, Cin)

Billy Hamilton hasn't played in a spring training game since Saturday because of a sore Achilles' tendon, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.


The Reds suggested that Hamilton could have played through a regular season game with this malady, but it wasn't worth pushing through a spring training game. He's still expected to play in exhibition games in Las Vegas this weekend.

Corey Knebel has thrown the ball well this spring, posting an 11:1 K:BB over six innings and allowing just two earned runs, and has caught the attention of manager Craig Counsell, who noted Wednesday that Knebel's "innings have been dominant, almost," according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.


Knebel was tentatively on track to open the year as the Brewers' closer early in the offseason, but the team's signing of Neftali Feliz means he will not begin the new campaign in that role. Still, his impressive spring has likely earned him a prominent spot in the pecking order behind Feliz, and he may even slot in as the team's setup man. While Knebel will not be closing games out of the gate, he is likely the next best option for Brewers' saves should Feliz cede the ninth-inning duties for any reason.

Raisel Iglesias (elbow) will begin a throwing program on Sunday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.


Contrary to an earlier update, there is some chance that Iglesias won't be ready for Opening Day. Missing Opening Day or even the first week or two isn't all bad news –after all, it's just a starting line. The concern of course is whether this will affect his performance when he's out on the mound, or whether the risk of recurrence is high.

Yulieski Gurriel (B1, Hou)

Yulieski Gurriel hit a first-inning, three-run homer and later doubled in Wednesday's game against the Twins.


Gurriel has had a quiet camp before flexing his muscle the last two days, going 4-for-6 with two homers, two doubles and four RBI. It's an encouraging sign that he'll be able to handle the transition to a new defensive position without reducing the impact of his bat.

Cody Reed was fantastic Tuesday against the Angels, throwing 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing one hit and two walks, striking out five.


While a number of the Reds' young starters have had good springs, Reed has at least already had a taste of the majors and demonstrated even when other things went poorly that he could miss bats. He could be a good post-hype sleeper.