Friday, February 24th, 2017
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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Friday, February 24th, 2017

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Michael Conforto homers in Mets' win 02-24-2017
Michael Conforto LF NYM
Michael Conforto went 2-for-3 with a homer Friday in helping to lead the Mets past the Red Sox 3-2. It's unclear if Conforto can do anything to change the Mets' minds about playing Jay Bruce over him this spring. Realistically, his chances hinge on someone stepping up and making a trade offer for Bruce. Conforto could always disappoint again, but he projects as the superior player of the two.
Seth Lugo goes two hitless for Mets 02-24-2017
Seth Lugo P NYM
Seth Lugo threw a pair of hitless innings and struck out three against the Red Sox on Friday. Lugo went 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in his eight starts for the Mets last season, but he seems to be behind Robert Gsellman in the pecking order for a rotation spot should Zack Wheeler open the season in the bullpen or on the DL. He's interesting in NL-only leagues anyway.
Henry Owens gives up two runs to Mets 02-24-2017
Henry Owens P BOS
Henry Owens gave up two runs in two innings Friday in his start against the Mets. Owens isn't part of the Red Sox's rotation competition, so all he can really do this spring is hope to separate himself from Roenis Elias, Brian Johnson and Kyle Kendrick as the team's fallback options. He did have four strikeouts today, so it wasn't all bad.
Brian Bogusevic hits two-run homer 02-24-2017
Brian Bogusevic RF PHI
Brian Bogusevic hit a two-run homer off Mets reliever Josh Edgin on Friday. Giving up a homer to a left-handed hitter certainly wasn't the way Edgin wanted to open his spring. Bogusevic, a career .238/.311/.373 hitters in 748 major league at-bats, signed with the Red Sox last month after a rough year in Japan. The Red Sox won't be carrying a pure fifth outfielder, so Bogusevic's only chance of making the team will be if someone ahead of him gets hurt.
Bryan Mitchell goes two scoreless in win 02-24-2017
Bryan Mitchell P NYY
Bryan Mitchell was perfect for two innings Friday in the Yankees' 9-4 victory over the Phillies. Mitchell, who is working on a splitter this spring, is a leading candidate to claim one of the two vacancies in the Yankees' rotation. We don't find him very interesting for fantasy purposes, but if the splitter comes along and gets him more strikeouts, perhaps he could surprise.
Aaron Judge homers against Phillies 02-24-2017
Aaron Judge RF NYY
Aaron Judge hit a long homer and struck out Friday against the Phillies. Judge's at-bats do tend to end with one of those two outcomes. The question is whether he'll do the former frequently enough to make up for all of the latter. He's battling Aaron Hicks to serve as the Yankees' starting right fielder.
Miguel Andujar triples, doubles 02-24-2017
Miguel Andujar 3B NYY
Miguel Andujar tripled and doubled in his two at-bats Friday against the Yankees. Andujar was added to the Yankees' 40-man roster in November after hitting .273/.332/.410 between high-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton last season. He has considerable offensive upside, but it's unlikely that he'll be ready to challenge Chase Headley at any point of this season.
Josh Donaldson (calf) throws, hits in cage 02-24-2017
Josh Donaldson 3B TOR
Josh Donaldson (calf) played long-toss and hit in a batting cage Friday.

John Lott on Twitter
Donaldson still has a little hitch in his giddy-up, but his right calf strain is coming along slowly but surely. The Blue Jays anticipate their star third baseman being be back to normal in a couple weeks.
Brandon Drury lost weight, looks more agile 02-24-2017
Brandon Drury LF ARZ
Brandon Drury lost more than 10 pounds while also adding muscle over the offseason as he looked to become more agile.

Diamondbacks.mlb.com
The D'Backs asked Drury to improve his agility and lateral movements during the offseason as they looked to see whether he could be their regular at second base after shifting all over the field in 2016. The club has been impressed with how he's looked thus far. "We've simplified it for him," manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's not bouncing all over the place. We told him that [second base] is where he needs to focus. I think it's helped him this offseason prepare for this moment. He's looked very good. He's very agile, good angles to the ball, playing through the ball, all the common phrases that you like to hear from an infield standpoint. I've been very impressed with his quickness in turning two. I see a guy that's really agile right now." Drury slugged 16 homers in 499 plate appearances last season and carries intrigue in fantasy leagues as a potential regular in 2017.
Logan Ondrusek (ankle) nears mound work 02-24-2017
Logan Ondrusek P BAL
Logan Ondrusek (ankle) is expected to resume throwing off a mound soon.

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
Ondrusek just said a day ago that he wasn't sure when he'd resume throwing, so he must have experienced a lot of improvement over the last 24 hours. The reliever rolled his ankle nearly a week ago, but he'll be fine.
Joe Blanton won't take less than $4 million 02-24-2017
Joe Blanton P LAD
Club executives have told ESPN's Buster Olney that they don't believe Joe Blanton will sign for anything less than the $4 million he made last season.

Buster Olney on Twitter
It's certainly a reasonable ask, as Blanton has put up a 2.65 ERA and 159/42 K/BB ratio across 156 innings over the last two seasons while working almost exclusively as a reliever. He did turn 36 over the winter, but the right-hander would seem like a wise investment on a modest, one-year contract.
Cubs give RP Pedro Strop contract extenstion 02-24-2017
Pedro Strop P CHC
Cubs signed RHP Pedro Strop to a one-year, $5.85 million contract extension with a $6.25 million club option for 2019.

ESPN.com
The two sides avoided arbitration earlier this month with a one-year, $5.5 million contract, and they've now tacked on one and potentially two more years. Strop had been slated to hit free agency next winter. The 31-year-old has been excellent since arriving in Chicago at the 2013 trade deadline, posting a 2.68 ERA with 254 strikeouts across 211 1/3 relief innings. He'll again be a setup man for the Cubs in 2017.
Trayce Thompson (back) to play in sim games 02-24-2017
Trayce Thompson CF LAD
Trayce Thompson (back) will play in simulated games this spring before being cleared for Cactus League action.

Ken Gurnick on Twitter
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday that Thompson is "on track" in his recovery from a pair of stress fractures in his back, but that doesn't mean he's on the same schedule as his teammates. The outfielder had expressed previously that he wanted to get into game action by March 1, but it's unclear whether that will happen.
Brantley (shoulder) hits normal BP indoors 02-24-2017
Michael Brantley LF CLE
Michael Brantley (shoulder) took normal batting practice indoors on Friday.

Jordan Bastian on Twitter
It's the next step in Brantley's hitting progression this spring. Coming off a season wrecked by shoulder issues, Brantley will continue to be brought along slowly and it's unclear when he'll be ready to play in Cactus League games.
Mitch Haniger thinks he can steal 20 bases 02-24-2017
Mitch Haniger RF SEA
Mitch Haniger said Friday that he believes he's capable of stealing 20 bases this season.

Ryan Divish on Twitter
Mariners manager Scott Servais added that he's given the outfielder the green light on the basepaths. Haniger has stolen double-digit bases a few times in the minors but hasn't come close to 20, so it would be a nice surprise if he's able to get to that number. The 26-year-old is a former compensation round draft pick but bloomed late as a prospect following a swing change. He has the potential to be an interesting power/speed flier late in your fantasy draft.
Jairo Diaz (elbow) to throw bullpen session 02-24-2017
Jairo Diaz P COL
Jairo Diaz (elbow) will throw a live bullpen session on Friday.

Nick Groke on Twitter
It will be his first since he had Tommy John surgery last March. Diaz has a big arm and could eventually be a key piece in the Rockies' bullpen, but that probably wouldn't happen until well into the season.
Adrian Beltre (calf) to begin jogging Friday 02-24-2017
Adrian Beltre 3B TEX
Adrian Beltre (calf) will do some jogging on Friday.

T.R. Sullivan on Twitter
It's the first time he's really tested out his left calf since he strained it last week. Beltre's injury could keep him from playing for his native Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but he should be fine come Opening Day as long as he doesn't have a setback. He's averaged 152 games played over the last five seasons, which is quite a feat especially since he'll turn 38 in April.
Elvis Andrus (hernia) won't play Saturday 02-24-2017
Elvis Andrus SS TEX
Elvis Andrus (hernia) won't play in the Rangers' Cactus League opener on Saturday.

T.R. Sullivan on Twitter
Andrus underwent hernia surgery in November and is being eased along in camp. He obviously has plenty of time and there's no reason to believe he won't be ready to roll by the time Opening day comes around.
Beat writer picks Glover to eventually close 02-24-2017
Koda Glover P WAS
Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post predicted in an interview on Fantasy Sports Radio Friday that Koda Glover will be the Nationals' closer by midseason.

Fantasy Sports Radio on Twitter
General manager Mike Rizzo said earlier this week that it will be Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Glover competing this spring to be the team's closer. Kelley is the obvious favorite of the three, but Glover has electric stuff and could be the Nats' closer of the future. The 23-year-old is a good target in NL-only formats.
Dilson Herrera nursing shoulder inflammation 02-24-2017
Dilson Herrera 2B CIN
Dilson Herrera is dealing with some inflammation in his right shoulder.

Mark Sheldon on Twitter
It's keeping him from throwing, but he can still hit and will serve as the Reds' designated hitter on Saturday. Still, it's not a great situation for Herrera as he attempts to make the Opening Day roster. How long it might be before he's able to return to full-time duty isn't known at this point.
Jeff Locke (biceps) undergoes MRI 02-24-2017
Jeff Locke P MIA
Jeff Locke (biceps) underwent an MRI on Thursday.

Clark Spencer on Twitter
Locke first developed biceps tendinitis last weekend and was apparently still in some discomfort when he played catch on Thursday. The Marlins are optimistic that the left-hander isn't dealing with anything serious, but we'll have to see what the exam says. Locke is shut down for now.
Marcell Ozuna nursing some shoulder tightness 02-24-2017
Marcell Ozuna LF MIA
Marcell Ozuna is nursing some tightness in his shoulder.

Tim Healey on Twitter
Ozuna was already dealing with the tightness when he reported to camp, but the Marlins are saying that it's mild. Still, he'll be eased into game action, as the club is certainly in no rush to push him at this point. Ozuna batted .266/.321/.452 with 23 homers for the Marlins last season.
George Springer won't force things on bases 02-24-2017
George Springer CF HOU
George Springer said in an interview on Fantasy Sports Radio that he'll try to steal bases this season only "when the situation says I'm supposed to."

Fantasy Sports Radio on Twitter
Springer disappointed in the stolen base department in 2016, stealing just nine bags while being caught 10 times. Based on how he sounded in the interview, it doesn't appear that he'll be too aggressive on the basepaths in 2017, as he's cognizant of that fact that he shouldn't risk running into outs with the accomplished hitters he'll have batting behind him. Springer will still probably bounce back a tad with his steals this season, but those hoping for him to start running wild like he did in the minors will likely be disappointed.
Nick Castellanos could hit second for Tigers 02-24-2017
Nick Castellanos 3B DET
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday that Nick Castellanos is a possibility to bat second this season.

Detroit Free Press
"I've talked to Nick, and Nick is a possibility and, quite frankly, Nick wants to hit second," Ausmus said. Castellanos will probably bat seventh if he doesn't hit second ahead of Miguel Cabrera, so it's a potentially big swing in his projected fantasy value. Other candidates for the No. 2 spot include Jose Iglesias and likely center field platoon mates Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook.
Nationals announce signing of Matt Wieters 02-24-2017
Matt Wieters C WAS
Nationals signed C Matt Wieters to a two-year, $21 million contract. The deal was first reported on Tuesday and has now become official. Wieters' contract includes an opt-out after the first year, and $5 million of the salary is deferred. He'll assume everyday catching duties for the Nationals, which will put Derek Norris on the trade market.
Scherzer (finger) can't throw fastballs yet 02-24-2017
Max Scherzer P WAS
Max Scherzer (finger) will throw only his secondary stuff in a bullpen session Saturday.

Chelsea Janes on Twitter
Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger, which is still recovering from a stress fracture that he suffered last August. The right-hander hasn't committed to being ready for Opening Day, so this is a situation that obviously should be watched closely over the next month.
Nick Castellanos sent home due to illness 02-24-2017
Nick Castellanos 3B DET
Nick Castellanos was scratched from Friday's Grapefruit League lineup due to illness.

Jason Beck on Twitter
Castellanos was sent home to recover. He should be fine in a day or two.
Carlos Villanueva signs with Korean team 02-24-2017
Carlos Villanueva P SD
Carlos Villanueva has signed a $1.5 million contract with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization.

Dan Kurtz on Twitter
Villanueva was unable to net a contract that he liked with a major league club after posting a 5.96 ERA for the Padres last season. The 33-year-old will be teammates with Alexi Ogando and Wilin Rosario with Hanwha.
Jake Barrett lost 30 pounds over offseason 02-24-2017
Jake Barrett P ARZ
Jake Barrett lost 30 pounds over the offseason.

Arizona Republic
"I was at my all-time high at the end of the season, about 265 (pounds)," Barrett said. "And I talked to our strength coach and he said he wanted me down to 235-ish. I was able to get down all the way to there. It was a lot of working out, a lot of running, a healthy diet." Barrett is coming off a nice rookie season that saw him post a 3.49 ERA and 56/28 K/BB ratio over 59 1/3 innings. He also saved games and is probably the favorite for the closer job if Fernando Rodney fails, which is certainly a possibility.
Tyler Collins suffers strained lat muscle 02-24-2017
Tyler Collins LF DET
Tyler Collins won't be able to play the field for a couple weeks after suffering a strained left lat.

Chris McCosky on Twitter
Collins is still able to hit and run, but he can't throw and thus is unable to play defense. It's obviously not ideal as the 26-year-old competes for the Tigers' center field job, although he should still have time to make a nice impression. Collins entered camp as the likely favorite to start in center against right-handers.