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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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Carlos Sanchez wants to be called Yolmer 02-16-2017
Yolmer Sanchez 2B CWS
Carlos Sanchez now wants to be known as Yolmer Sanchez.

Chicago Tribune
Yolmer is actually his given first name, so it's an easy switch. "Yes, that's what I want to do - the first Yolmer in baseball," said Sanchez. "Same guy, but different name." Sanchez, 24, is a .224/.261/.330 hitter over 201 major league games and he spent a large chunk of last season at the Triple-A level. He's going to have to impress this spring to win a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Gonzalez not sure about future with Rockies 02-16-2017
Carlos Gonzalez RF COL
Carlos Gonzalez was non-committal Thursday when asked about the possibility of signing an extension with the Rockies.

Denver Post
Gonzalez is entering the final year of his contract with Colorado, and while both sides have expressed interest in a potential extension, he's not providing any indication that an agreement is imminent. "Do you know what's going to happen tomorrow? I don't know," said Gonzalez. "I might sign an extension but I take it day by day now and I'm excited for this journey. It's been the same situation for the past probably four to five years and I think it's just part of my career. It's a part of baseball." CarGo will be 32 in October, so this could be his final opportunity to land a lucrative long-term deal. He might ultimately prefer to test the open market. The Rockies have high hopes for this season, but CarGo could become a trade candidate if no agreement is reached and the team falls out of the race by midseason.
Choo likely to serve as DH this season 02-16-2017
Shin-Soo Choo DH TEX
Shin-Soo Choo appears likely to serve as the Rangers' primary designated hitter this season.
Choo, 34, was limited to just 48 games last season and increased time out of the DH spot could help him stay on the field. He has expressed reluctance to being a full-time DH, but the Rangers plan to use Mike Napoli as their primary first baseman and hold a competition for left field. "I'm not thinking about that situation," said Choo. "We just started Spring Training. We'll figure it out. I've always wanted what the team wants. That's what I play for. Maybe some day [Banister] will talk to me. He hasn't talked to me yet." Jurickson Profar, Ryan Rua, Delino DeShields, Travis Snider, and Jared Hoying are among the candidates for left field duties.
Gallo no longer a candidate for first base 02-16-2017
Joey Gallo 3B TEX
Joey Gallo is no longer a candidate to play first base.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Gallo prepared to play first base during the offseason, but there's not a need there now that Mike Napoli is in the fold. He'll see time between left field and third base in the spring, but starting the season with Triple-A Round Rock appears likely. "There's really no spot for me anymore, so I'm going to have to battle for wherever there is an opening," said Gallo. "I'm not really worried about anything. I'm just going to go out and get my work in and hopefully at some point I'll be able to get some at-bats throughout the season up there." Gallo, 23, appeared in just 17 games in the majors last season and struck out in 19 out of his 30 plate appearances. He'll have to force his way into the conversation on the major league roster.
Sandoval's weight in the 240s 02-16-2017
Pablo Sandoval 3B BOS
Scott Lauber of reports that Pablo Sandoval reported to camp with his weight "in the 240s."

Scott Lauber on Twitter
It was reported back in December that he was below 250 pounds, so not much has changed. Still, he's about 40 pounds below his peak weight from last season. If anything, it shows his dedication about getting his career back on track after shoulder surgery and two disappointing seasons in Boston. Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada were both traded during the offseason, so Sandoval is going to get every chance to win the starting third base job back. He's going to be an important player to track this spring.
O's, Brach discussed last-minute settlement 02-16-2017
Brad Brach P BAL
According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles and Brad Brach discussed a last-minute settlement before going to their arbitration hearing.

Eddie A. Encina on Twitter
Brach filed for $3.05 million and was offered $2.525 million by the Orioles when arbitration figures were exchanged last month, but the two sides couldn't find middle ground. Now that a hearing has been completed, the panel of arbitrators will decide on one salary or the other for 2017. A decision is expected on Friday.
Cardinals void contract with Kendry Flores 02-16-2017
Kendry Flores P MIA
Kendry Flores' minor league contract with the Cardinals has been voided.

Derrick Goold on Twitter
Flores showed up to Cardinals camp with shoulder discomfort and it's apparently rather serious. The 24-year-old right-hander signed a non-guaranteed minor league deal with St. Louis back in November.
John Lambo (back) aiming for All-Star break 02-16-2017
John Lamb P TB
John Lamb (back) said he's hoping to be able to pitch by the All-Star break.

Orange County Register
The former top prospect signed a minor league contract with the Angels in December after missing large portions of the 2016 season due to dual back surgeries. "I have communicated that with the front office and training staff, and they are all on board with what's best for me," Lamb told reporters in Angels camp Thursday. "Coming back earlier would be great, but I'm certainly not going to push myself."
Alex Reyes undergoes Tommy John surgery 02-16-2017
Alex Reyes P STL
Alex Reyes underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Thursday.

Jose de Jesus Ortiz on Twitter
As scheduled. Reyes, one of the top young starters in baseball, will miss the entire 2017 season and probably the early part of the 2018 campaign as well. Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, and Trevor Rosenthal are among the pitchers in the running for the final spot in the Cardinals' season-opening starting rotation. Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Mike Leake are locked in.
Hahn (shoulder) has shot at rotation spot 02-16-2017
Jesse Hahn P OAK
A's manager Bob Melvin said Thursday that Jesse Hahn (shoulder) has the sink back on his fastball.

Susan Slusser on Twitter
Oakland catchers Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley have said the same. Hahn carries a real shot at claiming a starting rotation spot this spring despite finishing the 2016 season off the 25-man roster. The 27-year-old right-hander has always been effective when healthy. There's some sneaky fantasy value building here.
Wheeler to throw off a mound this weekend 02-16-2017
Zack Wheeler P NYM
Zack Wheeler (elbow) said he plans to throw off a mound Saturday or Sunday.

Marc Carig on Twitter
Wheeler is a few days behind the other pitchers in Mets camp after experiencing tenderness in his troublesome right elbow following his first bullpen session of the spring. He was able to play catch Thursday, but we're obviously not through the woods here yet. Wheeler is in competition with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo for the final spot in the New York rotation.
Tucker (shoulder) clear for baseball activity 02-16-2017
Preston Tucker LF HOU
Preston Tucker (shoulder) was cleared for full baseball activity in early February.

Houston Chronicle
Tucker spent much of the offseason in rehab mode after requiring September surgery on his right shoulder, but he's close to 100 percent leading into spring training. Still, he's not guaranteed an Opening Day roster spot because of the talent on Houston's depth chart.
Brach had arbitration hearing on Thursday 02-16-2017
Brad Brach P BAL
Brad Brach had his arbitration hearing Thursday.

Roch Kubatko on Twitter
The decision is expected to come Friday. Brach filed for $3.05 million and the O's filed at $5.525 million when arbitration figures were exchanged in early January. The right-hander posted an excellent 2.05 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 79 innings last season out of the Baltimore bullpen.
Strasburg (elbow) threw off mound Thursday 02-16-2017
Stephen Strasburg P WAS
Stephen Strasburg threw freely off a mound on Thursday in Nationals camp.

Chelsea Janes on Twitter
Strasburg delivered all of his pitches during a bullpen session that lasted around 10 minutes. He plans to throw his slider/cutter less frequently in 2017 in order to relieve some stress on his troublesome right elbow. The right-hander remains a high-risk, high-reward fantasy starter leading into 2017. All of the early signs are good.
Syndergaard named Mets' Opening Day SP 02-16-2017
Noah Syndergaard P NYM
Noah Syndergaard has been named the Mets' Opening Day starter.

Anthony DiComo on Twitter
"Easiest [decision] I've made in a while," manager Terry Collins told the media in Mets camp on Thursday. Syndergaard is a worthy pick after dominating to the tune of a 2.60 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, and 218/43 K/BB ratio in 183 2/3 innings last season. The mountainous 24-year-old right-hander packed on 17 pounds of muscle over the winter.
Scherzer (finger) can't commit to Opening Day 02-16-2017
Max Scherzer P WAS
Max Scherzer (finger) played catch Thursday but would not commit to being ready for Opening Day.

Chelsea Janes on Twitter
Scherzer dealt with a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger down the stretch last season and is still experiencing some symptoms. It's a concern, but not really a huge one yet. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is expected to throw his first bullpen session of Nats camp within the next few days.
Scioscia: Heaney (elbow) won't pitch in 2017 02-16-2017
Andrew Heaney P LAA
Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed Thursday that there are no plans for Andrew Heaney (elbow) to pitch in 2017.

Jeff Fletcher on Twitter
Heaney underwent Tommy John surgery in the middle of last season and the Angels aren't going to try to rush him back. The young left-hander should be in Anaheim's Opening Day rotation in 2018.
Cozart says his knee is '100 percent' 02-16-2017
Zack Cozart SS CIN
Zack Cozart said his knee is "100 percent" leading into spring training this year.

C. Trent Rosecrans on Twitter
Cozart wore a balky brace on his surgically-repaired right knee last season after suffering a major injury to that joint in 2015. He's already a good defensive shortstop, and this should only help his range. Jose Peraza will flank him at second base following the Brandon Phillips trade.
Ryu sitting 84-86 mph early in Dodgers camp 02-16-2017
Hyun-Jin Ryu P LAD
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Hyun-Jin Ryu (elbow, shoulder) was sitting 84-86 mph with his fastball in his latest bullpen session.

Andy McCullough on Twitter
Ryu is not the hardest thrower, but that's still well below the norm for him. Roberts told reporters that the club will begin watching Ryu closely to determine whether he's healthy and maybe over-protecting his surgically-repaired left arm. The South Korean starter remains an iffy gamble for the 2017 campaign.
Randy Choate retires from baseball at age 41 02-16-2017
Randy Choate P STL
Randy Choate has retired from baseball.

He made the announcement Thursday to Sweeny Murti of WFAN in New York. "Just figured it was kind of about time to move on," said the longtime left-handed specialist. "I was just fortunate enough to have a role where it could lead to some longevity. I was in the era of the 'loogy' and able to take advantage of that." Choate finishes his 15-year major league career with a 3.90 ERA in 672 appearances. He held left-handed batters to a .195/.276/.274 slash line.
Zack Wheeler (elbow) played catch Thursday 02-16-2017
Zack Wheeler P NYM
Zack Wheeler (elbow) played catch Thursday without issue.

Anthony DiComo on Twitter
The hope is he can get back on a mound Friday, which would put him right back on track with the other pitchers in Mets camp. Wheeler felt some tenderness in his troublesome right elbow earlier this week after throwing a bullpen session. He is trying to beat out Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo for the final spot in the New York rotation.
Guerra accepts outright assignment to AAA 02-16-2017
Deolis Guerra P LAA
Deolis Guerra has accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake.

Jeff Fletcher on Twitter
Guerra had the option of testing free agency after the Angels pushed him off their 40-man roster on Wednesday, but he has decided to remain in camp as a non-roster invitee. The 27-year-old right-hander posted a cool 3.21 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 36/7 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings with Anaheim last season.
NYY announce $3.5M deal with Chris Carter 02-16-2017
Chris Carter 1B NYY
Yankees signed 1B/DH Chris Carter to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. The deal was agreed to nine days ago and then finalized Thursday after Carter reported to Yankees camp and passed his pre-signing physical. The big slugger tied Nolan Arenado for the National League lead in home runs last year with 41, but he found surprisingly little interest on the free agent market this winter. Carter, a right-handed-hitter, should start against most southpaws in the Bronx.
Yankees DFA left-hander Richard Bleier 02-16-2017
Richard Bleier P BAL
Yankees designated LHP Richard Bleier for assignment. Bleier posted an impressive 1.96 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 23 innings last season out of the Yankees' bullpen, but his minor league numbers suggest he was pitching way over his head in his first taste of MLB action. The 29-year-old left-hander holds a 4.02 ERA in 925 1/3 career minor league frames.
Tony Watson loses arb case against Bucs 02-16-2017
Tony Watson P PIT
Tony Watson lost his arbitration case against the Pirates and will make $5.6 million in 2017.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
The left-hander requested a $6 million salary when arbitration figures were exchanged in early January. Watson could open the 2017 season as the Pirates' closer, but he has a challenger in right-hander Daniel Hudson.
Jays sign Mat Latos to minor league contract 02-16-2017
Mat Latos P WAS
Blue Jays signed RHP Mat Latos to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Ben Nicholson-Smith on Twitter
Latos will operate as organizational rotation depth for Toronto in 2017 after posting a 4.89 ERA, 1.486 WHIP, and 42/30 K/BB ratio in 70 innings last season between the White Sox and Nationals. The 29-year-old right-hander holds no fantasy relevance at this point in his career.
Max Scherzer (finger) nearing mound work 02-16-2017
Max Scherzer P WAS
Max Scherzer is expected to begin throwing bullpen sessions in a matter of days.

Jon Heyman on Twitter
Scherzer officially pulled out of the Winter Baseball Classic back in January when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, but it's not something that should affect his readiness for the 2017 major league season. Scherzer won the National League Cy Young Award in 2016 with a 2.96 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 284/56 K/BB ratio in 228 1/3 innings.
Profar to start in LF for Rangers in 2017 02-16-2017
Jurickson Profar LF TEX
Jurickson Profar is slated to start in left field for the Rangers in 2017.

T.R. Sullivan on Twitter
It's part of the fallout from the Rangers' reunion with veteran first baseman Mike Napoli. The other fallout: Shin-Soo Choo will serve as the regular DH for Texas in 2017 and Joey Gallo will get most of his work this spring at third base.
Rays interested in knuckleballer Brian Wilson 02-16-2017
Brian Wilson P LAD
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have shown interest in free agent Brian Wilson.

Marc Topkin on Twitter
Wilson is trying to make a comeback as a knuckleballer, and the cash-strapped Rays are typically open to experiments. Wilson, who turns 35 years old next month, has not appeared in a major league game since 2014. He'll almost certainly have to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league contract wherever he lands for the 2017 campaign.
TB close to minors deal with Tommy Hunter 02-16-2017
Tommy Hunter P BAL
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays are closing in on a minor league contract with free agent right-hander Tommy Hunter.

Marc Topkin on Twitter
MASN's Roch Kubatko reported last week that Hunter was still seeking a guaranteed major league deal, but he never did find one. The 30-year-old right-hander will report to Rays camp with designs on pitching his way into a bullpen spot. He posted a cool 3.18 ERA and 23/8 K/BB ratio in 34 innings last season between the Orioles and Indians while fighting through back troubles.
Rangers finalize $8.5M contract with Napoli 02-16-2017
Mike Napoli 1B TEX
Rangers signed 1B Mike Napoli to a one-year, $8.5 million contract with an $11 million club option for 2018. Napoli will make $6 million in 2017 with a $2.5 million buyout on the option for 2018. Thus the $8.5 million guarantee. The contract was agreed upon earlier this month and then officially announced to the media after Napoli passed his physical on Wednesday in Rangers camp. The veteran first baseman looks like a great buy-low in his return to Texas after racking up 34 home runs and 101 RBI for the American League-champion Indians in 2016.
Gattis (shoulder) out for 'a couple days' 02-16-2017
Evan Gattis DH HOU
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Evan Gattis (shoulder) won't do any hitting or throwing "for a couple days."

Jake Kaplan on Twitter
Gattis received an anti-inflammatory injection on Wednesday after complaining of some minor shoulder soreness. The early part of the spring can be brutal on some catchers -- especially catchers like Gattis who don't actually catch that often. He should be fine.
Keuchel (flu) sent home from Astros camp 02-16-2017
Dallas Keuchel P HOU
Dallas Keuchel was sent home from Astros camp on Thursday morning due to the flu.

Jake Kaplan on Twitter
It was supposed to be his first official throw day, but the Astros will go ahead and push that back until the weekend. No worries here. Keuchel, 29, should have no trouble making up for lost time this early into spring training.
Rodney arrives at Diamondbacks camp 02-16-2017
Fernando Rodney P ARZ
Fernando Rodney arrived at Diamondbacks camp on Thursday morning.

Steve Gilbert on Twitter
Rodney had to get his citizenship status reviewed before he could leave the Dominican Republic and travel to Arizona. The veteran right-hander is in position to open the 2017 season as the Diamondbacks' closer, but he'll have to be sharp this spring and he completely fell apart for the Marlins down the stretch in 2016.
Rays have made formal offer to Matt Wieters 02-16-2017
Matt Wieters C WAS
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have made a formal offer to free agent catcher Matt Wieters.

Tampa Bay Times
But the offer was "likely for one year," per Topkin, and "certainly for millions of dollars less than what Wieters and agent Scott Boras are seeking." Wieters has struggled to find a contract to his liking in this market after batting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 124 games last season for the Orioles. He'd be a fine gamble for a club that doesn't have great options at catcher. We're closing in on the beginning of Grapefruit and Cactus League play.
Cesar Hernandez wants 30-40 steals in '17 02-16-2017
Cesar Hernandez 2B PHI
Cesar Hernandez told reporters Thursday that he wants to steal 30-40 bases in 2017.

Jim Salisbury on Twitter
Hernandez went 17-for-30 in stolen base attempts last season while slashing .294/.371/.393 over 622 plate appearances. 30 steals sounds like a real reach, but 25 might be doable if he really puts his mind to it. The 26-year-old second baseman added 15 pounds of muscle over the winter.
Tony Watson had arb. hearing Wednesday 02-16-2017
Tony Watson P PIT
Tony Watson had his salary arbitration hearing in Florida on Wednesday.
Watson requested $6 million and was offered $5.6 million by the Pirates when figures were exchanged last month. Now a three-person arbitration panel will decide which salary the left-handed reliever is going to earn in 2017. That decision should be coming sometime Thursday.
K-Rod reports to Tigers camp Thursday 02-16-2017
Francisco Rodriguez P DET
Francisco Rodriguez reported to Tigers camp Thursday morning.

Evan Woodberry on Twitter
K-Rod was a couple days late due to a visa issue. No big deal. The veteran right-hander will open the 2017 season as the Tigers' closer unless something goes horribly wrong over the next handful of weeks.