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  1. Mets close to long-term contract extension with Jon Niese

    Apr 1, 2012, 4:44 PM EDT

    niese getty

    In an exclusive report on ESPNNewYork.com, beat writer Adam Rubin passes along word that the Mets are nearing agreement on a long-term contract extension with left-handed starter Jon Niese. The deal is thought to be similar to the five-year, $28.5 million pact that 25-year-old southpaw Derek Holland got from the Rangers back in mid-March. That…

  2. Yankees sign Jason Bulger to minor league contract

    Apr 1, 2012, 4:08 PM EDT

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    From Erik Boland of New York’s Newsday comes word that the Yankees have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with reliever Jason Bulger. Bulger was released from Twins camp early last week after allowing eight hits, five walks and 10 earned runs in four Grapefruit League innings. The 33-year-old right-hander has run out…

  3. Indians nearing two-year, $16.5 million contract extension with shortstop Asbrubal Cabrera

    Apr 1, 2012, 3:12 PM EDT

    cabrera getty

    FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Indians are close to agreeing to a two-year, $16.5 million extension with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. The deal will run through 2014, covering Cabrera’s final year of arbitration eligibility and his first year of free agency. The 26-year-old All-Star is set to earn $4.55 million in 2012, his…

  4. Tweet(s) of the Day: April Fools’ in Cardinals camp

    Apr 1, 2012, 2:39 PM EDT

    lance berkman ap

    April Fools’ Day jokes are usually pretty lame or far too predictable, but Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman just pulled off a zinger on right-hander Adam Wainwright in the third inning of Sunday’s Grapefruit League game against the Nationals. St. Louis Post-Dispatch scribe Joe Strauss tweeted the highlights: Puma drives Waino’s truck into field as…

  5. A.J. Burnett throws four easy innings in minor league game

    Apr 1, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

    burnett getty

    Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett took another step forward Sunday morning in his ongoing recovery from a fractured right orbital bone, throwing 54 pitches across four innings in an exhibition game between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. According to MLB.com’s Tom Singer, Burnett let up one hit and threw 36 of his 54 pitches for strikes.…

  6. Braves acquire Juan Francisco from Reds for J.J. Hoover

    Apr 1, 2012, 12:30 PM EDT

    juan francisco ap

    As first reported by beat writer David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Reds traded corner infielder Juan Francisco to the Braves on Sunday morning for right-handed starter J.J. Hoover. Francisco struggled to find consistent playing time over the past few years in Cincinnati because he’s not a great defender at third base and the…

  7. Andy Pettitte admits his legs “are not in shape”

    Apr 1, 2012, 11:47 AM EDT

    pettitte reuters

    The Yankees haven’t made a guess as to when Andy Pettitte will be ready to start a major league game. But we can probably rule out all of April. The veteran left-hander told George King III of the New York Post on Saturday morning in Yankees camp that his legs “are not in shape” yet…

  8. Red Sox set starting rotation: Doubront fourth, Bard fifth, Aceves pushed back to bullpen

    Apr 1, 2012, 10:55 AM EDT

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    The Red Sox made things official at the back end of their starting rotation on Sunday morning. Brian MacPherson, Red Sox beat writer for the Providence Journal, passes along the news: Doubront is the No. 4 starter. — Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) April 1, 2012 Daniel Bard is the No. 5 starter. — Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp)…

  9. Dallas Braden suffers setback in form of shoulder strain

    Apr 1, 2012, 10:08 AM EDT

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    A’s left-hander Dallas Braden underwent surgery nearly 11 months ago to repair a torn anterior capsule in his throwing shoulder. And it’s now a certainty that his recovery will take over a year. According to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News, Braden suffered a shoulder strain while playing catch last week at the…

  10. Drew Smyly wins final spot in Tigers’ starting rotation

    Apr 1, 2012, 9:23 AM EDT

    smyly ap

    From the Detroit Free Press‘ official Twitter feed comes word that the Tigers have named 22-year-old left-hander Drew Smyly as their No. 5 starter. Smyly posted a 2.84 ERA and tallied 10 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings this spring in the Grapefruit League, winning the job over fellow Tigers southpaw Duane Below, who surrendered nine …

  11. Springtime Storylines: How will year one of the Cubs’ rebuilding plan fly in The Friendly Confines?

    Apr 1, 2012, 8:36 AM EDT

    theo epstein wrigley

    Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: 103 years and counting. The Big Question: How will the first year of the Cubs’ rebuild go over on Chicago’s…

  12. Report: Juan Carlos Oviedo faces six-week suspension

    Mar 31, 2012, 10:01 PM EDT

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    Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) is still in his native Dominican Republic, working to finish the assigned hours of community service that stand between him and a freshly-stamped work visa. But community service won’t be the end of his punishment for years of committing identify fraud. According to Barry Jackson of the…

  13. Franklin Gutierrez (pectoral) cleared to begin throwing

    Mar 31, 2012, 8:29 PM EDT

    gutierrez wide getty

    Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez was put on the disabled list before Wednesday’s season-opener in Japan and won’t be in the Seattle starting lineup Friday when the team gets going state-side. But he should be ready to rock by the end of April. According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, Gutierrez was recently cleared…

  14. Indians tab right-hander Jeanmar Gomez as No. 5 starter

    Mar 31, 2012, 7:02 PM EDT

    gomez getty

    From beat writer Nick Camino of Cleveland’s WTAM 1100 comes word that the Indians have handed the final spot in their season-opening starting rotation to right-hander Jeanmar Gomez. Gomez won the job by registering a 1.37 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 14/8 K/BB ratio this spring in 19 2/3 Cactus League innings. His competition, Kevin Slowey,…

  15. Johan Santana throws bullpen session, expected to be named Mets’ Opening Day starter

    Mar 31, 2012, 5:33 PM EDT

    Johan Santana AP

    Johan Santana is very close to starting his first major league game since September 2, 2010. According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Santana made it through a bullpen session this afternoon without any issues and is expected to be named as the Mets’ Opening Day starter tomorrow unless he reports any discomfort in his surgically-repaired…

  16. Josh Hamilton day-to-day with left groin tightness

    Mar 31, 2012, 4:12 PM EDT

    Josh Hamilton Reuters

    Josh Hamilton is considered day-to-day after leaving last night’s game against the Rockies with left groin tightness. As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News notes, the good news is that it is not in the same area where he required sports hernia surgery last November. The Rangers expect Hamilton to be ready for Opening…

  17. Twins place Scott Baker on disabled list

    Mar 31, 2012, 2:54 PM EDT

    Scott Baker AP

    Scott Baker is back on track after missing some time due to right elbow inflammation, allowing one run over four innings in a minor league exhibition game earlier today, but the Twins have decided to go the safe route and place him on the 15-day disabled list. Baker’s DL-stint was backdated to March 27, so…

  18. Red Sox to announce rotation decisions tomorrow

    Mar 31, 2012, 1:51 PM EDT

    Bobby Valentine Reuters

    The Red Sox currently have three pitchers — Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront — vying for the final two spots in the starting rotation. And with the start of the season just days away, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is ready to announce a decision. Perhaps it’s just the way the information was…

  19. White Sox sign Conor Jackson to minor league contract

    Mar 31, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

    Conor Jackson Getty

    Conor Jackson was released by the Rangers earlier this week after batting just .091 (3-for-33) during Cactus League action, but he has already found a new home. According to Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox have signed Jackson to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old will begin the season with Triple-A Charlotte…

  20. Braves name Tommy Hanson as Opening Day starter

    Mar 31, 2012, 12:40 PM EDT

    Tommy Hanson AP

    Mark Bowman of MLB.com passes along word that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has officially tabbed Tommy Hanson to start Opening Day against the Mets next Thursday. It will be the first Opening Day assignment of his career. Hanson was limited to just 22 starts last year due to right shoulder problems and missed the first…

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