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  1. Scott Boras says Johnny Damon will sign by May 1

    Apr 2, 2012, 5:58 PM EDT

    Johnny Damon

    ESPN’s Buster Olney heard from Scott Boras today and quoted the agent as saying that Johnny “Damon will be signed by May 1st; just don’t know where.” Olney also said that Damon is looking for at least 450 plate appearances, which would be enough to get him at least 100 hits closer to 3,000. Damon…

  2. Springtime Storylines: Will the Cleveland Indians build on last season or take a step backward?

    Apr 2, 2012, 5:17 PM EDT

    Cleveland Indians' catcher Carlos Santana waits for his turn at bat during their MLB spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Scottsdale

    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: Cleveland Indians. The Big Question: Will the Cleveland Indians build on last season or take a step backward? Cleveland got…

  3. Braves name 22-year-old prospect Tyler Pastornicky starting shortstop

    Apr 2, 2012, 4:14 PM EDT

    Braves Spring baseball

    Tyler Pastornicky came into spring training as the favorite to be the Braves’ shortstop and today they made it official, naming the 22-year-old prospect the Opening Day starter. Pastornicky was acquired from the Blue Jays in the mid-2010 deal for Yunel Escobar and replaces veteran Alex Gonzalez, who signed with the Brewers as a free…

  4. Springtime Storylines: Does anyone remember that the Boston Red Sox were really good last year?

    Apr 2, 2012, 3:30 PM EDT

    Bobby Valentine Reuters

    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: The Boston Red Sox. The Big Question: Does anyone remember that the Red Sox were actually, you know, good last…

  5. Matt Cain and the Giants agree to $112.5 million extension

    Apr 2, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

    Matt Cain

    First Joey Votto and now Matt Cain. Said to be working hard on contract negotiations over the weekend, the Giants just made things official with Cain by announcing a five-year, $112.5 million extension with a sixth-year vesting option. Cain was already set to earn $15 million this season in the final year of a three-year,…

  6. Ubaldo Jimenez says he doesn’t deserve suspension, isn’t apologizing, didn’t hit Troy Tulowitzki on purpose

    Apr 2, 2012, 2:49 PM EDT

    Troy Tulowitzki, Ubaldo Jimenez, Lou Marson, Clint Fagan

    Ubaldo Jimenez spoke to the media this morning and reiterated that he didn’t hit former teammate Troy Tulowitzki on purpose yesterday, saying he shouldn’t be suspended. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com described Jimenez as having “leaned back in his chair inside the Indians’ clubhouse on Monday morning, calmly disagreeing with the notion that a suspension was…

  7. Sam Fuld needs wrist surgery, could miss entire season

    Apr 2, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

    Sam Fuld

    Sam Fuld was slated for a minor role after fading in the second half last season, but now the Rays will have to find a new backup outfielder. Fuld is scheduled for wrist surgery tomorrow and is expected to miss 4-5 months, putting his entire season in jeopardy. He originally suffered the injury in September.…

  8. Stopped before he starts: Aroldis Chapman is staying in the Reds’ bullpen

    Apr 2, 2012, 1:50 PM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman

    Aroldis Chapman spent all offseason and the first month of spring training preparing for a potential move to the rotation, but with Opening Day right around the corner the Reds have decided to keep the flame-throwing left-hander in the bullpen. Ryan Madson undergoing season-ending Tommy John elbow surgery likely played a part in the decision,…

  9. Springtime Storylines: Are the Yankees the best team in baseball?

    Apr 2, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

    Image (1) yankee%20stadium.jpg for post 4012

    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: The New York Yankees. The Big Question: Are the Yankees the best team in baseball? The Yankees won 97 games…

  10. Two weeks after Joakim Soria’s surgery the Royals still haven’t named a closer

    Apr 2, 2012, 12:48 PM EDT

    Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers

    Royals manager Ned Yost declined to name a fill-in closer after news that Joakim Soria would miss the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery and two weeks later he’s still yet to identify the ninth-inning replacement. It’ll either be former Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton or second-year setup man Greg Holland, but according to Bob…

  11. Mets closer Frank Francisco gets knee drained, needs MRI

    Apr 2, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

    New York Mets Photo Day

    Frank Francisco‘s rough spring training now includes a knee injury. Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reports that the Mets closer had his left knee drained to reduce swelling yesterday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today. Francisco has allowed 18 hits and four walks in 11 innings this spring, going 0-2…

  12. Springtime Storylines: Can anyone in the AL Central beat the Detroit Tigers?

    Apr 2, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

    Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera

    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: Detroit Tigers. The Big Question: Can anyone in the AL Central beat the Detroit Tigers? After winning their division by…

  13. Matt Cain is in The Best Shape of His Life

    Apr 2, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

    cain_matt

    This is the latest BSOHL I have ever witnessed, but this is an unequivocal case. As we’ve noted, Matt Cain has set a Friday deadline for contract extension talks with the Giants. As recently as the other day he said that there was nothing really happening. Now Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that “the volume of…

  14. Jeff Francis agrees to stay with Reds, but will be at Triple-A

    Apr 2, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

    Jeff Francis Getty

    Jeff Francis chose not to opt out of his minor-league contract with the Reds, hoping to stick around in camp beyond his opt-out date and win a big-league jump. Instead he’ll remain in the organization while beginning the season at Triple-A, where the 31-year-old left-hander hasn’t pitched regularly since way back in 2004. Back then…

  15. Braves reliever Cristhian Martinez arrested for DUI

    Apr 2, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

    Martinez_Cristhian

    Can’t seem to go a week without one of these things. From Carroll Rogers of the AJC: Braves reliever Cristhian Martinez was arrested early Monday morning in Gwinnett County on charges of DUI, according to Gwinnett County jail records. Martinez’s blood alcohol registered more than the legal limit of .10, according to documents. He was…

  16. Corey Hart “looking likely” to be ready for Opening Day

    Apr 2, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

    Corey Hart

    Corey Hart has been playing regularly in minor-league camp without any issues and Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that “it’s looking likely” that he’ll be recovered enough from March 6 knee surgery to be in the Brewers’ lineup on Opening Day. Hart has been playing in minor-league games because that way if he’s not ready…

  17. UPDATE: Despite thumb injury, Bobby Valentine expects Josh Beckett to make his first start

    Apr 2, 2012, 10:29 AM EDT

    Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett reacts after striking out Tampa Bay Rays John Jaso to end the top of sixth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston

    UPDATE:  If you believe Bobby Valentine, it seems that maybe it’s not too bad: Valentine said he “totally” expects Beckett to start Game 2. #RedSox — Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 2, 2012 10:29 AM:  Josh Beckett has an issue with his thumb and that may cause Alfredo Aceves to take his Game 2 start.  We…

  18. B.J. Upton now targeting mid-April return from back injury

    Apr 2, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics

    B.J. Upton will begin the season on the disabled list due to back soreness stemming from his March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, but said yesterday that he’s “shooting for” returning during the Rays’ April 10-19 road trip. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Upton no longer feels sore the day after…

  19. Jason Bay could be platooning for the Mets

    Apr 2, 2012, 10:00 AM EDT

    Jason Bay

    Jason Bay had an awful 2011 and his spring has thus far been pretty awful too.  That has some people suggesting to Mike Puma of the New York Post that Bay may soon be a $16 million platoon guy: Though the idea has not yet reached the discussion stage among team executives, a club official…

  20. Jayson Werth: 2011 will be “like a fart in the wind”

    Apr 2, 2012, 9:36 AM EDT

    Jayson Werth

    And they say poetry is dead. Here’s Jayson Werth on putting his awful 2011 behind him: “I feel confident about this season and this team and where I’m at and what I’ve done. Last year is just one year. I got six more years on this contract, and I plan on playing after this contract.…

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