Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is out for Thursday night's exhibition game because of a stomach bug. Nationals manager Matt Williams said Harper was at the Nationals' complex earlier in the day, getting ready to play against the New York Mets.
Paul Molitor was hired as Minnesota's new manager, bringing Hall of Fame membership and renowned intelligence and intuition to a team seeking a fresh start. The Twins brought back one of their most popular players ever, Torii Hunter, to help solidify an unsettled outfield, mentor a fledgling team and hit a few home runs. Phil Hughes had by most measures a career year, his first away from the New York Yankees, but his ability to match that is low on the list of 2015 goals. Ricky Nolasco needs to rebound from a terrible first season with the Twins.
San Diego Padres manager Bud Black turned the corner to meet the press on the first day of spring training and was taken aback at the throng of reporters waiting. Thanks to first-year general manager A.J. Preller's wild offseason, the Padres have been remade. A new ace in James Shields joins an already strong rotation. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers make for a brand new power-hitting outfield.
A revamped lineup and change in attitude has the Boston Red Sox looking to repeat a feat they performed just two seasons ago when they went from worst to World Series champions. Like the hip-hop song they blasted in their locker room after the 2013 division and World Series titles were clinched in Fenway Park, the Red Sox started at the bottom. We're just having fun.'' During this past offseason, GM Ben Cherington looked to grow a weak offense that finished 11th in the AL in scoring. Cherington spent $88 million to sign Hanley Ramirez, who began in the organization's minor league system before stints with Miami and Los Angeles, and signed third baseman Pablo Sandoval to a five-year, $95 million deal.
The San Francisco Giants lost Pablo Sandoval to big money and the Boston Red Sox. They missed out paying big money to left-hander Jon Lester, who instead signed with the Chicago Cubs. While the reigning World Series champions are ready to shed that every-other-year title trend, plenty of people wonder whether general manager Brian Sabean and his staff did enough during the offseason to stay near the top in the talented NL West. Ask manager Bruce Bochy and his players, and they consider the additions of healthy right-hander Matt Cain and center fielder Angel Pagan back into the mix as a big deal right up there with signing a prized free agent.
While their AL Central rivals jockeyed during the offseason, one trying to outdo the other to improve their chances of winning a World Series title, the Indians watched. The Indians, who somehow stayed in contention last season until the waning days of September, didn't feel the need to make radical changes. The pieces are in place for Cleveland to have a special 2015 season. ''The team knows it,'' said second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart said Major League Baseball is reviewing his deleted Twitter account as part of an investigation into gambling-related tweets posted there and he is cooperating with the investigation. ''Obviously, I was caught off guard by the whole situation,'' Cosart said Thursday. ''All I'm really saying to everyone is I'm following the MLB protocol and just talking with MLB security, and they are taking care of the rest.'' The 24-year-old Cosart deleted his Twitter account Tuesday after screen shots of comments he purportedly made appeared on the website of Miami New Times.
The Oakland Athletics topped even their most trade-happy of days by making nine swaps involving 27 players in a wild offseason for Billy Beane and his front-office mates. As far as Beane is concerned, the A's wouldn't have even had a chance to close the gap on the reigning AL West champion Los Angeles Angels without a major offseason overhaul. ''Our expectations don't change, not with the guys we brought in,'' manager Bob Melvin said. Billy Butler is the new designated hitter, and two-time All-Star infielder Ben Zobrist can play just about anywhere for Melvin, who is always one to mix and match his lineups based on matchups and who's playing well.
The Los Angeles Angels had the majors' best record last year, and they return this season with baseball's best player at the center of largely the same roster. Yet the Angels accomplished none of their biggest goals last year when they were swept out of the division series, and their sky-high payroll makes those unmet expectations even more painful. So are the Angels a legitimate power or an unbalanced, aging team with a rapidly closing window? Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and manager Mike Scioscia can only figure it out by going back to work to find the right combination to contend again.
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) -- Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Cody Asche has been scratched from the starting lineup against Toronto because of back tightness.