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  • MLB notebook: Sabathia retiring after 2019 season
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, a Cy Young Award winner and the major league's active leader in strikeouts and innings pitched, confirmed Saturday this will be his final season.

    • Sabathia made the announcement at a press conference from the Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa, Fla.

      "All I ever wanted for people to remember me as is just as a good teammate," said Sabathia, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007. "I look forward to 2019 being a championship season for us, me going out and giving everything I have."

      Sabathia, 38, has a 246-153 record in 18 seasons, the past 10 with the Yankees. He is on the verge of becoming the 17th pitcher in major league history to reach 3,000 strikeouts, entering the season with 2,986 in 3,470 innings.

      He would be just the third left-hander to reach the 3,000-strikeout milestone, joining Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton.

      --Among the most promising prospects at spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals, left-hander Genesis Cabrera is already getting high marks as a player to watch in 2019.

      Before reporting to his first big-league camp at Jupiter, Fla., the 22-year-old showed what he can do as a reliever in the Dominican Winter League. In 14 1/3 innings, he posted a 1.26 ERA with 21 strikeouts and only two walks. Cabrera impressed scouts and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.

      "Caught my attention," Shildt said. "Caught our attention. Some people in the industry who I respect quite a bit, covering winter ball, texted me saying, 'This guy is pretty good.'"

      --The Baltimore Orioles signed veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, the team announced.

      He gives the Orioles some middle infield depth as well as dependability. He played all 162 games in three of the past five seasons and played 155 or more games six times during eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals.

      Escobar, 32, batted .231 with four home runs and 34 RBIs in 140 games for Kansas City last year. He has a .258 career average with 41 homers, 442 RBIs and 174 steals in 1,437 games with the Milwaukee Brewers and Royals.

      --Reliever John Axford will join the Toronto Blue Jays in spring training on a minor-league deal, the team announced. If he makes the big-league squad, he'll earn $1.65 million.

      Axford, 35, was with Toronto for part of last season but was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July. He was 4-1 with 50 strikeouts in 51 innings with the Blue Jays.

      A 10-year veteran, Axford has pitched for eight teams and logged a 38-34 record with 144 saves and a 3.87 ERA.

      --Free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin has agreed to a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and is heading to spring training as a non-roster invitee, according to multiple reports.

      During a 12-year career in the majors, Maybin, 31, has played for seven franchises, most recently the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners in 2018. He hit .249 for the season with four home runs, 14 doubles and 28 RBIs in 129 games.

      Over his career, which included a stint with the World Series champion Houston Astros in 2017, Maybin has hit.254 with 60 home runs, 315 RBIs and 174 stolen bases.

      --Right-hander Jameson Taillon will be Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announced.

      The March 28 outing against the Reds in Cincinnati will mark the 27-year-old's first season-opening assignment. Taillon went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season.

      Hurdle said that Taillon will be followed by right-handers Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove. Veteran right-hander Chris Archer will start Pittsburgh's home opener on April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pirates tab Taillon for Opening Day start
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Right-hander Jameson Taillon will be Pittsburgh's Opening Day starter, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announced Saturday.

    • The March 28 outing against the Reds in Cincinnati will mark the 27-year-old's first season-opening assignment.

      Hurdle said that Taillon will be followed by right-handers Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove. Veteran right-hander Chris Archer will start Pittsburgh's home opener on April 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

      "I believe Jamo's earned it across the board," Hurdle told reporters. "Trevor did some nice things. Archer's done it in the past. There is an important aspect of the Opening Day at home for me as well, so we've put two men in play that we think will represent the club the best way we can to get out of the blocks clean and set up the first four games of the season."

      Taillon went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts last season.

      "It's a big honor to kick off the season for the boys, try to set the tone," Taillon told reporters. "Obviously, I care about the body of work but it's a big honor. Growing up as a fan of baseball, there was a certain (aura) about being the Opening Day starter."

      Pittsburgh hasn't yet selected a fifth starter.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Giants, OF Maybin agree to minor league deal
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin has agreed to a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants and is heading to spring training as a non-roster invitee, according to multiple reports.

    • During a 12-year career in the majors, Maybin, 31, has played for seven franchises, most recently the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners in 2018. He hit .249 for the season with four home runs, 14 doubles and 28 RBIs in 129 games.

      Over his career, which included a stint with the World Series champion Houston Astros in 2017, Maybin has hit.254 with 60 home runs, 315 RBIs and 174 stolen bases. He also played for the Detroit Tigers (2007, 2016), the Marlins from 2008-10, the San Diego Padres (2011-14), Atlanta Braves (2015) and Los Angeles Angels (2017).

      Position players will report to the Giants' training camp Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., before the team's first full-squad workout on Monday.

      --Field Level Media

  • LHP Cabrera already impressing Cardinals at camp
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Among the promising prospects at spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals, left-handed pitcher Genesis Cabrera is already getting high marks as a player to watch in 2019.

    • Before reporting to his first big-league camp at Jupiter, Fla., Cabrera showed what he can do as a reliever in the Dominican Winter League. In 14 1/3 innings, he posted a 1.26 ERA with 21 strikeouts and only two walks. Cabrera impressed scouts and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt.

      "Caught my attention," Shildt said. "Caught our attention. Some people in the industry who I respect quite a bit, covering winter ball, texted me saying, 'This guy is pretty good.' "

      Shildt was already raving about Cabrera shortly after camp opened.

      "He's going to be a guy we evaluate as we go and then we'll table him for later. But he's a guy we're definitely excited about watching," Shildt said Thursday during his daily media interview briefing.

      The 22-year-old Dominican pitcher came to the Cardinals in a trade package from the Tampa Bay Rays last year for Tommy Pham.

      At the Winter Warmup in January, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak was heaping praise on the Cardinals' hot prospect.

      "If I had to guess, I might put it all on Cabrera," Mozeliak said when asked to predict who might be the Cardinals' next breakout star. "Power left-hand arm. Could be very exciting, and someone who makes a real contribution this year."

      Whether he becomes a starter or reliever remains to be seen, but Cabrera -- with an arm capable of throwing 97-98 mph -- seems particularly suited for one job.

      "I feel very comfortable throwing out of the bullpen," Cabrera said through a translator for an article on MLB.com. "I feel like I can throw the ball harder and more efficient in that role. I was impressed with the velocity and how high it went."

      --Field Level Media

  • Orioles sign veteran SS Escobar
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    The Baltimore Orioles signed veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, the team announced Saturday.

    • The 32-year-old Escobar gives the Orioles some middle infield depth as well as dependability. He played all 162 games in three of the past five seasons and played 155 or more games six times during eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals.

      "Alcides Escobar will add a great veteran option to the middle-infield competition we have brought into this camp," general manager Mike Elias said in a statement. "We look forward to having him join us here in Sarasota and enter the mix."

      Escobar batted .231 with four home runs and 34 RBIs in 140 games for Kansas City last season.

      He was a pivotal player when the Royals reached the World Series in back-to-back seasons, including the franchise's 2015 title-winning squad. Escobar was named American League Championship Series MVP for batting .478 with six runs scored and five RBIs as Kansas City defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in six games.

      He also batted .310 in the 2014 World Series when the Royals lost to the San Francisco Giants in seven games.

      Escobar batted .285 and stole 31 bases in 2014. He was an All-Star the following season when he batted .257 with 17 steals and also won a Gold Glove.

      Escobar played parts of three seasons with Milwaukee (2008-10) before joining the Royals as part of the compensation for Kansas City trading right-hander Zack Greinke to the Brewers.

      Overall, Escobar has a .258 career average with 41 homers, 442 RBIs and 174 steals in 1,437 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees' Sabathia officially announces retirement after 2019
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, a Cy Young Award winner and the major league's active leader in strikeouts and innings pitched, confirmed Saturday this will be his final season.

    • Sabathia made the announcement at a press conference from the Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa, Fla.

      "All I ever wanted for people to remember me as is just as a good teammate," said Sabathia, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007. "I look forward to 2019 being a championship season for us, me going out and giving everything I have."

      Sabathia, 38, has a 246-153 record in 18 seasons, the past 10 with the Yankees. He is on the verge of becoming the 17th pitcher in major league history to reach 3,000 strikeouts, entering the season with 2,986 in 3,470 innings.

      He would be just the third left-hander to reach the 3,000-strikeout milestone, joining Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton.

      "I had the pleasure of competing against CC and also with him, and have always considered him one of my favorite teammates," former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said in a statement.

      "He rose to and exceeded the expectations and pressure, especially during his time with the Yankees, and was a key piece to the 2009 championship team. CC embodies what it means to be a professional athlete and has been an incredible ambassador for baseball. He has an unwavering commitment to success on the field and an even greater desire to give back through his foundation work off the field."

      Sabathia, a first-round pick by Cleveland in 1998, made his major league debut with the Indians in 2001. He was traded to Milwaukee in July 2008 and signed with the Yankees on a seven-year, $161 million deal after that season.

      After going 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA last season, he signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Yankees in November. Sabathia, who has battled right knee problems in recent seasons, underwent an angioplasty to clear a blocked artery in December.

      Sabathia is a six-time All-Star, making three appearances with the Yankees and three with the Indians.

      "CC's will to win and competitive spirit is as good as I've seen in anyone I've ever pitched with," former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte said in a statement. "It's going to be sad to see him leave the game, but what a mark he left on it. A great friend and a great teammate -- I'm looking forward to seeing him go into the Hall of Fame one day."

      --Field Level Media

  • Axford signs minor-league deal with Blue Jays
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, February 16, 2019

    Reliever John Axford will join the Toronto Blue Jays in spring training on a minor-league deal, the team announced on Saturday.

    • If he makes the big-league squad, he'll earn $1.65 million.

      Axford, 35, was with Toronto for part of last season but was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July.

      A 10-year veteran, Axford has pitched for eight teams and logged a 38-34 record with 144 saves and a 3.87 ERA.

      Axford, who is Canadian, was 4-1 with 50 strikeouts over 51 innings in his stint with Toronto last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Royals agree to minor league deal with Storen
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    The Kansas City Royals agreed on a minor league deal with right-hander Drew Storen, according to published reports on Friday.

    • Storen will receive $1.25 million if added to the 40-man roster, with an opportunity to earn more through performance bonuses.

      The 31-year-old Storen missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in late September of 2017.

      Storen has experienced past success as a closer, saving a career-best 43 games in 48 chances in 2011 and 29 in 34 chances in 2015 for the Washington Nationals.

      He spent his first six big league seasons with the Nationals before splitting the 2016 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners. He went 4-2 with a 4.45 ERA in 58 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 prior to undergoing the surgery.

      Overall, Storen is 29-18 with a 3.45 ERA and 99 saves over eight seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • Suspended Cubs SS Russell apologizes for actions
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell apologized for his actions that led a 40-game domestic violence suspension, as he fielded questions on Friday for the first time since being suspended in September.

    • Russell was disciplined after now ex-wife Melisa Reidy detailed domestic abuse allegations against him in a blog post, claiming he had abused her during their 2 1/2-year marriage.

      "I know there's been a lot that's been said and reported these few months," Russell said during a press conference at spring training in Mesa, Ariz. "I don't want to get into any specifics, but what I do want to say is, I am accountable for my past actions. I'm not proud of the person I was. But I do wanna own this issue and take responsibility for the hurt and the pain I have caused Melisa. And for that, I am sorry."

      During a 20-minute session, Russell didn't deny the allegations made against him. He initially expressed his innocence last September prior to being suspended for violating Major League Baseball's domestic abuse policies.

      The 25-year-old Russell said he has become a better person since the end of last season.

      "These past few months have been a productive few months," Russell said. "I've been doing the league-mandated treatment, and also participating in voluntary counseling as well.

      "Through that counseling, I have learned to better identify my feelings and emotions, learning how to handle adversity and challenges whenever I'm faced with them."

      Russell was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 21 and later received the 40-game ban. The Cubs decided in the offseason to give him another opportunity and signed him to a one-year, $3.4 million contract.

      He will miss the first 28 games of this season to finish serving the suspension. And Russell is quite aware he needs to redeem himself.

      "I know that I'm still early in this process, and through this process, I realize that I have let a lot of people down," Russell said. "I've let Cubs fans down, my organization, my teammates, my family and also myself. I'm doing everything in my power to become a better person, father, teammate, partner and provider."

      Chicago manager Joe Maddon watched Russell's press conference from the back of the room.

      "It's one step at a time," Maddon said. "Everything's a process, and today begins that process (with the press conference).

      "We're working our way through this, too. It's kind of new ground for us, too. ... It's not even about baseball right now."

      Russell has a .242 career average with 51 homers and 230 RBIs in 533 career games. He was an All-Star in 2016 when he established career highs of 21 homers and 95 RBIs.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets OF Cespedes aiming to play this season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is confident he will return from last summer's surgery on both heels.

    • But he can't provide a timetable for when he will be recovered.

      "I do feel like I will return. ... It may be three months, it may be two months, it may be one month, but at this point, I do think I can return," Cespedes told reporters on Friday. "When I do return, I plan on being 100 percent, like I was in 2015."

      Cespedes smacked 35 homers with 105 RBIs and a .291 average in 2015 when he split time between the Detroit Tigers and Mets. He belted 17 homers in 44 games with New York after being acquired, leading the Mets to the World Series before they fell to the Kansas City Royals.

      Cespedes was an All-Star for the second time in his career in 2016 when he batted .280 with 31 homers and 86 RBIs.

      He signed a four-year, $110 million contract following the season but has played in just 119 games over the past two seasons.

      Cespedes was limited to 81 games in 2017 due to hamstring issues and played in just 38 last season before undergoing surgeries to deal with calcification and bone spurs in both heels.

      Cespedes underwent the procedure on his right heel on Aug. 2 and had the left heel repaired on Oct. 26.

      The 33-year-old Cespedes said the heel surgeries have been a major source of relief.

      "I can't even say at the moment that I'm at 50 percent, but when I used to wake up (before surgery), I would struggle walking," Cespedes said. "But now, even at this stage of the rehab, I can definitely walk without any pain."

      Cespedes said he plans to begin throwing next week. There isn't yet a timetable for when he will start running or hitting.

      Mets manager Mickey Callaway wants Cespedes to take things slowly and not be in a rush.

      "There's not a lot of precedents for this type of thing," Callaway told reporters of the multiple heel surgeries. "We have time, and we're going to let him get to where he can come back and be that guy that is going to be impactful and be the 100 percent Yoenis that he can be."

      --Field Level Media

  • Tigers RHP Fulmer loses in arbitration
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    Detroit Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer lost his arbitration case and will make $2.8 million in 2019, according to multiple published reports.

    • The salary still represents a major raise from $575,200 for Fulmer, who went 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA in 24 starts last season.

      Fulmer had requested $3.4 million.

      Fulmer's case was the final arbitration case of the year. The players won six of 10 decisions.

      Winners were Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer, Houston right-hander Gerrit Cole and shortstop Carlos Correa, Oakland right-handed closer Blake Treinen, Cincinnati left-hander Alex Wood and Tampa Bay outfielder Tommy Pham.

      In addition to Fulmer, the losers were Washington outfielder Michael A. Taylor and right-hander Kyle Barraclough and Toronto right-hander Ryan Tepera.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Giants sign Solarte to minor league deal
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    The San Francisco Giants and infielder Yangervis Solarte reached agreement on a minor league deal, according to multiple reports on Friday.

    • Solarte's deal will be worth $1.75 million plus $250,000 in incentives if he makes the major league roster, according to MLB Network.

      Solarte provides infield depth for the Giants. He started 79 games at third base, 26 at second and five at shortstop last season for the Toronto Blue Jays.

      The switch-hitting Solarte batted .226 with 17 homers and 54 RBIs in 122 games for the Blue Jays in 2018.

      The 31-year-old Solarte reached the majors with the New York Yankees in 2014 and was traded to the San Diego Padres later that season. He hit 51 homers for San Diego in 3 1/2 campaigns.

      Overall, Solarte has a .259 average with 74 homers and 300 RBIs in 642 major league games.

      --Field Level Media

  • A's add Grossman, Pennington; place Gossett on IL
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    The Oakland Athletics announced the signing of outfielder Robbie Grossman on Friday and placed right-hander Daniel Gossett on the 60-day injured list.

    • Grossman's deal is worth $2 million, according to published reports.

      Grossman, 29, batted .273 with five homers and 48 RBIs in 129 games last season for the Minnesota Twins. He has a .256 career average with 36 homers and 193 RBIs in six seasons with the Houston Astros (2013-15) and Twins (2016-18).

      Oakland also reportedly signed veteran infielder Cliff Pennington to a minor league deal. The 34-year-old has a .242 career average with 36 homers and 242 RBIs in 11 seasons with the Athletics (2008-12), Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-15), Toronto Blue Jays (2015), Los Angeles Angels (2016-17) and Cincinnati Reds (2018).

      Gossett, 26, underwent Tommy John surgery on Aug. 1 and is expected to miss the entire 2019 season. He was 0-3 with a 5.18 ERA in five starts last season and is 4-14 with a 5.91 ERA in 23 career starts.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees' Severino signs four-year contract
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    Starting pitcher Luis Severino and the New York Yankees avoided arbitration when the right-hander signed a four-year contract, the team announced Friday.

    • The deal is worth $40 million, according to multiple reports, and could earn Severino as much as $52.25 million.

      The contract runs through the 2022 season, with the team holding an option for 2023.

      Severino, who turns 25 next week, went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA last season.

      According to ESPN, he is set to earn $6 million (including a $2 million bonus) this season, $10 million in 2020, $10.25 million in 2021 and $11 million the following season. The Yankees hold a $15 million option for 2023, with a buyout of $2.75 million.

      The agreement was subject to a physical.

      Severino had filed an arbitration figure of $5.25 million for this season, with the Yankees countering at $4.4 million.

      New York manager Aaron Boone said earlier this week he expects Severino to be the team's Opening Day starter for the second consecutive season.

      Severino made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2015, becoming a full-time starter in 2017. The right-hander is 41-25 with a 3.51 ERA in 96 appearances (85 starts). He has struck out 572 and walked 144 in 518 innings.

      He struggled down the stretch last season after starting 14-2 with a 2.12 ERA through July 7. He went 5-6 with a 5.69 ERA in his final 13 starts.

      Severino told reporters at spring training this week that he changed his diet in the offseason and has dropped 12 to 15 pounds in an effort to avoid late-season fatigue.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pedroia laments opting for 2017 knee surgery
    By Field Level Media / Friday, February 15, 2019

    Dustin Pedroia says he wouldn't have undergone his 2017 knee surgery knowing what he knows now.

    • The Boston Red Sox second baseman was shut down last season in September after playing just three games and going 1-for-11 at the plate.

      "No, I wouldn't have done it. I don't regret doing it, but looking back and knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have done it," Pedroia said, per ESPN's David Schoenfield.

      In October 2017, Pedroia underwent a cartilage restoration procedure on his left knee -- one of three surgeries in 10 months. He was expected to miss just two months, a timetable he suggests might have been too aggressive.

      "I might have pushed it too hard or done too much, but as far as following directions, I followed every step. I think some of the directions were, timing-wise, a little off," Pedroia said.

      The 35-year-old infielder's season lasted less than a week after he was back on the field on May 26. He returned to the disabled list on June 2 because of soreness in the knee.

      The Red Sox are planning to limit Pedroia to about 120 games in 2019, according to team president Dave Dombrowski.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB notebook: Padres continue pursuit of Machado
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    The San Diego Padres have doubled down on their pursuit of free agent infielder Manny Machado. Padres general manager A.J. Preller flew to Miami last week to have a second meeting with Machado, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Multiple media outlets subsequently confirmed the report on Thursday.

    • The most recent meeting included Machado's wife, the Union-Tribune reported, signaling the possibility that the sides were trying to work toward an agreement. There was no comment from Machado or the Padres regarding the latest meeting.

      Machado, a four-time All-Star, is one of the marquee players still unsigned with spring training camps opening. Other teams reportedly in the running for Machado include the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, all of whom have met with the 26-year-old infielder this offseason.

      Padres representatives, including Preller, general partner Peter Seidler and manager Andy Green, also met with free agent outfielder Bryce Harper in Las Vegas on Jan. 31. Harper and Machado reportedly are seeking in the neighborhood of $30 million a year.

      --Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed that the Astros were tantalizingly close to landing Harper at the July 2018 trade deadline.

      "There was an agreement in principle in place and it didn't get over the finish line for whatever reason, out of our control. But yeah, we had interest," Luhnow told reporters at the Astros' spring training site in West Palm Beach, Fla. "We had worked out an agreement with players both ways."

      Harper remained with the Washington Nationals and finished the 2018 season with 34 homers, 100 RBIs, 103 runs and a National League-leading 130 walks.

      --New York Yankees relief pitcher Danny Farquhar debuted a custom cap that includes head protection, nearly 10 months after suffering a brain hemorrhage during a game, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported.

      Then with the Chicago White Sox, Farquhar collapsed in the dugout between innings during his relief appearance last April 20. The brain hemorrhage was attributed to a ruptured aneurysm. Farquhar had surgery at a Chicago hospital and was sidelined the rest of the season.

      On the field, he will wear a specially designed protective padding that fits inside his cap. The gear weighs 6 ounces and is made by Unequal Technologies. It consists of an insert and an outer flap similar to a batting helmet and is designed to protect his temple and the area of the skull where he had the surgery.

      --Jacob deGrom's 2018 Cy Young Award will be shipped back to the manufacturer because it was damaged in transit, ESPN reported.

      The award was sent from New York to the Mets' spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but when it was unpacked, four letters in the word "OUTSTANDING" were damaged on the front of the plaque. On the back, a chunk of wood was missing.

      When the NL's Cy Young Award voting was revealed, deGrom had received 29 of the 30 first-place votes. The right-hander was just 10-9 for a disappointing Mets team last season, but his 1.70 ERA led the majors.

      --Los Angeles Angels right-hander Matt Harvey strained a glute muscle during agility drills and will be sidelined for about 10 days, manager Brad Ausmus said.

      "You can recover (in) a week and a half," Ausmus told reporters at the team's spring training facility in Tempe, Ariz. "It depends on how he feels when we re-evaluate him, and how he feels and how quickly he can get back on the mound and what he's done in the interim."

      Harvey, an All-Star with the New York Mets in 2013, signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Angels in December. Harvey, who turns 30 next month, went 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA in 32 games (28 starts) last season with the Mets and Cincinnati Reds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Yankees' Farquhar returns to field with protective cap
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Danny Farquhar debuted a custom cap Thursday that includes head protection, nearly 10 months after suffering a brain hemorrhage during a game, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported.

    • Then with the Chicago White Sox, Farquhar collapsed in the dugout between innings during his relief appearance last April 20. The brain hemorrhage was attributed to a ruptured aneurysm.

      Farquhar had surgery at a Chicago hospital and was sidelined the rest of the season.

      The Yankees signed the pitcher, who turns 32 on Sunday, to a minor league contract in January. He is with the team at spring training in Tampa, Fla.

      On the field, he will wear a specially designed protective padding that fits inside his cap. The gear weighs 6 ounces and is made by Unequal Technologies. It consists of an insert and an outer flap similar to a batting helmet.

      "The Yankees contacted us to design something to meet with the approval of his neurologist," Unequal CEO Rob Vito told ESPN. "What we made protects his temple and the skull area where he had surgery."

      Farquhar, who has made relief appearances in 253 games with four teams since 2011, said he is grateful to be back on the field.

      "Every time I step on a big league mound it's pretty awesome," Farquhar said, per ABC. "And I can't wait for that moment."

      He added:

      "I was devastated that I wasn't going to be able to play. Little did I know I wasn't even thinking, 'Hey, man, your life just got saved by some doctors, and you're lucky to be alive.'"

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Machado, Padres meet for 2nd time
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    The San Diego Padres appear to be making a concerted effort to land free agent infielder Manny Machado.

    • Padres general manager A.J. Preller flew to Miami last week to have a second meeting with Machado, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Multiple media outlets subsequently confirmed the report.

      The most recent meeting that included Machado's wife, the Union-Tribune reported, signaling the possibility that the sides were trying to work toward an agreement.

      There was no comment from Machado or the Padres regarding the latest meeting.

      Machado, a four-time All-Star, is one of the marquee players still unsigned with spring training camps opening.

      Other teams reportedly in the running for Machado include the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, all of whom have met with the 26-year-old infielder this offseason.

      Padres representatives including Preller, general partner Peter Seidler and manager Andy Green, also met with free agent outfielder Bryce Harper in Las Vegas on Jan. 31.

      Harper and Machado reportedly are seeking in the neighborhood of $30 million a year.

      Harper, an six-time All-Star in seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, has also reportedly received interest from the Phillies, the White Sox and the San Francisco Giants.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mets to return deGrom's damaged Cy Young Award
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    As it turns out, the actual Cy Young Award is not as outstanding as the season it is supposed to represent.

    • The New York Mets indicated Thursday that Jacob deGrom's 2018 Cy Young Award will be shipped back to the manufacturer because it was damaged in transit, ESPN reported.

      The award was sent from New York to the team's spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but when it was unpacked, four letters in the word "OUTSTANDING" were damaged on the front of the plaque. On the back, a chunk of wood was missing.

      When the National League's Cy Young Award voting was revealed, deGrom had received 29 of the 30 first-place votes. The right-hander was just 10-9 for a disappointing Mets team last season, but his 1.70 ERA led all of baseball.

      The former Rookie of the Year was an All-Star for the second time in 2018 and finished fifth in NL MVP voting.

      --Field Level Media

  • Angels P Harvey out 10 days with glute strain
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    Los Angeles Angels right-hander Matt Harvey strained a glute muscle during agility drills and will be sidelined for about 10 days, manager Brad Ausmus said Thursday.

    • "You can recover (in) a week and a half," Ausmus told reporters at the team's spring training facility in Tempe, Ariz. "It depends on how he feels when we re-evaluate him, and how he feels and how quickly he can get back on the mound and what he's done in the interim."

      Harvey, an All-Star with the New York Mets in 2013, signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Angels in December.

      Harvey, who turns 30 next month, went 7-9 with a 4.94 ERA in 32 games (28 starts) last season with the Mets and Cincinnati Reds.

      In 133 career games since his 2012 debut, Harvey is 41-44 with a 3.80 ERA and 723 strikeouts in 767 1/3 innings.

      --Field Level Media

  • GM says Astros nearly landed Harper last July
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed Thursday that the Astros were tantalizingly close to landing six-time All-Star Bryce Harper at the July 2018 trade deadline.

    • "There was an agreement in principle in place and it didn't get over the finish line for whatever reason, out of our control. But yeah, we had interest," Luhnow told reporters at the Astros' spring training site in West Palm Beach, Fla. "We had worked out an agreement with players both ways."

      Harper, who remains on the free agent market, remained with the Washington Nationals and finished the 2018 season with 34 homers, 100 RBIs, 103 runs and a National League-leading 130 walks.

      The Astros went on to win the American League West for the second straight season without Harper, setting a franchise record with 103 wins before losing to the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.

      The Athletic reported last November that the Harper-to-Houston deal collapsed because Nationals ownership refused to sign off.

      According to that report, the proposed trade would have sent right-hander J.B. Bukauskas and two other prospects to Washington for Harper.

      Luhnow said Thursday the Astros would probably surprise a lot of observers by their level of involvement in trade talks, adding the team plans to be heavily involved again this summer if the team is in position to contend for the playoffs.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bauer accuses Indians of 'character assassination'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    One day after winning his arbitration case for $13 million, Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer called the last 10 minutes of his hearing with the Indians a "character assassination."

    • The All-Star right-hander beat Cleveland in the arbitration process for the second straight year on Wednesday, receiving $2 million more than the Indians offered.

      Although Bauer said he harbors no ill will toward the organization, he expressed his frustration with some of the points raised by the Indians during his hearing.

      "They spent the last 10 minutes of the case trying a character assassination," he told reporters Thursday. "I learned that giving to charity is a bad thing."

      Bauer was referencing the "69 Days of Giving" campaign he launched after winning his arbitration case last season.

      "They don't mention that I gave to 68 charities or that I donated more than $100,000," he said. "Or that the whole point of the campaign was to bring awareness to all those charities, past the money I was giving them. Nothing about that. They just tried to say that I was bad for donating or for running that campaign."

      Bauer finished sixth in the American League Cy Young Award voting in 2018 after going 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA before sustaining a stress fracture in his right leg in August.

      Bauer, 28, said he anticipates going through arbitration again next year. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 campaign.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Twins reach deals with SS Polanco, OF Kepler
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    The Minnesota Twins have agreed to long-term extensions with shortstop Jorge Polanco and right fielder Max Kepler, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday.

    • Polanco, 25, will reportedly receive a seven-year contract that includes a guaranteed $25.75 million through 2023, with team options for 2024 and 2025.

      Kepler, 26, receives a contract worth $35 million over five seasons with a sixth-year option for $10 million, sources told the newspaper.

      The Twins have scheduled a Friday morning news conference.

      Last season, the switch-hitting Polanco returned from an 80-game league suspension after testing positive for a banned substance and batted .288 with 27 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs and 38 runs in 77 games.

      Polanco has a career average of .272 with 23 homers and 147 RBIs since making his debut with the Twins in June 2014.

      The German-born Kepler batted .224 with 20 homers and 58 RBIs in 156 games in 2018. He finished third among American League right fielders in fielding percentage (.995) last season after leading the league in 2017 (.993).

      Kepler has batted .233 with 56 homers and 190 RBIs in 419 games with the Twins since 2015.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Cubs add veteran reliever Cedeno
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, February 14, 2019

    The Chicago Cubs signed veteran left-handed reliever Xavier Cedeno on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

    • Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that Cedeno agreed to a one-year, $900,000 contract that also includes $300,000 in performance incentives.

      Cedeno, 32, compiled a 2-0 record with a 2.43 ERA in 33 1/3 innings over a combined 48 games for the Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee last season. After an Aug. 31 trade to the Brewers, he had a 1.13 ERA in 15 appearances.

      Cedeno owns a 10-7 record, three saves, a 3.69 ERA and a strikeout rate of 8.9 per nine innings for five teams during an eight-year major league career spanning 249 relief appearances. He has also pitched for the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays.

      Becoming the 42nd pitcher in Cubs camp this spring, Cedeno fills the roster spot vacated Wednesday by Kendall Graveman, who was put on 60-day injured list. Graveman underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, and he might miss the entire season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Royals sign veteran lefty reliever Diekman
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman was signed Wednesday by the Kansas City Royals to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2020 worth a guaranteed $2.75 million.

    • The 32-year-old Diekman will make $2.25 million in base salary this season, with performance bonuses available for games and games finished. The Royals can buy out his option year for $500,000.

      To make room on the 40-man roster for Diekman, the Royals placed right-hander Jesse Hahn on the 60-day injured list. While recovering from Tommy John surgery, Hahn is not expected to be ready by Opening Day.

      Last season, Diekman pitched for the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks, finishing with a career-worst 4.73 ERA over 71 combined appearances.

      He has a career record of 14-15 with a 3.75 ERA and 383 strikeouts in 312 innings over 365 relief appearances. He appeared in 47 games for the Rangers and went 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA, 48 strikeouts and 23 walks in 39 innings.

      Following a trade to Arizona, his ERA soared to 7.53 while he allowed 18 hits and eight walks in 14 1/3 innings, with 18 strikeouts.

      Diekman, from Wymore, Neb., was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 30th round in 2007 from Cloud County (Kan.) Community College. He pitched for the Phillies from 2012-15, compiling a 9-11 record and a 3.84 ERA over 191 relief appearances covering 173 1/3 innings.

      He has seven career saves, all recorded with the Rangers.

      --Field Level Media