MLB In Full Bloom 2/14/2014

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45 – Number of days until Opening Day

Every camp is now open with pitchers and catchers reporting either yesterday or today. With the majority of the country dealing with winter storms and below freezing temperatures, it is difficult to imagine players playing long toss or taking batting practice. But, we're only 45 days until Opening Day. Let's put a wrap on the week that was in the MLB Hot Stove!

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jhonny Peralta has reported to Cardinals camp four days early. Peralta is eager for the fresh start with a new team and wants to put his 50-game suspension last year for PED use in the rear view mirror. Peralta became a free agent after the 2013 season and signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals worth $53 million, a deal that didn't sit well with many around baseball. Peralta should provide the Cardinals with more offense than Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma did last year.
  • Yasiel Puig (shoulder) is currently on a limited throwing program due to right shoulder inflammation. This has been an issue Puig has dealt with off and on last season and it flared up when he overthrew during the first day of camp.The Dodgers don't think it is a serious injury, but manager Don Mattingly wants to get to the bottom of why Puig continues to deal with the shoulder issue
  • Kole Calhoun "still looks like the leading candidate" to hit leadoff for the Angels. Erick Aybar is the other candidate, and it's possible he'll hit leadoff against lefties and Calhoun will hit there against righties. With Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton following him, Calhoun makes for a big-time fantasy sleeper if he settles into the top spot in the order. He hit .282 with eight homers and 32 RBI in 195 at-bats for the Angels.
  • Albert Pujols has already reported to Angels spring training camp in Arizona and is looking healthy. Pujols dropped seven pounds over the offseason and told reporters Thursday in Angels camp that his knee and foot are 100 percent healthy. He went on to say that he may even steal five or six stolen bases. Pujols has batted just .275 through his first two seasons with the Angels. He was a .328 hitter in 11 seasons with the Cardinals. Anaheim still owes him $222 million in guaranteed money.
  • Jake Arrieta (shoulder) is not expected to be healthy at the start of the 2014 regular season. Cubs manager Rick Renteria acknowledged that on Thursday after it was revealed that Arrieta battled shoulder tightness over the winter. The Cubs have several rotation candidates in camp, but they were hoping for a smooth spring from Arrieta, who posted a 3.66 ERA last year.
  • Erik Bedard and the Rays agreed to a minor league contract which includes an invitation to spring training. The Rays needed to enhance their pitching depth following Jeremy Hellickson's injury, and they've now done so with the addition of Nate Karns and Bedard over the last two days. Bedard posted a 4.59 ERA last season for the Astros, but he did strike out 138 in 151 innings.
  • Derek Jeter will address the media next Wednesday to discuss his retirement. Jeter stated on Thursday that he is waiting for position players to arrive before holding the press conference.
  • Jim Fregosi, 71, who spent 53 seasons in professional baseball, died early Friday morning from complications after suffering multiple strokes. Fregosi managed 15 years in the majors with the Angels, White Sox, Phillies, and the Blue Jays. He was a six-time All-Star shortstop played 18 seasons for the Angels, Mets, Rangers, and the Pirates.

MLB In Full Bloom 2/13//2014

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2– Number of days until pitchers and catchers report

46 – Number of days until Opening Day

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced on Wednesday that he will retire after this season "with absolutely no regrets," ending one of the greatest careers in the history of baseball's storied franchises. A 13-time All-Star who has led the Yankees to five World Series Championships, Jeter was limited to 17 games last season as he tried to recover from a broken left ankle. As word spread quickly, ticket prices for his final home game at Yankee stadium and across the baseball landscape is sky rocketing. For the Yankees final home game on September 25th against the Baltimore Orioles, tickets are going as high as $11,000 with the cheapest seat with an obstructed view going for $285.50. This is going to be a special season for Jeter and he deserves everything that is coming his way.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Mike Trout and the Angels are currently discussing a long-term deal with the goal being to reach an agreement before the start of the 2014 season. Trout and his agent were disappointed last spring when the Angels committed just a $510,000 salary to him for the 2013 season. Trout is still in the pre-arbitration stage of his career and won't have a say over how much he makes in 2014, but it will be considerably more than the major league minimum if a long-term extension can be worked out. It was reported that this contract will make Trout one of the highest paid players in the game and he deserves it.
  • Carlos Gonzalez is "way ahead of schedule after appendectomy and hernia surgery", according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. CarGo had emergency surgery on January 11 and was cleared for physical activity less than two weeks later. With Dexter Fowler gone, CarGo could conceivably play in center field this year, a position he hasn't played since 2011. Whether it's in left or center, it looks like CarGo should be ready to roll for Opening Day.
  • Cole Hamels (shoulder) said he is probably 8 to 10 days away from throwing a bullpen session. Hamels felt discomfort in his shoulder during his offseason throwing program, and he was advised to push things back for one month. He  does not expect to be ready to pitch Opening Day, but plans to join the Phillies rotation at some point in April.
  • Jose Lobaton was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Rays today. The Rays received Nate Karns in the deal. Negotiations went back and forth on for about a month, but the Rays finally pulled the trigger and sent Lobaton to Washington. He isn't a major factor at the plate, but he showed improvement last season and can hit from both sides of the plate. The Nats desperately need another option behind Wilson Ramos, and they didn't have to give up a whole lot to get one.
  • Suk-Min Yoon and the Orioles agreed to a three-year contract on Wednesday. The contract is pending a physical, which has been a sticking point for the O's this offseason, but the expectation is that Yoon will pass. He has experience as both a starter and reliever in Korea so it will be a wait and see for fantasy owners to decide how to determine his value.
  • Taijuan Walker will be limited early in camp due to shoulder soreness. The Mariners top pitching prospect is expected to be a member of the season-opening starting rotation and this shoulder issue shouldn't affect that as long as it doesn't linger into March.
  • Hisashi Iwakuma (hand) won't throw for 4-6 weeks due to a strained tendon in his right hand. Between this and the Cole Hamels news, this has not been a good day for starting pitchers. If Iwakuma can't throw for at least one month, it's hard to imagine him making it back to the Mariners until mid-to-late April and that's assuming everything goes according to plan. Be sure to push him down your drafts boards in fantasy leagues.

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