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Nick Vespi (abdomen) hopes to be ready for Opening Day.

Feb 04   5:01 PM

Vespi won't pitch for Team Italy in next month's World Baseball Classic while continuing to recover from last month's hernia surgery, but he hopes to be ready in time for Opening Day. The 27-year-old southpaw put up some impressive numbers last season at Triple-A Norfolk, but struggled in 25 relief appearances for the Orioles. He's vying for one of the final spots on Baltimore's season-opening roster and could wind up opening the year in the minors.

Angels general manager Perry Minasian told reporters on Saturday that Shohei Ohtani will make one Cactus League exhibition start this spring before leaving to pitch for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic.

Feb 04   4:00 PM

Minasian refused to comment on Ohtani's contract when pressed by reporters, so there's zero update here concerning any long-term contract extension talks between Ohtani and the Angels. The 28-year-old two-way sensation is expected to star for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic next month, but will be in Angels' camp until sometime around March 1.

Miguel Rojas (wrist) has been cleared to start swinging a bat.

Feb 04   4:00 PM

Rojas, who was acquired by the Dodgers last month in a trade with the Marlins, is still recovering from last month's right wrist surgery, so it's a positive sign that he's been cleared to start up a hitting progression. The soon-to-be 34-year-old hopes to play for Team Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic and should be ready for Opening Day. He's expected to fill a versatile utility role this season for Los Angeles.

Ha-Seong Kim said on Saturday that he's been told by the Padres that he'll play mostly second base this season.

Feb 04   2:33 PM

Kim added that he's prepared to shift around the infield as needed, but it sounds like he'll be the Padres' starting second baseman with free agent import Xander Bogaerts handling shortstop. Those dominoes likely mean that Fernando Tatis Jr. will be the club's primary left fielder (and occasional fill-in shortstop) this season once he's eligible to return from suspension on April 20.

Padres signed RHP Jake Sanchez to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   1:59 PM

Sanchez has yet to ascend to the majors and hasn't pitched in affiliated ball since the 2018 season. The 33-year-old right-hander has spent the last half-decade pitching in the independent Mexican League, most recently for the Sultanes de Monterrey.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said on Saturday that Hunter Pence will be in camp this spring in a coaching and mentoring role.

Feb 04   1:59 PM

This is fun. Pence hung up his cleats following the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, after a remarkable 14-year career, and will be with the Giants this spring to assist their next generation of talent. The 39-year-old spent nearly a decade in San Francisco and was a part of two World Series championship teams.

Mets RHP prospect Matt Allan underwent right elbow UCL revision surgery last month.

Feb 04   1:40 PM

Allan was considered a borderline top-100 prospect entering the 2021 season, but hasn't pitched since the 2019 campaign due to ongoing elbow issues, including Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old righty missed all of last season recovering from ulnar transposition surgery to repair a nerve issue. It's unclear when he'll be ready to resume pitching in minor league contests this upcoming season following his latest procedure.

Rockies re-signed SS Bret Boswell to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   1:40 PM

Among the top prospects in Colorado's system a few years ago, Boswell was removed from the Rockies' 40-man roster in the early stages of the 2021 season after suffering a serious ankle injury and has yet to reach the majors.

Diamondbacks signed SS Kevin Vicuña to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   1:40 PM

Rays signed RHP Graham Spraker to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   1:40 PM

Spraker was one of the better relief prospects in baseball heading into last season, but scuffled at Triple-A Buffalo, and wound up being released last August by the division-rival Blue Jays. He's an interesting low-risk lottery ticket for the Rays, who seem to have a knack when it comes to reclamation projects like this.

Reds signed OF Nick Martini to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   1:40 PM

Martini is yet another experienced outfielder getting a shot this spring at making the Reds' season-opening roster. The 32-year-old journeyman spent last season with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization. He spent the 2021 campaign with the Cubs, getting into 25 games at the big league level after spending the majority of the year stationed at Triple-A Iowa. He projects as a reserve outfield option at the highest level.

Royals general manager J.J. Picollo told reporters on Saturday that Hunter Dozier will be Kansas City's primary third baseman this season.

Feb 04   12:51 PM

Picollo added that Bobby Witt Jr. is the Royals' everyday shortstop with Nicky Lopez and Michael Massey in a competition this spring for the second-base job. It's a bit surprising that Dozier is Kansas City's preferred option at the hot corner in the wake of last month's Adalberto Mondesi trade, but he remains under contract through the 2024 season. He's posted a 680 OPS with just 28 homers and nine steals combined over the last two seasons.

Romy Gonzalez and Lenyn Sosa will compete in spring training for the White Sox' starting job at second base.

Feb 04   10:43 AM

Barring an unexpected acquisition prior to Opening Day, Gonzalez and Sosa are the most likely internal options to fill the White Sox' second-base void. Veteran journeymen Hanser Alberto and Erik González are in camp on minor league deals, but don't exactly profile as viable everyday options. It sounds like Chicago is penciling Leury Garcia into a utility role. There isn't a ton of fantasy appeal here, but it's a position battle worth following for managers in AL-only formats.

Rangers signed RHP Aidan Anderson to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   9:38 AM

Anderson spent the previous two seasons in the Phillies' minor league system and posted a 5.62 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 32/13 K/BB ratio across 41 2/3 innings (31 appearances, two starts) last year across three levels in the lower minors. The 25-year-old righty reliever has made just six appearances above High-A.

Mariners re-signed C Josh Morgan to a minor league contract.

Feb 04   9:38 AM

Morgan was a third-round selection of the Rangers back in 2014 and has yet to reach the majors. The 27-year-old backstop functioned as extra organizational catching depth across the Mariners' minor league system last year, getting into 26 contests across three levels. Simply put, someone has to catch a ton of bullpen sessions in the minor leagues for every organization.

Jordan Romano will not pitch for Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Feb 04   9:38 AM

Fantasy managers should expect to see more of these type of announcements in the coming weeks as teams seek to prevent critical pitchers from ramping up too early away from team facilities. Romano is among the elite closers in the fantasy landscape after recording 59 saves over the last two season to go along with a sublime 2.13 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 158/46 K/BB ratio across 127 innings (125 appearances).

Mariners sent RHP J.B. Bukauskas outright to Triple-A Tacoma.

Feb 03   9:53 PM

The 29-year-old had been designated for assignment earlier in the week, but he passed through waivers unclaimed and will continue to function as additional pitching depth for the Mariners. Bukauskas missed the entire 2022 campaign due to a teres major strain in his right shoulder and a hamstring injury that he suffered while rehabbing.

Jake McGee announced his retirement from professional baseball.

Feb 03   9:08 PM

The 36-year-old southpaw has struggled in recent seasons, but he was once considered among the top left-handed relievers in all of baseball. He finishes his career with a 3.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 79 saves and a 613/156 K/BB ratio over 572 1/3 innings spanning 13 big league seasons with the Rays, Rockies, Dodgers, Giants, Brewers and Nationals.

Padres signed RHP Nick Hernandez to a minor league contract.

Feb 03   7:39 PM

The 27-year-old hurler elected to explore the free agent market this winter after spending his entire minor league career with the Astros. Hernandez posted a strong 3.66 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and an 85/31 K/BB ratio over 64 innings in the minor leagues during the 2022 season -- most of that at Triple-A Corpus Christi. He'll begin the season at Triple-A El Paso, but if he pitches well we should see him in San Diego at some point during the 2023 season.

Mariners signed LHP Ian Clarkin to a minor league contract.

Feb 03   7:39 PM

The 27-year-old southpaw was a first-round selection (33rd overall) by the Yankees way back in 2013. Clarkin did not pitch during the 2022 season after posting an underwhelming 7.86 ERA, 1.85 WHIP and a 32/38 K/BB ratio over 68 2/3 innings between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque for the Rockies in 2021.

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