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Sources: Red Sox have 5-year deal with J.D.

Slugger coming off career-best 45 HRs, 104 RBIs in 2017
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The prolonged courtship of slugger J.D. Martinez has paid off for the Red Sox, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported via sources that the sides have reached agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes an opt-out clause after the second year.

The club hasn't announced the signing, which is pending a physical. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman was first to report the Red Sox and Martinez were close to a deal.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The prolonged courtship of slugger J.D. Martinez has paid off for the Red Sox, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported via sources that the sides have reached agreement on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes an opt-out clause after the second year.

The club hasn't announced the signing, which is pending a physical. MLB Network insider Jon Heyman was first to report the Red Sox and Martinez were close to a deal.

Hot Stove Tracker

Martinez gives the Red Sox the big bat they need to supplement a lineup that finished last in the American League with 168 homers last season. Even with the lack of power, Boston still won the AL East with 93 wins for the second straight season.

It took a while, but the Red Sox have now countered the blockbuster move the Yankees made earlier this winter when they acquired Giancarlo Stanton.

An outfielder, Martinez is likely to get a lot of his playing time for the Red Sox at designated hitter. The club has a strong starting outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.

Hanley Ramirez, who had been slotted in as Boston's starting designated hitter, will now share time at first base with Mitch Moreland. Ramirez can also DH when Martinez plays the outfield.

As far as the Red Sox were concerned, positional alignments were a non-factor in their pursuit of Martinez. They were focused on getting his bat.

Video: J.D. Martinez is the No. 5 right fielder right now

It's easy to see why. The 30-year-old Martinez had the best season of his career in 2017, mashing 45 homers in just 432 at-bats and leading the Major Leagues with a .690 slugging percentage.

Martinez did much of his damage down the stretch last season after getting traded from the Tigers to the D-backs. Arizona was the other main suitor for Martinez.

Fenway fans will now be treated to Martinez taking aim at the inviting Green Monster with his big, right-handed swing. However, this isn't to say Martinez is a pull hitter. He has an all-field approach with plenty of power to center and right-center.

The Red Sox established Martinez as their primary target for this offseason back in November.

After offering Martinez a five-year deal worth more than $100 million a few weeks back, the sides remained at a stalemate until talks finally surged forward with momentum on Monday.

Video: Must C Classic: Martinez hits four homers, plates six

Baseball's slower-than-normal offseason has started to pick up in recent days, most notably when first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to terms with the Padres on an eight-year deal on Saturday.

Rather than moving ahead to alternatives when negotiations were stalled with Martinez, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski stayed focused on his top target.

It was Dombrowski who took a flyer on Martinez with the Tigers on March 24, 2014, just two days after the outfielder had been released by the Astros.

Martinez swiftly emerged into a threat for Detroit and he was the best slugger on the free-agent market this winter.

The Red Sox will have a lineup led by Martinez, Betts, Benintendi and slugging 21-year-old Rafael Devers. The club also expects talented shortstop Xander Bogaerts to regain his form after an injury-plagued second half last season. Bradley and Ramirez are two other players who battled through injuries in 2017, and an uptick is certainly possible this season.

Combine that with a pitching staff that includes an elite ace in Chris Sale, a top closer in Craig Kimbrel and a five-time All-Star lefty coming back from an injury in David Price, and the Red Sox feel good about their chances to make a deep run in October after losing in the AL Division Series the last two years.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

While replicating his astonishing 2017 pace (45 homers, 104 RBIs in 119 games) will be a tall task, Martinez can be counted on to make another run at 40-plus homers and rank among the AL leaders in RBIs as part of a talented Red Sox lineup. The slugger warrants consideration during Round 2 of 2018 drafts, within the vicinity of star sluggers such as Kris Bryant, Carlos Correa and Joey Votto. While manager Alex Cora's immediate plans for Martinez are unclear at this time, this signing could reduce the playing time available for Moreland, Ramirez and Bradley. As a result, all three can now go undrafted in shallow leagues.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

Padres prepare to unveil Hosmer on Tues.

Battles for bullpen jobs, backup first baseman role begin
MLB.com @AJCassavell

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are expected to introduce Eric Hosmer, their shiny new first baseman, in a news conference Tuesday morning at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Hosmer, who agreed with the Padres on an eight-year contract that includes an opt-out after five seasons, arrived in Arizona on Monday to take his physical. The club is awaiting those results and has not yet officially confirmed the signing.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are expected to introduce Eric Hosmer, their shiny new first baseman, in a news conference Tuesday morning at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Hosmer, who agreed with the Padres on an eight-year contract that includes an opt-out after five seasons, arrived in Arizona on Monday to take his physical. The club is awaiting those results and has not yet officially confirmed the signing.

Spring Training information

Hosmer's pending arrival already has the Padres' clubhouse abuzz. Left-hander Matt Strahm, Hosmer's former teammate, is well aware of the impact Hosmer can make on a young team.

"The type of dude he is, he gets along with everyone," Strahm said. "He relates with everyone, which is awesome. He's very approachable. I don't know how to explain it, but what he's got is something I've never seen. I'm excited to have him here and can't wait to get going."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Hosmer batted .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers last season. He was a fan favorite in Kansas City, having helped lead a once-rebuilding club to consecutive American League pennants and the 2015 World Series title. He's been touted as a leader on a young Royals ballclub, and the Padres are hoping for more of the same in San Diego.

"He works hard and he's a vocal presence in the clubhouse," said right-hander Chris Young, who was also part of that '15 Royals team. "He's both. He's everything a teammate could be. He'll be a great addition."

Team officials have refrained from commenting publicly until the deal is finalized. But the club has already set the wheels in motion for Hosmer's arrival.

Wil Myers, who has agreed to move from first base to clear room for Hosmer, is taking reps in the outfield. Jose Pirela, meanwhile, will see increased playing time at second base, with fewer outfield at-bats to go around.

Bullpen battle begins

Field 1 saw four rounds of live batting practice Monday, featuring four pitchers on the 40-man roster -- none of whom have secured a place in the Padres bullpen.

Kyle McGrath, Phil Maton, Colten Brewer and Jose Castillo all faced live hitters Monday morning. They're due for one more round of live BP before pitching in Cactus League play (probably as early as Sunday).

As it stands, the Padres have four pitchers assured of their place in the bullpen -- Brad Hand, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates and Kazuhisa Makita. That leaves either three or four places available, with about 10 names set to compete for those spots.

Backup first-base race still open

Hosmer will be the Padres' starting first baseman -- of that there is little question. But it remains to be seen who will serve behind Hosmer at first base.

Myers and Chase Headley have plenty of experience there. Longtime first baseman Allen Craig, who is in camp on a non-roster invite, is another option. For now, however, it's unclear who gets reps behind Hosmer at first.

"We'll have some versatility on the roster with guys who have been at first base before and can bounce back there at any point in time," manager Andy Green said.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Allen Craig, Chase Headley, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers

MLB announces pace of play initiatives for '18

MLB.com @_dadler

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

A pitch clock -- giving the pitcher a certain amount of time to deliver the ball -- had been one of the major proposals considered. MLB decided to defer implementation of a pitch clock, as well as a between-batter timer, in order to give players an opportunity to respond to the new rules and positively affect pace of play throughout the 2018 season.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players," Manfred said in a statement. "My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions."

New phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout will be installed and monitored, limiting the ability of teams to steal signs, which is viewed as a contributing factor to the increasing number of mound visits. Rules governing when players can and cannot leave the batter's box between pitches, instituted during the 2017 season, remain in effect.

"Players were involved in the pace of game discussion from Day 1, and are committed to playing a crisp and exciting brand of baseball for the fans, but they remain concerned about rule changes that could alter the outcome of games and the fabric of the game itself -- now or in the future," said Tony Clark, the MLBPA executive director.

Here is a breakdown of the new rules:

• Mound visits: Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings. Teams will receive an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound will count as a mound visit. Visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on an injury or potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. Also, normal communication between player and pitcher that do not require either to vacate their position on the field do not count as a visit. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher.

Video: Hot Stove on mound visits regarding pace of play

• Between-inning breaks: As has been the case since the start of the 2016 season, a timer will count down between innings from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised games, from 2:25 in nationally televised games and from 2:55 for tiebreaker and postseason games. The difference now is that at the 25-second mark, the umpire will signal for the final warmup pitch and the pitcher must throw it before the clock hits 20. The batter will be announced at the 20-second mark and the pitcher must begin his windup to throw the first pitch of the inning as the clock hits zero. Another important change is that a pitcher is no longer guaranteed eight warmup pitches between innings. However, he can take as many as he wants within the countdown parameters noted above. The timer will start on the last out of the inning, unless the pitcher is on base, on deck or at bat, in which case the timer shall begin when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If the final out of the inning is subject to replay, the timer begins when the umpire signals the out.

• Timing of pitcher changes: The timing clock -- as listed above -- also applies to pitching changes, and it will begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track.

Video: Hot Stove on batter's box rule, replay review changes

• Instant replay: All club video review rooms will now receive direct slow-motion camera angles in order to speed up challenges and the resulting review. New phone lines will connect the rooms to the dugout and will be monitored to prevent their use for sign stealing.

Summary of 2018 Rule Changes

I) Mound Visits 
1. Number
A. 2018 Championship Season. Mound visits without a pitching change shall be limited to six (6) per team, per nine innings. For any extra-innings played, each Club shall be entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.  
B. OBR 5.10(l). Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), which governs mound visits by a manager or coach, remains in effect (i.e., a pitcher must be removed on the second visit by a manager/coach in an inning). 

2. Definition of Mound Visit. A manager or coach trip to the mound to meet with the pitcher shall constitute a visit. A player leaving his position to confer with the pitcher, including a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player, shall also constitute a mound visit, regardless of where the visit occurs or the length of the visit, except that the following shall not constitute mound visits:
A. Discussions between pitchers and position player(s) that (i) occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player(s) or the pitcher to relocate;
B. Visits by position players to the mound to clean spikes in rainy conditions;
C. Visits to the mound due to an injury or potential injury of the pitcher; and
D. Visits to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution.

3. Cross-Up in Signs. In the event a team has exhausted its allotment of mound visits in a game (or extra inning) and the home plate umpire determines that the catcher and pitcher did not have a shared understanding of the location or type of pitch that had been signaled by the catcher (otherwise referred to as a "cross-up"), the home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit. Any mound visit resulting from a cross-up prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team's total number of allotted mound visits.

II) Inning Breaks and Pitching Changes
1. Time of Break. The timer will count down from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised championship season games, from 2:25 for breaks in nationally televised championship season games, and from 2:55 for tie-breaker and postseason games as follows: 

Time Remaining | Required Action
25 seconds: 
Umpire signals pitcher to complete last warmup pitch.
20 seconds: Batter's announced and must leave on-deck circle, batter walk-up music shall begin, and pitcher shall complete last warmup pitch.
0 seconds: Pitcher must begin motion to deliver first pitch.

A. The pitcher may take as many warm-up pitches as he desires, but regardless of how many warm-up pitches he has thrown, he must deliver his final warm-up pitch at least 20 seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change. OBR 5:07 will be revised to reflect that pitcher is not guaranteed eight warm-up pitches. 
B. The umpire shall signal for the last warm-up pitch at 25 seconds, unless a special circumstance (as described below) applies. 
C. The batter must leave the on-deck circle and proceed directly to the batter's box when the pitcher throws his final warm-up pitch.  
D. The pitcher must begin his motion for the first pitch as soon as the batter steps into the box and is alert to the pitcher; provided, however, the pitcher cannot begin his motion for the first pitch more than five seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change so that television is ensured to be back from commercial break. 

2. Special Circumstances. A Player will be excused from following the time limits set forth above if the umpire determines that any of the following special circumstances are present:  
A. There is a delay in normal warm-up activities during the inning break due to no fault of the Players (e.g., injury or other medical emergency, equipment issues, playing field or grounds crew issues);
B. The umpire believes the pitcher is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to throw warm-up pitches; 
C. The umpire believes the batter is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to enter the batter's box; 
D. Any other special circumstances which, in the umpire's judgment, warrant allowing the pitcher to throw after the deadline. 

3. Start of Timer for Inning Breaks
A. Last Out of Inning. The timer shall start on the last out of an inning for an inning break.   
B. Close Plays/Replay Review. The Field Timing Coordinator shall delay the start of the timer if the final out of the inning is a close play that may be reviewed by instant replay. If the final out of the inning is determined in instant replay, the timer shall start as soon as the out is signaled by the umpire.  
C. Pitcher or Catcher On Base/On Deck. If a pitcher ends an inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer shall reset when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If a catcher ends the inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer will reset when the catcher enters the dugout (and another catcher must begin warming up the pitcher). 
 
4. Start of Timer for Pitching Changes
A. Pitcher Crosses Warning Track. The pitching change timer shall begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens) to enter the game. In the case of a pitching change that occurs during an inning break, the timer shall reset if previously started as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens).  
B. Relief Pitchers Must Promptly Leave Bullpen. Relief pitchers shall leave the bullpen promptly following an appropriate signal by their manager or coach. During the playing of God Bless America, or any other extended inning event previously approved by the Office of the Commissioner, the timer will begin at the conclusion of the song or event. 
 
5. Enforcement. Umpires shall direct players and enforce the inning break and pitching change time limits on the field. Players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline for just cause by the Office of the Commissioner pursuant to Article XI(C) of the Basic Agreement.

III. Batter's Box Rule
The batter's box rule that was in effect during the 2017 season will remain in effect during the 2018 season.

IV. Video Replay Review
The following adjustments will be made to the video replay technology:
A. Install capability for all Club video review rooms to receive direct slow motion camera angles for the 2018 championship season; 
B. Install new phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout, and monitor the communications over those lines to prevent their use for sign-stealing.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Judge, Stanton add ding, zing to first spring BP

Fans pack Steinbrenner Field as Yankees sluggers put on inaugural show
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sixty players passed through the runway that leads from the home clubhouse to the dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Monday morning, but all eyes seemed to be locked upon Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Hacking at batting-practice fastballs for the first time as teammates, the headliners of last summer's Home Run Derby generated much the same sizzle as they did that memorable night in Miami, with each of their swings prompting audible reactions from an estimated crowd of about 2,000.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sixty players passed through the runway that leads from the home clubhouse to the dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Monday morning, but all eyes seemed to be locked upon Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Hacking at batting-practice fastballs for the first time as teammates, the headliners of last summer's Home Run Derby generated much the same sizzle as they did that memorable night in Miami, with each of their swings prompting audible reactions from an estimated crowd of about 2,000.

• Judge-Stanton BP debut goes as expected

"The fans, the moment we touched the dirt, they were buzzing and ready for us to get in the cage," Stanton said. "That was really cool. Like nothing I've ever experienced in the spring."

Video: Stanton talks about the fans at batting practice

With the Major League home run leaders from last season batting in a group that also included Gary Sanchez and Jacoby Ellsbury, Stanton won the first pinstriped mini-Home Run Derby of 2018 during Monday's full-squad workout, cracking four blasts to Judge's two.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

More importantly, the showcase provided a sneak preview of the rock-star atmosphere that promises to follow the Yankees during the 2018 season, with Judge and Stanton shining as the team's brightest lights. The Yankees recently opted to open gates three hours early for Spring Training home games so fans won't miss a swing.

"I think they understand the buzz," manager Aaron Boone said. "They understand it's always going to be something that's talked about, certainly at home, but even when we go on the road. Frankly, I think that's a good thing, because it helps promote our sport."

Video: Boone reacts to Judge, Stanton taking first BP

While many of their 30 swings weren't in midseason form, Judge and Stanton each connected for notable drives. Judge cleared a grandstand during his final round, while Stanton clipped the "F" in George M. Steinbrenner Field atop the scoreboard. Judge was impressed by Stanton's drives into the wind, saying, "You can just hear it. It comes off his bat different."

"From what I've seen so far, he's a guy that's going to go out there and do his job, get the work done," Judge said. "That's what I saw in his cages. He's preparing the right way, I saw him in the weight room going through his normal routine. He's just here to work."

• Yankees' Spring Training information

With the focus on Judge and Stanton, Sanchez's strokes were reduced to a footnote. The slugging backstop crushed several impressive drives, including one that struck a concrete pillar beyond the wall in left-center field.

Tweet from @Yankees: *Kraken bat crack* pic.twitter.com/BeCwJpWQLZ

"Gary rakes. That's what I think," Boone said. "He's special. He gets in that box, and yeah, I do think he gets overlooked. I can't wait to see what he's going to do again this year."

It was the first on-field hitting session of the year for Judge, who had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in November. Judge said that "nothing is holding me back," and that he never swings at max effort during batting practice.

Video: Outlook: Judge looks to follow up stellar rookie year

"My job is to barrel up the baseball as many times as I can," Judge said. "I've got to stick to my routine. It doesn't matter if there's zero people in the stands or if it's packed. I've just got to work on certain things so I can go in the game and perform."

Stanton said that the fans did not affect his workout in any way, though he joked that he was "playing pepper with the cage a little bit." Stanton said that he typically tries to hit the ball to right field, focusing on back spin and staying inside the ball rather than trying to drop jaws in the crowd.

"I know they're here for the entertainment, but we've got to get our work in, too," Stanton said. "That's my usual approach in BP. That's what got me to this point. It's not going to change."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton

Bryce: 'I'm focused on this year,' not free agency

Harper wants to see Nationals fulfill postseason promise in 2018
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Before he began his first press conference of the spring, Bryce Harper sat down at the table, adjusted his hat and then pulled out his phone. He had prepared a statement to read to the jam-packed room, ready to cut off the questions he knew would be coming.

Harper said he would not be answering any questions about his future beyond the 2018 season, when his highly anticipated free agency is set to begin. He directed all inquiries to his agent, Scott Boras, and threatened to walk out of the room if asked about his impending free agency.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Before he began his first press conference of the spring, Bryce Harper sat down at the table, adjusted his hat and then pulled out his phone. He had prepared a statement to read to the jam-packed room, ready to cut off the questions he knew would be coming.

Harper said he would not be answering any questions about his future beyond the 2018 season, when his highly anticipated free agency is set to begin. He directed all inquiries to his agent, Scott Boras, and threatened to walk out of the room if asked about his impending free agency.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

"I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all," Harper said Monday afternoon. "I'm focused on this year. I'm focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year."

Harper's impending free agency will be one of the biggest storylines throughout all of MLB this season. He will headline perhaps the biggest free-agent class in baseball history, which will include stars such as Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and potentially even Clayton Kershaw. Harper is expected to be the biggest prize considering his rare combination of talent, accomplishments and youth. He will turn just 26 years old this October, but is already a five-time All-Star, former Rookie of the Year and the National League Most Valuable Player Award winner.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Rarely do players in their prime at that age hit the open market, so some predict Harper could command the largest contract in baseball history as a result -- even topping the 13-year, $325 million pact Giancarlo Stanton signed with Miami in 2014.

However, Harper still has one season left on his contract in Washington, and he intends to stay focused on that.

"I just think every single year I go in, I have my same goals, I have my same plans. And that's to win," Harper said. "That's to be prepared to focus on every single day and do the things I can to help this team win."

Video: Bryce Harper on stacked Nats lineup, rotation

Harper proved again last season that he is one of the sport's most dynamic players when he stays on the field. In 111 games last year, he belted 29 home runs with a 1.008 OPS and was worth 4.8 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. But a bone bruise and hyperextended left knee caused Harper to miss about a month, only to return just in time for the postseason. Aside from a mammoth home run in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Cubs, Harper struggled to find his timing for much of that playoff series.

The knee did not hinder him at all this offseason, however, and Harper showed up to camp appearing to have gained a few more pounds of muscle. Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo has worked out with Harper for years in the offseason and said Harper was "as focused as he's ever seen him" this winter. It's similar to a year ago, when Harper arrived to camp having added a few pounds of muscle and then played like an MVP candidate for the season's first half before his injury.

Video: Bryce Harper talks health, mindset for 2018

"Stay healthy. That's all I want to do," Harper said. "If I stay healthy, I can be one of the best players in the game."

The Nationals are hopeful for more of the same this season.

Along with Harper's contract status, the Nats have a few other prominent players with expiring contracts, meaning 2018 might be Washington's final chance to win the World Series with its current core. Harper has been a key contributor to the Nationals' teams that have won four division titles in six seasons, even as a few members of the rest of the cast have moved on recently.

"I think I've been lucky enough to play for a great team," Harper said. "We've gotten to the playoffs numerous times. You look at a young guy like [Dan Marino] that gets there their first year and never gets back. It's tough. You always want to get there and get there and get there, because you might never get back.

"Every single year you come in here and try to win ballgames and do the things you can to help this team win. We all want to come together and pull on the same rope. We do it every single year. We're expected to win. That's how it is. You always have that pressure, you always have that pressure to win and everything like that. But we've got a great team, and we've been so close."

This could be the final time Harper arrives to the Nationals' complex in West Palm Beach for Spring Training. And if so, his focus remains on this final season, and he does not want to look to anything beyond.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper

Brinson visits Parkland students in hospital

Native of nearby Coral Springs, Fla., Marlins outfielder glad to cheer up kids
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- The day before the Marlins started full-squad workouts, outfielder Lewis Brinson had more than baseball on his mind. The 23-year-old made a trip to a local hospital to visit two students being treated for injuries sustained in last week's shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Brinson made an impromptu visit and spent some time with the students and their families. He had not previously known the students, nor did he reveal their full names or which specific hospital they are being treated.

JUPITER, Fla. -- The day before the Marlins started full-squad workouts, outfielder Lewis Brinson had more than baseball on his mind. The 23-year-old made a trip to a local hospital to visit two students being treated for injuries sustained in last week's shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Brinson made an impromptu visit and spent some time with the students and their families. He had not previously known the students, nor did he reveal their full names or which specific hospital they are being treated.

• Marlins' Spring Training information

"Those kids are warriors," Brinson said. "What they went through, all the wounds they have. They have battle scars for being in high school. That's unheard of. It needs to stop at some point."

A resident of Coral Springs, Fla., Brinson lives close to Stoneman Douglas High, which was his high school's biggest rival. Brinson and the Marlins will pay tribute to Stoneman Douglas on their caps prior to Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals in Jupiter.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"It was a hard moment for me last week just to know something could go on in a neighborhood I grew up in," Brinson said. "It was a tough pill for me to swallow. But they'll get through it."

On Monday, it was time for baseball, with the Marlins having their first full-squad workouts at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. But Brinson pledged that he would make a return visit to see the Douglas students.

"I told them I would be back to check on them," Brinson said. "For all the heartache and pain they're going through, I was glad I was able to put a smile on those kids' faces. Just to say hi to them."

Tweet from @JoeFrisaro: Taking his swings @LewisBrinson @Marlins #SpringTraining pic.twitter.com/YAaUQnQjyo

Ready to turn the page

Before taking the field for the first full-squad workouts, a couple of prominent Marlins from the past few seasons once again addressed Miami's offseason moves.

In a busy offseason, the Marlins traded Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. The revamped roster includes a number of new faces that were acquired in those offseason trades.

Third baseman Martin Prado said the players who were dealt will be missed, but it's time for a new beginning.

"Those guys are super professional," Prado said. "I wish them the best, wherever they are at. Now, I have to handle myself. I have to handle my new teammates. We have to move on."

First baseman Justin Bour noted that even last season, when the team fell far out of the race by the All-Star break, that sweeping changes could be made.

Video: Outlook: Bour poised for elite season if healthy

"I think we had a good possibility this could happen," Bour said. "We talked to each other throughout the season and this offseason. We realized it was something that might take place. It wasn't like some crazy thing just happened out of nowhere.

"Obviously, it's tough to lose those guys. We played with them. They're your friends. But you've got to continue to do your job, be professional and go out there and play every day."

Live BP

With the first Grapefruit League game scheduled for Friday against the Cardinals, the position players don't have much time before they see game action.

So the first day position players were on the field, the hitters faced live pitching.

"It's definitely an advantage for the pitchers," catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "It's tough as a batter the first day of live BP. It looks like everybody is throwing 110 mph. So that's always fun."

Among the pitchers Realmuto faced were hard-throwing Sandy Alcantara, who does throw 100 mph. Realmuto lined one Alcantara fastball to deep center field.

Tweet from @JoeFrisaro: Future @Marlins aces Jorge Guzman (left) and Sandy Alcantara #SpringTraining 🔥 ������ Both regularly top 100 mph @MLB pic.twitter.com/HqqHHL2hjc

"For the pitchers, it's just nice for them to finally get a hitter in the box and kind of working on the stuff they've been working on, and actually competing and trying to get guys out," Realmuto said.

Worth noting

• The roster is at 69 players, but one was unable to report. Outfielder Rafael Ortega had visa issues and has not been able to leave his native Venezuela.

Up next: The Marlins on Tuesday will be taking the field at 9:30 a.m. ET at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. Workouts are open to the public.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins

Ricketts eyes Series return as Cubs open camp

Owner meets with players and coaches, hungry for another title
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Even though the Cubs won their division and reached the National League Championship Series last season, chairman Tom Ricketts said he enjoyed the 2016 season more than last year. Cubs fans can understand why, since the team ended a 108-year drought in '16 by winning the World Series. What about this year?

"Coming out of our team meeting, the vibe feels a lot like two years ago," Ricketts said Monday after addressing the Cubs' players and staff. "Everybody's in a really good place and everybody is hungry and wants to get the season off to a great start and make this a memorable year."

MESA, Ariz. -- Even though the Cubs won their division and reached the National League Championship Series last season, chairman Tom Ricketts said he enjoyed the 2016 season more than last year. Cubs fans can understand why, since the team ended a 108-year drought in '16 by winning the World Series. What about this year?

"Coming out of our team meeting, the vibe feels a lot like two years ago," Ricketts said Monday after addressing the Cubs' players and staff. "Everybody's in a really good place and everybody is hungry and wants to get the season off to a great start and make this a memorable year."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Ricketts said he was happy the Cubs were able to keep the core of young position players together and said the rotation, thanks to the late addition of Yu Darvish, is most likely the best one the Cubs have had since he took over the team in October 2009.

"Everyone knows that this is a team that has the capability to win a World Series, and everyone will be disappointed if we don't live up to that capability," Ricketts said. "We very much expect to win. We have the ability to win. Our division got a lot tougher, as you guys know, and the playoff opponents we faced last year are likely to be waiting for us again. We have to get off to a good start."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

During his meeting with the team, Ricketts provided an update on Wrigley Field's renovations, which are heading into the homestretch. The 1914 Club will open behind home plate, and a new hotel, located across Clark Street from the ballpark, will be ready for guests this year.

"We see the transformation of the entire neighborhood continuing forward," Ricketts said. "We're just excited to get that rolling. I think 2018 will be an incredible year for the organization, and we're looking forward to it."

Ricketts discussed some other topics as well:

• Ricketts had 12-15 conversations this offseason with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein regarding additions to the rotation.

"I think that, on paper, this is the strongest rotation we've had," he said. "I think being able to bring in a player of [Darvish's] caliber reminds everyone we're intending to win our division and go all the way."

• The slow-moving free-agent market created a "unique offseason," Ricketts said. Next year's free-agent class, which could include Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, may have influenced some decisions that teams made, he said.

"It's a competitive market, and every team is out there trying to manage their resources in a way they think will help them win," he said.

• Ricketts complimented first baseman Anthony Rizzo for how he dealt with a difficult time. Rizzo's high school was the scene of a tragic shooting last week in which 17 people were killed, and the All-Star delivered an impassioned speech to his alma mater in the wake of the tragedy.

"Anthony's character has always been one of the most amazing things I've seen in baseball," Ricketts said. "What he's done for his causes, and what he's done for cancer, and the amount of time he gives to kids and the amount of energy he puts into his own charitable effort is remarkable.

"Obviously, he was the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year in baseball last year as the most community-minded player in the game. Last week, he took it to the next level. It was his high school, he's close to it and he responded like a person with true character. I can't say enough about what a great person he is."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs

Source: D-backs agree to terms with Dyson

Moments after news of J.D. signing with Red Sox, Arizona inks speedy outfielder
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Not long after word began coming out that J.D. Martinez had signed a five-year deal with the Red Sox, so too did the news that the D-backs had agreed to terms with Jarrod Dyson on a two-year contract worth $7.5 million, which was confirmed by a baseball source.

The D-backs have not confirmed the agreement with Dyson.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Not long after word began coming out that J.D. Martinez had signed a five-year deal with the Red Sox, so too did the news that the D-backs had agreed to terms with Jarrod Dyson on a two-year contract worth $7.5 million, which was confirmed by a baseball source.

The D-backs have not confirmed the agreement with Dyson.

A source also told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that Dyson's deal includes performance bonuses each year: $50,000 at 100 and 125 games played; and $50,000 each at 350, 400 and 450 plate appearances.

The timing of the news was somewhat coincidental, but another source indicated that the club had planned on signing Dyson regardless of whether Martinez returned. The source also said the D-backs are continuing to pursue additional outfield help.

Dyson, 33, spent the 2017 season with Seattle, batting .251/.324/.350 with five homers, 30 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 111 games. Dyson spent the first seven years of his career in Kansas City before being dealt to the Mariners in January 2017.

Video: BAL@SEA: Dyson throws out Machado for double play

A Martinez return to Arizona had been viewed as a long shot given the type of contract the slugger was looking for, combined with the fact that the D-backs already projected to open the season with a record payroll of nearly $130 million.

However, with Martinez unsigned as camps opened along with news that Martinez's agent and D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick had met multiple times during the offseason, there remained a sliver of hope for D-backs fans.

The D-backs were believed to have explored shorter-term contracts with Martinez, who eventually accepted a five-year deal with the Red Sox, according to MLB.com's Jon Morosi.

Outfield help has been the one area of need the D-backs had not yet addressed during the offseason.

The prospect of losing Martinez and outfielder Gregor Blanco to free agency left Arizona with A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Yasmany Tomas as likely starters, with Jeremy Hazelbaker and Socrates Brito being the only other two outfielders on its 40-man roster.

While D-backs GM Mike Hazen was asked throughout the offseason about the possibility of bringing back Martinez, he continued to say that the team was "engaged in the entire outfield market" in search for help.

"They have so many different possibilities that they're looking at, be it trade or free agency," D-backs team president and CEO Derrick Hall said of Hazen while meeting with reporters on Monday morning before any of the news broke. "He wants to improve this team even more. He's looking at areas where we could improve, and he's focused on outfield at this time, so we'll see what happens."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Jarrod Dyson

Lincecum reportedly has MLB offer, not from SF

MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

Tim Lincecum has a guaranteed Major League contract offer, according to SB Nation's Grant Brisbee.

Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2016 with the Angels, reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball during a showcase for about 20 scouts outside Seattle on Thursday.

Tim Lincecum has a guaranteed Major League contract offer, according to SB Nation's Grant Brisbee.

Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2016 with the Angels, reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball during a showcase for about 20 scouts outside Seattle on Thursday.

Hot Stove Tracker

The 33-year-old right-hander was a four-time NL All-Star in nine seasons with the Giants, whom he helped win three World Series championships in 2010, '12 and '14. His final season with San Francisco was cut short when he underwent hip surgery to repair a torn labrum in '15.

From 2008-11, Lincecum posted a 2.81 ERA with 10.0 K/9 innings with the Giants, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards in his first two full seasons (2008-09). He gave up one run on three hits over eight innings, striking out 10 Rangers in San Francisco's title-clinching victory in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series, the franchise's first championship since moving from New York in 1958.

The Angels signed Lincecum to a one-year deal in May 2016, and he made nine starts over which he posted a 9.16 ERA. His fastball velocity averaged 88.4 mph, down from a mid-90s fastball he featured when he first arrived in the big leagues.

In Thursday's showcase, a source told MLB.com's Mark Feinsand that the diminutive Lincecum had a new physique, looking "ripped," without "an ounce of fat on him."

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Tim Lincecum

Felix, Yadi lead select group in it for long haul

With Hosmer leaving KC, here's a look at players who have stuck with one club
MLB.com @williamfleitch

Over the weekend, Eric Hosmer agreed to a big honking eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres, a team eager to show it's ready to contend in the near future, for better or for worse. Hosmer is many things, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, a one-time All-Star, a World Series champion, but more than anything else, he has been a Royal.

Hosmer, along with Salvador Perez, is the physical avatar of one of the two most successful eras in Royals history. He started out as the superstar prospect who pointed to a better future, then became the slightly disappointing young player once he reached the Majors, to the leader of a team that won a World Series, to a legitimate top-shelf down-ballot MVP Award candidate, to ultimately the most Royal thing of all: A free agent who left town.

Over the weekend, Eric Hosmer agreed to a big honking eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres, a team eager to show it's ready to contend in the near future, for better or for worse. Hosmer is many things, a four-time Gold Glove Award winner, a one-time All-Star, a World Series champion, but more than anything else, he has been a Royal.

Hosmer, along with Salvador Perez, is the physical avatar of one of the two most successful eras in Royals history. He started out as the superstar prospect who pointed to a better future, then became the slightly disappointing young player once he reached the Majors, to the leader of a team that won a World Series, to a legitimate top-shelf down-ballot MVP Award candidate, to ultimately the most Royal thing of all: A free agent who left town.

Hosmer played seven years in Kansas City, and he is among the all-time franchise leaders in several categories, from homers (eighth) to RBIs (eighth) to hits (ninth) to games played (11th). (It is worth noting that he's not in the top 25 in all-time Royals bWAR, even though current and recent Royals like Alex Gordon, eighth, Lorenzo Cain, 13th, and Perez, 21st, all are).

Video: Butera, Duffy and Herrera react to Hosmer departure

Had Hosmer re-signed with the Royals, like many suspected he would, he likely would have moved into the top five, and maybe even the top two (he wasn't catching George Brett in anything) in almost every Royals career category. He would have been Mr. Royal, the representation of this era of Royals baseball in a way similar to the way Brett was in the '80s.

But he didn't, because players of course rarely do anymore. It has become an article of faith that the days of Stan Musial and Carl Yastrzemski and Cal Ripken, Hall of Famers staying with the same franchises their entire careers, are long in the past, though it is worth noting that Chipper Jones, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, Jim Rice, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken have all been inducted in the last decade. (And Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are coming in the next few years.) But certainly finding guys who stay with one team their whole career are few and far between. You'd be surprised how few players have even made it deep into their second contract with one team.

So, today, we look at the longest-tenured active careers with one team, for both pitchers and hitters. It can be a little tricky for pitchers, because, due to injuries, sometimes pitchers can play for one franchise for a decade without actually, you know, pitching all that much. So we'll look at the top 10 in career innings pitched for one team for pitchers (which eliminated some relievers, but not all), and total games played for hitters. Hosmer had a chance to top the latter list someday. But that opportunity ended this weekend. He'll have to buy his own beers in Kansas City from now on. (Thanks to Baseball Reference's Play Index for the research help.)

PITCHERS

10. Dallas Keuchel, Astros, 984 2/3 IP (debuted in 2012)
Keuchel had a 5.21 ERA in his first two seasons over 38 starts before turning it on in 2014 and then winning the Cy Young in '15. It feels like Keuchel just got here, another reason it's so amazing to see him in the top 10 already. (No. 11 on this list is Chris Archer, by the way.)

Video: Keuchel discusses pitching again in Spring Training

9. Julio Teheran, Braves, 1,009 2/3 IP (debuted in 2011)
Teheran first appeared in Atlanta when he was 20, which is why it feels like he's been around forever even though he only turned 27 a couple of weeks ago. For what it's worth, Greg Maddux didn't even get to Atlanta until he was 27.

8. Corey Kluber, Indians, 1,091 IP (debuted in 2011)
Kluber has now thrown more than 203 innings a season for four consecutive seasons, and that's not even counting the postseason. He didn't make his first start for Cleveland until he was Teheran's age. The Indians have him under contract through 2021, when he will be 34.

7. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals, 1,099 2/3 IP (debuted in 2010)
It's a little disconcerting seeing Strasburg on this list, isn't it? It seems like just yesterday that he was the phenom who was going to change the sport. Also: So much of his career has been about reducing his innings. But here he is. The Nationals will be paying him through 2030, by the way.

Video: Strasburg is the No. 5 starting pitcher right now

6. Chris Tillman, Orioles, 1,118 1/3 IP (debuted in 2009)
A free agent this offseason, news broke Monday that Tillman is returning to the O's on a one-year deal, according to multiple sources. Considering he had a 7.84 ERA last season, perhaps he should consider himself fortunate to be pitching in 2018 at all.

5. Homer Bailey, Reds, 1,124 IP (debuted in 2007)
There is a special slot on this list for Bailey, who is here because of the rarely used "they can't get rid of his contract so let's call it 'longevity'" principle. The Reds are hoping Bailey can "lead' their rotation, which might be asking a lot of a guy who hasn't had an ERA under 5.56 since 2014. They owe him $49 million over the next two seasons (counting a $5 million buyout after 2019), so, suffice it to say, Reds fans will still be seeing plenty of the Christian Bale doppleganger for a while.

4. Madison Bumgarner, Giants, 1,508 2/3 IP (debuted in 2009)
Now we're getting somewhere. The final four pitchers on this list are all staples, the faces of their franchises for a decade now. Bumgarner finally had the injury season in 2017 many had feared, but because of a bike crash rather than wear and tear. He is somehow still only 28.

Video: Bumgarner discusses his excitement for 2018 season

3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, 1,891 2/3 IP (debuted in 2005)
Wainwright has had the two worst seasons of his career the past two years, and there has been enough worry about him that he felt compelled to have a news conference last week saying he'd no longer be taking retirement questions. The Cardinals still want him to hold a spot in the rotation or, failing that, at least the chance to bow out gracefully. He'll remain beloved no matter what happens: Clinching a World Series your rookie season as a closer and then becoming an ace over the next few years will do that.

2. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, 1,935 IP (debuted in 2008)
He's about 400 innings behind Sandy Koufax, and he's now almost the same age Koufax was when he retired. (He'll turn 30 a month from today.) Whether he passes Koufax depends entirely on whether or not he re-signs with the Dodgers at the end of the year. He may have a few outside suitors.

1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 2,502 1/3 IP (debuted in 2005)
It was the worst year of King Felix's career, though his strikeouts crept up a tick, maybe a positive sign moving forward? The Mariners are not asking too much from him anymore; they'd just like him to have a smile on his face again.(Pssst: A playoff appearance might help that.)

HITTERS

10. Brett Gardner, Yankees, 1,218 games (debuted in 2008)
Usually you have to be a Hall of Famer for a Yankee to make this list, but Gardner has proven just handy enough to stick around for a decade now. It probably ends this season: He's a free agent after the World Series. (No. 11 on the list is Freddie Freeman, by the way.)

Video: Outlook: Gardner is productive but may not match 2017

9. Elvis Andrus, Rangers, 1,379 games (debuted in 2009)
How have we gotten so impossibly old that baby-faced Andrus is a grizzled veteran now? We're going to blink and Rougned Odor is going to be 53.

8. Alex Gordon, Royals, 1,412 games (debuted in 2007)
Gordon holds the Bailey spot on this list, a guy who's going to remain here not because of his play, but because of his dreadful contract. It's possible the Royals had Gordon in mind when deciding not to give Hosmer that eighth year.

7. Joey Votto, Reds, 1,430 games (debuted in 2007)
Votto maybe had his best season in 2017 and would have been this scribe's choice for National League MVP. If the Reds haven't traded Votto already, they certainly aren't going to now. His contract could go all the way through 2024, when he'll be 40 and probably still getting on base in half his at-bats.

Video: Votto on gaining weight, creating winning culture

6. Ryan Braun, Brewers, 1,458 (debuted in 2007)
Braun was expected to be trade bait at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last season, but the Brewers ended up in a pennant chase, so they needed him. Braun could have been a Brewers legend if it hadn't been for, well, you know, but even with all the outside unpleasantness, the Brewers have gotten a great deal on his contract, and he's still cheap for the next three years. He may end up retiring a Brewer after all?

5. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox, 1,503 games (debuted in 2006)
A moment to remember players who dropped out of the top 12 last year: Andre Ethier (whom the Dodgers aren't bringing back), Evan Longoria (traded to San Francisco) and Andrew McCutchen (ditto). Laser Show is going to play second base for the Red Sox until he dies, and probably a little while after that.

4. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, 1,552 games (debuted in 2005)
It's funny to think that when Zimmerman was a prospect, we all referred to him as "a player in the Expos' organization." He never wore Montreal garb, sadly, but he did hit a career high in homers last year.

Video: Outlook: Zimmerman may have trouble repeating '17

3. David Wright, Mets, 1,583 games (debuted in 2004)
Included because he's under contact and wants to come back. He hasn't made it into a game since May 27, 2016. The Mets insurers are rooting for him to come back, and so should you.

2. Joe Mauer, Twins, 1,731 games (debuted in 2004)
Mauer's mammoth contract finally expires after this year, and while it might not have been the most efficient spending of cash, the guy is still productive and useful. Paul Molitor thinks he's "going to be a lifelong Twin," but that might be optimistic. Amazing stat: Mauer has played in 14 postseason games and lost 13 of them.

1. Yadier Molina, Cardinals, 1,747 games (debuted in 2004)
It really is remarkable that the top guy on this list is an everyday catcher. Carson Kelly is knocking on his door, but Yadi is signed through 2020 and remains the most beloved Cardinal since Ozzie Smith. He'll be allowed to play as long as he wants in one capacity or another. He's 18th in all-time games caught; if he catches 130 this year (and he's only been under that once in the last decade), he'll pass Lance Parrish for 12th.

Video: Outlook: Molina could continue power surge

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Trout drops everything to watch Ohtani hit

Mike Trout reported to Spring Training leaving a very successful offseason behind him. His favorite team won the Super Bowl, he improved his meteorology knowledge, he exchanged vows with his bride, Jessica, and he got the news his team would acquire two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani. And now that he has arrived in Arizona, he finally witnessed Ohtani at work.

Tigers pitchers welcome Gardenhire with prank

New manager got up-close look at his players' sense of humor at first full-squad workout
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ron Gardenhire addressed Tigers pitchers and catchers prior to his first Spring Training workout as Detroit manager and warned them that he might take a while to learn their names.

"So, if I call you buddy," Jordan Zimmermann recalled Gardenhire saying, "when you go running off, I'll look at the back of your jersey and know who you are."

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ron Gardenhire addressed Tigers pitchers and catchers prior to his first Spring Training workout as Detroit manager and warned them that he might take a while to learn their names.

"So, if I call you buddy," Jordan Zimmermann recalled Gardenhire saying, "when you go running off, I'll look at the back of your jersey and know who you are."

Tigers' Spring Training information

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That got Zimmermann's mind working. More importantly, it got his subtle sense of humor going. For the Tigers' first full-squad workout, he figured, he should wear a jersey that had "BUDDY" on the back where his name would go. He liked the idea so much, he told fellow Tigers pitchers Michael Fulmer and Alex Wilson, who have the lockers on either side of his.

"They thought it was a good idea," Zimmermann said. "So, we just rolled with it."

Thus, as Tigers players began their morning stretch Monday and Gardenhire tried to learn names, he had three pitchers with the name "BUDDY" on the back.

"It was fun," Wilson said. "He had a few choice words for me."

Said Zimmermann: "He was laughing. A few cuss words out there. It's all in good fun."

There was also a vow of revenge.

Tweet from @tigers: Last week: Gardy says he���ll use ���Hey Buddy��� until he has your name down.This week: pic.twitter.com/sljz91AzxS

Tweet from @tigers: Call it "The Buddy System." pic.twitter.com/3xuzq3Dac6

"Go ahead, play around, boys," Gardenhire said. "Just wait. If they throw a couple of good games in Spring Training, they may be wearing those Buddy shirts all year. We'll put Buddy 1, Buddy 2 and Buddy 3 on there. You know what, I'll take it if they start pitching well, that's OK."

Santiago showing off small glovework

When Ramon Santiago was an infield prospect in the Gulf Coast League, roving instructor Rafael Landestoy gave him a tool to help him work on his fielding. It was a very small infield glove, barely bigger than a normal hand. Landestoy wanted Santiago to work on fielding ground balls with that glove so that he could work on getting the ball in the right part of the glove every time rather than relying on the webbing for forgiveness.

Nearly two decades later, as Santiago embarks on his first Spring Training as Tigers infield coach, he dusted off the glove to use with infielders in camp.

"I believe in this a lot," he said. "It helps you stay down on the ball and catch the ball in the right place."

Video: Al Avila on expectations for Spring Training

Santiago plans to have infielders try out the glove during extra fielding work. He would like to get similar gloves for infield prospects to take with them into the season at their various Minor League stops.

Former Tigers communications director dies

Cliff Russell, whose storied career in Detroit media included a stint in the Tigers' front office as the director of communications, passed away on Sunday at age 61.

Russell worked as the Tigers' senior director of communications in 2002 and 2003, the first African-American in the position in the club's history. The native Detroiter's storied career also included a tenure as press secretary for Detroit mayor Dennis Archer, a lengthy career in radio with WWJ and most recently a position as part of the radio team for University of Detroit Mercy basketball. He's a member of the Wayne State University Athletics Hall of Fame for his basketball playing career.

"The Detroit Tigers are saddened to learn of the passing of Cliff Russell," the team said in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends during this time."

Quick hits

• Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris was excused from Monday's workout. He was in Philadelphia for a follow-up visit with Dr. William Meyers, who examined Norris after his midseason groin injury last year. Norris was cleared to ramp up his workouts and is expected back in camp on Tuesday.

• The Tigers' offseason-long pursuit of right-hander Chris Tillman ended Tuesday, when the free agent returned to the Orioles on a Major League contract. Tillman threw for Tigers officials on Saturday in Lakeland, a source confirmed, but the team was seeking a Minor League contract with a non-roster invite. Tillman reportedly will make a $3 million base salary with the O's, plus incentives.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Detroit Tigers

Let's paint, too? Maddon unveils more Cubs art

Skipper shows off Mona Lisa, Einstein -- with North Side twist
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon added to his Cubs-inspired art collection on Monday, revealing a painting of Mona Lisa wearing eye black, batting gloves and holding a bat, and another of Albert Einstein donning a jersey that says "Skip" and popping out of a box.

The paintings will be added to two others Maddon unveiled when pitchers and catchers had their first workout. It's part of the manager's attempt to put art back into the game of baseball -- and get his message across in a unique way.

MESA, Ariz. -- Manager Joe Maddon added to his Cubs-inspired art collection on Monday, revealing a painting of Mona Lisa wearing eye black, batting gloves and holding a bat, and another of Albert Einstein donning a jersey that says "Skip" and popping out of a box.

The paintings will be added to two others Maddon unveiled when pitchers and catchers had their first workout. It's part of the manager's attempt to put art back into the game of baseball -- and get his message across in a unique way.

"We all do our work," Maddon said. "Our guys are good at working, and they're very talented at what they do, but beyond all that, [there is] the feel component of the game, and I want them on a daily basis to be concerned about their enthusiasm and their energy.

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"I really believe if we understand showing up mentally every day with a lot of energy and life, and combine that with what we naturally do anyway, it will permit us to get off to a good start."

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

Somehow, Tampa, Fla., artist James Skeldon was able to incorporate Maddon's handwriting and messages on the paintings, so Einstein's physics theory, E=mc2 is translated to "E2=win2" in baseball -- energy and enthusiasm equals wins.

"It's the same stuff, but I try to present it in a different way," Maddon said of his message to the players. "It's important to say the same thing with other words."

Another part of Monday's team meeting included a video of the San Antonio Spurs, focusing on their camaraderie, teamwork, unity and precision. Outfielder Jason Heyward suggested blending what the Spurs do with what the Cubs should focus on.

• The Cubs play their first Cactus League game on Friday against the Brewers. That means the coaches have to condense their drills. Monday was the first full-squad workout. Maddon hopes to address cutoffs and relays, popup communication and rundowns before the first game.

"All this work you do prior to the games, it starts to drag a little bit normally," he said. "This is the first full-squad day -- how many days have [the players] been here? They've been doing hitting. They've been fielding ground balls. They've been running. It's not like it had been where guys showed up and put the old sweat belt on and [drank] some electrolytes and went out there and tried to lose some weight by sweating. That doesn't happen any more."

• Maddon had a chance to talk with Anthony Rizzo on Monday for the first time since the first baseman returned home to Florida to be with family and friends after the shooting at his high school. Rizzo spoke at a prayer vigil in Parkland, Fla.

"I want him to take care of himself," Maddon said. "That's an emotional moment for any one of us. I think people like him tend to be carriers and they will carry other people's weight of emotion. I will encourage him to take care of himself while he's coming back and ease into this situation, because he's been through a lot."

Ben Zobrist did not take part in Monday's workout because of some soreness in his back.

"It's nothing awful," Maddon said. "He's feeling great, actually. [We're] not pushing right now, making sure everybody's well. We've got four days to get ready. Don't push him right now. That's all that is."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Chicago Cubs