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Power boost: J.D. arrives at Red Sox camp

MLB.com

Just a few hours removed from calling Boston his new home, J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park at Fenway South to report for Spring Training on Wednesday morning.

Boston's primary offseason target could take his physical today and begin workouts with the team. Martinez has agreed on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

Just a few hours removed from calling Boston his new home, J.D. Martinez arrived at JetBlue Park at Fenway South to report for Spring Training on Wednesday morning.

Boston's primary offseason target could take his physical today and begin workouts with the team. Martinez has agreed on a five-year, $110 million contract that includes opt-outs after the second and third years of the deal.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

Tweet from @PeteAbe: J.D. Martinez just walked into Jet Blue Park. pic.twitter.com/O07lcsvjq2

Martinez is set to wear No. 28 for the Red Sox, keeping the jersey number he wore for both the D-backs and Tigers. Boston's new manager Alex Cora, who was wearing No. 28, gladly gave it to Martinez. It is unclear what number Cora will wear.

Tweet from @LouMerloni: JD Martinez will wear #28 for the Sox. It���s the number he wore in Detroit and Arizona. Alex Cora was #28 but he will give it to JD. No update on what # Cora will now wear

The 30-year-old power hitter is expected to be the final puzzle piece in Boston's lineup after coming off a 45-homer year in 2017.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

Cuban prospect Martinez granted free agency

Outfielder, 21, can sign with MLB club as soon as March 6
MLB.com @benweinrib

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team, as Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

One of the top Cuban players is a step closer to signing with a big league team, as Major League Baseball cleared 21-year-old outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez to become a free agent on Tuesday, MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported.

At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez has a promising combination of power and speed from the left side, and he can sign as soon as March 6. However, because he is under 23, he will be subject to international signing rules.

Martinez can sign before the current signing period ends on June 15, but depending on which team he chooses, he may opt to sign during the 2018-19 period, which begins on July 2. According to Sanchez, the Yankees, Rangers and Marlins are favorites to sign Martinez, and New York and Miami would likely prefer to wait until the next period.

Top 30 International Prospects list

The Rangers were finalists for Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani and had the largest remaining bonus pool to offer him -- most of which has gone unspent since he elected to sign with the Angels. Texas further bolstered its spending power by trading Minor League right-hander Miguel Medrano to the Reds for international pool money on Wednesday.

Teams may trade for up to 75 percent of their original bonus pool allocation to increase their offer for Martinez. But it's worth noting that 12 teams -- the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Nationals, Padres, Reds, Royals and White Sox -- cannot offer more than $300,000 this signing period after exceeding their bonus pool in the last two years.

Martinez earned spots on Cuba's 18U junior team in 2014 and '15. More recently, he played in the Cuban Serie Nacional during the '16-17 season and posted a .333/.469/.498 slash line with six home runs and 24 stolen bases in 61 games.

Martinez is considered to have the talent to start in Class A Advanced or Double-A once he signs with a team. However, his first assignment would depend on the team he chooses, and if they want to ease him into professional ball stateside.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib.

D-backs get Souza from TB, trade Drury to NYY

Rays receive Solak from Yankees, Banda and 2 PTBNL from Arizona
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after losing free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez to the Red Sox, the D-backs continued their outfield makeover on Tuesday by acquiring Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Drury to the Yankees.

The addition of Souza, along with Monday's signing of Jarrod Dyson, gives the D-backs much-needed depth in their outfield.

Trade for Drury could impact Torres, Andujar

In addition to Souza, the D-backs acquired right-hander Taylor Widener, the Yanks' No. 14 prospect. The 23-year-old went 7-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 27 starts for Class A Advanced Tampa. There was a cost, though. In addition to parting with the Bronx-bound Drury, Arizona sent its No. 4 prospect, left-hander Anthony Banda, and two players to be named to Tampa Bay.

Video: Callis on D-backs acquiring pitching prospect Widener

D-backs get
Steven Souza Jr. (from TB)
Taylor Widener (Yankees' No. 22 prospect)

Yankees get
Brandon Drury (from ARI)

Rays get
Anthony Banda (D-backs' No. 4 prospect)
Nick Solak (Yankees' No. 8 prospect)
Two players to be named later (from ARI)

Drury became expendable because of Arizona's surplus of middle infielders -- Nick Ahmed, Daniel Descalso, Ketel Marte and Chris Owings -- but the 25-year-old fills a need for New York. He played mainly second base for the D-backs last season, but he can also play third. Drury's ability to play both positions gives the Yankees the flexibility to fill the other slot with either top prospect Gleyber Torres or No. 5 prospect Miguel Andujar. Drury hit .267 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs in 135 games in 2017.

The Yanks also sent their No. 8 prospect, Nick Solak, to the Rays. The 23-year-old second baseman who hit .297 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs in 130 games split between Class A Advanced and Double-A Trenton in 2017.

Souza, 28, brings a potent bat with him to Arizona. The right-handed hitter posted a .239/.351/.459 slash line last year, with a 121 OPS+ over 617 plate appearances.

Video: Souza Jr. on chasing a championship with D-backs

Set to make $3.5 million this season, Souza will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season.

Souza played primarily right field for the Rays and figures to do so with the D-backs as well. David Peralta, who has played both left and right field during his time in Arizona, profiles better in left.

A.J. Pollock will start in center, giving the D-backs a strong starting group, and Dyson's ability to play all three outfield spots gives manager Torey Lovullo plenty of opportunities to give guys days off.

What that means for Yasmany Tomas, who missed most of last season due to core injuries, remains to be seen. He will make $10 million this year and has a player option that would pay him $15.5 million in 2019 and $17 million in '20.

Banda, meanwhile, made his big league debut and pitched in eight games for Arizona last year, including four starts. He recorded a 5.96 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. Banda was expected to begin this season at Triple-A, but was viewed as someone who could be called on if one of the D-backs' five starters got injured.

Video: Zinkie on fantasy implications of Souza, Drury deal

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Owings gains the most value from this deal among those on the D-backs, as he could shift from utility player to starting second baseman. The trade also boosts the value of Souza, who warrants Round 10 consideration in standard-league drafts as he prepares to bring his power-speed blend (30 homers, 16 steals in 2017) to a productive Arizona lineup. Meanwhile, Mallex Smith becomes a late-round steals source who could swipe 35 bases if given 550 plate appearances with the Rays. As for the Yankees, the acquisition of Drury likely eliminates the chance of the club opening the season with both Torres and Andujar in the starting lineup, though one of the two prospects may still have an opportunity to land a spot.

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

New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Arizona Diamondbacks

Marlins sign Maybin to one-year deal

Special to MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- While Don Mattingly's Marlins will enter the season with a mostly new-look outfield, one of the team's old faces is back.

Cameron Maybin, who spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Marlins after being acquired in the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers, signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $3.25 million plus incentives for performance with the club. He will wear No. 1 with the Marlins and feels he can participate in game action this weekend.

JUPITER, Fla. -- While Don Mattingly's Marlins will enter the season with a mostly new-look outfield, one of the team's old faces is back.

Cameron Maybin, who spent the 2008-10 seasons with the Marlins after being acquired in the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers, signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $3.25 million plus incentives for performance with the club. He will wear No. 1 with the Marlins and feels he can participate in game action this weekend.

"I'm excited about what I can bring back as a little bit [of an] older player," Maybin said on Wednesday morning. "I learned some good things in those seasons. ... I'm just here to try and help out, try and lead them in the right direction."

Maybin, who turns 31 in April, split last year between the Angels and Astros and stole 33 bases. He won a World Series title with Houston, batting .286 across six postseason games. Though Maybin hit only .186 in 21 regular-season games with the Astros, the former first-round Draft pick said he picked up plenty of leadership advice from older teammates.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Finishing up with Houston last year, I've been able to take so many things ... from Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann and some of those veteran guys on how to bring a clubhouse together," Maybin said, "how to create a way of cherishing every win. I think sometimes at the big league level, you get used to doing it so much that we don't take time to cherish a team victory."

Miami enters the 2018 season with questions in the outfield following offseason trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna. Utility player Derek Dietrich is the only outfielder who has been assured a starting job by Mattingly. With Dietrich in left, prospects Lewis Brinson, Braxton Lee and Magneuris Sierra will battle for spots in center and right. If they are not ready for big league action, Maybin provides insurance at all three outfield positions.

Maybin said the signing came together over roughly a three-day period, as talks with teams sped up after the Super Bowl earlier this month.

Marlins general manager Michael Hill said Maybin's skillset and maturity were key factors in inking the 11-year veteran outfielder to a contract.

Video: Brinson brings speed, athleticism to Marlins

"Anyone who's spent time with him knows what he represents as a person, as a teammate, as a professional," Hill said. "I think those are all qualities that, as we continue to build this organization, those are things that are important to us on top of being talented."

Added Mattingly: "Cameron's got a reputation of being a great teammate, and I think that's one of the things you do look at with younger guys. Knowing that you want to play the game a certain way, you really want a clubhouse presence [like Maybin.]"

Maybin already has first-hand experience of Brinson, who was acquired in the Yelich trade, having played against him in a rehab assignment last season. Brinson is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Marlins' No. 1 prospect and could earn his way onto the team's Opening Day roster with a strong showing this spring.

"He's got a tremendous talent, kind of reminds me of a younger me looking at him," Maybin said of Brinson. "I'm just excited to talk to him, pick his brains and bounce things off him to help him become the best player he can be."

Video: Zinkie on Maybin's 2018 fantasy impact

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Coming off a season in which he tied his career high with 10 homers and placed fifth in the Majors with 33 steals, Maybin warrants attention in all roto leagues now that he is set for a full-time role with the Marlins. But as a career .255 hitter who has tallied 400 at-bats in just one of the previous five seasons, the speedster should be considered a boom-or-bust, speed-first asset who is best left for his potential in your draft's final rounds.

Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Cameron Maybin

'Way better' Felix off to encouraging start

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's a long way until Opening Day, but the Mariners like what they've seen from Felix Hernandez in his first two mound sessions of Spring Training.

Hernandez was among the final group of eight pitchers to throw their second bullpen sessions of the spring on Tuesday, and the 31-year-old was encouraged by the results as well.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's a long way until Opening Day, but the Mariners like what they've seen from Felix Hernandez in his first two mound sessions of Spring Training.

Hernandez was among the final group of eight pitchers to throw their second bullpen sessions of the spring on Tuesday, and the 31-year-old was encouraged by the results as well.

• Mariners' goal is clear: End the drought

"Way better," Hernandez said. "My mechanics were much better. It was really good. My timing, I wasn't rushing. I was so calm and delivered the pitch. It was really good."

Pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre and manager Scott Servais have been encouraged by Hernandez's focus and effort in the early days of camp as he looks to bounce back from last year's injury-plagued campaign.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

He'll throw live batting practice on Friday, then make his Cactus League debut on Monday against the Cubs in Mesa.

Servais said it's all on schedule with Hernandez, who is on the mound earlier this spring than his usual program. And the manager's not worried about the results at this point.

"As long as he's healthy and throwing all of his pitches, you just keep moving along," Servais said. "That's what Mike Leake does. He's not out there going at 95 or 100 percent. He's getting a feel for his pitches and making a few adjustments and getting comfortable with certain catchers.

"That's what we are looking for from Felix, just to continue to build so that when he does step on the mound for the first Spring Training game, he's got a few more bullpens and he's done more to get to that point and build on it from there."

Erasmo optimistic about quick return

Erasmo Ramirez says the sore lat muscle that led the Mariners to shut him down on Sunday had actually been a lingering issue over the previous week, but he believes the problem really is minor and expects to be back on the mound later this spring without further concerns.

Video: Outlook: Ramirez looks to stick in Mariners' rotation

Ramirez said the tightness in his back was slowly getting better, even while he was throwing every day, but he told the Mariners' trainers about it when it wasn't recovering as quickly as he hoped, and they immediately shut him down for two weeks.

Ramirez had thrown three bullpen sessions even before arriving at camp, and he tossed another Thursday without any noticeable strain. But the location of the soreness led him to touch base with the trainers.

"That's the first time I've had anything in that area, and that's what worried me," he said. "If it was my shoulder or elbow, I know what exercises to do to take care of it."

Ramirez said the muscles already feel better after a couple of days off.

"I'll be fine," he said. "Everything feels awesome. I don't feel it at all. Now I just have to wait. I have to be patient. The good news is when they give me the green light to start throwing, my muscle is going to be 100 percent ready to go and my mind will be free of worry."

Healy healing, but still sidelined

While the rest of his new teammates were on the field for the initial workouts, first baseman Ryon Healy was limited to rehab work and some mobility exercises as he waits for the stitches to be taken out of his right hand following Wednesday's surgery to remove bone spurs.

Tweet from @GregJohnsMLB: Ryon Healy recovering from surgery to remove bone spur as rest of Mariners begin full workouts today..���It���s not fun when you see all those guys out there. I���d much rather be sweating and working as hard as I can instead of sitting here doing media. No offense to you guys.��� pic.twitter.com/7yvXZfbPHT

Healy said he started feeling soreness in the hand when he began hitting in early December.

"You always have some rust in your joints and hands when you start hitting again," he said. "I expected it to go away, and it never did. I eventually spoke up after a couple weeks and said it was too much, let's get it checked out. I took five weeks off, came back and hit and the pain was still there."

Video: Ryon Healy on his rehab from hand surgery

Healy said he's never had any issue with the hand before, and he figures it was probably cumulative over the years.

"That was the most frustrating thing," he said. "There was no initial thing I did to irritate it. I didn't fall on it, I didn't lift or drop a weight on it. It was literally just hitting. So I guess over time, it just built up. It wasn't even something I felt last season. It just started in December."

Worth noting

• Outfielder Guillermo Heredia is well ahead of his anticipated return from right shoulder surgery as he took part in all the hitting and some of the defensive work in Tuesday's opening session. Heredia will likely be cleared for game action fairly early in the Cactus League season.

Daniel Vogelbach and Mike Ford split duties at first base when the team took infield drills on the main field. As expected, Robinson Cano was at second, Jean Segura at short and Kyle Seager at third base, while new utility man Andrew Romine moved around at all three of those spots while working with that first group.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Felix Hernandez

All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers

MLB.com @_dadler

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

Video: Teams to wear Stoneman Douglas hats for ST openers

"It's a tragedy. It was a tragedy that hit the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but obviously has very specific baseball connections," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Really a very strong sentiment among the clubs that this was the appropriate thing to do immediately."

MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they're off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.

The Commissioner approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.

The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended Stoneman Douglas, and spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. 

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive.

"The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires."

The Stoneman Douglas High School caps are reminiscent of how the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Mets donned the caps to honor the first responders in their first game after the attacks, in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, and again in their return to New York four days later. In that memorable game at Shea Stadium, Mike Piazza hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to an emotional win over the Braves.

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

Darvish impresses teammates with first live BP

Right-hander says he fits in 'naturally with the team'
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

MESA, Ariz. -- Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber squared off for the first time since the National League Championship Series during a live batting practice session on Tuesday. In October, Darvish was on the Dodgers, but now he and Schwarber are teammates.

"It definitely reminded me of the NLCS, but he didn't swing," Darvish said of Schwarber, who did not take a swing at any of the five pitches from the right-hander. "I hope to face him again soon in practice games."

Actually, only Willson Contreras took a swing during the 25-pitch session. It seemed the Cubs players wanted to see what their new starting pitcher could do. Darvish was OK with that.

• Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

"If [Schwarber] swung, it would probably go over the fence," Darvish said of the Cubs slugger, who hit a solo home run off him in Game 3 of the NLCS last October. "It's a good thing he didn't."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The right-hander, who signed a six-year deal with the Cubs a week ago, said his new teammates have been very friendly.

"It seems like I fit in naturally with the team," he said.

The Cubs are pretty impressed.

"He's insane," Contreras said, referring to Darvish's pitches. "The movement he has on the baseball, on the breaking balls and the fastball command he has is crazy."

Tweet from @CarrieMuskat: #Cubs hitters waited to give Darvish fist pump after session pic.twitter.com/DgIuIe6Zrw

"It's Feb. 20 -- wow," Cubs manager Joe Maddon of Darvish's first live batting practice. "My impression from the side as an opponent has always been that when he's right on, he has this low fastball with great carry. I walk up and that's all [the hitters] are talking about. Obviously, he's feeling pretty good about himself. His delivery looks clean, the ball was coming out of his hand well.

"I know it's early, I'm certain his adrenaline was flowing a little bit, but he threw the ball great -- great with great conviction," Maddon said. "I'm more of a purist. I looked at the delivery and how the ball was reacting at home plate and it was outstanding."

Video: Maddon discusses Darvish's bullpen session

Obviously, the pitchers have an edge during the live batting practice because they've been in camp longer. Still, Maddon liked what he saw.

"It's just that he's got that low carry working already," Maddon said, before explaining, "Low carry -- when a pitcher is able to start the ball out low in the strike zone, normally as a hitter, you process that it's going to drop more and become a ball. His pitch has the rotation on it so well, it hits that plane and stays on it. Your mind thinks it's going to go below. Guys who are able to do that -- I used to catch Mark Langston and he was like that. There are certain guys who spin it low and keep the plane and those guys are tough."

Even though he did pitch an extra month because of the World Series last year, Darvish said he's treating this Spring Training like any other one. The Cubs will be careful with his Cactus League outings. Contreras has some work to do, too. How will he call seven different pitches?

"I have to figure that out," Contreras said, laughing.

Have any of the Cubs players tried to learn Japanese?

"Not one," Darvish said. "I think [former Cubs infielder Munenori] Kawasaki got them too tired learning Japanese."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish

Source O's sign Rasmus to Minors deal

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus is joining the Orioles on a Minor League deal, giving Baltimore the left-handed bat it needs and adding to a frenzy of moves for the O's over the past week.

The news, as told by a source to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, is not official and is still pending a physical which Rasmus was taking when news broke on Wednesday afternoon. He will be a non-roster invitee in camp and will have to crack the Opening Day roster, though he immediately emerges as a strong candidate to do so.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus is joining the Orioles on a Minor League deal, giving Baltimore the left-handed bat it needs and adding to a frenzy of moves for the O's over the past week.

The news, as told by a source to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, is not official and is still pending a physical which Rasmus was taking when news broke on Wednesday afternoon. He will be a non-roster invitee in camp and will have to crack the Opening Day roster, though he immediately emerges as a strong candidate to do so.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Ramus played in just 37 games last year due to personal reasons and is the O's fourth addition this week. The nine-year veteran has spent seven years in the American League and is a career .242/.311/.438 hitter. Baltimore has also recently signed pitchers Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman and outfielder Alex Presley.

The move, which comes on the heels of the Orioles designating lefty bat Jaycob Brugman, fills the O's biggest offseason need. The club currently has Chris Davis as the only left-handed hitter slated in its lineup.

A versatile defender, Rasmus played center field in just one game for the Rays in 2017 -- largely sticking to left and right field. However, he began his career as a center fielder and played at least 20 games at the position in each of his first eight seasons.

If he makes the roster, Rasmus is likely to mostly face right-handers, as his splits are much better when not facing southpaws. The 31-year-old is a .252/.318/.463 career hitter against righties compared to .211/.290/.366 against lefties.

Rasmus only had 129 plate appearances last season -- 12 against left-handed pitching -- but the splits were still noticeable: .291/.333/.582 against lefties compared to .182/.167/.545 against righties. And in his limited playing time, he crushed the ball, with barrels in 9.5 percent of his plate appearances -- good for eighth-most among players with at least 70 batted balls.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Colby Rasmus

Spring into action: D-backs set to host ASU

No. 3 prospect Clarke to take mound against Sun Devils
MLB.com

The Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibition slates don't begin until Friday, but there will be Major Leaguers in action Wednesday as the D-backs host Arizona State University.

The exhibition is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

View Full Game Coverage

The Grapefruit and Cactus League exhibition slates don't begin until Friday, but there will be Major Leaguers in action Wednesday as the D-backs host Arizona State University.

The exhibition is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Taylor Clarke will start for the D-backs. The 24-year-old was Arizona's third-round Draft pick in 2015 and is the club's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Spring Training info | Tickets | Schedule

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The D-backs held their first full-squad workout Monday, and position players faced pitchers in batting practice Tuesday. They begin Cactus League play Friday against the Rockies at their shared Spring Training facility.

Both the D-backs and Rockies will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps Friday in a league-wide show of support for the Parkland, Fla., community after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14. Players will sign the caps and auction them, with proceeds going toward the Broward Education Fund, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Rangers trade with eye on top Cuban prospect

Texas adds international bonus money from Reds for Minor League pitcher
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rangers traded Minor League pitcher Miguel Medrano to the Reds on Wednesday for international bonus pool money.

The transaction comes one day after Major League Baseball declared Cuban outfielder Julio Pablo Martinez a free agent, making him eligible to sign with a team. Martinez, 21, is a 5-foot-10 outfielder who is considered one of the better prospects to recently come out of Cuba because of his mix of speed and power.

The Rangers are considered one of the favorites to sign Martinez. They built up a large bonus pool in anticipation of pursuing Shohei Ohtani, who ended up signing with the Angels. Much of that money is still available. The Yankees and Marlins are also considered favorites to sign Martinez.

"From a philosophical standpoint, we want to gain flexibility and put ourselves in position when opportunity comes available," Rangers farm director Jayce Tingler said.

Medrano, 20, pitched in the Dominican Summer League last year and was 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 12 games. He struck out 61 in 59 innings.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers

Do you remember the pitch thrown in this iconic situation?

There's no doubt you remember Kirk Gibson's "impossible" pinch-hit home run. You probably recall Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" or have seen clips of Nolan Ryan's seventh no-hitter. But do you remember the pitch thrown in that situation? Was it a fastball? A slider? A curveball? A slurveball? What's a slurveball? Is a slurveball a real pitch?

Here's a test to see how well you remember these iconic moments below. Name the pitch and see if you got it right.

A not-so-crazy pace of play solution

Baseball is at its best when there is movement in the game
MLB.com @JPosnanski

So you probably have seen the new pace of play rules that will be instituted this season. They seem pretty reasonable. The league and the players did not add a pitch clock, so that part was deferred, but there were a few changes agreed upon to speed things up.

1. The between-inning breaks will be sped up a little bit. Umpires will begin each half inning more quickly -- they will begin the inning-starting process with 20 seconds left in the break -- so if you're watching a game on television, you should see the first pitch within a few seconds of returning from a commercial.

So you probably have seen the new pace of play rules that will be instituted this season. They seem pretty reasonable. The league and the players did not add a pitch clock, so that part was deferred, but there were a few changes agreed upon to speed things up.

1. The between-inning breaks will be sped up a little bit. Umpires will begin each half inning more quickly -- they will begin the inning-starting process with 20 seconds left in the break -- so if you're watching a game on television, you should see the first pitch within a few seconds of returning from a commercial.

2. Each team will be limited to six mound visits per game, not counting the visits to actually replace the pitcher or visits for injuries. That seems pretty good. I don't know too many fans of mound visits.

3. Pitching changes should be a little bit quicker.

4. Teams will get better access to instant replays, so should be able to challenge plays more quickly.

Video: Castrovince, Justice discuss pace-of-play rules

None of those rules seems especially onerous -- really, they are all already in the spirit of the rules. I don't know how much time they will actually save, but in my mind, the point has never been "time." The point has been pace. I don't care if a game is three and a half or four hours if it is crisply played (though, admittedly, it's hard to imagine a crisply played four-hour game that is less than, say, 14 innings). Baseball has a nice unhurried rhythm, and it should never lose that.

But the game is also at its best when it is active, when everything moves, when the pitcher is throwing, when the batter is swinging, when the fielders are engaged. A lot of standing around isn't fun to watch, even for hardcore baseball fans.

I think the new rules will probably speed up the pace some.

• MLB announces pace of play initiatives for '18

But I'd like to offer up a couple of more dramatic rule changes. These will be, admittedly, controversial. But I really think they would help the pace of play.

Here goes:

Rule: When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call "Ball." The umpire shall also insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should be penalized by the umpire.

Sure, I know: That's harsh. Twelve seconds. That's not a lot of time. But I have faith. I think the pitchers can do it. And I think umpires should be given the authority to keep the game going, to get everything moving.

Here's another rule I've been thinking about -- well, it's not a rule, more like a directive:

Rule: Umpires shall encourage the on-deck batter to take position in the batter's box quickly after the previous batter reaches base or is put out. Umpires will not call "Time" at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or come to a set position, even though the batter claims "dust in his eyes," "steamed glasses," "didn't get the sign" or for any other cause.

Again, I realize this can be a little bit harsh. But as we try to speed up the game, this seems to me a concept that can quicken the pace of the game. Let's stop slowing things down between pitches.

• Players, managers react to changes

In addition to those admittedly contentious concepts, I'd make it illegal to intentionally delay the game by throwing the ball to players other than the catcher when the batter is in position, except in an attempt to retire a runner. Now, I admit that "attempt to retire a runner" is a bit vague -- you could make the argument that any throw to a base with a runner on is an "attempt to retire a runner." But I would give the umpire some latitude to decide if the pitcher is really trying to get an out or is just throwing to bases to slow down the game. If, after a warning by the umpire, such delaying action is repeated, the pitcher shall be removed from the game.

Video: Counsell discusses pace-of-play initiative

I assume by now you have either decided that none of this -- the 12-second pitch timer, the batter can't call timeout, the pitcher who throws repeatedly and pointless to bases can eventually be removed from the game -- is possible given the current climate of the game, or much more likely, you have figured something else out:

All of these are already in baseball's official rulebook. They've been rules for a long time. They have grown rusty from underuse, but they are there, and they are very real.

The 12-second rule was actually updated in 2005 -- it used to give pitchers 20 seconds after they got ball to pitch. That same year, the rule book gave umpires the freedom to make sure pitchers and hitters were ready to go as soon as the commercial break ended (they could call a ball or strike if they were not), gave the directive that visits to the mound should be done as quickly as possible, and essentially gave the umpires the authority to do what was necessary to keep the game moving.

Everybody understands at some level that baseball is just a better game when there's movement and action and a sense of urgency. Maybe, in the end, the game will need a clock and pressures and incentives to get the pace of play moving. But really, the rules are already in place. If everyone would believe in them, enforce them and generally abide by them, I think the pace of play problem would mostly go away.

Joe Posnanski is a national columnist for MLB.com.

McCutchen takes Bumgarner deep in BP

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though Cactus League games haven't begun, Andrew McCutchen looked ready for what lies beyond: the regular season.

The Giants scheduled their first session of live batting practice Tuesday, and McCutchen celebrated the occasion by clobbering a home run off Madison Bumgarner and crushing a wall ball off Andrew Suarez.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though Cactus League games haven't begun, Andrew McCutchen looked ready for what lies beyond: the regular season.

The Giants scheduled their first session of live batting practice Tuesday, and McCutchen celebrated the occasion by clobbering a home run off Madison Bumgarner and crushing a wall ball off Andrew Suarez.

Spring Training information

Following the drive off Bumgarner, catcher Buster Posey nudged McCutchen out of the batter's box, half-playfully and half-seriously, as if to prevent an ensuing knockdown pitch from the big left-hander.

"I never understand how guys can do that in the first live BP," Posey said, referring to McCutchen's display. "He's got as quick of hips and hands as anybody I've ever seen."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

McCutchen owns a .136 regular-season batting average (3-for-22) off Bumgarner. So his batting-practice clout prompted a modest reaction.

"I don't think I really got too many of those," McCutchen said.

Asked whether he'd consider consulting Bumgarner for advice regarding how opposing pitchers set him up, McCutchen replied it simply wasn't his style.

"At the end of the day, I know what I need to do," the .291 career hitter said. "I know, regardless of who it is, the adjustments I need to make. I don't necessarily [ask pitchers about himself] because I know myself more than anything. A lot of people like to say it's the guy who got you out. No, I look at it as you get yourself out. When you get out, you know what you did wrong."

• Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that his thoughts and prayers would remain with Orlando Cepeda, the Giants legend and Hall of Famer who was hospitalized late Monday night.

"I'm sorry to hear it," Bochy said. "He comes here for our Hall of Fame get-togethers, he's in the clubhouse, he has fun with the players."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, Andrew McCutchen

Injury updates: Murphy, Conforto, A. Sanchez

MLB.com @_dadler

Spring Training is underway -- and just as important as the players taking the field in Arizona and Florida are the ones who are in the process of making their way back to it.

Key players for teams across the Majors are recovering from injuries, and updates on their statuses are rolling in from camp Tuesday.

Spring Training is underway -- and just as important as the players taking the field in Arizona and Florida are the ones who are in the process of making their way back to it.

Key players for teams across the Majors are recovering from injuries, and updates on their statuses are rolling in from camp Tuesday.

The following are health-related notes you should know about from today's Spring Training action, as compiled by MLB.com's team reporters and contributors.

Murphy limited but still hopeful for Opening Day
Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy wasn't able to participate in the team's first full-squad workout for position players on Tuesday. But he continues to be optimistic that he can hit his goal of being ready for the start of the season.

Murphy hasn't been able to hit for the last several months as he recovers from the debridement and microfracture surgery he underwent on his right knee after the Nationals' season ended. He couldn't take part in Tuesday's live batting practice session, MLB.com's Jamal Collier reported.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"You see these guys bouncing around and playing, you want to participate and be playing with your teammates," Murphy said Tuesday. "But I think it's the understanding of when the training staff lets me go and it's time to play, you only want to come off the DL once. I don't want to start playing games and then have to stop."

Murphy's baseball activities are still limited to fielding grounders from his knees, playing some catch and running on the treadmill with about 60 percent weight-bearing on his knee. Still, he said he's happy with his progress so far and knows he has to be patient. Collier reports Murphy is no longer using the crutches he had at Nationals WinterFest in December. He still feels some slight discomfort in his knee but has full range of motion.

"I'm more concerned about rushing him and him not being fully ready," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "When we get him back, we don't want him to go back on the DL, we want to get him back for the whole season."

Martinez said last week that Murphy is still on track to return by Opening Day -- for the Nationals, March 29 in Cincinnati. The Nats plan to first slowly incorporate Murphy into Spring Training games.

Mets won't rush Conforto back
Michael Conforto is eager to get back on the field after shoulder surgery prematurely ended his 2017 season, but he and the Mets want to make sure there's as little risk of re-injury as possible before giving him the green light.

Conforto addressed his recovery on Tuesday, saying, "The timetable is fluid." Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has targeted May 1 as a return date for the 24-year-old outfielder.

"My energy is channeled into my rehab," Conforto said Tuesday, as MLB.com's Anthony DiComo reported. "Every rep gets me a little bit closer to getting back out on the field. As long as I keep that fire, I think that's what's going to get me out there and be successful and be healthy."

Video: Conforto gives update on rehab progress

DiComo reports that Conforto started swinging off a tee this weekend, the latest step in his recovery process after he spent most of the offseason logging two hours of physical therapy daily.

"I want to make sure that when he's back, he's back," new Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Tuesday. "We want him to just go through his rehab routine, make sure we communicate with him along the way how he's feeling. Players always tell you they feel better than they probably are, so we're going to be aware of that. But we want him back and when he's ready, he's there for the rest of the season."

Conforto was an All-Star in 2017 and was the Mets' best hitter until he dislocated his left shoulder on a swing during a game on Aug. 24. Testing revealed a capsule tear and Conforto underwent surgery -- a choice which, according to team physician Dr. David Altchek, vastly reduces the odds that Conforto will dislocate the shoulder again.

All signs "positive" for Sanchez
Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez threw his first batting practice of the spring on Tuesday, and he showed no signs of the injuries that cost him most of the 2017 season.

Sanchez battled recurring blister issues on his pitching hand all year, and made just eight starts a year after his All-Star breakout in 2016. But he looked good throwing to a group of Blue Jays hitters including Kendrys Morales, Steve Pearce, Justin Smoak and Josh Donaldson at the team's facility in Florida, as MLB.com contributor J. Scott Butherus reported.

"In terms of how I felt and the ball coming out of my hand, there were no issues," Sanchez said. "I felt like the action was really good. My command was really good. No issues with the finger, which is a huge plus. Arm felt good. Body felt good. All signs were positive."

Video: Sanchez on recovery from his blister injury

The 25-year-old hadn't faced hitters since July. But he reported to camp early and said Tuesday that he now feels like he's ahead of schedule.

Manager John Gibbons said that Sanchez "really looked like midseason form, and that's exciting to see. Everything came out nice and easy and really locked in. I didn't expect to see him that good."

Marisnick back from thumb injury
Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick had to watch from the sidelines with a fractured thumb as Houston won its first World Series, so he's been especially eager to get back on the field as Spring Training begins.

On Tuesday, he did just that. Marisnick faced live pitching for the first time in nearly seven months, MLB.com contributor Glenn Sattell reported, and said that his thumb -- which he fractured Sept. 13 -- is now 100 percent healthy.

"It feels good to get back in there," Marisnick said Tuesday. "It takes a couple of rounds of it and you're good to go. It's been a long time since I've been able to step on the field. So I'm excited to get camp going. I'm excited to be able to run around the field, take some swings."

Video: WSH@HOU: Marisnick mashes solo homer to right-center

The 26-year-old was having a career year before the injury, with a personal-best 16 home runs and .815 OPS thanks to a retooled swing that helped him lift the ball with more regularity. Marisnick said Tuesday that he hasn't lost that new swing even with the long layoff, and now it's just a matter of getting his timing back with more reps in the batter's box.

"I've been hitting a lot," Marisnick said. "Hitting is all about timing. It's something that comes with repetition. Obviously, I'm a little bit off on timing, as is everybody here, for not seeing a pitch in a while."

Lewis sidelined after minor knee surgery; No firm timetable for Erasmo
Mariners top prospect Kyle Lewis, ranked the No. 70 overall prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline entering the 2018 season, had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee about a week and a half ago, MLB.com's Greg Johns reported Tuesday.

Lewis is not expected to return to the field until the end of April. The 22-year-old outfielder is not yet at the team's Minor League mini-camp, but he will report on Thursday. General manager Jerry Dipoto said the club should know more then.

Lewis has had ongoing issues with his knee after major surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial and lateral meniscus following a 2016 home-plate collision. The Mariners are hoping this cleanup procedure will alleviate those issues.

"There was kind of a floating piece of bone that was pinching off or creating a problem," Dipoto said Tuesday. "It explains why he was having so much pain. Hopefully we are able finally to determine the source of the irritation and move forward in a productive way."

Dipoto also addressed right-hander Erasmo Ramirez's status. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a strained right lat muscle on Sunday, and Dipoto said Tuesday that the Mariners aren't certain that Ramirez will be ready for the start of the season. For now, Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks, and the best-case scenario is he can start throwing after that.

Video: Jerry Dipoto discusses Erasmo Ramirez's lat injury

"Hopefully we caught this one early enough that it's short to mid-term," Dipoto said. "We don't know yet. We're hoping in two weeks we get a thumbs-up and he's ready to roll. But that's not a slam dunk. Then we have to take it day by day."

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

Michael Conforto, Jake Marisnick, Daniel Murphy, Erasmo Ramirez, Aaron Sanchez