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Trout, Altuve head list of Top 100 Right Now

Dynamic duo announced as top two players in MLB Network's rankings
MLB.com @JALaymance

Now that Spring Training has officially started with pitchers and catchers reporting for all 30 clubs this week, fans can ring in the new season with MLB Network's annual countdown of the game's best players.

This year's rankings were unveiled this week on MLB Network during five installments of its Top 100 Right Now series, which began Wednesday with Nos. 61-100.

Now that Spring Training has officially started with pitchers and catchers reporting for all 30 clubs this week, fans can ring in the new season with MLB Network's annual countdown of the game's best players.

This year's rankings were unveiled this week on MLB Network during five installments of its Top 100 Right Now series, which began Wednesday with Nos. 61-100.

The series concluded Friday with the revealing of Nos. 1-20. MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Bill Ripken and Ron Darling hosted the program and analyzed the list.

1. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
Who else would be No. 1? In his seven years in the Majors, Trout has twice won the American League Most Valuable Player Award, and finished second in the voting three times.

2. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros
The reigning AL MVP, Altuve helped the Astros win their first World Series title last fall. He has led the AL in hits in each of the past four seasons while also leading the league in batting average three times in that span.

3. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
The National League MVP in 2015, Harper, the top overall pick in the 2010 Draft, has been in the Majors for six years and received five All-Star nods.

Video: Bryce Harper ranks third on the Top 100 Right Now

4. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Votto, the NL MVP in 2010 and a five-time All-Star, is equal parts slugger and on-base machine. He has twice led the Senior Circuit in OPS.

5. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees
Stanton is set for his first season with the Yankees after leading the Majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017, when he was named NL MVP with the Marlins.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton ranks fifth on Top 100 Right Now

6. Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers
Kershaw is the first pitcher to appear on the list, and for good reason. Since 2011, Kershaw has won three NL Cy Young Awards and the 2014 NL MVP, all while leading the NL in ERA five times.

7. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies
Arenado has been the NL's Gold Glove Award winner at third base in each of his five Major League seasons, and he has had two years in which he led the league in homers, RBIs and total bases.

8. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
Bryant has accomplished quite a bit in only three seasons. He was the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award winner before winning the '16 NL MVP and helping the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years.

9. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays
Donaldson is still one of the best in the business at age 32. He's a three-time All-Star and won the 2015 AL MVP Award in his first season with Toronto.

10. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
Correa figures to be a Top 10 player for years to come, as he already has won a World Series title, been an All-Star and earned the AL Rookie of the Year Award in three big league seasons since being the top pick in the 2012 Draft.

Video: MLB Network breaks down the top 10 players right now

The first group of 10 players outside the Top 10 includes the 2017 Cy Young Award winners, Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber. Scherzer has won the award in the NL in each of the past two seasons, while Kluber has won the award in the AL twice in the last four years.

11. Max Scherzer, SP, Nationals
12. Corey Kluber, SP, Indians
13. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, D-backs
14. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
15. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees
16. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
17. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
18. Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
19. Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox
20. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles

Chris Sale tops the list of players outside the Top 20, just as he topped the Majors in strikeouts in 2017. Sale is joined in this group by reigning World Series champions George Springer and Justin Verlander.

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 23-21

21. Chris Sale, SP, Red Sox
22. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians
23. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
24. George Springer, OF, Astros
25. J.D. Martinez, OF, Free Agent
26. Gary Sanchez, C, Yankees
27. Buster Posey, C, Giants
28. Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals
29. Justin Verlander, SP, Astros
30. Cody Bellinger, 1B, Dodgers

A trio of some of the best second basemen in the big leagues -- Daniel Murphy, Brian Dozier and Robinson Cano -- headline this grouping, which also includes a pair of Dodgers stars in Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen.

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 33-32

31. Justin Turner, 3B, Dodgers
32. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Cardinals
33. Justin Upton, OF, Angels
34. Daniel Murphy, 2B, Nationals
35. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals
36. Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins
37. Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners
38. Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
39. Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers
40. Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants

The Indians are well represented here, with a slugger, starter and reliever among the final block of the Top 50.

Video: MLB Network?s Top 100 Players Right Now: 41

41. Edwin Encarnacion, DH, Indians
42. Andrew Miller, RP, Indians
43. Luis Severino, SP, Yankees
44. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox
45. Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets
46. Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers
47. Trea Turner, SS, Nationals
48. Nelson Cruz, Mariners
49. Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets
50. Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 52-49

On the other side of the Top 50, former Cy Young Award winner and D-backs ace Zack Greinke tops this group of players, which also features Adrian Beltre and his 3,048 career hits.

51. Zack Greinke, SP, D-backs
52. Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets
53. Jonathan Schoop, 2B, Orioles
54. Eric Hosmer, 1B, Free Agent
55. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers
56. Andrelton Simmons, SS, Angels
57. Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros
58. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs
59. Tommy Pham, OF, Cardinals
60. Carlos Santana, 1B, Phillies

Lorenzo Cain and Yu Darvish, two players who have received the largest free-agent contracts this offseason, are among this group of 10.

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 63-61

61. Lorenzo Cain, OF, Brewers
62. Matt Carpenter, 1B, Cardinals
63. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Giants
64. Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros
65. Aroldis Chapman, RP, Yankees
66. Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs
67. Yu Darvish, SP, Cubs
68. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins
69. Khris Davis, DH, Athletics
70. Josh Reddick, OF, Astros

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 71-68

Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun and Ryan Zimmerman may not be as good as they were a few years ago, but they're still playing well enough to safely make the Top 100, leading the way in the 71-80 rankings.

71. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
72. Jake Arrieta, SP, Free Agent
73. Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals
74. Didi Gregorius, SS, Yankees
75. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, Nationals
76. Marwin Gonzalez, Util, Astros
77. Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
78. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
79. Michael Conforto, OF, Mets
80. Adam Eaton, OF, Nationals

The group from 81-90 features seven players from the West divisions, now that Wade Davis and Zack Cozart signed free-agent deals with the Rockies and Angels, respectively.

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 84-81

81. DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Rockies
82. J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins
83. Corey Knebel, RP, Brewers
84. Wade Davis, RP, Rockies
85. Elvis Andrus, SS, Rangers
86. Chris Taylor, OF, Dodgers
87. Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners
88. Jean Segura, SS, Mariners
89. Zack Cozart, 3B, Angels
90. Avisail Garcia, OF, White Sox

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 92-90

Bringing up the back end of the Top 100 is a young group whose oldest member, Justin Smoak, turned 31 in December. It's a group with plenty of intrigue, including Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani.

91. Jay Bruce, OF, Mets
92. Justin Smoak, 1B, Blue Jays
93. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
94. Yasiel Puig, OF, Dodgers
95. Kyle Schwarber, OF, Cubs
96. Marcus Stroman, SP, Blue Jays
97. James Paxton, SP, Mariners
98. Robbie Ray, SP, D-backs
99. Chad Green, RP, Yankees
100. Shohei Ohtani, SP/DH, Angels

Video: MLB Network's Top 100 Players Right Now: 100-99

MLB Network recently unveiled its top players at each position in a five-week program hosted by Brian Kenny, ranking players based on performance over the past two seasons and a number of offensive and defensive metrics. Now, it's bringing them all together for a composite list across all positions in baseball.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JALaymance.

Jose Altuve, Mike Trout

Machado ponders future in Baltimore, at short

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

SARASOTA -- Shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Manny Machado entered the Orioles' clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium. All eyes were on him, sporting a new haircut and a huge smile as he went locker to locker, exchanging hugs and pleasantries with teammates new and old.

It has been a whirlwind offseason for Machado, whose named swirled in trade rumors since December's Winter Meetings. The headlines continued at last month's FanFest, when the team -- still listening to potential offers for the All-Star -- announced he would officially move to shortstop, a year away from free agency.

SARASOTA -- Shortly before 9 a.m. on Saturday, Manny Machado entered the Orioles' clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium. All eyes were on him, sporting a new haircut and a huge smile as he went locker to locker, exchanging hugs and pleasantries with teammates new and old.

It has been a whirlwind offseason for Machado, whose named swirled in trade rumors since December's Winter Meetings. The headlines continued at last month's FanFest, when the team -- still listening to potential offers for the All-Star -- announced he would officially move to shortstop, a year away from free agency.

"[Shortstop is] where my heart has always been," Machado said of the move, which will shift Tim Beckham over to third base. "It's my natural position, it's where I think I can [best help the team]. ... I know a lot of the talk has been, 'Oh, is he going to be worth more there? More money.' It's not about the money. It's not about going out there and signing a 20-year deal.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

"This is where my heart has always been, this is what I've wanted to do. This is what I've always wanted to do. This is what I came into this world to do -- to play shortstop at the big league level. Finally, [manager] Buck [Showalter] and the Baltimore organization are giving me the opportunity to go out there and do what I can at that position and show myself. That's been my dream all along. I'm really looking forward to it."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Machado reiterated there was nothing new, as far as he knows, regarding his camp and the Orioles potentially reaching an agreement on a new deal beyond this season. It's been almost a foregone conclusion that Baltimore won't be able to afford the young superstar -- who could command a record deal in free agency, though Machado doesn't want that to be a distraction.

"You know what, it shouldn't be a distraction. I don't work in the front office. I'm not an agent. I play baseball," Machado said. "That's the only thing I know how to do. It's the only thing I really know how to do, to be honest -- just go out there, play baseball and answer the questions I need to answer and go about my business. My job is to go out there and produce -- and if I don't do that, none of the other stuff will come with it."

Video: MLB Tonight: Machado's move to shortstop

There was a time, the 25-year-old admits, when the trade rumors were flying, that the thought of him leaving his teammates crossed his mind.

"At one point, it was kind of a little sad. Thank God, nothing went down -- and I was able to come back and see my guys that I've been with for seven years. It's just going to be a great experience that I went through at that time -- a learning experience this whole offseason -- that I'm putting in the back of my mind going forward [while] getting ready for this year."

To that end, Machado's offseason routine has changed considerably from his days at third base. He said he's added more plyometrics to his routine, less heavy lifting and a lot more resistance and flexibility work. He started making changes while preparing for his stint with Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic last spring. Machado played shortstop for that team and still uses that bag, with his spring equipment unloaded from it on Saturday morning.

"This game's about playing 162 games, not just three months or four months out of the year," Machado said. "I did change [my routine] a lot and I'm going to continue doing what I've been doing in the offseason [up] to now."

Filling in a few games at shortstop for former teammate J.J. Hardy has also helped give him an idea of what to expect at the big league level.

"It wasn't anything too crazy, but I kind of got the feel for it -- kind of got [my feet] a little wet. I knew what I had to go into the offseason to do,' Machado said. "I had to get flexible and stay as flexible as possible and keep my range of motion -- so I kind of changed my workout to [emphasize] more flexibility, more massages, more stretching. At the same time, you can't lose all the strength -- so [I am also] doing a lot of band work just to get ready to withstand that grind."

It's a grind Machado plans on enduring for the foreseeable future. If he does hit the free-agent market as expected, he wants to continue playing shortstop.

"Once I do it this year, it's not something that's just switching off," he said. "I'm making the transition. Hopefully, I want to stay there and continue doing it. This is where my heart has always been. [I'm] finally getting an opportunity to do it for a full season. I'm looking forward to it, and hopefully I can continue playing [short] for a long time."

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, Manny Machado

Don't stress about your Opening Day closer

Last seven World Series winners changed stopper during season
MLB.com @mike_petriello

Veteran right-hander Luke Gregerson is in line to be the Cardinals' closer -- right up until he's not. If that sounds harsh, it's not intended to be. He's a good pitcher, not an elite one. There's a good chance he won't remain the Cards' closer the entire season. That's a thought that bothers Cardinals fans, understandably, but here's a more relevant thought: It mostly doesn't matter.

That sounds crazy, right? Bullpens are more important than ever -- with starting pitchers throwing fewer innings -- but we've also learned that the saves role isn't as important as it once seemed. This is why you see elite relievers such as Andrew Miller, Chad Green and Chris Devenski pitching earlier in the game. A "closer" is an important part of a bullpen, but he's just one part.

Veteran right-hander Luke Gregerson is in line to be the Cardinals' closer -- right up until he's not. If that sounds harsh, it's not intended to be. He's a good pitcher, not an elite one. There's a good chance he won't remain the Cards' closer the entire season. That's a thought that bothers Cardinals fans, understandably, but here's a more relevant thought: It mostly doesn't matter.

That sounds crazy, right? Bullpens are more important than ever -- with starting pitchers throwing fewer innings -- but we've also learned that the saves role isn't as important as it once seemed. This is why you see elite relievers such as Andrew Miller, Chad Green and Chris Devenski pitching earlier in the game. A "closer" is an important part of a bullpen, but he's just one part.

We can say that with confidence because of what we've seen this decade, which is that every single one of the last seven World Series champions -- every one! -- has ended the year with a different closer than the one they started the season with. It's a good reminder that in the saves role, little goes according to plan, and that's OK.

Just look at how many different ways title winners got the job done:

2017 Astros: After Gregerson lost his job in 2016, the closer role eventually became Ken Giles' gig, and he was very, very good ... until he fell apart in October, not receiving a single save chance after blowing a lead in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. Instead, the Astros relied on Brad Peacock, Lance McCullers Jr. and, in Game 7 of the World Series, steady starting pitcher Charlie Morton.

Video: WS2017 Gm7: Morton induces groundout to close out WS

2016 Cubs: Do you remember that Hector Rondon was really good that year? He had a 1.95 ERA and 48/5 K/BB ratio in 38 games when the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, relegating Rondon to something of a second banana for the rest of the year.

2015 Royals: This was Greg Holland's job for most of the year, but he blew out his elbow in September. For most teams, that's crushing. But most teams don't have Wade Davis ready to go.

2014 Giants: Keep this one in mind, because we're going to get back to it in a minute. After Sergio Romo carried a 5.01 ERA into July, he was replaced as the closer by longtime teammate Santiago Casilla, who ended up pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings in October.

2013 Red Sox: Boston thought it had a steady closer heading into the 2013 season, having traded for Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan, an All-Star the previous two seasons. (By the way, this trade cost them future All-Star Mark Melancon, though it did gain them Brock Holt, who was an All-Star in 2015.) Hanrahan threw only 7 1/3 innings before hurting his elbow and hasn't thrown another pitch in the Majors. He was replaced by Andrew Bailey, who was subsequently replaced in June by Koji Uehara -- who struck out Matt Carpenter to end the World Series.

Video: WS2013 Gm6: Koji fans Carpenter, Sox win World Series

2012 Giants: Before Casilla replaced Romo, Romo replaced Casilla, memorably getting Miguel Cabrera to strike out looking to end the World Series. But before that, they both had to replace Brian Wilson. After spending four seasons as the Giants' closer, Wilson entered 2012 as the obvious closer, but he injured his elbow after only two games and never appeared for the Giants again.

2011 Cardinals: This one gets messy. At first, it was 38-year-old Ryan Franklin, but he didn't last long. After that, at various times, it was Eduardo Sanchez, Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas and eventually Jason Motte, who didn't get his first save of the season until Aug. 28. Motte was outstanding in the 2011 postseason, then followed it up with a fine 42-save season in 2012.

To recap, the seven men who finished off those World Series wins were, in reverse chronological order: a starting pitcher, a July trade acquisition, a setup man, a setup man who had previously lost the closer role, a 38-year-old setup man, another setup man and a converted catcher who had been -- wait for it -- a setup man. Not since Wilson with the 2010 Giants have we seen an Opening Day closer be there at the end for a champion.

That's partially because attrition rates are high in that job, and it's partially because saves just don't matter. Last season had the lowest number of 30-save pitchers, 11, since MLB expanded to 30 teams in 1998. In 2015, for instance, there were 21.

As we've seen in recent seasons, MLB teams don't necessarily hold their best relievers until the ninth inning, and they don't pay for saves as much as they do talent. Another related factor: It's just not easy for a pitcher to stay in that role all year long anyway.

Though we've made it clear that saves are generally a poor way to evaluate a reliever, their opportunity-based nature makes it a decent method to look back and see who a team's closer was. Last April, we looked at each team's saves leader, making a caveat to include the Rangers' Sam Dyson, who was the team's closer but performed so poorly he didn't record a single save.

Of the 30 Opening Day closers, only 14 of them had the most saves for their teams in September. That means more than half of Major League teams had, for any number of reasons, a ninth-inning turnover. The Mets (Addison Reed), Marlins (AJ Ramos), Twins (Brandon Kintzler), White Sox (David Robertson), Pirates (Tony Watson) and Nationals (Blake Treinen) traded theirs. Others, like the Giants' Melancon, got hurt. The Brewers' Neftali Feliz lost his job. So did Francisco Rodriguez (Tigers), Dyson (Rangers) and Seung Hwan Oh (Cardinals).

This isn't to say that talented relievers don't matter. Far from it. If you're fortunate enough to have Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel or Roberto Osuna, you're feeling confident about the back end of your bullpen. But if, on the other hand, you're not thrilled about Gregerson or Alex Claudio, or Brad Brach, remember that they don't have to be there all season for your year to end well. When it's not Gregerson, maybe it's Tyler Lyons or Alex Reyes. Maybe it's Alex Colome. We don't know. We don't need to.

It's a reminder, really, that key moves can and do happen. Breakouts can and do happen. We have no idea who will be closing eight months from now -- and as the last seven World Series champs have shown, that's not necessarily a problem.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Optimistic Wright forges on in comeback effort

Admitting frustration, Mets captain says he'll give it his best shot
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Offering optimism that he will be able to return to the field, but realism that it might never happen, Mets captain David Wright on Saturday expressed a desire to continue rehabbing from injuries that have sidelined him for the past 21 months.

"When you're used to doing something your entire life and it's taken away from you, it's definitely frustrating," Wright said. "Every day I'm reminded when I come in, I see everybody else getting their uniforms, going out there and doing the things I love to do, and I'm stuck in the training room doing rehab stuff. Frustration's an understatement.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Offering optimism that he will be able to return to the field, but realism that it might never happen, Mets captain David Wright on Saturday expressed a desire to continue rehabbing from injuries that have sidelined him for the past 21 months.

"When you're used to doing something your entire life and it's taken away from you, it's definitely frustrating," Wright said. "Every day I'm reminded when I come in, I see everybody else getting their uniforms, going out there and doing the things I love to do, and I'm stuck in the training room doing rehab stuff. Frustration's an understatement.

"It would be easy if I didn't have that drive to get back out there. If I didn't love what I did, that would certainly make things easier. But I do love what I do. … When it's all said and done, I want to be able to say I did everything I could. If it works, that's obviously the goal. And if it doesn't work, then I'll rest easy knowing I gave it my best shot."

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:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

During a 21-minute press conference at First Data Field, Wright, 35, said he hopes to ramp up his rehab program soon, indicating that he could even begin running in the coming weeks. But Wright has yet to attempt baseball activities and, until he does, cannot accurately estimate when he might return to the Mets. In the meantime, the team recently signed a full-time third baseman, Todd Frazier, to a two-year deal -- a move that Wright says makes the club better.

Video: Callaway discusses Wright's leadership

For now, all he can do is continue rehabbing after undergoing neck, shoulder and back surgeries within the past two years. Wright also suffers from spinal stenosis, a permanent back condition that has played a role in limiting him to 75 games the past two seasons.

"I've had a hard time with it, certainly," Wright said. "But I guess you do what you can do, and you do everything in your power. The biggest thing is I don't want, when it's all said and done, to say, 'Man, I wish I would have done this,' or, 'I wish I would have done that.' You do it and then it's out of your control. I challenge myself every day to be the best rehab patient that I possibly can be."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, David Wright

J.D. worth Red Sox taking another look

MLB.com @RichardJustice

If the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez really are $100 million apart (as has been rumored), there's probably no reachable middle ground. In that case, it's time for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to move on to other options.

First, though, how about one more run at striking a deal? There may not be any such thing as a perfect fit, but Martinez is close.

If the Red Sox and J.D. Martinez really are $100 million apart (as has been rumored), there's probably no reachable middle ground. In that case, it's time for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to move on to other options.

First, though, how about one more run at striking a deal? There may not be any such thing as a perfect fit, but Martinez is close.

The Red Sox scored 73 fewer runs than the Yankees last season. They also hit 73 fewer home runs. No American League team hit fewer long balls than the Red Sox, and in a home run era, that's a glaring weakness.

Martinez hit 45 last season, and since 2015, only six players have hit more. Among the six: Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees splashy offseason acquisition.

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

Dombrowski has offered Martinez a five-year contract worth between $100 million and $125 million, according to reports. For a player who apparently had his sights set on a deal worth $200 million, that's a disappointing outcome.

Even worse, Martinez may not have better options. The Diamondbacks would like to have him back, but their payroll is already approaching $125 million, a team record.

With first baseman Paul Goldschmidt two years away from free agency, there seems to be a limit on how far Arizona officials can push the envelope to bring back Martinez even though he, too, is a nice fit.

Maybe Dombrowski feels no urgency to up his bid because (a) he believes he would be bidding against himself, and (b) he has other acceptable options.

Logan Morrison would make sense for the Red Sox after hitting a career-high 38 home runs season. He had hit more than 17 only once in his career, but he's bigger, stronger and has a better understanding of the importance of getting the baseball in the air. Like Martinez, he's also 30 years old and will have less ambitious salary demands.

Video: Red Sox rumored to have interest in Logan Morrison

As for the other free-agent sluggers -- most notably Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas -- they're less perfect fits. Beside that, they, like Martinez, are represented by Scott Boras.

Dombrowski should make one more run at Martinez just to make sure there's no deal there to be had. This has to be face-to-face. Yes, the two men know each other, because it was Dombrowski who signed Martinez for the Tigers in the spring of 2014 after he'd been released by the Astros.

Martinez's career took off during four seasons in Detroit, and he surely knows that Dombrowski's track record for winning, honesty and good judgment is as solid as any executive in the game.

There would seem to be no reason this can't get done if both sides can take their measure of the other. Martinez knows by now that he's not getting $200 million, that baseball executives do not see six- and seven-year contracts to 30-year-old players as smart investments.

But Dombrowski must understand that the Yankees have won the offseason and seem poised to win back the American League East with Stanton in a lineup that should have a full season of Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez.

With a flush farm system, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will have the flexibility to tweak his roster as the season plays out. He also has more Major League-ready prospects than the Red Sox.

Dombrowski got worked over by the Boston media on Wednesday for doing so little this offseason. That's not a completely fair assessment since he had conversations about Hosmer before re-signing Mitch Moreland. And there's also that offer to Martinez.

Video: Moreland signing opens up options for Red Sox

For now, the 2018 Red Sox look a whole lot like the '17 Red Sox with the exception of a new manager (Alex Cora), a slew of new coaches, a healthy David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez and a full season of 20-year-old third baseman Rafael Devers.

Would signing Martinez change the outcome of the AL East? Maybe not, but it would be a big step in the right direction. Regardless, it's time to find out.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.

Boston Red Sox, J.D. Martinez

At Dawson Classic, pitcher follows father's path

Son of former big leaguer, Southern's Freeman eyes bounceback in '18
Special to MLB.com

NEW ORLEANS -- Former MLB relief pitcher Marvin Freeman didn't just come here to celebrate the significance of the Andre Dawson Classic, a baseball tournament featuring historically black colleges and universities. He came to see his son, Justin, a senior pitcher for Southern University.

Justin Freeman is attempting to become a reliable starter for the Jaguars after spending time primarily as a reliever in his first three seasons. In 2017, he struggled with an elbow injury that limited him to eight appearances and an 8.56 ERA with six strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

NEW ORLEANS -- Former MLB relief pitcher Marvin Freeman didn't just come here to celebrate the significance of the Andre Dawson Classic, a baseball tournament featuring historically black colleges and universities. He came to see his son, Justin, a senior pitcher for Southern University.

Justin Freeman is attempting to become a reliable starter for the Jaguars after spending time primarily as a reliever in his first three seasons. In 2017, he struggled with an elbow injury that limited him to eight appearances and an 8.56 ERA with six strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.

Andre Dawson Classic coverage

Justin said it's a good feeling to know that he is being relied on to contribute, and he hopes to satisfy the expectations of the coaching staff and his teammates.

Expectations that come with being the son of a former Major League pitcher is something Justin said he struggled with in his youth, but as he matured, he has felt better equipped to handle it. One of the things that has helped him is words from his father, who spent 12 years in the Majors and finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 1994 after posting 10 wins and a 2.80 ERA for the Colorado Rockies.

Marvin said he tells his son to embrace the family name, make it his own and become his own player.

"It's hard on him," said Marvin, a graduate of Jackson State, a historically black college in Jackson, Miss. "No matter whose son played Major League Baseball, he's going to have that shadow over his head and he's going to have the pressure of being what dad was, or better than dad, and it's hard to escape that."

For the upcoming season, Justin is putting his family name aside and focusing on helping Southern achieve its first winning season since 2012.

"I feel like any goal I set for myself is realistic and possible," Justin said. "If I work hard enough, I can achieve it."

First-year coach Kerrick Jackson hopes to use Justin as a midweek starter and a possible relief option in weekend series.

"He's come a long way since we've been here in the fall," Jackson said. "We've developed a breaking ball that he didn't have before. The change has become a swing-and-miss pitch for him. He's been working his tail off and doing the things we are asking him to do, so we are expecting some big things."

The eight-team, round-robin tournament is being played at University of New Orleans' Maestri Field and the New Orleans Major League Baseball Academy through Sunday. Formerly known as the Urban Invitational, the tournament is in its 11th season.

In Friday's season-opening doubleheader for Southern, the Jaguars dropped the first game to the University of Illinois at Chicago, 3-0, but rebounded with an 8-7 victory against rival Grambling in extra innings.

In the win, junior outfielder Ashanti Wheatley hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th. Junior outfielder Javeyan Williams accounted for half of Southern's runs with an inside-the-park grand slam in the sixth inning.

The victory was the first career win for Jackson, who is tasked with replacing Roger Cador after he spent 33 seasons as the Southern head coach.

"When you follow somebody like coach Cador and you're coming into a new situation and everybody is wondering what kind of impact you'll have, when you get that first win knocked off, it allows you to breathe a sigh of relief and say you got that first one, now let's keep moving forward," Jackson said.

Brandon Adam is a contributor to MLB.com.

Stanton, delivered: Big G arrives at Yanks camp

Slugger reports early to ease transition to new team: 'It's time to get to work'
MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- The second phase of Giancarlo Stanton's career is officially underway. The reigning National League Most Valuable Player reported for his first Spring Training as a member of the Yankees on Friday.

Having flown from the West Coast several days before the mandated report date for position players, Stanton inspected his new digs in a corner clubhouse locker at George M. Steinbrenner Field and said he would begin workouts at the team's Minor League complex.

TAMPA, Fla. -- The second phase of Giancarlo Stanton's career is officially underway. The reigning National League Most Valuable Player reported for his first Spring Training as a member of the Yankees on Friday.

Having flown from the West Coast several days before the mandated report date for position players, Stanton inspected his new digs in a corner clubhouse locker at George M. Steinbrenner Field and said he would begin workouts at the team's Minor League complex.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear

"I'm just getting my bearings here, getting used to everything," Stanton said. "Getting used to the city, the new field. It's time to get to work."

After eight losing seasons with the Marlins, Stanton said that he is looking forward to "a fresh start" with the Yankees, joining a team that made it within one victory of the World Series last year. Stanton said that he is eager to embrace the expectation of championship-caliber play.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"It's huge," Stanton said. "I've never been able to experience that at this level. This is a level I've worked toward my whole life and never been able to experience that, so I'm really excited for that aspect."

The Yankees' first full-squad workout is scheduled for Monday. Stanton said that he is looking forward to suiting up alongside Aaron Judge, recently telling the American League Rookie of the Year that they should "pick each other's brains" during sessions in the batting cage.

"We're pretty much identical in terms of levers, how people pitch us, what it's like when we step into the box," Stanton said. "That knowledge of both of us is going to be huge. He's younger to the league, I've seen it a few more years than he has."

Some have compared Judge and Stanton to a modern-day Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, and Stanton acknowledged that there is "curiosity" on his part about what they will be able to do together.

Video: Judge discusses process of trading for Stanton

That said, Stanton said he cares far more about the Yankees' win total than how many home runs the tandem will be able to muscle out of ballparks.

"In terms of living up to the expectations, that's just going to come with playing," Stanton said. "We can't worry about expectations when the main goal is to win. If our expectations help us win, then it doesn't really matter what the numbers are."

Stanton said that he has also spoken to manager Aaron Boone, who outlined his plan to have Judge and Stanton play some left field this spring.

"We talked about it," Stanton said. "I'm going to work everywhere in the outfield; not center, but both corners. Maybe a little bit of center. We're going to make it work."

Video: Aaron Boone on Stanton showing up to Spring Training

Over the next six weeks, Stanton said that he plans to get to know his new teammates -- some of whom he knows from All-Star Games and the World Baseball Classic, but none closely -- and ask a lot of questions. Adjusting to New York, he said, should be part of the fun.

"It's more just getting used to a new place. That comes with it," Stanton said. "Big expectations, a bigger market, that comes with it. Just being out of my comfort zone maybe, just because I've done the same thing for 10 years straight, same Spring Training, same organization. This is all new to me and it's going to be a fun new ride."

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

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Giants, lefty Watson agree on multiyear deal

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants added a much-needed left-hander to solidify their bullpen by agreeing with free agent Tony Watson on a multiyear contract.

The club confirmed the deal Saturday, though contract details were not immediately available.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants added a much-needed left-hander to solidify their bullpen by agreeing with free agent Tony Watson on a multiyear contract.

The club confirmed the deal Saturday, though contract details were not immediately available.

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

"I couldn't be more ecstatic," said Giants closer Mark Melancon, a teammate of Watson's when both were with Pittsburgh from 2013-16. "The guy is one of the most professional people I've ever been around. I spent three-and-a-half, four years with him. There's not one negative thing that I can ever say about him."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The Giants' left-handed bullpen contingent had looked shaky. Steven Okert and Josh Osich have demonstrated talent but remain erratic. Will Smith is in the latter stages of recovery from Tommy John surgery, and he probably won't be ready to perform in the Majors until May. Ty Blach is able-bodied, but he'll likely will be needed in the rotation.

A National League All-Star in 2014, when he appeared in a league-high 78 games, Watson owns a career record of 33-17 with 30 saves. In 2012, one year after his rookie campaign, he began a six-season streak in which he made at least 67 appearances each year.

Watson, 32, split last season between the Pirates and Dodgers, who acquired him at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Watson made 11 postseason relief appearances for the Dodgers, including five in a row in Games 2-6 of the World Series.

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, Tony Watson

'Big picture' on Pedroia's mind during rehab

Second baseman progressing after knee surgery; no date set for return
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For Dustin Pedroia, missing Opening Day -- and perhaps a few weeks after that -- will be a small price to pay for getting his career back.

The scar on Pedroia's surgically-repaired left knee was there for all to see as he held court with the media on Saturday morning. For Pedroia, it serves as a reminder that the injury that pained him for all of last season is gone, and he will be able to enjoy the game again once he gets back.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For Dustin Pedroia, missing Opening Day -- and perhaps a few weeks after that -- will be a small price to pay for getting his career back.

The scar on Pedroia's surgically-repaired left knee was there for all to see as he held court with the media on Saturday morning. For Pedroia, it serves as a reminder that the injury that pained him for all of last season is gone, and he will be able to enjoy the game again once he gets back.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

For the first time in Pedroia's career, he is looking at the big picture. He will follow the plan carefully, as outlined in his rehab.

Usually, Pedroia sets the tone at Spring Training from the very first workout. This year, he is confined to doing his work indoors on a weighted treadmill.

"I'm still excited and ready to go," Pedroia said. "It's just, they kind of have to make sure we look at the big picture and make sure I'm healthy through the remainder of my career, and I appreciate that from them. I kind of haven't taken that stance before, so it's been great."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

This will be the first time since Mark Loretta in 2006 that the Red Sox have had someone not named Pedroia play second base on Opening Day. Eduardo Nunez is likely to hold down second base for Boston in the interim, assuming he passes the physical necessary to complete his one-year contract.

Does Pedroia have a target date for returning? One reporter suggested May 15.

"Honestly, we haven't really set any dates like that," Pedroia said. "It's kind of monitored on a week-to-week thing. If I continue to make strides in one area, then I could do more. So far, the whole thing, I haven't had any setbacks. I've added more weight to each time I do an exercise, and it's been great."

Video: HOU@BOS Gm4: Pedroia gets the out with a sliding stop

Though Pedroia didn't make excuses for his diminished play down the stretch last season, it was clear to anyone who watched how hobbled he was. He now acknowledges how hard it was to go out there at far less than 100 percent.

"I don't feel that [pain] anymore," Pedroia said. "I think that's why the decision to have the surgery was important. If I didn't, then yeah, there would be kind of an issue. The way it's worked out, it was the best decision I could have made. My knee doesn't hurt. Last year, waking up and walking around was painful. It's not fun to live your life like that."

Pedroia acknowledged being down before the start of the American League Division Series against the Astros, confiding in teammate Xander Bogaerts at the time that he didn't envision being able to do much with his bat unless the pitch was right down the middle. He went 2-for-16 as the Red Sox lost in four games.

What gets Pedroia through his monotonous rehab exercises is the knowledge that he will feel like himself again when he returns.

The surgery Pedroia had was a cartilage restoration procedure.

"Having the surgery, I could tell immediately that I was feeling better. Not one time did I have any pain in the entire process. Now it's just building strength and getting back to being athletic and things like that, and your body picks that up quick."

Given the pounding the 34-year-old Pedroia takes on a daily basis playing second base, he asked the doctors before the surgery what it would be like once he plays again.

Video: Browne on Pedroia's health entering 2018 season

"I said, 'Listen man, I don't know if you've seen me play, I land on my legs about 100 times a game.'" Pedroia said. "He goes, 'Oh, I understand. What we're going to do is, it's going to basically give you tread on your tire and you can go crazy again. It's just a matter of building strength around it and doing the things that you've always done. You're just going to have cartilage now.'"

That was all Pedroia needed to hear before deciding to go ahead with it.

"I'm not worried about other areas of anything else," said Pedroia. "I take care of myself pretty good with the flexibility, things like that. This was just a thing that I had to get fixed, and now that it's fixed, I don't envision anything being a problem."

What is next for Pedroia?

"I'm on one of those weighted treadmill things at 80 percent weight. Next week, I go up for seven minutes," said Pedroia. "The week after, I'm supposed to go for 10 minutes. And then the week after that, I'm off that treadmill and running regular without the weight taken off. I'm ahead of schedule, so now it's just continuing with the process of it, and we'll go from there."

At some point in the not-too-distant future, the process will lead Pedroia back to his home at second base.

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

Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia

Best and worst comeback attempts of all time

MLB.com @_dadler and @AndrewSimonMLB

The beginning of Spring Training doesn't just mark the beginning of the baseball year for Major League Baseball's superstars and stalwarts. It's also a glimmer of hope for players who are trying to make comebacks to the game's biggest stage, however unlikely they might seem.

This year, that group includes a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner and three-time World Series champion -- Tim Lincecum, the longtime Giants ace, who hosted a showcase for scouts on Thursday and isn't ready to hang up his glove just yet.

The beginning of Spring Training doesn't just mark the beginning of the baseball year for Major League Baseball's superstars and stalwarts. It's also a glimmer of hope for players who are trying to make comebacks to the game's biggest stage, however unlikely they might seem.

This year, that group includes a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner and three-time World Series champion -- Tim Lincecum, the longtime Giants ace, who hosted a showcase for scouts on Thursday and isn't ready to hang up his glove just yet.

But he's not the only one. Rafael Palmeiro, now 53 years old, made headlines earlier in the offseason when he expressed his own desire to play again, even though he hasn't picked up a bat in the Majors since 2003. And there are others, too, like Anthony Gose, the former Tigers outfielder who is trying to reinvent himself as a 100-mph-throwing pitcher with the Astros.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

In honor of these players and the others with the same goal, MLB.com is looking back at some of the most successful, and unsuccessful, Major League comeback attempts. These were players like Lincecum or Palmeiro or Gose -- Major Leaguers who spent a full year or more out of baseball before attempting a return to the field.

Best comebacks

Rick Ankiel
A highly regarded pitching prospect with the Cardinals, Ankiel debuted successfully in 1999 and the next season finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting after going 11-7 with a 3.50 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 175 innings. But the left-hander encountered an infamous bout of severe control problems that postseason and never recovered, pitching in just 11 more big league games.

Video: Ankiel on transition from pitching to hitting

Ankiel opened a new chapter of his career when he converted to the outfield in 2005. Injuries wiped out his '06 season and stalled his progress, but he returned to the Majors with the Cardinals in '07 and over the next two seasons batted .270/.334/.515 with 36 home runs in 167 games. The strong-armed outfielder stuck around in MLB as a part-time player through '13.

Andy Pettitte
Pettitte struggled to decide whether to play in 2011, but he ultimately concluded that his heart wasn't in it. The three-time All-Star left-hander retired with 240 career wins, more than 2,200 strikeouts and five World Series championships with the Yankees.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Andy Pettitte tosses ceremonial first pitch

But the following year, Pettitte's stint as a guest instructor at Yankees Spring Training inspired him to get back on the mound, and he signed a Minor League deal in March. Pettitte ultimately made 42 more big league starts from 2012-13, posting a stellar 3.49 ERA. He started two more games in the '12 postseason, leaving his all-time record total at 44.

Julio Franco
His first comeback, at a mere 37 years old, came in 1996. The three-time All-Star and 1991 American League batting champion, coming off a strong but strike-shortened '94 with the White Sox, spent '95 in Japan before returning to the Indians. Then his world tour really kicked into gear. Franco spent '98 back in Japan, '99 in Mexico (with the exception of one at-bat for Tampa Bay), 2000 in South Korea and most of '01 in Mexico again.

After tearing it up for Mexico City that year, Franco earned a job with the Braves, turning 43 about a week before his first game with the club on Sept. 1. Incredibly, Franco wound up playing in the Majors every year from '01-'07, racking up 1,618 plate appearances with a league-average 100 OPS+. He suited up for the final time as a 49-year-old for the '07 Braves.

Scott Kazmir
Kazmir's career arc took him from rising star, to disappointment, to rejuvenated. At first, he was a promising young left-hander who led the AL in strikeouts at age 23 and was a two-time All-Star by age 24. Then, he lost his stuff and suffered through a slew of injuries, and it looked like his career was in jeopardy. Kazmir went unsigned prior to the 2012 season, and he had to go to the independent leagues, where he began pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters.

That's where the comeback began. After his stint in indy ball and some time pitching in Puerto Rico, Kazmir landed a Minor League deal with the Indians and won their fifth-starter job in Spring Training. He kept pitching well in the regular season, earning some Comeback Player of the Year votes, and parlayed his success into a contract with the A's. The next year, Kazmir was an All-Star again, capping his inspired comeback.

Bartolo Colon
Colon is a favorite of fans all around baseball, but his career seemed in question after he missed the entire 2011 season due to significant right shoulder injuries -- he had pain brought on by damage to his rotator cuff, tendons and ligaments. But after a stem cell transplant to repair the damage, Colon not only managed to make it back to the Majors, he reinvented himself as a pitcher and found success as a command artist for years to come.

Video: Colon, Banister on competition within the rotation

Colon signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees entering 2011 and made the team as a reliever, then took over for the injured Phil Hughes in the rotation and made 26 starts, performing admirably. He got even better from there. In 2013 with the A's, at age 40, he made an All-Star team for the first time since his Cy Young-winning 2005. In 2016, with the Mets, he was an All-Star again, at age 43. And now, with Bartolo having signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers at age 44, the ride still might not be over yet.

Worst comebacks

Jim Palmer
Palmer's was one of the strangest comeback attempts in MLB history. He was already in the Hall of Fame when he decided to come out of retirement in 1991 ... more than six years after he had last pitched in a Major League game. Since then, Palmer had become an Orioles broadcaster, but he re-joined the club in Spring Training at age 45 under manager Frank Robinson, who had been his teammate from 1966-71.

Palmer would have been the first Hall of Famer to return to play again in the Majors, but his comeback came to an abrupt end. He made only one Spring Training start, allowing two runs on five hits in two innings, with lackluster velocity and command. The next day, he decided to give up on the comeback and go back to broadcasting, revealing he had torn his hamstring during warmups before the start. "I had breakfast with Frank this morning," Palmer told reporters, detailing his conversation informing Robinson of his decision. "He said, 'Are you sure?' I said, 'No, I'm not, but my leg is.'"

Hideo Nomo
Nomo was a pioneer, the first pitcher in decades to move from Japan to the Major Leagues when he arrived in 1995. His success helped blaze the trail for the many players who have come since -- Nomo burst onto the scene with the Dodgers by making the All-Star team and winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award, he had two straight top-five Cy Young finishes to start his MLB career, he twice led his league in strikeouts and he even threw two no-hitters.

So The Tornado had nothing left to prove in 2008, when he signed a Minor League deal with the Royals at age 39, three years after his last game in the Majors. But he wanted to pitch, and Nomo even ended up making the Royals' roster as a reliever. His brief stint in Kansas City was rocky, though, resulting in an ERA of 18.69 in three appearances. He allowed nine runs on 10 hits, including three homers, in just 4 1/3 innings. He was released in late April and announced his retirement in mid-July.

Dontrelle Willis
The D-Train took the Major Leagues by storm with his NL Rookie of the Year-winning debut with the Marlins in 2003 and Cy Young runner-up finish in 2005. With his intimidating left-handed delivery, Willis was a sensation, but he fell out of the spotlight almost as quickly as he entered it. Willis' production fell off dramatically in the late 2000s, and after a 2011 season with the Reds where he went 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA, Willis was unable to break into another Major League rotation, signing a series of contracts over the next several seasons that never turned into any big league action.

But Willis was still trying to come back as recently as 2015, after even pitching in the independent leagues. The Brewers signed him in late January 2015, but the sidewinder was never able to make it all the way back to the bigs. He announced his retirement that March.

Johan Santana
Johan's comeback attempts fell short through no fault of his own. His body just broke down. Santana had already missed an entire season due to shoulder surgery when he gutted his way through 134 pitches on June 1, 2012, to provide the Mets one of the shining moments in their history -- the franchise's first and so far only no-hitter. And after that night, one of the most agonizing of manager Terry Collins' career, Santana never really regained his dominant form.

Video: Johan Santana still eyes a return to the mound

In fact, the two-time AL Cy Young winner never pitched another Major League game after that season. Each of his comeback attempts was thwarted by injury. In 2013, Santana re-tore his shoulder capsule. In '14, with the Orioles, he tore his Achilles tendon. In '15, a toe infection shut down his comeback attempt with the Blue Jays. A franchise icon for both the Twins and Mets, Johan deserved better.

Brian Wilson
The days of "Fear the Beard" were long past when Wilson, the former fireballing closer for the Giants who got the final outs of the 2010 World Series, tried to make a big league comeback ... as a knuckleballer. Wilson had last pitched for the Dodgers at the end of '14, but he got the urge to pitch again and started putting time into his knuckleball in the winter before the '17 season.

The 34-year-old reportedly threw for multiple teams, focusing on a pitch he had learned as a teenager but he never used professionally because of the toll it would have taken on his catchers. (The only time he'd broken out the knuckle was in Spring Training with the Dodgers in '14.) After a 30-pitch knuckleball bullpen session at the University of Southern California, Wilson told Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown, "That right there was an MVP-Cy Young knuckleball." But unfortunately, nothing ended up coming out of his attempt to knuckleball his way back into the Major Leagues. But The Beard lives on in baseball lore.

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

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Bartolo Colon, Tim Lincecum

LIVE: Follow the Andre Dawson Classic

Annual HBCU tournament underway in New Orleans
MLB.com

Six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), plus the University of Illinois at Chicago and tournament co-host University of New Orleans, are squaring off this weekend in the newly dubbed Andre Dawson Classic.

The eight-team, round-robin tournament is being played at UNO's Maestri Field and the New Orleans Major League Baseball Academy through Sunday. Formerly known as the Urban Invitational, the tournament is in its 11th season.

Six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), plus the University of Illinois at Chicago and tournament co-host University of New Orleans, are squaring off this weekend in the newly dubbed Andre Dawson Classic.

The eight-team, round-robin tournament is being played at UNO's Maestri Field and the New Orleans Major League Baseball Academy through Sunday. Formerly known as the Urban Invitational, the tournament is in its 11th season.

Fans can follow pitch-by-pitch action of every game on MLB.com's Gameday. Two of the games played today will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

SCHEDULE

Today
LIVE: Illinois-Chicago Flames vs. Southern Jaguars, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday  | Watch live on MLB Network, MLB.com »
4 p.m. ET: Prairie View A&M Panthers vs. Alcorn State Braves, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »
7 p.m. ET: Alabama State Hornets vs. New Orleans Privateers, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday  | Watch live on MLB Network, MLB.com »
7:30 p.m. ET: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions vs. Grambling State Tigers, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »

Sunday
1 p.m. ET: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions vs. Alabama State Hornets, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »
1 p.m. ET: Prairie View A&M Panthers vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday »
4 p.m. ET: Alcorn State Braves vs. Grambling State Tigers, Wesley Barrow Stadium. Gameday »
4 p.m. ET: Southern Jaguars vs. New Orleans Privateers, Maestri Stadium. Gameday »

RESULTS
Friday:
Illinois-Chicago Flames 3, Southern Jaguars 0. Gameday »
Alcorn State Braves 5, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions 4. Gameday » 
Southern Jaguars 8, Grambling State Tigers 7. Gameday »
New Orleans Privateers 5, Illinois-Chicago Flames 4. Gameday »
Alabama State Hornets 8, Prairie View A&M Panthers 7. Gameday »

Giants impressed by Lincecum's showcase

Former San Francisco ace could fill need for club
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat