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Jeff Samardzija Headshot

Samardzija has been named the fourth starter in manager Bruce Bochy's spring training rotation and he should occupy that spot on Opening Day as well, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

No surprises here, as the top four of San Francisco's rotation had been known heading into spring training, it was simply a matter of what order they would be slotted in. Samardzija had a bit of a rocky ride in the first year of his five-year contract, but the end results were solid (3.81 ERA) and were a huge step in the right direction after his abysmal 2015. He will be one of the better fourth starters on paper and should get some favorable matchups early in the year when fourth starters face off against other fourth starters.
7:24 pm (EST)
Lance Stephenson Headshot

Stephenson's (ankle) 10-day contract with the Timberwolves has expired, Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Stephenson inked a 10-day deal with the Timberwolves earlier in February, which ran out just prior to the All-Star break. Unfortunately, he suffered a sprained ankle just prior the break and is still working through some discomfort, so the Timberwolves are going to wait until he's at full strength before potentially bringing him back. That said, coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned that Stephenson is still in Minnesota going through rehab, which seems to indicate there's mutual interest between the two sides to get another deal done.
7:24 pm (EST)
Tony Cingrani Headshot

Cingrani is working on another pitch to add to his repertoire in 2017, Mark Sheldon of reports.

The southpaw has relied on his mid 90s four-seam fastball heavily throughout his career, throwing it more than 87 percent of the time in 2016. He is working on a breaking pitch in order to mix things up and keep batters guessing. He led the Reds with 17 saves while posting a 4.14 ERA in 65 appearances last season, although he'll likely see fewer save opportunities in 2017 as the Reds are contemplating a four-man closer committee.
7:20 pm (EST)
Henry Owens Headshot

Owens has been named the starter for Friday's game against the Mets at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers (Fla.), Rob Bradford of reports.

Owens will turn 25-years-old during the 2017 season, so time is slipping away for a former top pitching prospect in the organization. The tall left-hander has struggled to consistently command his fastball, as evidenced by his 8.2 BB/9 in 22 innings for Boston in 2016. He was the first one to get a callup to start for Boston last season, but that may not be the case in 2017. Brian Johnson, Roenis Elias and former major-leaguer Kyle Kendrick will also be considered should Boston need an emergency fill-in starter.
7:11 pm (EST)
Viktor Arvidsson Headshot

Arvidsson cracked the 40-point plateau for the first time in his career with an assist during Tuesday's 6-5 OT loss to the Flames.

Wow, what a breakout season the 23-year-old Swede is having. Arvidsson had just 16 points in 56 games last year, but he's more than doubled that output in practically the same number of games (57) this season. He has surpassed both James Neal and Craig Smith as the Preds' No. 1 left wing, playing on the top line alongside Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg, and deserves fantasy attention in most medium to deep formats. A 60-point season is not out of the question at this point.
7:08 pm (EST)
Matt Moore Headshot

Manager Bruce Bochy formed his rotation for spring training Wednesday, listing Moore as his third pitcher which is where he should land once the regular season begins, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Moore had an up-and-down season between Tampa Bay and San Francisco last season, finishing with a modest 4.08 ERA and a 2.5 K/BB ratio over 198.1 innings. A full season in San Francisco should help in terms of his home ballpark being favorable to pitchers and also having a better offense behind him for leagues that count wins. Moore isn't a safe pitcher by any means, but his ability to strike out batters (8.1 K/9) make him viable in most formats.
7:06 pm (EST)
Brian Johnson Headshot

Johnson will start against Northeastern University on Thursday, Rob Bradford of reports.

The Red Sox traditionally kick off game action during spring training against a Boston-area college and this year it's the Huskies of NU. It's not typically an important assignment, but for Johnson it is. The left-hander was on the cusp of the major leagues coming out of 2015 spring training, but an elbow injury, a toe injury and then two months away from the game to deal with an anxiety issues derailed his arrival. He finished last season, pitching well at Triple-A Pawtucket and will return there to start 2017. He's viewed as a depth starter, but is one of four guys considered as such.
7:04 pm (EST)
J.J. Barea Headshot

Barea (calf) practiced Wednesday but has been ruled out for the next three games, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports.

The team was originally hoping Barea would return Feb. 27 against the Heat at the very latest, but it looks like his absence will extend into March. With Deron Williams in the middle of multiple trade rumors as the deadline approaches, Yogi Ferrell and Devin Harris could be the only active point guards the Mavericks have over the course of Barea's absence. Barea's next opportunity to return will be next Wednesday against the Hawks.
7:02 pm (EST)
Justise Winslow Headshot

Winslow (shoulder) recently shed his sling, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

Winslow was expected to start rehab activities following the All-Star break and now that he's been able to shed his sling, it appears he's ready to ramp up his recovery. He's already been ruled out for the duration of the 2016-17 season after undergoing surgery in early January, so the Heat will likely take it slow with his rehab in order to have him as healthy as possible for next season's training camp.
6:58 pm (EST)
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