Billy Hamilton Headshot

Hamilton is expected to lead off this season according to manager Bryan Price, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Added 02/17/17 11:43 am (EST)
Hamilton's jaw-dropping speed makes this a logical move, especially after his OBP increased by 47 points to .321 last season. Fantasy players can just about put 50 stolen bases in Sharpie when they draft him, though he's unlikely to excel in any other category.
Marcus Stroman Headshot

Stroman threw six shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three during Team USA's Wednesday victory over Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic championship game.

Added 10:10 am (EST)
Only 44 of his 73 pitches resulted in a strike, but to log that many innings on that crisp a count proved efficient, and that approach makes his current and future fantasy owners smile. Stroman's strikeout rate doesn't befit that of a fantasy ace, and the right-hander comes in a notch below that tier. Still, even after the added WBC stretch, the control- and groundball-happy right-hander should chew up close to 200 innings and could enjoy a bump in whiffs now that he's another year removed from a torn ACL.
Angel Pagan Headshot

Pagan went 2-for-4 in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic championship game loss to Team USA. He hit .303 (8-for-31) in seven games for Puerto Rico.

Added 9:55 am (EST)
Pagan remains a free agent but showed he's worthy of a big league job in the WBC and also showed he's healthy. Pagan was close to signing with Baltimore earlier this spring before failing a physical, Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports reports. Atlanta was reportedly interested in signing Pagan before the WBC started, so it may not be long until he signs with a MLB team.
Shane Greene Headshot

Greene said his struggles this spring are a result of working on his mechanics, not lingering finger numbness he's been dealing with, MLB.com reports.

Added 9:53 am (EST)
Blood circulation issues led to surgery two years ago for Greene, and the fingers on his right hand will still occasionally go cold or numb. However, he said he's gotten used to the feeling, and his struggles this spring are more due to mechanics. "I think what was happening was, for me, when I tell myself to stay back, I slow my arm down," Greene said. "All spring training I've been trying to get my arm to catch up. I finally stopped thinking about it, and it caught up, and everything felt great." The righty gave up seven runs on 11 hits over his first four innings this spring, but he's pitched five straight scoreless innings since.
Brad Boxberger Headshot

Boxberger (back) is scheduled to take a week off throwing before building back up, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Added 9:48 am (EST)
It was announced Monday that Boxberger would unlikely be ready prior to Opening Day, as he continues do deal with a strained lat muscle that has plagued him since early-March. The penciled-in set-up man won't be ready for the opener, but still aims to return to the Rays at some point in April. Until then, the Rays will have to mix and match with the likes of Xavier Cedeno, Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Farquhar in the seventh and eighth innings.
Michael Taylor Headshot

Taylor (personal) returned to Nationals camp Thursday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.

Added 9:41 am (EST)
Taylor has been away from the team since Saturday while attending to a family matter, but now appears to be back in line for a regular spring routine. He had been hot prior to taking leave, going 16-for-36 at the plate with two home runs and six steals in exhibition play. Taylor will look to limit his strikeouts and stay aggressive on the basepaths in 2017, where he's likely headed for a role as the team's fourth outfielder.
Max Moroff Headshot

Moroff was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.

Added 9:34 am (EST)
Moroff was just 3-for-26 at the dish this spring, but when he did get on base he made the most of it, collecting two stolen bases. The 23-year-old made his Major League debut last year and was hitless in two plate appearances, and is likely destined for the minors for the bulk of 2017.
Elias Diaz Headshot

Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday.

Added 9:28 am (EST)
Diaz finds himself behind Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart on the depth chart heading into the 2017 season, so the Pirates will send him to the minors to see more consistent playing time. The 26-year-old slashed .266/.289/.298 in an injury-plagued 2016, where he was limited to just 25 games at the minor league level.
Jung-Ho Kang Headshot

Pirates GM Neal Huntington stated Thursday morning that Kang (restricted list) will not be ready for Opening Day, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Added 9:19 am (EST)
Kang appears to still be waiting for a work visa to enter the United States, but the at-bats he's missing by not being a part of spring training are starting to pile up. Though he should be OK from a physical standpoint, the Pirates likely want him to see a set number of at-bats before the organization is comfortable tossing him into a Major League game. The recent development is another slight knock on his fantasy value, though the bigger question mark about when he'll actually be back is a more serious detriment to prospective owners heading into draft day.
Jose Berrios Headshot

Berrios gave up three runs over 1.2 innings for Puerto Rico in Wednesday's World Baseball Classic championship game loss.

Added 9:08 am (EST)
Berrios was impressive in striking out the side in his first inning of work, but couldn't get a third out in a second inning of work and his runs were later allowed by fellow relievers. Berrios has thrown just 10.2 innings this spring between the WBC and MLB spring training, so he may be too far behind in getting ready for the season to win the fifth starter role. However, the competition may not be decided until the final week with Berrios, Tyler Duffey and Adalberto Mejia the leading candidates for the job.
Christian Vazquez Headshot

Vazquez caught for Eduardo Rodriguez in a minor league game Wednesday and helped the left-hander by throwing out two runners trying to steal second base, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Added 8:07 am (EST)
These caught base-stealers don't register on Vazquez's official spring stat log, but the backstop has thrown out four of five would-be base-stealers in Grapefruit League play. His ability to control the running game and framing skills are enough to overcome whatever hitting holes he has. If the Red Sox get into a position where they're getting unacceptable offensive production out of the catching position, and considering calling up Blake Swihart to replace either Vazquez or Sandy Leon, the organization would view Vazquez as the more long-term option.
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