In what was very likely his final minor league rehab start, Cole Hamels pitched seven strong innings for Class-A Clearwater on Thursday night. Hamels allowed one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.
After a shaky start to his rehab Hamels has been lights out since and will be a welcome addition to both the Phillies rotation and your fantasy team for those who remained patience during his recovery. ANALYST: Michael Pichan
The Bears informed RB Matt forte they will not be attempting to re-sign him in free agency.
The handwriting was on the wall this past season as the Bears looked to make the transition from the 30-year old Forte to the 24-year old Jeremy Langford. When Forte was injured, the door opened for the team to make the move without looking like the "bad guy" and Langford played so well that he was just expected to remain in the backfield rotation even when Forte was healthy. Had Forte played a full 16 game, he easily would have eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for a fourth-straight season, so there is plenty left in the tank. He'll land with another team fairly easily, though at his age, it seems unlikely that he'll land a long-term deal. Analysis: Howard Bender
Jordan Hamilton is finalizing a contract with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The former 2011 first-round pick (26th overall) has been a bust since landing in the NBA and had just one moderately decent season split between Denver and Houston back in 2013-14. The Vipers are an affiliate of the Rockets, so while he won't join their roster, they'll definitely get a better look at him than most of the other teams around the league. His chances of returning to the NBA are somewhat slim, but if he can prove to be a reliable depth player, he just might find himself with a 10-day contract at some point. Analysis: Howard Bender
Blue Jays sent RHP Chad Jenkins outright to Triple-A Buffalo.
You know you've hit rockbottom when you're bumped from the 40-man roster for Gavin Floyd and no one claims you off waivers. It's not exactly the end of the road for the 28-year old right-handed reliever, but after a poor showing in the spring and regular season last year, it looks like Jenkins is going to have to significantly step up his game this spring if he wants his roster spot back or, at the least, an early call-up. Analysis: Howard Bender
John Wall remains questionable for the NBA All Star Game.
Wall is dealing with a knee injury right now and according to the guard, who still managed a double-double over 42 minutes Thursday, "it's hurting badly." While everyone loves the All Star game festivities, Wall's health is vastly more important and if the knee is still bothering him after a few days of rest, he'll be held out to spare any unnecessary wear-and-tear. If he doesn't play over the weekend, there is no loss on either the real or fantasy front. Analysis: Howard Bender
Bradley Beal played 37 minutes Thursday night.That's back to back games of 30 minutes or over.
He's also now played 30 minutes or more in three of the last four games. Beal missed almost a month earlier in the season with a stress reaction in his leg and then lost time due to a broken nose and concussion, but seems to be at full health now. He's being entrusted with more minutes as it appears his body can handle the workload again and he should be able to keep this momentum with added rest over the All Star break. Look for Beal to come out strong for the second half of the regular season. Analysis: Howard Bender
Jed Lowrie can play multiple infield positions, but he’s expected to open the year as Oakland’s starting second baseman.
This is the way it was first penciled in when the A's brought Lowrie back to the team in the offseason. Marcus Semien is slated to remain the starting shortstop and for now, Danny Valencia will be at third. Now obviously, Valencia has a history of struggling against right-handed pitching, so that could affect where Lowrie plays on some days, but he [Valencia] had a solid year last season and improved his splits at the plate so the A's might give him a little rope here. For now, though, consider the keystone Lowrie's position and look for him to retain his multi-position eligibility as the year rolls on. Analysis: Howard Bender
Update: David Hernandez will enter spring training as the favorite for closing duties.
After trading away Ken Giles, the Phillies left themselves without much in the way of closer options. Hernandez has experience as a ninth-inning fill in from his days in Arizona and both Edward Mujica and Ernesto Frieri will join the team in spring training this year. There are likely a handful of less-experienced option who may emerge this spring, but Hernandez seems to be the current leader of the pack. Expect the team to let a competition brew with a final decision to be made closer to the start of the regular season. Analysis: Howard Bender