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Nelson Cruz Headshot

Cruz, who will try to help the Mariners break their 15-year postseason drought in 2017, is highly optimistic about the coming season, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I think we're more ready," the 36-year-old designated hitter said. "If you go from Kyle [Seager] to all the young guys that were here, guys that haven't been in the playoffs, the last week and a half last year was very exciting. Every at-bat was important, every pitch was important. But we came up short. So we need to make sure this year we're on top and clinch early."

The veteran slugger has a full schedule, considering he'll also be helping Team Dominican Republic defend its World Baseball Classic title alongside Mariners teammate Robinson Cano next month. Cruz's main focus is on his major league squad, however, as he attempts to help Seattle break its dubious streak of missing the postseason. Following an impressive 2016 campaign that saw him post a .287/.360/.555 line with 43 homers and 105 RBI, Cruz didn't rest on his laurels in the offseason, toiling away at the gym and checking in to spring training five pounds lighter than at the end of last season. With Seattle just missing an AL wild-card berth in 2016, Cruz is hopeful that the experience of competing late in the season, along with the flurry of offseason moves by general manager Jerry DiPoto, will be enough to propel the Mariners to the next level. "Now hopefully we can stay healthy. We should be in good shape. We should be at the top of the division."
6 hours ago
Patrick Marleau Headshot

Marleau posted a goal with a plus-1 rating and a blocked shot in Sunday's 2-1 overtime loss against the Bruins.

Marleau tied Joe Mullen for 43rd place all-time with his 502nd career goal. He snapped a three-game scoreless skid with the marker. The veteran has been terribly inconsistent this season, but he remains a fantasy must-have for his ability to pick up points in bunches.
6 hours ago
Felix Hernandez Headshot

Hernandez impressed in his second throwing session of spring training Sunday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.

The Mariners' ace got in a 10-minute session despite dealing with some rainy weather, and as he had Thursday, looked impressive while also drawing raves for his transformed physique, which includes several pounds of new muscle after a rigorous offseason training regimen. Hernandez is working on an accelerated throwing schedule overall this spring in anticipation of his participation in the World Baseball Classic with Team Venezuela.
6 hours ago
Jimmy Hayes Headshot

Hayes posted an assist with a plus-1 rating, a blocked shot and two hits in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win against the Sharks.

The assist was the 100th point of his career. Hayes managed just two goals and an assist over his first 41 games but he has two helpers over the past three outings. His fantasy appeal remains limited to the deepest of formats until he starts to find his way onto the scoresheet with more frequency.
6 hours ago
Martin Jones Headshot

Jones allowed two goals on 28 shots in Sunday's 2-1 loss against the Bruins.

While the result was the same in the loss column, Jones was much better than his previous outing Wednesday against the Panthers when he coughed up six goals on just 22 shots. He has been a bit shaky lately but Sunday's improvement should give fantasy owners hope heading into the new week.
6 hours ago
Jordan Schafer Headshot

Schafer, a non-roster invitee to spring training, impressed pitching coach Derek Lilliquist in his first session against hitters Sunday, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "It was not advertised as that," said Lilliquist. "He had his breaking ball and his changeup. Very interesting guy."

The 30-year-old is one of the more intriguing projects in Cardinals camp, given his conversion from outifelder to pitcher last season in the Dodgers organization. Schafer has an extensive minor league career that dates back to 2005, and has also accrued 1,292 big league at-bats over 463 games. However, considering his career .228/.308/.307 line, the move to pitcher may be his last chance to stick with a major league club. Schafer got that quest off to a solid start Sunday, and both Lilliquist and manager Mike Matheny look forward to evaluating him for a job as a possible southpaw specialist out of the bullpen later into the exhibition schedule against the likes of Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Christian Yelich. "Early on, the hitters aren't ready," said Lilliquist. "So maybe 10, 12 games into it, they're staying in the game longer and by that time they're getting three at-bats. Then, put him in and see how he matches up."
6 hours ago
Brad Marchand Headshot

Marchand picked up the game-winning goal in overtime with a plus-1 rating in Sunday's contest against the Sharks.

Marchand has been on fire since Jan. 5 with 15 goals and 29 points over the past 20 outings. He'll probably be sad the B's do not face the Sharks again this season, as he lit the lamp in each of the meetings. His longest point drought this season is two games on two different occasions. Fantasy owners have enjoyed Marchand's consistent production all season, but he really has taken it to another level recently.
6 hours ago
Kevan Miller Headshot

Miller was scoreless in Sunday's 2-1 overtime win against the Sharks with four blocked shots.

Miller doesn't offer much in the way of offense and he has struggled in the plus-minus category, too. His four blocked shots were a little out of character, too, as he had just 43 blocks over his first 34 games. The area he benefits fantasy owners the most is in the hits category (80).
6 hours ago
Tuukka Rask Headshot

Rask yielded just one goal on 30 shots in Sunday's 2-1 overtime victory against the Sharks.

Rask coughed up 12 goals in his first three appearances in February, but he has given up just one goal over his past two outings, stopping 54 shots. He has won three straight outings and remains a must-start fantasy option across the board.
6 hours ago
John Gant Headshot

Gant, acquired in the Dec. 1 trade that sent Jaime Garcia to the Braves, impressed in his first session against hitters Sunday, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. "Gant has a little sneakier stuff than was advertised," said pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.

The 24-year-old right-hander brings a quirky pitching motion, and apparently, a repertoire impressive enough to catch the eye of his new pitching coach in his first up-close look of Gant against hitters. The 6-foot-5 hurler acquitted himself decently over his first 20 major league appearances in 2016, a stint that included seven starts. Gant was only 1-4, but did whiff 49 over 50 innings for the Braves, enduring a near two-month absence due to an oblique injury that knocked him out of the starting rotation. His best chance of breaking camp with the major league club could well be in the bullpen, given the Cardinals' solid starting rotation.
6 hours ago
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