The former closer would already be ahead of the game if he escapes spring training with his health intact, considering an abdominal injury during last year's exhibition slate set the stage for a season that would see him pitch just 24.1 innings and lose his ninth-inning role to Alex Colome. Boxberger could reinvent himself as a dominant setup option this season, and will look to significantly improve on the career-high 4.81 ERA and 1.73 WHIP he generated in 2016.
Shaw hadn't put one past a goalie since Jan. 24, a stretch of 10 games before his wraparound beat New York's Henrik Lundqvist. It was a good sequence for Shaw who earlier in the shift made a nice play to keep the puck inside the Rangers' zone. It was a reminder of the good that Shaw can provide. Since returning from a knee injury 17 games ago, Shaw has made more headlines for his dumb penalties than offensive contributions (two goals, three assists).
Beckham, who added first base to his resume last season after having already played at each of the other infield spots, is putting in time as an outfielder this spring, Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports. "It's just repetition," Beckham said. "The more comfortable I get out there, the more opportunities I'll get. I don't think it's going to be hard at all. It's not going to be tough learning the position."
The addition of a fifth position to Beckham's defensive repertoire had been speculated about shortly before the start of initial workouts, and is now officially in process. The 27-year-old utility man has embraced the latest opportunity, remarking that his goal is simply to "play and win games", regardless of where he's deployed on the field. The additional versatility can only help Beckham's cause for a spot on the 25-man roster, although he'll likely need to display improvement in his plate discipline and overall offensive consistency to stick.
Gardiner notched an assist on William Nylander's game-tying power-play goal in the third period Tuesday, then buried the game-winner in overtime to secure a 5-4 victory over Winnipeg.
After failing to hit the scoresheet 12 times in a span of 13 games, Gardiner has exploded seemingly out of nowhere with five points in the Leafs' last two contests. His offense has come in fits and starts, but the bottom line is that Gardiner is now just one point off his career high (31, which he's done twice) while boasting a plus-20 rating that's light years better than any figure he's put up in the past.
Leivo dished out a pair of assists and took four shots on goal in Tuesday's 5-4 overtime victory over Winnipeg.
He's lit aflame since being given a regular role in the lineup, ripping off eight points and 18 shots in his last five games. Leivo's 48 points in 51 AHL games last season are certainly suggestive of intriguing upside, and the quickness with which he's taking to the NHL all of a sudden bears noticing in fantasy. The 23-year-old may just be getting showcased for a trade, but either way, he skated 16:19 (with 3:19 of that on the power play) in this one, and if that degree of opportunity persists, he could very well keep putting up points at a decent clip.