MLB Player News

  • Jefry Marte 1B | LAA

    Angels' Jefry Marte: In Friday's lineup

    Marte (foot) will start the club's Cactus League opener at first base against Oakland on Friday.

    Marte will be batting third in the order. The 26-year-old missed the final three weeks of the 2017 season due to a foot fracture but he appears to be fully healthy heading into this spring. Marte will be competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster after spending last year split between Los Angeles and the Triple-A level. During 45 games in the majors, he slashed .173/.269/.307 with four home runs and 14 RBI.

  • Kennys Vargas 1B | MIN

    Twins' Kennys Vargas: Looking to earn final bench spot

    Vargas will compete for the Twins' final bench spot during spring training, Rhett Bollinger of reports.

    Vargas is likely frontrunner given he's out of minor-league options, but he'll still need to impress the Twins' brass during camp to assure himself a spot on the Opening Day roster as a backup option at first baseman and designated hitter. In 78 games with the big club last season, the 27-year-old hit just .253/.314/.444 with 11 homers. He's flashed some serious power potential in the past -- launching the third longest homer in the majors last season -- but that comes with a lowly 68 percent contact rate. Even if he breaks camp with the Twins, it would likely take an injury or two for him to see extended playing time.

  • Tigers' Domonic Ficociello: Doing ok after injuring finger

    Ficociello had a finger pop out of its socket during Thursday's matchup with Florida Southern, but he's doing fine, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports.

    It's unclear what the cause of the issue was. Considering it was the first game of the spring, it comes as no surprise that he was instantly removed from the game following the incident. It seems like he'll be fine moving forward, although it'll be worth monitoring over the course of spring training in case the finger continues to cause him problems. Ficociello is looking to build off his 2017 campaign in which he produced an .824 OPS at Double-A Erie and earned his first promotion to Triple-A Toledo.

  • Sam Travis 1B | BOS

    Red Sox's Sam Travis: To play at first against Boston College

    Travis (hip) will start at first and bat third for the Red Sox in their exhibition contest against Boston College on Thursday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

    Travis was forced to leave winter ball due to a minor hip injury but appears to be at full health as spring games get underway. The 24-year-old will get a chance to crack the Opening Day roster after competing in 33 contests with Boston last season, slashing .263/.325/.342 with six extra-base hits and one RBI.

  • Matt Olson 1B | OAK

    Athletics' Matt Olson: Back in action versus Angels on Friday

    Olson (hamstring) will be in the lineup for Friday's Cactus League contest against the Angels, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

    Olson was sidelined with a Grade 2 hamstring strain toward the end of the 2017 season, but appears to be at full health as spring camp gets underway. The first baseman slashed .259/.352/.651 with 24 home runs and 45 RBI in 59 games last year and will settle into a middle-of-the-order role with the club in 2018.

  • Yuli Gurriel 1B | HOU

    Astros' Yulieski Gurriel: Could play multiple positions

    Gurriel will be played at various spots around the infield this season, Brian McTaggart of reports.

    Gurriel played almost exclusively as a first baseman last season, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch wants to use him occasionally at second base, third base and shortstop in 2018. He was primarily a third baseman and second baseman in Cuba and Japan before coming to the United States, so the positions wouldn't be foreign to him, though moving back up the defensive spectrum at age 33 would be an unusual move. If he does receive enough time at one of those positions to gain eligibility it would be a boost to his fantasy value, as his bat isn't particularly noteworthy for a first baseman.

  • AJ Reed 1B | HOU

    Astros' A.J. Reed: In contention for Opening Day roster

    Reed has a chance to win a roster spot to start the season, the Astros official site reports.

    Reed hit .261/.358/.525 at Triple-A Fresno last season but received just six plate appearances for the big-league club. With Yuli Gurriel starting the season with a five-game suspension, a spot could be open for Reed, at least for the first few games of the year. The Astros have Evan Gattis holding down the designated hitter spot and Marwin Gonzalez perfectly capable of filling in at first base, though, so Reed will have to impress to stick on the roster.

  • Greg Bird 1B | NYY

    Yankees' Greg Bird: Will hit in middle of order

    Bird is seen as an "impact middle of the order hitter" by manager Aaron Boone, Erik Boland of Newsday reports.

    Bird hit just .190/.288/.422 in 48 games for the Yankees last year, in a season where he battled injuries and a very unlucky .194 BABIP. Boone expects Bird to hit in the heart of the order when healthy, which could boost his run and RBI totals. As a left-handed hitter, Bird could find himself hitting somewhere in the middle of the Yankees' big right-handed bats, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. We'll likely get a better sense of Boone's plans once the Grapefruit League begins.

  • Tyler Austin 1B | NYY

    Yankees' Tyler Austin: Favorite to earn backup first base role

    Manager Aaron Boone said Austin is the Yankees' clear No. 2 option at first base behind Greg Bird, Brendan Kuty of reports.

    It appears Austin is seen as the favorite to break camp as the team's backup first baseman, ahead of the likes of Billy McKinney, Austin Romine and Jabari Blash. While Bird is expected to see the majority of starts at first base in 2018, his past injury issues leave the possibility for Austin to step into an everyday role should Bird get bitten by the injury bug again. At the very least, Austin should see some occasional at-bats against lefties; the 26-year-old has hit an impressive .361/.432/.722 against southpaws in his brief MLB career.

  • Justin Smoak 1B | TOR

    Blue Jays' Justin Smoak: Works on strengthening legs in offseason

    Smoak said Monday that he spent the winter working on strengthening his hips, glutes and quadriceps to take pressure off his knees after he battled tendinitis during the 2018 season, Ben Nicholson-Smith of reports.

    Though the rigors of playing in a team-high 158 games last season may have caught up with Smoak in September, when he was held to a .638 OPS, the 2017 campaign still went down as a huge breakout for the first baseman. The 31-year-old credited a change in approach at the plate for a steep reduction in his strikeout rate from 32.8 percent in 2016 to 20.1 percent last season, which allowed him to tap into his considerable power more regularly. Even with home-run production on the rise leaguewide, Smoak's 38 taters still made him a major asset in the category, while his improved contact made him less of a sinkhole in batting average than in previous years. Smoak will face plenty of pressure to prove he can repeat last season's performance in 2018, but even a slight downturn in his production would likely pay dividends for fantasy owners who invest in him on draft day.