MLB Player News

  • Merrill Kelly SP | ARI

    Diamondbacks' Merrill Kelly: Scheduled for spring debut

    Kelly is expected to make his spring debut March 8 against the Cubs, Jack Magruder of MLB.com reports.

    Kelly is set to open the regular season as the No. 2 starter behind Zac Gallen. Including the 2023 postseason, Kelly threw 201.2 innings, marking the second straight year the right-hander crossed the 200-inning threshold. As such, manager Torey Lovullo plans a measured buildup during the Cactus League season. "[We're] really trying to limit the overall innings. We're not trying to empty the tank so quickly," the manager said. Kelly was 12-8 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 30 regular season starts last year.

  • Zac Gallen SP | ARI

    Diamondbacks' Zac Gallen: First Cactus League start set

    Gallen is set to make his first Cactus League start March 1 against the Reds, Jack Magruder of MLB.com reports.

    Gallen, projected as Arizona's No. 1 starter, tossed a career-high 243.2 innings in 2023, including the postseason. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talked about building up both Gallen and No. 2 starter Merrill Kelly, who threw a career-high 201.2 innings. "Obviously the buildup is of maximum concern -- we want to make sure they are at a certain pitch limit for their first start of the year," Lovullo said. Gallen was 17-9 with a 3.47 ERA (3.26 FIP) and 1.12 WHIP over 34 regular-season starts last season.

  • Brandon Pfaadt SP | ARI

    Diamondbacks' Brandon Pfaadt: Throws live BP

    Pfaadt threw his first live batting practice session Tuesday, Jack Magruder of MLB.com reports.

    Pfaadt is looking to build off a strong finish to the 2023 season, including the postseason in which he recorded 5.2 scoreless innings in a Game 3 win over the Phillies in the National League Championship Series. The Diamondbacks point to that game -- Arizona was down 2-0 in the series -- as pivotal to their run to the World Series. Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom credited Pfaadt's better pitch mix for the right-hander's success over the second half and playoffs. Pfaadt expected to slot in at third or fourth in the rotation, depending on where manager Torey Lovullo wants to insert left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed a four-year deal with the D-backs during the offseason. Given that the top two members of the rotation -- Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly -- are right-handers, the manager may want to break it up with Rodriguez third and Pfaadt fourth.

  • Luis Ortiz SP | PIT

    Pirates' Luis Ortiz: Flashing improved changeup

    Ortiz has shown good movement on his changeup and sinker early in camp, Alex Stumpf of MLB.com reports.

    Ortiz had some hype heading into the 2023 season, but he fell flat and ended up spending a significant amount of time at Triple-A Indianapolis. He relies heavily on his fastball, sinker and slider, so developing another offering could be a key to him taking a step forward. Early on in camp, Ortiz has shown a greater comfort level throwing his changeup, and he drew a whiff with the pitch from Oneil Cruz in a live batting practice session Monday. He'll be battling for a spot in the rotation along with Roansy Contreras, Quinn Priester and Bailey Falter this spring.

  • Zack Littell SP | TB

    Rays' Zack Littell: Locked into rotation

    Littell is expected to serve as a starter for the entire 2024 season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

    Littell made the transition from reliever to starter in the middle of the 2023 season, and he managed a 3.41 ERA across 71.1 innings in the latter role. With the Rays down several starters to begin the 2024 campaign, he'll be counted on in the rotation, but the team is also planning on him sticking in a starting role for the entirety of the season. That could change if he falters and either Shane Baz (elbow) or Jeffrey Springs (elbow) can return, but neither is likely to be available until the summer months at the earliest.

  • Kyle Hendricks SP | CHC

    Cubs' Kyle Hendricks: Ramping up earlier this spring

    Hendricks, who threw a bullpen session Saturday, is ramping up earlier this spring compared to last year, when he was returning from a shoulder injury, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.

    Hendricks had his 2022 campaign cut short due to a capsular tear in his right shoulder, and the injury also impacted him in 2023, as the veteran didn't throw his first spring bullpen until Feb. 24. He then didn't make a regular-season start until May as the team built him up slowly. It looks like Hendricks is healthier to kick off this season, so he stands a decent chance of surpassing the 24 starts and 137 innings he compiled in 2023. If the righty can maintain or improve upon his 3.74 ERA and 1.20 WHIP from last season, he should be a solid fantasy option in 2024.

  • Giants' Bryce Eldridge: Viewed solely as first baseman

    Giants general manager Pete Pitula said Tuesday that Eldridge will focus his development as a first baseman going forward, Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com reports.

    Eldridge was announced as a two-way player when the Giants selected him with the 16th pick in the 2023 First-Year Player Draft, but the team believes he has the potential to be a great hitter and will now abandon hopes of using him on the mound. The 19-year-old prospect slashed .294/.400/.505 across 130 plate appearances between rookie-level Arizona Complex League and the Single-A level last season.

  • Rays' Drew Rasmussen: Lands on 60-day IL

    The Rays placed Rasmussen (elbow) on the 60-day injured list Tuesday.

    Rasmussen underwent an internal brace procedure in July and isn't expected to return until late in the season, so the Rays will stash him away on the IL for the time being. Rasmussen's roster spot will be given to Amed Rosario, who signed with Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

  • Zack Wheeler SP | PHI

    Phillies' Zack Wheeler: Working toward long-term extension

    President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski confirmed Monday that Wheeler and the Phillies have been in negotiations on a long-term contract extension, Chris Nelsen of the Associated Press reports. "Zack would not mislead you. Of course, we've talked," Dombrowski said, after Wheeler relayed last Wednesday that he had been in touch with the Phillies on a new deal. "It is a priority. We would love to get that deal done."

    Wheeler is heading into the final season of the five-year, $118 million deal he signed with the Phillies in December 2019. Though he's been an All-Star for only one of the first four seasons of his deal, Wheeler has provided an excellent return on the Phillies' investment, going 43-25 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 21.3 K-BB% across 101 starts. He's set to turn 34 years old in May, but Wheeler has shown no signs of decline and has arguably supplanted Aaron Nola -- who inked a seven-year, $172 million deal with the team in November -- as the staff ace. Wheeler said he prefers to have an agreement on an extension in place prior to Opening Day, and both sides should have plenty of incentive to hammer out a deal before spring training comes to a close.

  • Sonny Gray SP | STL

    Cardinals' Sonny Gray: In line for Opening Day start

    Gray will be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter on March 28 against the Dodgers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

    The team has not yet officially made the announcement, but Goold says that's coming. Gray is the obvious choice to garner the Opening Day nod for St. Louis after signing a three-year, $70 million contract in November. He was the American League Cy Young runner-up as a result of a 2.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 183:55 K:BB over 184 innings covering 32 starts for the Twins in 2023.

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