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Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda would like to remain in the team's starting rotation for an entire season. Maeda, who often starts the year in the rotation before moving to a relief role late in the season and postseason, has told the team that he's unhappy with his role as a swing man late in the year. His agent, Joel Wolfe, reiterated Maeda's feelings to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman this week. The Japanese right-hander continues to be effective in both roles, so the Dodgers don't have a ton of incentive to change things up. That could especially be the case if they land a big-name starter on the free-agent market this winter like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. Maeda went 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 169 K's in 26 starts and 11 relief outings. Especially on this good Dodgers team, Maeda has value in all fantasy leagues when he's starting regularly.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence (foot) took batting practice on Wednesday but wasn't able to run the bases or play the outfield as a precautionary measure because of minor pain in his foot, according to manager Gabe Kapler. Catcher Buster Posey missed another practice Wednesday because of a personal issue that kept him away from a workout last Friday. Pence surprised by hitting .297 with 18 home runs in 83 games for the Rangers in 2019, but the 37-year-old is an injury risk for fantasy owners as outfield depth. The universal designated hitter should help his cause for more at-bats, just don't expect a repeat of 2019, especially in a more pitcher-friendly park and in a weak lineup. Posey's absence doesn't appear to be COVID-19-related, so he should be fine for Opening Day.
San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (foot) has been in a walking boot as he nurses a sore right heel that will keep him out of action for at least a week. Manager Gabe Kapler said Belt will be re-evaluated in five to seven days, but he's not ready to put Belt's availability for Opening Night against the Dodgers on July 23 in doubt. Belt has dealt with heel pain before and managed to play in 156 games last year following two injury plagued seasons. He hit just .234 with 17 home runs and 57 RBI, and his average is not likely to be an asset like it was earlier in his career. Belt's injury with limited time before Opening Day won't increase his attractiveness to fantasy managers as a low-ceiling corner infielder in deep mixed leagues.
Kansas City Royals manager Mike Matheny said that third baseman Hunter Dozier (hand) suffered a right hand bruise after being hit by a pitch by pitching prospect Brady Singer during an intrasquad game on Wednesday. Outfield prospect Nick Heath suffered from a full-body cramp, but both players are expected to be fine. Dozier is the fantasy name here. The 28-year-old late-bloomer had a career year in 2019, slashing .279/.348/.522 with 26 home runs, 84 RBI and 75 runs scored in 139 games. If he can remain on the field, Dozier could build on his numbers. He won't be a sexy third base option, but outfield eligibility makes him more attractive. Dozier fits best as a corner infield option in mixed fantasy formats.
The St. Louis Cardinals added top prospects Nolan Gorman and Matthew Liberatore to their organizational roster on Wednesday. Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn, the team's top two picks in last month's draft, and outfielder Tre Fletcher, were three of the 12 players the team added. These younger prospects were added to the team's second summer camp site. Winn will get a chance to play shortstop and pitch, and most of these prospects were added strictly for development purposes in the shortened 2020 season. Others added to the roster on Wednesday include right Nabil Crismatt, infielder Evan Mendoza, third baseman Malcom Nunez, right-hander Roel Ramirez, catcher Julio Rodriguez and righties Angel Rondon and Alvaro Seijas.
San Francisco Giants outfielder Billy Hamilton and pitcher Jarlin Garcia have been missing from the team's early summer camp workouts, and manager Gabe Kapler declined to shed more light on their status. It likely means they are absent for COVID-19-related issues. If they've tested positive, they'll need to return two negative tests within 24 hours to be cleared for workouts at the stadium. Hamilton is trying to win playing time in a Giants outfield that isn't all that strong. But reporting late won't help the speed-first fantasy asset's chances. There's no guarantees here with Hamilton, however, which makes him strictly a stolen base commodity in deep fantasy leagues if he makes the roster and carves out enough playing time.
The Chicago Cubs released relief pitcher Brandon Morrow on Wednesday, according to sources. The Cubs didn't expect Morrow to be in the mix for a spot on the roster this season before summer camp commenced. Morrow signed a two-year deal with the team before the 2018 season, but his time with Chicago was filled with injuries. He pitched in 30 games in 2018 with a 1.47 ERA and 22 saves, but injuries cut his season short. Elbow problems then forced him to miss the start of last year, and he was later ruled out for the year in August. Morrow didn't pitch earlier this spring. The right-hander could latch on with another team if he's healthy, but he's running out of chances.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Rony Garcia, a 22-year-old right-handed Rule 5 pick from the Yankees, could be making a case for the Opening Day roster. Garcia struck out three batters in 2 1/3 innings in Wednesday's intrasquad game and only allowed one well-struck ball to Miguel Cabrera. "Garcia threw the living fire out of the ball," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The ball was jumping. Hitters said it was jumping." The Dominican native had a 4.01 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 129 strikeouts and 45 walks in 25 games (24 starts) over 130 1/3 innings with High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2019 in the Yankees organization. There's opportunity with Detroit, but Garcia is merely just a name to watch right now.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (elbow) looked good on Wednesday during a brief, two-inning, 25-pitch outing in the team's intrasquad game. It was an important milestone in his recovery from Tommy John surgery last March, and he will look to prove to the Tigers that he belongs in the Opening Day rotation over the next couple of weeks. The 27-year-old right-hander was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2016 and was an All-Star in 2017, but he was disappointing with a 4.69 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 7.5 K/9 in 24 starts in 2018. Fulmer has never been one to miss bats, with a 7.0 K/9 in 456 innings over three years, and fantasy owners will want to see him rebound before they invest in him. Detroit is likely to play it safe with him in 2020, too, which will make it even more difficult for him to achieve any fantasy interest.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Frank Schwindel and outfielder JaCoby Jones each hit a home run in Wednesday's scrimmage. Schwindel displayed flashes of power during spring training, including a two-homer game against the Boston Red Sox. With Miguel Cabrera and C.J. Cron on the roster, there is currently no clear path to playing time for Schwindel. In 2019, Jones batted .235 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI. He is only worth being rostered in deep AL-only leagues.
Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said that starting pitcher Julio Teheran will likely need some time to build up and might not be ready for the start of the regular season, even if he reports to camp by this weekend. Teheran is awaiting his test results for COVID-19 and is hopeful of rejoining the team this weekend. The 29-year-old right-hander was maybe a flier to round out your pitching depth in mixed leagues, but now he might not even be worth owning in most leagues. Teheran could also be limited in how many starts he sees if the Halos go with a six-man rotation. Other pitchers that could steal innings from him include Matt Andriese, Felix Pena, Patrick Sandoval, Jose Suarez and Dillon Peters.
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