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Baseball News 2-13-14

Uncertainty hangs over Ramirez

07:28 AM ET 02.13 | On the upside, the player is now on the record as wanting to stay. In the clubhouse a day before position players were scheduled to report for spring training, Hanley Ramirez said Wednesday he wanted to be "a Dodger for life." But Ramirez otherwise declined to talk about his contractual status, saying with a smile, "I'm a baseball player." Ramirez said he was still disappointed with how the Dodgers' 2013 season ended. Struck by a fastball, Ramirez fractured a rib in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. ... Ramirez said he received treatment on his back over the winter. A nerve problem in his back was believed to be responsible for his hamstring problems last season. Ramirez said his back already feels better. "I feel stronger," Ramirez said. Ramirez wouldn't predict how many games he would play this season.

Los Angeles Times

Youth movement taking over in St. Louis

07:27 AM ET 02.13 | As Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and his staff met to officially open spring training on Wednesday in Jupiter, they saw something was different. [They] realized that even with an enviable abundance of pitchers, something was lacking. There were so few veterans to choose from as group leaders. The kids are taking over. "Some of the guys we have as leaders in the groups don't have a lot of experience. That's just kind of the team we have," Matheny said. "It also is a great compliment, too, and a great challenge. ... Typically when you start putting those groups together you've got guys with six, seven, eight years of service that are out there trying to lead a group. We've got some younger players, and I know they'll be ready for it."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Yanks dropping another $20M on int'l market

07:27 AM ET 02.13 | In the case of the Yankees and spending on international players, it seems any limit will go unheeded. Sources indicate the first wave of six verbal deals all happened on one day, in late November/early December. ... For competitive reasons, this plan makes sense: other clubs and agents couldn't adjust their actions based on word of one or two big, early deals the Yankees had struck. That belief has now shifted and the industry is preparing for another wave of signings from the Bombers in the coming months. International sources are now saying they've heard a "second phase" is coming, with a significant amount of bonus commitments: presumably another coordinated signing wave. One source says he has heard $20 million mentioned as a possible target for overall Yankee bonus spending.

Setback for Hamels

07:26 AM ET 02.13 | The Phillies added a pitcher in A.J. Burnett on Wednesday, but they may have lost another one from the Opening Day rotation. Speaking to reporters on the first day of spring training, Phillies' ace Cole Hamels said that he is behind in his pitching program due to shoulder tendinitis. According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Hamels will miss opening day because of it. Hamels could throw a bullpen session in 10 days, and no MRI is scheduled. The starting pitcher went on to say that he feels he is 8-10 days behind the other pitchers in camp, and although he doesn't think he'll be ready for opening day, he believes he will pitch in April. The Phillies season opener is March 31st against the Texas Rangers, with their home opener not until April 7th vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.

Lobaton trade nearing? Rays could land RHP

07:25 AM ET 02.13 | At long last, after reportedly talking for months about trading catcher Jose Lobaton, the Rays may finally have a deal with the Nationals. The teams have been talking again, and a potential deal would send Lobaton to Washington and RHP Nate Karns to the Rays, with other players likely to be involved. Karns is 26, having made three starts last year for the Nats (0-1, 7.50) while doing 10-6, 3.26 at AA Harrisburg. He was a 12th-round pick in 2009 out of Texas Tech. Adding starting pitching would make sense for the Rays, with RHP Jeremy Hellickson to be sidelined into at least May following Jan. 29 elbow surgery. Lobaton started 76 games for the Rays last season, but became expendable when they re-signed veteranJose Molina and traded for Ryan Hanigan.

Tampa Bay Times