MLB Notes: Pujols not running, still eyes opener

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MLB Notes: Pujols not running, still eyes opener

Domonic Brown continues to swing a hot bat for the Phillies in spring training (see story).

Now, some other news and notes from around the majors.

Pujols not running yet, eyes opener
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Albert Pujols is nearly ready to start running on the field in the Los Angeles Angels slugger's deliberate recovery from offseason surgery on his right knee.

Pujols is taking batting practice and running on a treadmill at spring training, and he participated in fielding drills Tuesday. He's expected to start running on the field later this week. The $240 million first baseman isn't expected to play in a Cactus League game until mid-March, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia has no doubt Pujols will be ready for opening day.

Pujols is the Angels' only position player who hasn't played a game in spring training yet. New right fielder Josh Hamilton debuted for Los Angeles against Arizona on Tuesday.

Hamilton hitless in Angels debut
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton went 0 for 3 in his Cactus League debut with the Los Angeles Angels, playing five innings in their 7-7 tie with an Arizona Diamondbacks split squad on Tuesday.

Hamilton grounded out on the first pitch he faced and later flied out twice for the Angels, who signed him a five-year, $125 million free-agent deal to leave Texas for its AL West rivals.

Hamilton had no challenges in right field at Diablo Stadium. He says he's thrilled with his first spring in the Angels' clubhouse, although still a bit unfamiliar with his new teammates.

Gerardo Parra hit a two-run homer and Rod Barajas added a fourth-inning solo shot for the Diamondbacks. Parra warmed up for his stint with Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic with a first-inning shot over Hamilton's head in right.

Indians name Masterson opening-day starter
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- New Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has named Justin Masterson his starter for opening day.

Francona told the right-hander in the dugout Tuesday before Cleveland played the Kansas City Royals.

It will be the second time Masterson starts a season opener. A year ago, the 28-year-old struck out 10 over eight innings against the Blue Jays in Cleveland, allowing two hits and one run in a game that the Indians went on to lose in 16 innings, 7-4.

The Indians open in Toronto on April 2. Their home opener against the New York Yankees on April 8 already is sold out.

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
 
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club. 
 
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
 
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story)
 
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
 
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
 
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million. 

The Phillies' roster is full at 40.

Phillies DFA OF Cody Asche, claim LHP David Rollins off waivers

Phillies DFA OF Cody Asche, claim LHP David Rollins off waivers

Cody Asche's time with the Phillies has come to an end.

The Phillies claimed LHP David Rollins off waivers from the Texas Rangers on Friday. To make room on the 40-man roster, Asche was designated for assignment. The Phillies had until 8 p.m. on Friday to tender a contract to the outfielder, but they instead chose to free up the roster spot for Rollins.

Asche played four seasons with the Phillies from 2013-16 after he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011. The St. Charles, Mo. native had a .213/.284/.350 batting line this past season over 71 games. His best season with the Phillies came as their starting third baseman in 2014, hitting 10 home runs and driving home 46 runs in 121 games.

Rollins has been on four different rosters this offseason. He pitched 31 games in relief for the Seattle Mariners over the last two seasons, sporting a 7.60 ERA over 34 1/3 innings. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs 15 days after the World Series and then subsequently claimed again by the Rangers. 

Rollins was a 24th round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft and was traded a year later to the Houston Astros. Prior to the 2015 season, the Mariners picked Rollins in the Rule 5 draft after the Astros chose not to protect him.