Two transactions midway through spring training that drew little notice heralded significant progress for the Miami Marlins. Top pitching prospects Jose Urena and Justin Nicolino were optioned to the minor leagues – moves reflecting the franchise’s improved depth of talent. ”In previous years they would probably already be in the big leagues,” president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. Following a busy offseason highlighted by the signing of Giancarlo Stanton to a record $325 million contract, Miami’s expectations are unusually lofty.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 26th, 2015
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The only thing certain about Alex Rodriguez’s future in baseball coming off his year-plus suspension for his connection to Biogenesis is that most people were  going to root against him having a future in baseball.  Present and long-time employer included. At the very least, the New York Yankees made it clear they have no intention to pay separate $6 million bonuses should he pass Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds on the all-time home run list, a condition which was agreed to when he originally signed his 10-year, $272 million contract. And by re-signing Chase Headley to be their regular third baseman, they made it clear he’d have to earn every bit of the playing time needed to reach even one of those milestones, likely as a designated hitter. [ Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics. ] Well, guess what, sports fans. It would appear A-Rod is well on his way to doing just that. In fact, on Wednesday, general manager Brian Cashman acknowledged to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch that Rodriguez is making a strong push to be New York’s full-time DH come April . “So far, I think he’s certainly taken a run at the full-time DH situation, for me,” Cashman said. “We’ll talk about all these things, but the way he’s looked so far down here, I would say he’s definitely pushing himself in the mix for full-time DH consideration.” Those comments echoed the sentiments of manager Joe Girardi, who told the New York Daily News on Tuesday that A-Rod has looked comfortable swinging the bat .  “I definitely think he’s swung the bat pretty good,” Girardi said. “I just think his at-bats are more consistent; his timing is more consistent.” Rodriguez, 39, strengthened his case on Wednesday by going 1-for-3 against the New York Mets. For the spring, he’s hitting .290 (9-for-31) with two homers, a double and three RBIs in 13 games. Not exactly scorching numbers, but certainly good considering the long layoff.   “He’s done well,” Cashman said. “I’m not looking at performance and statistics as much as just how he’s been swinging the bat. He’s got a lot of life in his body. If he continues to show athleticism, that means he’s going to impact the baseball. That will be good for us.” Also in A-Rod’s favor, Girardi says he’s shown enough range in the field to consider using him at third base. An extensive role there seems like a long shot, but on the occasions when Headley needs a breather, there won’t be much hesitation to use Rodriguez. They’re also still looking at him as a potential fill-in for Mark Teixeira at first base. If he proves capable there, then A-Rod might be in the lineup as frequently as anyone else on the roster. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] With that said, these developments don’t necessarily answer our big picture questions concerning how much A-Rod has left in the tank . Three weeks in March are a lot different than the six-month grind that lies ahead. He’ll have to prove he can stay healthy, which considering his age and the fact he’s had two hip surgeries in his career, could be the biggest hurdle he’ll face this season. But if you’d told him these were going to be the circumstances even a month ago, we’re sure he would have been overjoyed.   More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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The New York Yankees have matched the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as America’s most valuable sports team at $3.2 billion and the average Major League Baseball club is worth $1.2 billion, Forbes magazine reported Wednesday. The Yankees topped the list for the 18th time in as many years Forbes has done the ranking, matching the Cowboys for the best US mark although both rank short of Real Madrid’s $3.44 billion (3.13 billion euros) valuation as the world’s richest sports team. The average NFL team was valued last August at $1.43 billion and the average NBA club at $1.1 billion by the magazine.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 25th, 2015
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Miguel Cabrera went 1 for 3 with a walk for the Detroit Tigers in his second exhibition game since returning from offseason right ankle and foot surgery, a 9-8 loss Tuesday night to the New York Yankees. The Tigers slugger has been the designated hitter in both of his games this spring. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said Cabrera could DH in a minor league game Wednesday and ”if he’s fine” there’s chance he could play first base for the first time Thursday against Baltimore. Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez grounded a single to left in two at-bats and had a walk.

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New York Yankees prospect Jose Pirela is feeling much better two days after sustaining a concussion when he crashed into the center field wall on a play that ended up an inside-the-park home run for the Mets’ Juan Lagares. Pirela met with reporters in the Yankees dugout before Tuesday night’s game with Detroit and said he has no dizziness.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 24th, 2015
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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Bartolo Colon, not Matt Harvey, has been picked to start the New York Mets' opener at Washington on April 6.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 24th, 2015
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Doug Fister was pleased with his performance at the plate. Fister hit a two-run single off Chasen Shreve, and the Washington Nationals rallied to beat the New York Yankees 7-6 Monday. It kind of got away from me and stayed up a little bit.” Chris Young homered twice for the Yankees, off Fister and against Casey Janssen, and drove in three runs. ”CY put a couple of good swings on some baseballs,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 23rd, 2015
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Ryan Howard has heard the suggestions from commentators and fans who say he should drop down bunts or poke the ball into left field a few times to defeat the shift. ”But it’s lot tougher.” Howard, Boston’s David Ortiz and the Baltimore’s Chris Davis faced the most shifts last year, all coming up with a realigned infield in 400 or more plate appearances, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

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Yankees center fielder Jose Pirela sustained a concussion after crashing into the wall on Juan Lagares’ inside-the-park home run, the first of three long balls off CC Sabathia, and the New York Mets beat their crosstown rivals 6-0 behind a dominant effort from Matt Harvey. David Wright and Lucas Duda also connected off Sabathia, in his second start after having major knee surgery last year. Harvey allowed two hits over 5 2-3 innings in his fourth spring start after having Tommy John surgery in October 2013.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 22nd, 2015
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Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner will do whatever it takes to improve the pace of the games – even climb an outfield wall to retrieve a teammate’s glove. Gardner climbed the 8-foot wall at Steinbrenner Field to get Chris Young’s glove after he lost it trying to catch a home run hit by Astros designated hitter Chris Carter in the first inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 win Saturday. ”We’re trying to work on the pace of the game in spring training and Chris Young said ‘You think I should jump over there’,” Gardner said. ”I wanted to throw the ball back to second base but I didn’t have room between the batters’ eye and the fence so I just tossed it back over.” Yankees manager Joe Girardi tried to remain light hearted about Gardner’s efforts but with the team’s recent injury history it was a tense moment.

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Post info: By JeterFanatic on March 22nd, 2015
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