When it comes to baseball's top prospects, pay close attention to the Windy City, Southern California and a trio of potential Cuban stars.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 29th, 2015
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If you had March 28 as the first day we’d truly question something Alex Rodriguez did on or off the field this spring, you’d be rolling in a lot of money. Things have been going very smoothly for A-Rod on basically every level, and they’ve gone especially well for him on the field.¬†Well enough, in fact, that he may have the inside track to become the Yankees full-time designated hitter . That’s a decision that will ultimately come down to manager Joe Girardi, with perhaps some influence from general manager Brian Cashman and others in the Yankees front office. Unfortunately, none of the above had any say over A-Rod’s decision to challenge the cannon that long-time major league outfielder Jeff Francoeur possesses for a right arm during Friday’s game in Clearwater. If only A-Rod was ten years younger and ten years healthier, that would have been far less embarrassing. He still would have been out, possibliy with a cringe-worthy and potentially injury-inducing slide, so it’s probably a good thing he’s actually not ten years younger.¬† [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball: Sign up and join a league today! ] A quick glance on the scouting report wouldn’t have hurt either. This wasn’t Francoeur’s first major league assist, and he’s working hard to make sure it’s not his last for the Phillies. At 31, Francoeur’s looking to make Philadelphia’s rebuilding roster as a reserve outfielder after spending two seasons in limbo, bouncing back and forth between the majors and minors with the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. He even made a few relief appearances for San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate last season looking to carve out a niche in that role. No doubt, Francoeur brings an interesting skill set if he could put everything together at once. He hit 29 home runs for the Atlanta Braves in 2006. He posted a .311 batting average in 75 games for the New York Mets in 2010. He stole 22 bases for the Royals in 2011. He has perhaps the strongest outfield arm in the game. And he seems like a good guy to have around the clubhouse . Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of all those skills in the coming months. It could make for a fun story 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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Post info: By Chipper on March 28th, 2015
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Julio Teheran labored through 5 2-3 innings, allowing only two runs, and the Atlanta Braves roughed up Clay Buchholz for 12 hits and four runs in a 4-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday in a game called in the top of the seventh inning because of rain. Teheran, who is expected to be the Braves’ opening-day starter for the second straight year, has struggled this spring, but he lowered his ERA to 5.79 Friday. He also allowed a homer to Boston center fielder Mookie Betts. Atlanta’s A.J. Pierzynski went 2 for 3 to raise his average to .393.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 28th, 2015
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For the first time in 17 years, the Baltimore Orioles open a new baseball season as defending AL East champions. The Orioles can only hope for better results than in 1998, when they followed a wire-to-wire run to the division crown with a 79-83 flop – launching a franchise-record run of 14 straight losing seasons. Although Baltimore lost slugger Nelson Cruz, Gold Glove right fielder Nick Markakis and setup man Andrew Miller from a club that last year went 96-66 and advanced to the AL Championship Series, manager Buck Showalter has no intention of disappointing a fan base that has embraced a team coming off its second playoff appearance in three seasons. I want to keep going forward.” Baltimore made only one significant offseason acquisition, picking up outfielder Travis Snider in a trade with Pittsburgh.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 27th, 2015
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The Atlanta Braves usually start the season touted as playoff contenders. For one of the few times in the last two-plus decades, not much is expected of a team that collapsed late last season, fired general manager Frank Wren and underwent a massive overhaul during the offseason. The Braves dealt away sluggers Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis, receiving only one player (starting pitcher Shelby Miller) who is likely to make a significant impact right away. The message was clear: The Braves are rebuilding under new GM John Hart, with an eye toward the 2017 opening of the team’s new suburban stadium.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 27th, 2015
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ATLANTA (AP) — John Buck, an 11-year major league veteran who was attempting to land a job with the Atlanta Braves as a backup catcher, has retired.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 26th, 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 Chipper on March 26th, 2015
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Nick Markakis made his debut in the outfield for the Atlanta Braves and said he felt ready for opening day after playing six innings Tuesday in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Markakis signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves in the offseason and had surgery Dec. 17 to repair a herniated disk. Right now, it’s all about my timing.” Markakis won a Gold Glove last year in Baltimore and is going to replace Gold Glover Jason Heyward in right field for Atlanta. ”I just need more plate appearances.” Markakis said he would be playing in minor league games just to get some extra at-bats.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 25th, 2015
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Edwin Jackson of the Chicago Cubs had a much bigger problem: He couldn’t find the ballpark. Jackson missed his spring training start Tuesday against the A’s when he drove to the wrong stadium. The 31-year-old veteran said he typed ”Oakland Athletics spring training complex” into the Google Maps app on his phone and it directed him to Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Too bad for Jackson, he didn’t realize Oakland no longer played there.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 25th, 2015
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Asked whether economics played a role in slating Jacob deGrom to start the New York Mets’ home opener next month, general manager Sandy Alderson gave a complex answer. New York is close to a sellout for the April 13 game against Philadelphia. Matt Harvey, returning from an elbow injury that has sidelined him since August 2013, slots in to start the following night, when plenty of tickets are available. ”Look, we take a lot of things into account,” Alderson said Tuesday.

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Post info: By Chipper on March 24th, 2015
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