Martin catches four innings of minor league game

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martin headshot.JPGRussell Martin, slowed early in camp by a pulled groin, caught four innings of a minor league game on Thursday and reported no pain or discomfort, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez.

The outing went so well, in fact, that he’s already slated to catch six innings of a Triple-A exhibition game on Friday afternoon.  Martin compiled an ugly .250/.352/.329 batting line last season with just seven home runs and 53
RBI in 505 at-bats.  He’s hoping to turn his career around this year and expects to be ready by the start of the regular season. 

If it doesn’t work out, and he’s not available on Opening Day, look for 28-year-old A.J. Ellis and 40-year-old veteran Brad Ausmus to split time behind the plate in his absence.

Miguel Cabrera, Dee Gordon win AL and NL batting titles, respectively

Miguel Cabrera
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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.

Report: Angels to announce Billy Eppler as new GM on Monday

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.

Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.

The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.