Report: Mariners want Cruz & Beltran, not so much Ellsbury


ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the Mariners aiming for a couple of outfielders, but not the center fielder they’ve long been connected to.

Ellsbury was born in Oregon and went to school at Oregon State, so it’s long been thought he might prefer a return to the Pacific Northwest if the Red Sox don’t meet his asking price. That might not be in the cards, though. After all, Ellsbury can play defense, and the Mariners aren’t about to pay him to do that.

So, Beltran and Cruz instead? It’s highly unlikely, given that Beltran could have his pick of offers from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Cruz is a more realistic target, with the Rangers seemingly willing to let him go. Last season’s steroid ban has cut into his market some, but it’s not likely to stop him from getting at least a three-year deal. The Mariners could use him as a corner outfielder next season and then transition him to DH later once they again come to the realization that defense matters.

Danny Duffy exits spring training game with left shoulder tightness

Danny Duffy
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Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.

The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.

The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.