Bob Uecker to cut back his broadcast schedule

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Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker is one of the absolute best in the business. You don’t keep that job when you’re pushing 80 unless you are. But it’s also a hard job as far as travel and grind goes, and that grind doesn’t wear so well on an 80 year-old either. Uecker knows this and told Newsradio WTMJ 620 that he will be cutting back on road games for first time during 2014 season.

He’ll still do all home games and, if he follows the Vin Scully pattern, will likely do in-division road games to avoid the long flights. In fact he tells WTMJ that he talked to Scully and Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman about how to structure a schedule that keeps him fresh. He also added, however, that it’s a fluid process and if the Brewers are in contention or something down the stretch he’d do more road games so he could be there for important games.

At this point it’s worth noting that Uecker is fantastic. He’s definitely worth getting an MLB.tv subscription just so you can listen to some Brewers games. They’re enjoyable even if you don’t like the Brewers. He’s just got the rhythm and the tone of baseball games on the radio down so perfect. Very few are able to pull that off like he does.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.