Mike Minor to throw batting practice Monday for the first time this spring

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Mike Minor fell behind in his offseason training program after a painful-sounding surgery for a urinary tract infection in late December and showed up to camp with some shoulder soreness, but he’s beginning to make some progress.

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Minor is scheduled to throw live batting practice Monday for the first time this spring. He was cleared to face hitters after making it through four recent bullpen sessions with no issues.

It’s unclear how batting practice sessions Minor will have to complete before he gets into a game, but the Braves aren’t going to take any chances following the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. The best-case scenario is that he’ll join the rotation when the team needs a fifth starter for the first time on April 12 against the Nationals. The recently-signed Ervin Santana could also be ready around that time.

Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA and 181/46 K/BB ratio over 204 2/3 innings last season.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.