Aaron Gleeman

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Angels “bracing for penalties” as Josh Hamilton meets with MLB about “disciplinary issue”

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Josh Hamilton is already facing a 2-3 month recovery timetable following shoulder surgery and now Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels outfielder “is meeting with Major League Baseball officials Wednesday about a disciplinary issue and the team is bracing for possible penalties.”

General manager Jerry Dipoto would only confirm that Hamilton is in New York meeting with MLB officials, declining to offer any further details.

Hamilton was not at the Angels’ spring training complex, because the team is allowing him to rehab the injury at home in Texas.

He was previously suspended from 2003-2005, but recovered from drug addiction to win an MVP award for the Rangers and later signed a $125 million deal with the Angels as a free agent. As part of that contract Hamilton must undergo three drug tests per week.

Cliff Lee faces hitters for the first time since July

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Cliff Lee threw batting practice to various Phillies teammates today, facing live hitters for the first time since being shut down with an elbow injury in July.

Trade rumors figure to begin swirling again as soon as Lee shows that he’s healthy and it’s possible the Phillies may want to move him quickly rather than risking another injury sidelining the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner.

He’s owed $25 million this season and $27.5 million or a $12 million buyout for 2016, and Lee pitched well last season before the elbow problems derailed things.

Dodgers sign Chad Gaudin

Miami Marlins v San Francisco Giants
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Veteran right-hander Chad Gaudin, who missed all of last season with a neck injury, has signed a minor-league contract with the Dodgers.

Gaudin signed with the Phillies last spring, but then failed his physical exam and was released. He last pitched for the Giants in 2013, throwing 97 innings with a 3.06 ERA, but he’s 32 years old and did not post an ERA under 4.40 in any season from 2007-2012.

Los Angeles is stockpiling pitching depth and Gaudin could help as a fifth starter or middle reliever at some point.

Pushed out of the Padres’ outfield, Carlos Quentin is looking for a new home

Carlos Quentin
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Carlos Quentin has always produced when healthy, topping an .800 OPS every year from 2010-2013, but he’s played fewer than 100 games in each of the past three seasons and this winter the Padres decided to move on.

Quentin is still on the roster and under contract for $8 million, but San Diego added Justin Upton Matt Kemp, and Wil Myers in high-profile trades to totally remake the starting outfield and that leaves Quentin without a defensive home.

So in an effort to carve out a potential role the 32-year-old former All-Star asked manager Bud Black if he could spend some time at first base, where the idea of beating out Yonder Alonso for playing time is a little more doable. Quentin has never played first base in the majors, but a veteran with bad knees and a previously good bat can certainly be at home there.

Of course, if Quentin proves that he’s healthy the Padres would probably love to unload his contract–including the $10 million option for 2016–and the best fit for him would seemingly be in the American League as a full-time designated hitter. Quentin seems to recognize that and indicated to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune that he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause if needed.

Corey Hart is trying to make a comeback, with the Pirates and without his speed

Corey Hart
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Corey Hart missed all of 2013 following knee surgery and might as well have missed all of last season too, hitting just .203 with a .590 OPS in 68 games for the Mariners while looking like a shell of his former All-Star self.

Hart signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Pirates this offseason and now the 33-year-old is on the comeback trail, telling Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he’s trying to adjust his overall game to no longer having plus speed:

Speed was definitely a big part of my game. But, right now instead of being tall and skinny, I filled out a little bit, so the weight is there and the knees are there. I’ll try to use the speed when I can, but I have to be smarter about the running process now.

Hart is 6-foot-6, but logged time in center field for the Brewers and swiped 20-plus bases in two different seasons. Those days are gone now, so Hart is focusing on getting his bat back to where it was when he ranked among the league’s top right-handed power hitters, batting .280 with 30 homers per season from 2010-2012.

He’ll likely begin this season in a part-time role, platooning with the left-handed-hitting Pedro Alvarez at first base, but he’s also a candidate to see some time in the outfield corners if the Pirates need reinforcements there.