Drew Silva

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R.A. Dickey reveals he had offseason knee surgery

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R.A. Dickey arrived at Blue Jays camp on Sunday and revealed to reporters, including Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, that he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee soon after the Blue Jays were eliminated by the Royals in the 2015 American League Championship Series.

Dickey said the rehab process only lasted 4-6 weeks and seemed confident that he would be a full participant in Blue Jays camp this spring, but this is obviously still something worth monitoring for a guy entering his age-41 season.

The veteran knuckleballer posted a 3.91 ERA in 214 1/3 regular-season innings last year for Toronto. He had one good postseason start (versus Texas) and then one very bad one in ALCS Game 4 against Kansas City.

Dickey is owed $12 million in 2016 — the final year of his current deal.

Steven Souza suffers intercostal strain

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Steven Souza had a somewhat disappointing debut season with the Rays in 2015, missing a large chunk of time with a fractured left hand. Now his second season with the Rays is off to an iffy start too.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Souza suffered an intercostal strain while taking swings in a batting cage at Rays camp. There won’t be an MRI taken for a couple days, so the severity is uncertain. It’s likely to cost him at least a couple of weeks.

Opening Day is still a long way away and Souza could feasibly catch back up with the other outfielders in Rays camp if the strain is minor, but a season-opening disabled list stint is now a real possibility.

There should be an update on the 26-year-old outfielder later this week.

Marlins adopt no facial hair policy

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Via MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro

Razors are in and beards are out at Marlins camp.

Part of the organizational makeover, which included hiring Don Mattingly as manager, is adopting a complete no facial hair policy. It’s a total clean-cut look — no mustaches, goatees or trimmed beards allowed.

The Marlins want to keep the focus on the field, and one of the most noticeable steps taken is to have uniformity when it comes to facial hair. The last time the club had a strict facial hair policy was in 2006, when Joe Girardi was managing.

It seems a little silly for a professional baseball team to tell an adult how he should groom himself, especially in a day and age when facial hair is widely accepted and considered in-style.

“Initially, not too many guys were happy about it,” Marlins reliever Mike Dunn told MLB.com on Sunday. “Obviously, I shaved. It grows back.”

The new policy comes from an upper-managment group that approved this thing …


It’s official: Ryan Braun will move back to left field

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Brewers manager Craig Counsell confirmed Sunday what many assumed when Khris Davis was traded February 12 to the Athletics: Ryan Braun will move back to left field this season in Milwaukee, with 23-year-old prospect Domingo Santana taking over in right.

Braun was the Brewers’ regular left fielder from 2008-2013, but he moved to right field in 2014 to clear a spot for the defensively-challenged Davis. Santana has a very strong arm and Braun is coming off back surgery, so the return to left makes all the sense in the world.

Milwaukee acquired Santana from the Astros in last year’s Carlos Gomez trade. The hope is he can be a big part of the club’s rolling rebuild.

Cubs will pump the brakes a bit on Jake Arrieta

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Jake Arrieta won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award after registering a brilliant 1.77 ERA, 0.865 WHIP, and 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 regular-season innings. Over his final 12 starts, his ERA was 0.41 and the Cubs went 12-0.

But the 29-year-old right-hander threw just 156 2/3 innings in 2014, and he totaled 248 2/3 innings between the regular season and postseason combined in 2015. That’s a difference of nearly 100 innings, and the Cubs are at least somewhat concerned about the sudden jump in workload.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat this weekend that Arrieta will be held behind some of the other pitchers in camp as spring training gets underway and that there will be a “proactive” plan to monitor his innings during the regular season. That probably means fewer complete games — Arrieta threw four complete games in 2015, tied for the most in the majors.

Chicago probably has the best position player talent in baseball, but one thing the Cubs lack is high quality pitching depth. Arrieta needs to be protected.