Author: Drew Silva

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Troy Tulowitzki dazzles at the plate and in the field in his second Cactus League game


Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was eased into activities this spring after undergoing season-ending surgery last August to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. But he made his 2015 Cactus League debut on Monday and then truly made his presence felt in his second Cactus League game on Wednesday …

Tulo hit his first spring homer off Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez in the top of the first inning …

And then he robbed Kyle Seager of a hit with this leaping grab in the bottom of the first …

Tulowitzki also drew a walk in the top of the fourth before getting subbed out of the game in the fifth. The 30-year-old has averaged just 88 games over the last three seasons, but he looks to be 100 percent heading into 2015. Tulo was batting .340/.432/.603 with 21 home runs in 91 games last year before the hip injury and probably would have challenged Clayton Kershaw for National League MVP if his health cooperated.

Video: A-Rod’s first Grapefruit League homer

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Craig mentioned earlier that Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of the spring in Wednesday’s Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox, and now has shared the video …

A-Rod is now batting .455/.538/.818 through five spring games. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.

Yasmany Tomas “needs to be better” defensively

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Yasmany Tomas launched his first Cactus League home run Tuesday afternoon off A’s starter Sonny Gray and the Cuban slugger has now produced three extra-base hits through his first six spring games. But not everything is going so swimmingly for Tomas.

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale acknowledged Tuesday to’s Steve Gilbert that Tomas is struggling at third base, where the D’Backs want to play him despite a physical profile that fits much better in left field. “I think he needs to be better than what we’ve seen,” said Hale. “Mostly just the focus.”

Tomas played some third base in Cuba, but he was primarily a corner outfielder.

Arizona signed him to a six-year, $68.5 million contract back in November.

Angels not interested in retired quarterback Jake Locker

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Jake Locker officially announced his retirement from pro football Tuesday at the age of 26, stating that he no longer has “the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living” after four injury-plagued seasons as a quarterback for the Tennessee Titans.

Locker was a highly-touted amateur baseball talent in high school, but he shifted all of his focus to football when he went off to the University of Washington.

Now there’s some speculation about whether the big-armed Locker might turn back to baseball and try to begin a second professional sports career. He was a pitcher and center fielder at Ferndale High.

The Angels drafted Locker in the 46th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft and then picked him again in the 10th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, so they own his baseball rights. But it doesn’t sound like they’re willing to give him a shot if he does indeed want one (Locker has been silent on the issue) …

Dipoto did say the Angels would release their rights to Locker if he wants to sign with a different team.

Padres are “positioning themselves as a favorite to land” Cuban infielder Hector Olivera

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The latest report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports …

The San Diego Padres are positioning themselves as a favorite to land Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, showing a willingness to spend significant money after strong-but-failed attempts to sign Cubans Yasmany Tomas and Yoan Moncada earlier this offseason, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The market for Olivera heated up Tuesday, with the Padres considering an offer upwards of $50 million, according to sources.

Ben Badler of Baseball America reported Tuesday that the Padres have already run Olivera through a pre-signing physical, so their negotiations with the 29-year-old Cuban defector could be pretty far along. The Braves, A’s, and Dodgers are also thought to have serious interest, and Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald has suggested that the Marlins could be a legitimate darkhorse.

Some initial reports had Olivera seeking a contract worth more than $70 million, but that talk has quieted since he joined a more well-known sports agency. A final sum in the $50 million range seems more realistic.

Olivera was a .323/.407/.505 hitter in 10 seasons with Asvispas de Santiago of Cuba’s Serie Nacional.