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Mariners option 1B Vogelbach to Triple-A

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The Seattle Mariners have optioned first baseman Daniel Vogelbach to Triple-A Tacoma, meaning Danny Valencia will be the everyday first baseman when the regular season begins.

Seattle made the surprising roster move Thursday. Vogelbach, a left-handed hitter, and Valencia, who bats right-handed, had been expected to split time at first depending on pitching matchups. But Vogelbach has struggled in spring training, hitting just .228 and will now start the season in the minors.

Vogelbach appeared in just eight games for the Mariners late in the 2016 season. At Triple-A last season, Vogelbach hit .292 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs in 133 total games.

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Cards SS Diaz improving with experience

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) With two outs and a runner on first base, St. Louis shortstop Aledmys Diaz ranged left to track down Marcell Ozuna's grounder up the middle and nonchalantly flipped it backhanded to Kolten Wong at second base to retire the Marlins in the first inning.

He looked every bit the veteran he is not - and people are taking notice.

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US routs Puerto Rico 8-0 for WBC title

LOS ANGELES (AP) The eagle has landed on top.

The United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries on Wednesday night behind six hitless innings from Marcus Stroman.

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Former Phillies manager Green dies at 82

PHILADELPHIA (AP) As a big league pitcher, Dallas Green was pretty mediocre.

"I was a 20-game winner," he would joke, "it just took me five years to do it."

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Nats' Scherzer says finger injury healed

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Saying his finger finally feels normal, Nationals ace Max Scherzer proclaimed himself healed following his first Grapefruit League start of the spring, a 6-1 Washington loss to St. Louis.

"It's behind me now," Scherzer said Wednesday.

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Manfred: WBC successful, future bright

LOS ANGELES (AP) Even before the United States took the field to face Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic championship on Wednesday night, Rob Manfred was confident in declaring this sometimes troubled tournament to be a smashing success.

The Major League Baseball Commissioner's confidence seemed well-founded when the Americans claimed their first WBC title in grand style with an 8-0 victory at raucous Dodger Stadium.

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Greinke pleased with 'solid' outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Zack Greinke has one more spring start before he embarks on what he hopes is a bounce-back season for him and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In an outing he described as "solid," the right-hander went five innings plus two batters against the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Thursday, allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

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Tigers star Cabrera could return Friday

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera could soon return to the lineup after being sidelined by back stiffness.

Cabrera has been out since leaving Venezuela's game last Saturday in the World Baseball Classic.

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Matz, Wheeler struggle for Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler took a step back Wednesday in the Mets' 15-9 loss to the Miami Marlins, a shaky sign for New York with opening day less than two weeks away.

Matz gave up five runs and eight hits in four innings, including one run in the first and four in the second.

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Jays' Bautista expected to play Friday

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista says the lower back stiffness that prevented him from playing for the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic last weekend is no longer an issue.

Bautista was in the original lineup for Wednesday's spring training game against Detroit. But with an off-day Thursday, it was determined to have him play Friday instead.

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