To help with your planning, here are stories The Associated Press is planning in advance of the 2018 MLB season. All times EDT. If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Sports Editor Ed Montes at emontes(at)ap.org.
This advisory may be updated.
- Full page graphic MLB 2018 PREVIEW moving March 24.
- Capsules on all 30 teams moving March 22.
- Previews on all 30 teams moving March 22.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Florida- Major League Baseball made game-calling more difficult for catchers this winter when it changed the rules governing mound visits. For backstops with the Tampa Bay Rays, things got even trickier when the club announced plans for a four-man rotation to open the season. Pitching coach Kyle Snyder had an idea to help, and catchers Wilson Ramos and Jesus Sucre were eager to hop on board - quarterback-style wristbands loaded with information designed to help with pitch calling. By Jake Seiner. SENT: 650 words, photo.
TAMPA, Florida - Gone are the days of Billy Martin and Earl Weaver, when hard-driving dugout generals ran their teams by their own guts. Today's generation of managers are collaborators who debate statistics with GMs and a team of analysts, then work to sell their decisions to players. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m.
BBO--YOU'RE RUINING MY GAME
Baseball's proprietors who are in charge of preserving and protecting the summer sport are tinkering with it again. Extra-inning games in the minor leagues this season will begin each inning with a runner on second base, the better to ensure the score will be broken and everybody can go home sooner. If they're in such a rush to end games, why not decide them with the managers seated across a table at home plate and playing a board game with dice and spinners? By Hal Bock. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
CLEARWATER, Florida - New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler's progressive approach includes a strategy straight from a slow-pitch softball league. Kapler plans to flip-flop outfielders mid-inning to put the better defensive guy in position where analytics say the batter is most likely to hit the ball. This isn't the typical infield shift and old-school thinkers will likely scoff at Kapler's bold moves but his players are buying in for now. By Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
MESA, Arizona - Anthony Rizzo is a three-time All-Star and the 2017 winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, baseball's biggest honor for sportsmanship and community involvement. Jon Lester is a three-time World Series champion, and Jason Heyward organized the most important meeting in franchise history. Plenty of leaders with the Chicago Cubs. No captains. One of the most revered titles in sports is hanging by a thread in baseball. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
MESA, Arizona - A higher glove. A grip change. A subtle shift on the mound. One subconscious move turns into a whisper in the dugout. A perceptive hitter tells his friends, and his friends tell their friends, and a seemingly innocuous habit - practically undetectable for most of the world - quickly becomes a major problem. It's hard to tell how often it happens, but pitch tipping pops up enough that it's on the radar of managers and coaches around the big leagues. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
Moving March 26:
BBO--BASEBALL 2018-TOP ROOKIES
CHICAGO - Aaron Judge. Cody Bellinger. Andrew Benintendi. Paul DeJong. The list goes on and on. Last year's rookie class was one of the best in baseball history. Topping that group of sluggers will be quite a chore, but here is a closer look at some touted prospects hoping to make a name for themselves this year: By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
Todd Helton now regularly drives his two daughters to school or activities back home in Tennessee, a huge life change for Colorado's former All-Star first baseman. In fact, a daunting and overwhelming adjustment initially. Ex-San Francisco pitcher Noah Lowry owns an outdoors store in Northern California and joined the chamber of commerce. He also struggled mightily. As baseball begins anew, many players out of baseball find it strange to see the game go on without them. By Baseball Writer Janie McCauley. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos by 3 a.m.
Moving March 27:
BBO--INCREASINGLY ELUSIVE 3,000
With Albert Pujols only 32 hits away from 3,000 in his career, this likely will be the fourth straight season a player joins the prestigious club. That has never happened before - and might never happen again. Adrian Beltre became the 31st player with 3,000 hits last season, following Ichiro Suzuki and Alex Rodriguez. But after Pujols, it will be at least a few seasons before another 3,000-hit watch even starts. That milestone seems to be becoming even more elusive. ''It's one of those things that once you get to the big leagues you know how hard it is,'' said Robinson Cano, going into his 14th season 624 hits away. Only Miguel Cabrera, with 2,636 hits going into his 16th season, is between Cano and Pujols on the active hits list. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING. 900 words, photos.
Moving March 28:
Possible powerhouses with the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers. Potentially tanking teams in Miami, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Sluggers trying to uppercut, a flurry of late free agent signings and, by the way, does that count as a mound visit or not? By Baseball Writer Ben Walker. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos.
Moved March 20:
BBO--SPRING TRAINING STRATEGY
SARASOTA, Florida - Orioles manager Buck Showalter heard about Lance Lynn and knew he'd be changing his lineup. Showalter wasn't concerned about the result of last Tuesday's spring training game against Minnesota, but he figured Lynn might start a game when the Twins travel to Baltimore for a three-game season-opening series later this month. Even in spring training, when wins and losses are meaningless, managers are always hunting for significant matchups. By Jake Seiner. SENT: 600 words, photos.