More teams are employing platoons as baseball's balance of power has shifted toward pitchers, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes. Elias Sports Bureau data show that hitters had a favorable matchup 56 percent of the time in 2013, the highest rate recorded since 1995. Heading into 2014, the A's again look to field one of baseball's most platooned lineups, as they could employ the strategy at no less than four positions. Here's a quick look around baseball's Western divisions:
- Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp won't try to accelerate his return from this offseason's ankle surgery, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. Kemp says he rushed the rehab process for injuries last season, which may have been a factor in his 2013 struggles. The star's ankle injury, a fracture of the weight-bearing talus bone, can be "career-threatening," according to Gurnick.
- Several key Padres players are likely to see reduced workloads in Spring Training as the club aims to start 2014 healthy, U-T San Diego's Bill Center writes. He cites Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin -- all of whom missed time in 2013 due to injuries -- as players that may be affected.