With opening day just around the corner, the list of notable players who are going to be absent keeps growing.
World Series MVP Steve Pearce will start the season on the injured list for the Boston Red Sox, and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Steven Souza Jr. went down with a knee injury Monday night when he slipped on home plate.
Earlier in the day, Baltimore put scheduled opening-day starter Alex Cobb on the 10-day injured list with a strained right groin.
Pearce exited an exhibition game last weekend due to discomfort in his left calf. The right-handed batter normally platoons with lefty-hitting Mitch Moreland at first base, but the Red Sox will begin defense of their championship Thursday in Seattle without Pearce.
“We have to do it that way,” manager Alex Cora said. “It makes sense for us, it makes sense for him. He should be back sooner rather than later but he won’t be ready for Seattle, so why take a chance?”
Sam Travis will likely make the team and take Pearce’s spot on the opening-day roster.
Souza’s plastic cleats skidded across the plate as he scored from second base in an exhibition game against the White Sox, and he immediately fell to the ground holding his left leg. Souza put no pressure on the leg while being helped off the field by two Arizona trainers.
The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known, and Souza was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday.
“Just a very unfortunate incident,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I saw the tracks on home plate. I saw the tracks leaving home plate. These athletes are so strong, you put a little extra force on some cleats, you just don’t know how it is going to respond. The only thing I remember is him flying across the air.”
Souza missed two months last season with a torn right pectoral muscle. He hit .220 with five homers and 29 RBIs in 72 games for the Diamondbacks.
“It’s a terrible scenario for somebody who fought as hard as he did last year to get back to where he was playing this year,” Lovullo said. “He had a mindset that he was going to be very, very good for us. That’s what’s heartbreaking for me.”
Cobb likely will be replaced by Andrew Cashner for Thursday’s game at the New York Yankees. Cobb’s last spring training outing was cut short after one inning Saturday because of the groin injury.
Baltimore also placed catcher Austin Wynns on the 10-day IL because of a left oblique strain and selected the contract of catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Norfolk. Mark Trumbo, recovering from September surgery on his right knee, was placed on the 60-day injured list.
Boston nearly lost another player to a much more serious injury when pitcher Rick Porcello was hit in the head by a line drive during the club’s exhibition loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Willson Contreras hit a liner that deflected off Porcello’s head and caromed into center field. Porcello, however, was checked by an athletic trainer, threw a few warmup pitches and stayed in the game.
Cora was doubtful at first about keeping Porcello in there. The right-hander told the trainer to touch his head where the ball hit him.
“He barked like a dog and scared the living whatever out of me,” said Cora, who jumped off the mound. “I told him, ‘Now I’m going to be on TV for the rest of my career for the wrong reasons.'”
A lucky Porcello was able to laugh about the play after his outing.
“It ricocheted,” he said. “I got up, I felt fine, I wasn’t wobbly or dizzy or anything like that. I was fine.”
Cleveland is not sure whether Jose Ramirez will play in Thursday’s opener at Minnesota.
The All-Star third baseman took grounders at the Indians’ spring training complex in Arizona, a day after he fouled a pitch off the area below his left knee and left the field on a cart. The Indians said he will rejoin the team for a workout Wednesday.
Manager Terry Francona said Ramirez taking the field is “a pretty good indicator he’s doing all right.”
Ramirez had 39 home runs and 105 RBIs last season, finishing third in AL MVP voting for the second straight year.
St. Louis placed five players on the injured list ahead of Thursday’s opener at Milwaukee.
The team said the official reason for Brett Cecil’s designation is carpal tunnel syndrome, though the left-hander also is dealing with arm fatigue and erratic mechanics. Right-hander Carlos Martinez is out with a strained rotator cuff and reliever Luke Gregerson with a right shoulder impingement.
Jedd Gyorko will start the season on IL after dealing with a calf issue for most of March. He was hoping to be ready by opening day but will instead be out until at least April 4.
Justin Williams is on the IL with a fracture in his right hand, though the Cardinals have plenty of depth in the outfield and he will likely head to Triple-A Memphis when he’s ready to go.
Relief pitcher Daniel Hudson agreed to a one-year contract with Toronto that includes a $1.5 million salary while in the majors, a deal that followed his release from a minor league contract with the Angels last weekend.
To open a roster spot, the Blue Jays placed second baseman Devon Travis on the 60-day injured list because of an inflamed left knee.
Toronto also agreed to a minor league contract with reliever John Axford, two days after the Blue Jays released him. By cutting him and then bringing him back, the Blue Jays avoided having to pay a $100,000 retention bonus.
Kansas City selected the contract of first baseman Lucas Duda from Triple-A Omaha and waived outfielder Brian Goodwin.
MORE FROM AROUND SPRING TRAINING:
CUBS 3, RED SOX 2
Chicago starter Cole Hamels homered off Porcello and gave up only Andrew Benintendi’s solo shot over five innings. Hamels will face Texas in his initial start of the regular season, the first time the left-hander has pitched against a former team.
NATIONALS 5, YANKEES 3
Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams homered at Nationals Park to back Anibal Sanchez, who permitted two runs, two hits and four walks to New York over 5 1/3 innings. Troy Tulowitzki connected off Sanchez for his fourth homer of the spring. Greg Bird had an RBI double.
PHILLIES 3, RAYS 2
Jake Arrieta tossed six strong innings for Philadelphia, allowing two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. He gave up a two-run homer to Kevin Kiermaier. Maikel Franco hit a two-run shot for the Phillies.
METS 9, ORIOLES 7
Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis homered for New York, and Dominic Smith added a three-run shot. Zack Wheeler gave up five runs and five hits in three innings. Dwight Smith Jr. homered twice for Baltimore, and Chris Davis also went deep. Dylan Bundy allowed four runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.
BREWERS 10, BLUE JAYS 5
Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer and Yasmani Grandal had a two-run shot for Milwaukee at Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
BRAVES 8, REDS 5
Cincinnati right-hander Tanner Roark was roughed up for five runs over 1 2/3 innings in his final start before the regular season. Eugenio Suarez and Derek Dietrich homered for the Reds, while Atlanta’s Dansby Swanson also went deep. Former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, the Braves’ big offseason acquisition, doubled off the base of the wall to drive home a run.
INDIANS 10, RANGERS 1
Rookie shortstop Eric Stamets hit a grand slam, his first home run of the spring. Stamets will start at shortstop on opening day for Cleveland with three-time All-Star Francisco Lindor going on the injured list due to a calf strain.
Carlos Carrasco allowed one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings for the Indians. Kevin Plawecki added a two-run homer, and Greg Allen had a bases-loaded triple.
Ronald Guzman hit his team-leading fifth homer of the spring for Texas. Edinson Volquez, who missed last season following Tommy John surgery, gave up four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
ASTROS 12, PIRATES 9
Touted prospect Forrest Whitley allowed three runs over three innings for Houston, including Francisco Cervelli’s two-run homer. Whitley struck out 17 in 15 innings this spring but will start the season at Triple-A Round Rock.
Pittsburgh outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall exited after being hit in the right hand by a pitch.
WHITE SOX 6, DIAMONDBACKS 3
Ervin Santana pitched five solid innings in his second spring training start to lead Chicago at Chase Field. Daniel Palka hit a two-run homer and rookie Eloy Jimenez had an RBI single.
Jake Lamb and John Ryan Murphy homered, and Luke Weaver gave up an unearned run in six innings for Arizona. Weaver, part of the package the Diamondbacks received from St. Louis for slugger Paul Goldschmidt, was 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in four spring starts.
Greg Holland won the closer’s job with Arizona over Archie Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano.
ATHLETICS 5, GIANTS 4
Mark Canha hit a two-run double off Ty Blach to highlight Oakland’s four-run seventh inning. Jurickson Profar added an RBI single and Marcus Semien doubled in a run. Buster Posey had a two-run single for San Francisco.
A’s manager Bob Melvin announced right-hander Frankie Montas will be the team’s fourth starter.
DODGERS 8, ANGELS 7
Kole Calhoun homered on Kenta Maeda’s first pitch and doubled for the Angels. The right fielder also threw out Joc Pederson trying for a double, but the Dodgers scored five times in the seventh inning to win the Freeway Series matchup.
Angels left fielder Justin Upton will undergo an MRI on his sprained left big toe and his status is uncertain for the season opener Thursday at Oakland.
Maeda gave up three runs and five hits in three innings. Clayton Kershaw (shoulder) threw two innings under simulated game conditions.
PADRES 8, MARINERS 0
Manny Machado doubled during San Diego’s six-run first inning against Mike Leake in Seattle. Franmil Reyes hit a three-run homer and Austin Hedges had a two-run shot. Manuel Margot added a pair of solo home runs, one off Leake and another off reliever Hunter Strickland.
Young right-hander Chris Paddack was impressive in his final start of the spring and as a result made the Padres roster. Paddack finished the spring with 24 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports