Fatherhood has given Ryan Braun a different perspective on baseball and life in general. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder has more pressing matters to worry about right now than whether an offseason medical procedure will finally fix the nerve damage near his right thumb that affected his swing. ''It's a lot of work,'' Braun said Sunday. So overall it's been great.'' Almost everything sounded rosy on Sunday at the Brewers On Deck winter fan outreach event, where Braun, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and other teammates signed autographs and met fans.
Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks died after a heart attack, an attorney representing the Hall of Famer's family said Sunday. With Banks' widow standing nearby at a news conference at a downtown hotel, Mark Bogen said Banks had the heart attack Friday in Chicago and died later that day. ''I want you to know that he was very beloved and he is going to be dearly missed by family, friends and all his fans,'' Liz Banks said. The Cubs and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced that the statue of Banks that has stood outside Wrigley Field since 2008 will be placed in Chicago's Daley Plaza this week, remaining there from Wednesday morning through Saturday.
Bud Selig began his 8,173rd and final day in charge of baseball by waking up in a Manhattan hotel, having breakfast and working out. ... If one uses a lot of vision it could.'' Selig headed the group that forced Commissioner Fay Vincent's resignation in September 1992. Owner of the Milwaukee Brewers since 1970, he was put in charge as chairman of the executive council and finally elected commissioner in July 1998 after years of saying he would never take the job. His reign saw expanded playoffs and wild-card teams, interleague play, video review to aid umpires, expansion to Arizona and Tampa Bay, the formation of baseball's Internet and broadcast companies and the start of drug testing - too late for some critics.
This has almost become an annual rite of impending spring: Troy Tulowitzki insisting he is healthy and can stay that way for an entire season. The Colorado Rockies often-injured shortstop realizes everyone is wary of such talk. ''Honestly, I can say I feel as good as new,'' Tulowitzki said Saturday at Rockiesfest, an event in which fans mingled with players at Coors Field. ''That stuff fuels me,'' said Tulowitzki, who hit .340 with 21 homers before shutting it down because of his balky hip.
Despite making plenty of changes in the offseason, the Detroit Tigers still expect to be a contending team in 2015. Team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski spoke at the team's annual TigerFest event at Comerica Park and addressed those issues. ''Our expectations are to win the division and try to win a world championship,'' Dombrowski said. ''It's just a less-certain club.'' Dombrowski said fans are not sure if shortstop Jose Iglesias and reliever Bruce Rondon can come back from missing time with injuries, if Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez can bounce back and what to expect from new pitchers Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene, plus new outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Anthony Gose.
Former Major League Baseball player Ted Lilly has been charged in California with three felonies related to insurance fraud, according to a newspaper report. The charges stem from allegedly false insurance claims filed last year connected to Lilly's damaged recreational vehicle, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1L6bb1y ). An investigation by the state Department of Insurance found the RV sustained damage in a collision, and Lilly sought an estimate from a body shop on March 19, 2014. Lilly then bought insurance from Progressive on March 24 and claimed the damage on March 28, said Nancy Kincaid, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Free agent right-hander Ryan Vogelsong reached agreement Friday on a $4 million, one-year deal to stay with the San Francisco Giants. Vogelsong passed a physical and reached the deal three days after general manager Brian Sabean said Vogelsong was close to joining another team - thought to be the Houston Astros. The 37-year-old adds depth to a rotation that features ace Madison Bumgarner, Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, who is working back from elbow surgery that ended his season in July.
Ichiro Suzuki has decided to play for the Miami Marlins. Suzuki and the team have agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract, pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. Suzuki's signing is just one of many eye-catching moves by the Marlins in this offseason, starting with the record $325 million, 13-year contract given in November to slugger Giancarlo Stanton. He topped the 200-hit mark in his first 10 major league seasons and has 2,844 MLB hits in his 14 seasons with the Yankees and Seattle Mariners.