Baseball games are here! I just love this time of the year as the first Spring Training games start with so much hope and anticipation. It’s hard to predict the baseball but one thing is for sure, it will be an exciting rollercoaster of a season.
Here is my notes from around the National League:
- Matt Wisler will start the first Spring Training game for the Braves when they face the Mets in Port St Lucie on Friday.
- Sean Newcomb follows on Saturday with Scott Kazmir starting on Sunday. According to manager Brian Snitker they will each pitch 1 inning only. All three these guys have a lot to prove in Spring and it will be fascinating to see how they respond starting this weekend.
- The Braves seem to have locked up five bullpen spots for Vizcaino, Minter, Freeman, Ramirez and Winkler. That means there’s two to three spots left to compete for.
- The Marins signed WorldSeries winner Cameron Maybin to a one year deal worth $3.25m. He stole 33 bases last season and will bring some much needed veteran presence to the Marlins clubhouse.
- Jacob Turner gets the first Spring start for the Marlins against the Nationals on Saturday.
New York Mets
- Zack Wheeler will get the first start for the Mets against the Braves. He’s under a lot of pressure to prove he’s ready to take a spot in the rotation. Competition is intense for a Mets starting rotation spot this Spring after the Mets singed Vargas to strengthen their starting pitching depth. Something that is much needed after last season.
- Seth Lugo, who is also competing for a spot on the rotation will start on Saturday.
- Gabe Kepler looks like he is not keen on allocating specific roles to his relievers. He said he wants his relievers to be flexible.
- There were some reports about the Phillies “having dialogue” with Jake Arrieta but it seems to have cooled down now. This will be a giant coup for the Phillies but apparently they’re only looking for a three year deal. Obviously Arrieta wants more years.
- The Nationals strengthened their bullpen by signing 40 year old Joaquin Benoit to a one year deal. He posted an ERA of 4.65 last season. That was a career high, so the Nationals will hope he can improve on that.
- Daniel Murphy’s baseball activities are still limited but the Nationals expect him to be ready for Opening Day.
- The Cubs have been really impressed with Yu Darvish so far. After watching him pitch Joe Madden said “It’s the 20th of Feb. Wow!”
- Wilson Contreras does not seem impressed with the new pace-of-play rules. He was quoted as saying “I don’t even care” and “If they’re going to fine me for mound visit number seven. I’ll pay the fine”
- The Reds acquired 20 year old Miguel Medrano from the Rangers for 350K in international bonus pool money. He posted an ERA of 2.59 in the Dominican Winter League.
- The Brewers are overhauling the Maryvale Baseball Park Complex in time for next year’s Spring Training.
- Left fielder Ryan Braun is getting some work in at first base. The Brewers have a crowded outfield after signing Cain and Yelich. Braun said he looks forward to playing first base.
- The Pirates signed 31 year old 2016 All Star Michael Saunders to a minor league contract. He struggled last year batting .202/.256/.344
- The Pirates also added outfielder Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox for cash. Brentz has some pop. he hit 31 home runs in Triple A.
St Louis Cardinals
- Carlos Martinez will make his first start on Saturday against the Mets in Port St Lucie.
- Matt Carpenter missed batting practice again due to back muscle tightness.
- The Diamondbacks opened the Spring Training game schedule yesterday with an exhibition game against Arizona State University. The Diamondbacks won 6-2 in seven innings.
- The Diamondbacks will take on the Rockies on Friday at Salt River Fields.
- The Diamondbacks believe that Taylor Widener, the righty they got from the Yankees in the Drury trade, has a chance to be a major league starter one day. He posted a 3.39 ERA in Class A ball last season.
- Jeff Hoffman will start the first Spring Training game for the Rockies on Friday against the D’Backs.
- Clayton Kershaw has a reduced workload this Spring as he pitched into November last year during the World Series. Wise move by the Dodgers.
- Venezuelan Wilmer Font will get the start for the Dodgers on Friday against the White Sox. He posted a 3.42 ERA in Triple A last season stroking out 178 in 134 innings. He also posted a 17.18 ERA in three relief appearances. He will be keen to prove he belongs in the majors.
San Diego Padres
- Brad Hand will be the Padres closer on Opening Day.
San Francisco Giants
- Pablo Sandoval will only play catcher for the Giants in extreme emergencies according to manager Bruce Bochy. Of course he played 12 games at catcher for the Giants back in 2008-09.
- Lefty Ty Blach will start the first Spring game against the Brewers. He is a favorite to make the rotation.
Enjoy the baseball today!