Spring Training games are now well and truly up and running and its exciting seeing so many prospects and roster hopefuls competing. Yesterday’s news was dominated but by Shohei Ohtani’s Spring Debut for the Angels. It was a very eventful debut and it had a bit of everything. We definitely saw enough to know that Ohtani will feature prominently in the headlines this season as he tries to help the Angels make the playoffs.
Here are my notes from around the American League:
- Rule Five pick from the Yankees, Nestor Cortes Jr. is competing for a rotation spot and he is off to a good start. He pitched two innings and only gave up one run in his Spring Training debut for the Orioles against the Twins.
- No need to worry about Jonathan Schoop. He was scratched on Friday due to left elbow bursitis, but he was back in the lineup on Saturday.
- Dylan Bundy did not look good in his first Spring outing. This is not unusual this early in Spring so don’t be alarmed. He gave up 5 runs, which included a grand slam and four hits against the Phillies.
- Top Orioles prospect, Austin Hays has not played yet this weekend due to some lat soreness. He is expected to be in the lineup today though.
- Miguel Castro was scratched from today’s start due to some knee issues. Miguel has said he should be ready for his bullpen session on Tuesday.
- Chance Sisco, the Orioles number three prospect is off to a good start in Spring.
Boston Red Sox
- Chris Sale threw his first bullpen session of the Spring yesterday. Sale, Price, Porcello and Pomeranz are on a scaled back approach this Spring.
- Steve Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez wont be ready for Opening Day so the Red Sox are looking for a temporary fifth starter. Roenis Elias is one of those competing for that spot. He’s definitely thrown his hat into the ring for that spot with a strong outing against the Rays. He pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
- JD Martinez’s signing still has not been made official as the Red Sox are taking their time inspecting the results of the physical. One has to start wondering if everything is OK. Is their another twist in this free agent offseason saga between JD and the Red Sox?
New York Yankees
- Gleyber Torres returned from TJ surgery to play second base for the Yankees on Friday. He is is fifth ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline.
- Giancarlo Stanton made his Spring Training debut for the Yankees. He worked an eight pitch walk and then grounded out into a double play.
Tampa Bay Rays
- As you might all have heard by now, the Rays top prospect, Brent Honeywell will require TJ surgery. Devastating news for the Rays and Honeywell. He was set to pitch in the majors at some stage this season.
- In some good news, Matt Duffy, who missed last season through injury, managed to play two back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Curtis Granderson didn’t waste any time. He homered in his first at bat for the Blue Jays. Granderson, leading off, hit the third pitch of the game for a homer against the Phillies.
- 34 year old Kendry Morales went 2-2 with a double. He is eager to prove that he isn’t past his prime as he had a disappointing season last year with the Blue Jays.
Chicago White Sox
- Veteran lefty Hector Santiago is back with the White Sox and he seems pretty pleased. He got off to a decent start pitching two scoreless innings in his first outing of the Spring.
- Lefty Carlos Rodon will not pitch in any games during Spring Training. He is expected to be back in early June.
- Yonder Alonso homered in his first at bat of the Spring for his new ball club against the Reds on Friday.
- Handy Diaz will focus on third base during Spring as the Indians want him to master the position.
- Jason Kipnis is expected to start today.
- Tyler Naquin will play in all three outfield positions this Spring in a bid to make the roster. He is behind Bradley Zimmer in center field in the depth chart. Naquin played left field on Saturday and hit a two run homer against the D-Backs.
- The Tigers signed veteran lefty Francisco Liriano to a one year deal worth $4m. The Tigers rotation seem set with Fulmer, Zimmermann, Fiers, Boyd and Norris but Liriano will add much needed depth that will no doubt be needed in what promises to be a long season in Detroit.
- Victor Martinez’s made his first start of Spring on Saturday going 1-2 against the Blue Jays.
- Zimmermann looked good pitching two scoreless innings against the Blue Jays.
Kansas City Royals
- Rule Five pick righty Burch Smith impressed his manager Ned Yost with his first outing of the Spring. Smith who is competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster pitched two hitless innings against the Dodgers on Saturday. He struck out tow and gave up a walk.
- Righty Jesse Hahn however struggled with command.
- The Twins are still tweaking their roster. They signed veteran infielder 34 year old Erick Aybar to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Aybar batted .234/.300/.348 last season with the Padres.
- Adalberto Mejia started well pitching two scoreless innings giving up two hits and a walk. Fernando Romero who pitched after Mejia looked good too striking out three in two innings of work.
- Collin McHugh got his Spring off to a banging start as he struck out five Braves batters in only two innings.
- All eyes were on Ohtani as he made his much anticipated debut. As mentioned earlier his debut was eventful as it had a bit of everything. Ohtani struggled a little with his command. He did admit afterwards that he is not yet a 100%. Something that’s very normal at this stage of Spring Training. In one and a third inning he gave up two hits, including a home run to Keon Braxton of the Brewers, a walk and he struck out two batters. His fastball did apparently touch 97mph.
- There’s a battle for the sixth spot in the Angels rotation. Nick Tropeano didn’t do himself any favors though as he gave up three runs in one and one third innings. It was the first time he pitched since July 2016 after TJ surgery so it is by no means a disaster for him. In fact he will be pleased that he got through this outing.
- Angels ace Garrett Richards is expected to make his first start of the Spring today against the Padres
- Dustin Fowler is expected to make his long awaited return today against the Royals. He is expected to be the starting center fielder for the A’s this season.
- AJ Puk the A’s top pitching prospect is expected to start today.
- Dee Gordon looked like a natural in his new position of center field on Saturday.
- Mike Leake looked solid pitching two scoreless innings while giving up one hit.
- Nelson Crux and Robinson Cano are expected to make their first starts of Spring Training today against the Dodgers.
- The left field job is up for grabs in Texas. Willie Calhoun is the favorite for the job even though he is still learning the position.