are a solid two weeks into spring training games, and that ugly creature known
as the injury bug is already rearing its head. Cases of the injury bug can ruin
a fans excitement about the new season even before it begins. There is nothing
worst than high hopes of a great season heading into spring training, and then
having those hopes absolutely squashed by key injuries in the
the news from around the National League, including the most notable injury bug
- Jeff DaVanon is currently listed as the D'Backs' fourth outfielder, but
the youngster has been making the most of his spring thus far and is fighting
for a potential starting spot. In 20 at-bats, he's batting .450 and has posted a
very nice .645 on-base percentage. Considering he provides that youthful spark
and has some wheels, DaVanon could provide Arizona
with some much needed energy throughout the 2006 campaign.
- Long-running skipper Bobby Cox signed a one-year contract extension
through 2007. Edgar Renteria, who returns to the National League after
his hiatus with Boston,
is looking sharp in spring training, batting .304 with a homer and six RBI in
nine games. On the pitching front, ace Tim Hudson is also looking sharp
having given up just one earned run in three starts and nine innings of work.
But in a pleasant surprise, little known relief pitcher Joey Devine is
smoking the competition. In just five appearances he has worked eight innings,
racking up a save in his first opportunity and striking out 15
- Talk about curses, bad luck, whatever. The Cubs just can't seem to get out
from under those rain clouds, even in what should be the bright sunny desert
skies of Arizona.
Mark Prior has been dealing with shoulder soreness and spent yesterday
with a specialist. An MRI revealed a “moderately strained” subscapularis muscle,
which is part of the rotator cuff under the shoulder blade. The news wasn’t
awful (i.e. a tear requiring surgery), but Prior is expected to be out 7-10 days
in this new setback. As if that wasn't enough bad news, Derrek Lee also
had to go see a specialist for his sore shoulder. Lee injured his shoulder while
diving for a foul ball in the World Baseball Classic. The injury had Lee
sidelined for Team U.S.A’s dreadful 2-1 loss to
Thursday, where the club managed just three hits. But tests showed Lee’s injury
was just a bruise, which was a huge relief for Cubdom.
- As if the high ERA and 40+ homers he's given up the past two seasons weren't
enough justification for the Reds to seriously consider moving Eric Milton this year to the bullpen, he is reportedly dealing with a nagging
calf injury. And when you think about injuries and the Reds, you have to think
about Ken Griffey Jr. So what about him? Well, he's just been mashing the
ball in the WBC, including 3 home runs, 2 doubles, 10 RBI, and a .588 batting
average. With the potential to resurrect this year, Griffey might just be
exciting to watch play again.
- The Rockies
are dealing with the injury bug too. Budding infielder Josh Wilson
suffered a broken big toe after fouling a pitch off his foot and will be out
four to six weeks. Outfielder Jorge Piedra, who made some noise in the
second half last year, is nursing an injury to his right heel, and catcher
Yorvit Torrealba has been day-to-day with a sore
- There's probably not a club around that isn't more fun for a new manager to
work with in spring training than the Florida Marlins. Dontrelle Willis
and Miguel Cabrera may have their jobs locked up, but every other
position is pretty much up for grabs. That means new Manager Joe Girardi
is blessed with a healthy environment of competition. To the winners go the
starting spots. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is making his presence known,
having already cracked three long balls, posting a .371 batting average, and
swiping a pair of bases. Starting pitcher Sergio Mitre has also looked
strong, surrendering six hits in 10.0 innings of work while posting a 1.80
- Jason Lane
played in 145 games in 2005 and hit 26 home runs, but the outfielder batted just
.267. This spring, he's still got the power numbers, driving three homers in his
first 10 games. And right now he's batting a nice .409, showing increased
patience at the plate. Andy Pettitte had his first outing this past week,
and it was less than stellar. Pettitte suffered the loss giving up five hits and
two runs in just three innings of work.
- The AP is reporting that All-Star shortstop Cesar Izturis could return
from Tommy John surgery far sooner than the originally expected target of July.
Izturis now expects to be playing minor league games around the time the regular
season gets going. New teammate Rafael Furcal did make his first
appearance in spring training this week. Furcal went 0 for 1 in his debut, but
did tally a walk, after which he swiped second base leaving no doubt he'll be a
threat on the base paths all year.
- Ben Sheets left his last spring training outing early with a sore
muscle in his side. Tests revealed a strained muscle in his back alongside the
muscle that sidelined Sheets for a good part of 2005. He has reportedly thrown
twice without complication, but there's no word when he'll throw off a mound or
his ability to be ready for Opening Day. Teammate Rickie Weeks, the
club's second baseman, has been struggling with a strained oblique muscle
himself, but he is making progress, and the club is rightfully being cautious
- Pedro Martinez, who has been bothered with a toe injury, threw 61
pitches to live hitters this past week without any problems.
continues to progress and is still on target for making that Opening Day start.
Relief pitcher Juan Padilla, on the other hand, will miss the entire 2006
season after learning he will need Tommy John surgery. Outfielder Xavier Nady has been the biggest bright spot so far in spring training for the
Mets. Nady is batting .394 through 11 games and has a pair of dingers and a
team-best 11 RBI.
- Eight. Count 'em. Yes. Eight. That's how many long balls stud first baseman
Ryan Howard has already launched in 12 games this spring. New teammate
Aaron Rowand, though, hasn't quite gelled in his new uniform yet. The
former Chicago White Sox outfielder has just 4 hits in 27
- Plunk, plunk. Sean Casey took a high and tight pitch off his helmet
from Reds pitcher Michael Gosling and had to sit out two games. Center
fielder Chris Duffy also was the not-so beneficiary of a high and tight
fastball, this time from Curt Schilling. Both players are ok, but Duffy's
beaning didn't go without a little added controversy when the outspoken
Schilling decided to voice his opinion that Duffy should have been able to get
out of the way of the pitch. How 'bout them apples?
- Chalk up another 4.0 scoreless innings for Chris Carpenter, who
continues to dominate this spring. That's no surprise. What has been surprising
this spring, though, has been the hot stick of outfielder Chris Duncan.
The son of Cards pitching coach Dave Duncan, Chris is carrying a lofty
.323 batting average and has connected for four long balls in 43 at-bats.
- Reliever Doug Brocail had an angioplasty this past week after a stress
test revealed a blocked artery near his heart. He's reportedly doing well and
should be back to work in a couple weeks. Fellow bullpen mate and team closer
Trevor Hoffman bounced back from the three-run homer he gave up last week
to pitch a perfect inning of relief against Oakland
striking out two batters.
- Amidst continued controversy, Barry Bonds continues to crush the ball,
smacking his second homer in as many games. Though not overly concerning, closer
Armando Benitez received a cortisone shot in his left knee. Keep a close
eye on him, as those shots alone don't just make a problem disappear
- First baseman Nick Johnson got his pay day, signing a $16.5 million,
three-year contract extension. Starting pitcher Billy Traber started two
games this past week, tossing nine innings, striking out seven, and only giving
up one run. Fellow starting pitcher Jon Rauch also produced a sharp
outing this week, tossing five innings and giving up just one hit, a solo home
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