Baseball, welcome back you sexy beast! It's that time of year where the despairs of winter leave our mindset and we return to America's pastime. The Miami Marlins arrived in Jupiter, Florida to warm up for the season. Last week we highlighted the teams in the National League East and later on I weighed my odds in an arm wrestle with Giancarlo Stanton. This time around, the series will begin to take shape as we discuss the happenings of the week and upcoming GAMES!
Jose Fernandez throws off mound
For the first time since May, Jose Fernandez has thrown off a mound. The young gun starting pitcher as many of you know is coming off Tommy John surgery, but has been progressing as well as the Fish could ask for. The session was only 15 full-strength pitches, but Fernandez himself said "it was like riding a bike." This is promising, knowing Fernandez has been like a kid on Christmas morning with making his return to the hill. While the initial outlook still projects his season debut around the All-Star break, it is always a good day when there are no setbacks. Stay tuned.
Alvarez hits Stanton with a pitch
I feel like I wouldn't be doing my job correctly if I didn't bring this up. It appeared to be a rough week for Giancarlo Stanton as he first lost in an arm wrestle simulation to yours truly, now plunked by his teammate Henderson Alvarez. The incident didn't seem to bother Stanton too much and no injury was reported. After Stanton's 2014 ended with a gruesome hit to the face, this was not the ideal way to start Spring Training.
Dan Haren to start first ST Game
Newly acquired starting pitcher Dan Haren will in all likelihood be named Mike Redmond's starter on Thursday for the opener. Haren will get a look at a pretty fierce Cardinals lineup that recently got a facelift. Haren will have a large role in the rotation this year if effective while Fernandez recovers. In what will be his 13th MLB Season, he provides a stable veteran option for a youthful ballclub. Haren has recorded at least ten wins over the past ten seasons while posting a 3.77 Earned Run Average in that span.
The Week Ahead
March 7th (Thursday) Spring Training Opener vs Cardinals
The Cardinals, much like the Marlins, made strides to improve their lineup. The veteran core of Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, and Matt Carpenter all return while the new face Jason Heyward looks to rekindle some of his prospect hype. It remains to be seen who will be the starter on the opposition, but we do know it will not be ace Adam Wainwright. Wainwright was injured in the weight room with an abdominal strain. It looks to be a battle of the game's most talented youth. The Marlins young lineup with Stanton and company will be facing a young and inexperienced Cardinals staff led currently by third year starter Michael Wacha.
March 8th (Friday) vs Red Sox
Friday is much of the same, another talented team that has made many improvements this offseason. This time Pablo Sandoval will be making the adjustment to the American League. In six full seasons with the San Francisco Giants, he drove in over 70 runs four different times and is a force to be reckoned with. The Marlins lineup should be able to break into their stride with a below par starting staff, regardless who they put on the hill.
March 9th (Saturday) vs Mets
It's always nice to get a sneak peak at a division foe, even if it is just the preseason. The Mets are going to be one of three teams that will be vying for the second place in the East. They still have a lot of firepower in them with the likes of David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Cuddyer. The young arms in Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom versus Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Martin Prado will be one of the best matchups in baseball for years to come.
Question of the Week
As always, here is your opportunity as a reader to answer the following question, give more insight, make fun of my hair, or a combination of the above.
Should Spring Training be shorter?
I'll try to answer and get involved with the discussion and see you next week Fish Stripes faithful!