Pitchers, catchers report to camps
Monday, February 11, 2013
New Marlins manager Mike Redmond arrived at his office at 5 a.m. Monday ready to go long before the Florida sun was shining, his thoughts already on a date 254 days from now: Game 1 of the World Series.
Ah, spring training. When all 30 teams are contenders.
“Everybody’s excited,” Redmond said in Jupiter. “Obviously, we’ve got a tremendous opportunity for guys in this camp and I think everybody realizes that. It’s a fresh start.”
From a chilly and damp Phoenix, Ariz., to balmy Kissimmee, Fla., pitchers and catchers for 10 teams reported to training camp Monday, taking physicals, meeting new teammates and, in some cases, managers and coaches.
The pop of fastballs in mitts, they could be heard, too.
Many eager players have been working out “informally” for weeks on minor league fields — position players don’t report for several more days, and all teams will be in full swing by the weekend.
In Tampa, Fla., Yankees captain Derek Jeter ran on a treadmill for the first time since breaking his ankle Oct. 13, a big step toward reaching his goal of being in New York’s opening day lineup April 1 against Boston in the Bronx.
In his third week of baseball activities, Jeter was on the infield grass fielding grounders and in a batting cage taking swings — all while dozens of autograph-seeking fans lined up at the Yankees’ minor-league complex down the road from the big-league facility.
“I feel fine,” Jeter said. “I was able to do everything else. I just had to be careful with my ankle, but now I’ve gotten the green light with that. I’ve gotten all the green lights I need.”
In Kissimmee, Fla., the Houston Astros began their first day in the bruising AL West. One of the most inexperienced teams in baseball will wear fiery orange practice hats and jerseys that evoke the orange rainbow stripes of a better time for an organization that lost more than 100 games each of the past two seasons.
“We’ve talked about change throughout the organization, from the time (owner) Jim Crane has taken over the ball club and all the hires he has made,” first-year manager Bo Porter said. “This year (the uniform change) kind of sets the tone because they visually see things have changed. And when you realize that things have changed, you first realize that they’re never going to be the same.”
Also hoping for a clean start, Bartolo Colon is back with the Oakland Athletics after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test. He had little to say crossing a damp practice field in Phoenix after a 90-minute exam, but he’s excited to be with a team that won the AL West in thrilling fashion last year, rallying in the final 10 games to grab the title from the Texas Rangers.