Spring Training is supposed to be a time for teams smooth out the edges, while players prepare themselves for the demanding 162-game season ahead.
Wins and loses are meaningless; stats posted by key players don’t forecast anything, as guys mindsets change once things start to matter.
There is one thing that counts from the spring that can impact a team’s season, and that is injuries.
Injuries happen in sports, no matter if it is the World Series, Spring Training or playing a pick-up-basketball game with your teammates. It is a harsh reality that bites.
This year is no different, as teams cannot buy luck with the idea of keeping everyone healthy.
A few unfortunate ball-clubs will be leaving Spring Training in worse shape than when they arrived. Regardless if a player is out for the season or has the real possibility of returning, the baseball season will move forward, and crying is not an option.
Below are key five players whose injuries will cause both fans and teammates to have that dreaded Spring Training nightmare:
SP Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals – biggest blow in Spring Training thus far, as the team’s ace, Wainwright got shut down almost immediately. He had Tommy John surgery a week ago, so he won’t return to St. Louis until 2012.
2B Chase Utley – Philadelphia Philles – Utley missed a majority of 2010 and now might miss 2011, as he hasn’t partaken in a Spring Training game yet. Utley’s has tendonitis in his knee and first it was must-have surgery and now it rehab heavily so the change of story is never a good sign. Phillies are going to missing the days of Jayson Werth, as Howard has no protection without Utley behind him.
SP Zach Greinke – Milwaukee Brewers – Milwaukee will have to wait to welcome their new ace, who broke a rib off the field playing in a pick-up basketball game with his new teammates. Let’s hope Greinke can keep his mental game in tact while on the DL.
SP Shaun Marcum – Milwaukee Brewers – the other half of the Brew Crew’s new one-two pitching punch had to be pulled from his last outing, as Marcum complained his shoulder was tight. He was only clocking his fastball at 86 mph. Imagine if both the Brewers new additions, that cost them their farm system to get, were not available to start the season. It looks to be heading that way, but an 86 mph fastball might be worse than Marcum being sidelined completely.
1B Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim – after being sidelined with a broken foot for the majority of 2010, due to celebrating a walk-off win; it was clear how much the Angels clearly were not the same without Morales’ bat. Looks as if the Angels will have to wait linger for the star’s return as it was just announced that Morales couldn’t play yet as his foot is not back to wear it needs to be. Time frame for Morales has not been determined, which is never a good sign.
LF Brett Gardner – New York Yankees - according to Marc Carig of The Star-Ledge, Gardner was pulled from Friday’s game as a pre-cautionary measure. Well, watching the game it was evident something was wrong as Gardner was not himself, it is said to be a bruised shin but typical for Yankees not to give the full story. This would be a very big loss for the Bombers…. let’s hope Gardner’s legs are by all right by Opening Day.
- Spring Training 2011 Question Of The Day: Milwaukee Brewers (sbnation.com)
- 2011 spring training: Milwaukee Brewers’ Shaun Marcum leaves start with tightness in right shoulder (sports.espn.go.com)
- Hawkins pitches in first game since August (mlb.mlb.com)
- Spring training 2011: New York Yankees’ Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain rehabbing injuries (sports.espn.go.com)
- The Walking Wounded: Top 10 MLB Stars Who Will Start the 2011 Season on the DL (bleacherreport.com)