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Around the NL East: David Wright is Captain America, Stephen Strasburg and Cole Hamels are Opening Day Starters

And there's STILL two more weeks of boring and unexciting Spring Training to fill after this one!

Captain America, David Wright, leads the US in just about everything, but isn't likely to play the rest of the tournament.
Captain America, David Wright, leads the US in just about everything, but isn't likely to play the rest of the tournament.
Christian Petersen

By the time this posts, I'll likely be in Miami, heading over to Marlins Park, to see the final game of this bracket of the World Baseball Classic. And then if everything goes right, I'll be headed right back to Atlanta in the evening, because truth be it, I actually don't really like the city of Miami that much. So it could be a win-win-win situation, of seeing Marlins Park, without having to watch the Marlins play, and GTFOing from Miami as soon as possible.

Pffh, settling for Spring Training games, when there's WBC baseball available?

Welcome back to the basement.


If the blowout loss to Team Mexico forced you to give up on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, they've turned a bit of a corner since that game. At the time I'm writing this, David Wright has already tied Ken Griffey, Jr's. (and South Korean 1B Lee Seong-Yeop) WBC record of 10 RBI in the tournament, with almost all of them coming with runners on base and in "clutch" situations. MLBN's Matt Vasgersian has been blathering on and on about David Wright, but most notably, anointing him "Captain America" every time he shows up on the screen.

Here's one guy that could probably use the Captain's shield - NY Daily News

Except instead of Hans Moleman, it was Jordany Valdespin, and instead of a football, it was a 94-mph fastball from reigning Cy Young Award winning pitcher, Justin Verlander. Normally, I shouldn't make light of someone else's pain, but it's not like kids aren't taught to wear cups at a pretty rudimentary age or anything.

Oh snap, Captain America has hurt ribs - MetsBlog
I'm sure it's going to suck for Team USA to lose their best player, but it's going to be even worse for the Mets if this has repercussions that permeate into the regular season. David Wright didn't play in the first game against the Dominican Republic due to sore ribs, and it's safe to assume that he probably won't see anymore WBC action, which does not bode well for Team USA.

The true cost of Super-Two status AKA why Travis d'Arnaud should start in AAA - AA
Every single year, we read stories about how hotshot prospects who are tearing up Spring Training should artificially be contained in the minor leagues until mid-June. This year, or at least within the NL East, the distinction clearly belongs to Travis d'Arnaud who is indeed tearing up Port St. Lucie, but if the Mets actually want to Moneyball it up for years to come, they should keep him in Las Vegas until mid-June.

Johan Santana claims angst with Sandy Alderson is ironed out - NY Daily News
In case you missed it, Sandy Alderson accused Johan Santana for showing up to camp unprepared for the season, and that he's likely not going to be ready come opening day. Johan Santana took objection to this, and tried to prove doubters wrong by doing things such as an ill-advised throwing session. Both parties claim that things are okay now, but let's face it, baseball players are immature by nature, and I can't believe that Johan Santana has completely forgiven and forgotten this.

Mets cut Zack Wheeler among numerous others from Major League camp - AA
None of these names are really any of a surprise. Especially top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, whom for just about much reason of the Super Two avoiding as much as he probably could use the actual work in AAA is why he'll very likely start the season in Las Vegas.

Frank Francisco unsure of Opening Day availability - MetsBlog
While proclaiming that of all people, Bobby Parnell would be the closer in his absence, he proceeds to belittle the position of the mop-up reliever too. Good mop-up men are pretty important too in the grand spectrum of a season, Frank.

Is being compared to Roger Clemens supposed to be a compliment? - NY Post
Former Mets great, Frank Viola proclaimed that young Mets pitcher Matt Harvey reminds him a lot of Roger Clemens. Not stuff-wise, because that would be a compliment, but his make-up and conduct instead. The same Roger Clemens that was perceived to be kind of a jerk, hated his fans, played backstage politics, and essentially invented the underhanded scheme to use retirement as a tool to break contracts. Hm, not sure if being "as professional as Roger Clemens" is really that good to be, Frank...

Not exactly the kind of positive stats I'd hoped to have heard - NY Times
Did you know that over the last four years, the Mets have had like top-5 batting averages from pitchers? At world-beating numbers such as .171, and .155? Dan Uggla marvels.

And I thought AT&T Park had egregious ticket prices - The Mets Police
The Mets are actually looking for $63 a pop for upper-deck tickets. I thought the $54 I paid for nosebleeds at San Francisco's AT&T Park were bad, but at least they were a good team, and were a year removed from a World Series title. But the Mets, and their ballpark that had decibel ratings lower than a toaster, asking for $63 for upper deck? Puzzling.


Stephen Strasburg named Opening Day starter; sky is also blue - Nationals Journal
Well, that was kind of a no-brainer.

Bryce Harper not getting carried away by ridiculous spring - MASN
At the time of writing this, Bryce Harper is 16/36, with six of those hits being for XBH, and slugging a Barry Bonds-like .806. He's doing his best to keep grounded, but like most other players in Spring Training, he can't wait for it to be over, and for the games to start counting.

Anthony Rendon among prospects cut from big league camp - Nats Insider
Anthony Rendon, who has impressed many over the Spring, hitting a robust .375, has been sent to minor league camp, and will in all likelihood start the season in AA. The case of Rendon is slightly different than the Mets' Travis d'Arnaud, because at the moment, the Nationals simply have no place to play him with the big league squad, even if his bat is clearly ready for the majors.

Wilson Ramos progressing faster than expected, creating convenient problem - MASN
Initially not expected to be ready come Opening Day after recovering from a torn ACL, Wilson Ramos has progressed way faster than expected. It's still tentative, but it's looking like that he'll be ready for the regular season on Opening Day, and the Nats won't have to lean so hard on Kurt Suzuki like they thought they would.

More obvious news: Pitchers learning things from Greg Maddux - Nationals Journal
If not for the dubious honor of being able to pitch for your home country, any pitcher would be out of their mind if they turned down the opportunity to pick the brain of Team USA's pitching coach, Greg Maddux for three weeks. To no surprise at all, Nats pitchers Gio Gonzalez and Ross Detwiler claim to have learned a few valuable lessons from The Professor. I would guess that one would have to be blind and deaf to not learn something from Maddux.

Should Micah Owings killing the ball be a surprise? - MASN
Legitimate question. He was always considered a "good hitting pitcher," since he hit a few home runs and all, but hasn't really been in the big leagues that much since 2010. Attempting to come back as a position player, he's only had 19 at-bats, and is hitting .368, with five of his seven hits being for extra bases. Possible full-time pinch hitter in the works?

Bryce Harper wants to be the next Captain America - Nats Enquirer
Claiming that he did not partake in the 2013 WBC because he wanted to build a rapport with new teammate Denard Span, and to really commit to his first full Major League camp, Bryce Harper was very eager to enlist his talents for the next WBC, which would be in 2017. Sounds like to me, that he's eager for people to be calling him Captain America instead of David Wright.


Hotel tax? Sounds like the Falcons stadium deal! - Marlins Diehards
Jeffrey Loria claims that most of the funding for Marlins Park came from a hotel tax. Now it's true that there was a hotel tax, but as it's pointed out, if all the funds generated from that weren't funneled into Marlins Park, it could feasibly have gone to something, actually for the residents of Miami, intead of a cash sink for Loria.

Many hate Jeffrey Loria, but not necessarily David Samson - Palm Beach Post
Marlins president, David Samson appears to have managed to stay out of the crossfire between Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, and many of the former Marlins who were all jettisoned away within the span of the last twelve months. Heath Bell seems to still be a little frosty towards anyone related to the Marlins, but many have even embraced their old team's prez.

Top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez sent to Minor League camp, laughs about it - Palm Beach Post
You know who's also aware that the Marlins have pretty much no pitching? Jose Fernandez:

Fernandez laughed when recalling how the Marlins seemed to be having a hard tough telling him he was leaving major league camp.

"They were trying to make it easy for me and I told them, ‘You don’t have to. It’s not a big deal,’" Fernandez said. "I understand how this works. I’m fine."

So when should Miami expect to see Jose Fernandez at the big league level? - Fish Stripes
The bigger question is, when should Miami expect for the Marlins to not be predicted to be a 100-loss team first?

What should Casey Kotchman's two favorite words be? - Fish Bytes
"DE" and "FAULT," because despite the fact that first base hopeful Joe Mahoney has been raking in Spring, he won't be able to play with a gimp oblique, which he strained this week. So that pretty much means the last first baseman standing for the Marlins is Casey Kotchman.

Everyone predicted it would happen, and it did - Marlins Diehards
Before the U.S. advanced out of the first round, apparently Giancarlo Stanton did hit a home run that smashed someone's windshield. A Diamondbacks employee's car window, no less. But it's all good, Giancarlo autographed it.

Six reasons to actually go to Marlins Park - Fish Stripes
I have a seventh reason: it's one more ballpark that I can cross off my list. Unfortunately, I can't count it as a new MLB city, since I'd already been to RobbieShark in the past already.


Cole Hamels named Opening Day starter - High Cheese
After all these years of getting pushed aside for guys like Brett Myers and Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels gets his opening day start. Against the Braves, in Atlanta.

Roy Halladay gets destroyed by Tigers, sky begins falling - TGP
In a start against the Tigers, Doc went just 2.2 innings, while surrendering seven runs and walking four. All very un-Doc like. But most importantly, his fastball, in spite of yearly decline, was particular low, topping out in the mid-80s. Is Halladay going to struggle through another season, his walk-year no less? Should Philadelphia panic??

Rich Dubee claims that ensuing bullpen was fabulous - Phillies Zone
Interesting choice of adjective, but whatever, this is kind of what happened last season too, with Halladay's concerning performance, everyone saying everything was okay, when it really wasn't.

Charlie Manuel run over by a tricycle - Hardball Talk (h/t TGP)
No, I did not alter the headline to try to make it more lame funny.

You know who's got a good shot to make the Opening Day roster? Yuniesky Betancourt - Phillies Nation
Sad, but lol.

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