Thankfully, this is the final spring-training-fueled update for 2011 — let the real games begin! Here are recent news and notes from the preseason:
- Aaron Hill will avoid the DL to start the season. Brandon Morrow and Frank Francisco could join the team as early as April 6 — their DL stints were backdated to March 22.
- The latest reports indicate Curtis Granderson will start tomorrow. Brett Gardner will lead off against righties and Derek Jeter will lead off against lefties. Jeter will be kept in the #2 spot when Gardner leads off, so his value doesn’t take much of a hit, but it will be tough for Joe Girardi to continue doing that if Jeter’s splits against righties don’t improve over last season. Gardner will drop to the #9 spot against lefties.
- Hanley Ramirez may grow up this year. It’s incredibly frustrating to lose your players to injuries, but losing a #1 pick to a benching is excruciating. For Hanley owners, it’s good to see him not only putting in extra time in this spring to improve his game (as also noted in his Player Projection), but also to see him strive to be a better teammate.
- Jayson Bay will likely start the season on the DL, but could be activated as soon as April 9.
- Max Scherzer still needs to iron out some mechanical issues. Adding a new pitch, a slider (which he’s happy with), may have extended Scherzer’s timeline for tuning up for the season. He could have a rough first outing against New York if he doesn’t get it together by Sunday.
- You should never look too much into spring training performance, but if Alex Gordon is available and you have a spare roster spot you’re not sure what to do with, he’s worth a gamble. He’ll bat third to start the season.
- Zack Greinke is not recovering as quickly as expected. The Brewers expected him to begin throwing by now.
- Instead of moving Neftali Feliz into the rotation, the Rangers are going with Alexi Ogando. Ogando will start until Tommy Hunter is healthy.
- If you need a short-term saves solution, consider Brian Fuentes. Given Andrew Bailey‘s injury history, it might be worth holding onto Fuentes when Bailey gets activated, depending on how desperate your situation is.
- J.J. Putz did not pitch much this spring — much less than anticipated a month ago. He got extra work in today. Although Putz claims he’s “ready to go,” don’t be surprised if he gets roughed up a few times over the next couple of weeks.
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