Some notable things happening around the league …
- The word on Adam Wainwright’s abdominal issue proved to be as positive as the Cardinals were hoping: it’s just an abdominal strain. He’ll sit out a few days, and then get back on schedule. The start of his season is not expected to be delayed, which means, barring additional troubles, he’ll be on the mound at Wrigley Field on April 5. Here’s hoping he’s healthy, but not at his best thanks to an abbreviated Spring.
- If you’re desperate for some Cardinal-related negativity, there’s this article from Bernie Miklasz, noting the organization’s concerns about the outfield after this season. It sounds like the Cardinals are very eager to try and extend Jason Heyward. If they don’t, the Cardinals will be looking at an outfield of Jon Jay, a 36-year-old Matt Holliday, and … Randal Grichuk? Stephen Piscotty? in 2016. Could be an expensive issue to address.
- Unfortunate news out of Los Angeles – well, technically out of Texas and New York – as Josh Hamilton, who was out of baseball for many years in his younger days because of battles with drug and alcohol addiction, has reported relapsed. Hamilton, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, has met with MLB, and we’ll see if discipline is forthcoming (which seems kind of dicey, given that addiction is an illness). Hamilton’s two years with the Angels have been a disappointment, but his focus now will likely be on his sobriety. There’s no telling where this goes from here, or how it impacts the Angels on the field, but hopefully Hamilton is able to recover.
- Nick Markakis left the Orioles this offseason in favor of a four-year deal with the Braves. It was something of a surprise, as Markakis was expected to stick in Baltimore for a long time as something of a face of the franchise. Markakis unloaded on the O’s to USA Today, saying you shouldn’t “believe a word they say” about why he departed, indicating that it was entirely about the bulging disc in his neck, which he subsequently had surgically repaired.
- Sticking in the outfield, the Blue Jays have lost Michael Saunders for at least half the season after he tore his meniscus tripping over a sprinkler hole while shagging fly balls. The Blue Jays are a bit thin in the outfield, so they might be scrambling a bit. Also: Cubs better make sure there are no sprinkler heads or wells or whatever that their guys could accidentally run afoul of.
- Like when they paint those bathing suits on those models? Well Sports Illustrated did it to Giancarlo Stanton, too. They did not paint this on his head, however:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) February 26, 2015
- h/t to The Wife for passing on this WSJ piece about the efforts teams are going through to rest their players throughout the season. Interesting fact therein: just 9% of position players last year played at least 150 games, the lowest percentage in baseball history. Given that, and the fact that performance tends to decline as the season goes on, versatility on the roster seems more important than ever.
- In case you were wondering: how many Cubs players appeared in at least 150 games last year? None. Luis Valbuena was the team leader at 149 games. Anthony Rizzo (140) and Starlin Castro (134) were the next two. Could you guess the next three without looking? ……… how about Chris Coghlan (125), Welington Castillo (110), and Junior Lake (108).