I’m in the air right now, making my way south for my annual seven-week stay in Tampa. In other words, it’s time for spring training. We’re less than 48 hours away from pitchers and catchers showing up to take their physicals. Camp opens on Tuesday, the first workout is Wednesday, and we’re very close to seeing some actual baseball.
It’s spring training, folks. Finally.
My guess is that most of us get a little sentimental about the game, especially this time of year, which is why Andy was perfect for this morning’s Pinch Hitter post. I remember playing catch in the yard, mostly with my mother because my dad was in the fields planting corn or harvesting soybeans. I remember driving to St. Louis with the family, I remember trading cards with my best friend, and I remember playing Tiffle Ball — our name for using a taped up Whiffle ball bat and a tennis ball — in the empty lot next to another friend’s house.
I guess every sport has a sense of family and community attached to it, but baseball has always been especially good for those sort of memories. And it’s nice to know the whole thing is about to get started again.
Until then, here’s one last week in review. Though, really, the past week was all about counting down the days.
• Francisco Cervelli’s name has been attached to the Miami anti-aging clinic that reportedly gave performance enhancing drugs to Alex Rodriguez, but Cervelli has said he simply talked to the clinic about legal ways to recover from his foot injury. “I purchased supplements that I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball,” Cervelli said in a statement.
• Working out at the minor league complex, Ivan Nova told reporters that he fully expects to win a spot in the Yankees rotation. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild seemed to agree that Nova should be considered a favorite for the rotation.
• Joba Chamberlain said that he finally heard back from Kevin Youkilis. Guess they won’t get into a clubhouse fist fight after all.
• CC Sabathia and David Phelps were each honored at the Thurman Munson Awards Dinner.
• The Yankees have vowed support for Rodriguez, but they’ve largely declined to comment on his current situation.
• Hal Steinbrenner said the Yankees have had a “conversation or two” about a contract extension with Robinson Cano, but those talks aren’t likely to get serious until much later.
• Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have each said the Yankees will continue looking for a right-handed outfielder through spring training.
• Manny Banuelos told reporters at the Yankees complex that he’s started playing catch, and Mason Williams said that he’ll be 100 percent in time for the season.
• The Mariners have agreed to a contract extension with Felix Hernandez, which should take his name out of trade speculation for at least a week or two.
Associated Press photos