Good morning. You realize that the first games of the season are now just nine days away?
I’m sure most of you are still asleep from the time change.
- Both the Athletics and the Mariners have announced their starting pitchers for the season opener in Tokyo on March 20.
- The expected but semi-big news here is that Felix Hernandez will not start Opening Day for the Mariners, the first time in ten years someone other than King Felix will take the bump for the Mariners opener. Hernandez is not happy about this development. Of course, his ERA in Spring Training has been over 15.
- Former Orioles outfielder (and Captain America) Adam Jones has signed a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks.
- In this news, Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal and all the rest were scooped by Jones’ former teammate (in Spring Training at least) Dontrelle Willis, who announced the move on social media before anyone else.
- Sad news as Julia Ruth Stevens, the last surviving child of Babe Ruth, died at 102 on Saturday. You’ve no doubt seen Ruth Stevens at public events representing her father’s legacy, which she did as recently as 2016.
- Top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will miss the next three weeks with a strained oblique, which means that the Blue Jays have a perfectly good reason for what they were going to do anyway, which is not bring him up to the majors until after the deadline to gain an extra year of control. But now the union won’t really have a case for a grievance.
- Royals players Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield talk about the current state of labor relations and stress that the players just want what’s fair.
- Rays pitcher Blake Snell won the Cy Young Award last season. On Friday, the Rays renewed his contract for $573,700, a measly $15,500 raise after winning the Cy Young. (And he had to get a $10,000 raise as the major league minimum went up by that much.) Snell, understandably, is not happy about all this.
- Barry Rozner talks with Douglas Gladstone, a writer who has taken up the cause of pre-1980 players who don’t get an MLB pension.
- Here’s a feel-good story about an MLB player that you might want to take a look at. Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd is leading efforts in Uganda to end child sex slavery. On that front, Boyd and his wife are running a house in Uganda with 36 girls (whom they call “their children”) in it, most of who were rescued from being sold for sex. (h/t Yahoo! Sports)
- Former pitcher Esteban Loaiza was sentenced to three years in prison on drug charges.
- Jeff Passan and David Schoenfield discuss how soon (and how likely) our robot umpire overlords will arrive, as well as the other possible rules changes being experimented on in the independent Atlantic League.
- Todd Zolecki notes that Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper faced a four-man outfield for the first time in Spring Training, which is something he may see a fair amount of in 2019.
- Neil Paine praises the New York Mets for making moves and trying to win in 2019, but he points out that they did pick a really bad year to try to compete in the brutal NL East.
- Ken Rosenthal writes that whether or not the Reds are good or bad this year (he thinks they could go either way), the Reds are going to be a lot more interesting to watch in 2019. (The Athletic sub. req.)
- David Schoenfield tries to determine how many sports Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts is good at. We know he’s really good at baseball and he’s very good at bowling. But there are other sports he’s good at too. Maybe not at the professional level like baseball or almost as good as the pros like bowling, but pretty good.
- Padres infielder Manny Machado said that “I will always be the villain, no matter what.” He’s not a villain in San Diego at the moment, that’s for sure.
- Tim Brown writes about Yankees infielder Troy Tulowitzki, as he works to come back from missing the past year and a half with injuries.
- Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello says that suspended pitcher Steven Wright owes the team an explanation over his failed drug test. “Woke up this morning and folded my bed back into a couch. Almost broke both my arms cause it’s not that kind of bed.”
- Mike Axisa has five offseason moves that he thinks are sneaky-good.
- The Brewers voted broadcaster Bob Uecker a full playoff share. Unfortunately, Uecker turned them down and told them he didn’t have that kind of money to share with them. In all seriousness, Uecker gave the money to charity.
- Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez got engaged over the weekend, and now we’ve officially become TMZ. Their celebrity couple name is supposedly J-Rod, but I voted for Alennifer Rodpez. But congratulations to those two.
- White Sox relievers Ryan Burr and Ian Hamilton re-enacted the Hamilton-Burr duel for their teammates in Spring Training.
- And finally, Anthony Castrovince first wrote this article in 2016, but it’s still true today. The top 15 clichés from Spring Training. Crash Davis knows them all.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster.