Here’s this week’s Cactus League update:
Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy feels blessed after his spring training debut. Peavy threw two hitless innings on Saturday. For now, Ozzie Guillen has penciled Peavy in as the #5 starter, but nothing is set in stone.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Kirk Gibson wants the team to be more aggressive on the bases this season and Justin Upton is planning to follow his manager’s lead. Upton has the ability to steal 30-40 bases, but a better projection is 20-25 SB. J.J Putz pitched a perfect inning on Monday. Putz is penciled in to start the season as the Diamondbacks closer this season.
Chicago Cubs: Carlos Silva was rocked for the second straight outing this spring. He has now turned to Carlos Zambrano for advice. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that spells disaster to me. Zambrano pitched well on Tuesday. In three games this spring, Zambrano has posted a 1.13 ERA in 8 innings. Is this the new and improved Big Z? Alfonso Soriano reported to camp in great shape and his stats this spring prove it. Soriano is hitting .400 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI. Keep an eye on him
Cincinnati Reds: Dontrelle Willis pitched two perfect innings as he continues to try and earn a spot in the Reds bullpen. Despite getting hit hard, Dusty Baker thought Homer Bailey threw the ball well on Monday. Bailey last 2 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits, but felt good because his pitch location was good.
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez looked sharp in his second spring training start for the Rockies. Jimenez increased his velocity a bit and looked good doing it. Ian Stewart, sidelined by a sprained right MCL since the Cactus League opener, hopes to return to action late this week.
Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Dodgers are planning to let Matt Kemp run again
this year. Kemp was caught stealing on half his opportunities last year, but the Dodgers still have confidence that Kemp can get it done. Ted Lilly
made his spring debut, giving up one run over 3 1/3 innings. The Dodgers’ starting pitchers have posted an earned-run average of 1.20 in the Cactus League.
Kansas City Royals: The Royals are going to be a young and very aggressive team this year. The Royals how to be annoying and aggressive on the bases this season.
Los Angeles Angels: It appears that Kendry Morales availability for opening day is uncertain. Morales is still recovering from a broken leg that he suffered last season while jumping on h0me plate to celebrate an Angels victory. He is still not running at full speed and that has left doubt that he will be ready for Opening Day. Meanwhile, Jered Weaver pitched 3 solid innings on Sunday that included three hits and three strikeouts. Weaver remains the favorite to be named the Opening Day starter for the Angels.
Cleveland Indians: While the Diamondbacks were taking batting practice Monday off of Indians pitching, the one bright spot was third base prospect Lonnie Chisenhall. Chisenhall went 4-for-5. Chisenhall, hitting .550 (11-for-20), had four straight hits before grounding out in the ninth inning.
San Diego Padres: The Padres expect a leadoff upgrade from Cameron Maybin and four other candidates this year. The question is whether Maybin will ever be on base, as he continues to strike out at an alarming rate. He has averaged a .340 OBP since 2008. Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson, and Will Venable will also get an opportunity to claim the leadoff spot.
San Francisco Giants: Brandon Belt is off to a super start this spring. His emergence is a victory for the Giants scouts. Belt has made the necessary adjustments and he is have success this spring. Through the first 11 spring training games, Belt has a .280 BA, 1 HR, and 6 RBI. Fantasy owners can expect Belt to break camp with the Giants. Pablo Sandoval continues to lead the Giants is most offensive categories. Through 10 games, he has a .333BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI, and a .630 SLG.
Milwaukee Brewers: Tuesday was not a good day for the Brewers. First, the Brewers announced that Zack Greinke will miss 2-4 weeks with a fractured rib while playing basketball. Greinke was scheduled to be the Opening Day starter for the Brewers, but now will head to the DL. Brewers manager, Ron Roenicke has yet to name a replacement. It a rare spring training brawl, the Brewers and Dodgers had a bench clearing brawl and Prince Fielder was right in the middle of it. Fielder came roaring out of the dugout and tried to get at Ramon Colon, but was unsuccessful.
Oakland Athletics: A’s camp has been pretty quiet, which is good news for them. Andrew Bailey bounced back well from his simulated outing Monday and is currently penciled to pitch for the first time this spring on Thursday. Chris Carter and Michael Taylor, the two young phenoms, really aren’t improving their stock much, particularly Taylor, who is 3-for-23 so far this spring. He’ll get another chance today, but he had some big RBI situations Monday and made weak outs.
Seattle Mariners: Dustin Ackley is comfortably settling into Mariners camp. Despite that comfort, the Mariners do not want to rush him to Seattle.
Texas Rangers: It appears that the experiment to move Neftali Feliz to the Rangers starting rotation is not want he wants to do. He prefers to close and has shared that with management. I have never understood why the Rangers want to move Feliz. To have a young closer with the stuff that Feliz has is rare so why mess with it.
Be sure to check back on Friday for Grapefruit League news and notes.