I’m often asked this time of year why pitchers and catchers report early to spring training?
Pitchers typically need about 45 days to properly stretch out their arms before the start of the regular season.
This includes roughly five starts for solidified veteran starters and a few more for players jockeying for a big league roster spot in the rotation or bullpen.
Position players, however, simply don’t need as much time to prepare, especially considering the emphasis on offseason conditioning, which has seemingly improved with each passing decade.
This is why the pitchers show up early, and why catchers are on hand to catch them!
Cubs pitchers and catchers report on Saturday. Spring is near!
Ryan Theriot’s hitting above .500 and leads all of baseball in batting average.
Soriano strung together a six-game hitting streak to push his avg. above .400.
Soto is also part of the .400 club, and Marlon Byrd is dang-close to it over the last two weeks. But what does it all mean? Zero. Zilch. Nada!
The Cubs have offered Spring Training invites to twenty-some unsigned players; I figure four have a chance to get a contract: Luis Rivas, Jason Dubois, So Taguchi and Chad Fox.
The unsettled second base position between Mike Fontenot and Aaron Miles leaves the door open for the slick fielding Rivas as a late game defensive substitution, and that’s about it because the guy can’t hit worth a lick.
Dubois carries the same label as Rivas, the guy couldn’t hit a ball of a tee. But having committed just one error in 50 games played in the outfield keeps him in the hunt.
If the Cubs’ suffer from an injury bug So Taguchi’s bat could earn him a spot in the lineup. In seven years of MLB service he’s a respectable .279 hitter.
Lastly, if the pen falls short on available arms Chad Fox is a temporary option.
Prior to joining the Cubs in 2005, the 37-year-old right-hander managed a (10-11) record with an ERA of less than 4.00 during four seasons.
Since 2004, however, Fox’s ERA inflated to an unsightly 6.30 average, including his 2008 performance with Chicago of 5.40 (three games pitched).
All that said, the worst Spring Training invite has to be Mike Stanton.
The soon to be 41-year-old was absolutely horrific with Cincinnati last season. He allowed 75 hits in 58 IP, walked 18 batters and finished with a sour 5.93 ERA.
Heck, I’d vote Bob Howry back to the bullpen just to keep Stanton off the mound!