Pitchers and catchers report to spring training
New Marlins manager Mike Redmond arrived at his office at 5 a.m. Monday ready to go long before the Florida sun was shining, his thoughts already on a date 254 days from now: Game 1 of the World Series.
Ah, spring training. When all 30 teams are still contenders.
"Everybody's excited," Redmond said in Jupiter. "Obviously, we've got a tremendous opportunity for guys in this camp and I think everybody realizes that. It's a fresh start."
From a chilly and damp Phoenix, Ariz., to balmy Kissimmee, Fla., pitchers and catchers for 10 teams reported to training camp Monday, taking physicals, meeting new teammates and, in some cases, managers and coaches.
The pop of fastballs in mitts, they could be heard, too.
Many eager players have been working out "informally" for weeks on minor league fields — position players don't report for several more days, and all teams will be in full swing by the weekend.
In Tampa, Fla., Yankees captain Derek Jeter ran on a treadmill for the first time since breaking his ankle on Oct. 13, a big step toward reaching his goal of being in New York's opening day lineup on April 1 against Boston in the Bronx.
In his third week of baseball activities, Jeter was on the infield grass fielding groundballs and in a batting cage taking swings — all while dozens of autograph-seeking fans lined up outside the Yankees' minor league complex down the road from the big league facility.
"I feel fine," Jeter said. "I was able to do everything else. I just had to be careful with my ankle, but now I've gotten the green light with that. I've gotten all the green lights I need."
In Fort Myers, Fla., Red Sox principal owner John Henry put to rest reports that he was considering selling the franchise.
"You just don't get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, the three of us are committed to being here," Henry told reporters, while acknowledging team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner. "These thoughts that we're somehow selling, those are just not true."
With a new manager, John Farrell, replacing Bobby Valentine after one disastrous 69-93 season, Henry likes Boston's chances.
"I would say, especially in comparison to last year, I should be optimistic," Henry said.
In Kissimmee, Fla., the Houston Astros began their first day in the bruising AL West. One of the most inexperienced teams in baseball will wear fiery orange practice hats and jerseys that evoke the orange rainbow stripes of a better time for an organization that lost over 100 games each of the past two seasons.
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