Baseball is back! Baseball is back!
Excuse my exuberance but, well, never mind. I’m sure you understand! Since our last Wrap Up, pitchers and catchers reported, and in most cases, so have position players. What that means (other than the fact that the universe has righted itself, of course) is that there’s a lot of news to get to. So, we’re going with some quick hits to get you all caught up.
- Not everyone in LA is thrilled with the Angels’ 2012 situation. Word is, Bobby Abreu wants out, specifically to be traded to a place where he’ll play every day. Manager Mike Scioscia countered by saying there’s plenty of chances for slugger to contribute.
- After some visa drama, reliever Francisco Rodriguez finally arrived at camp. Does four days count as “fashionably late”?
- Speaking of pitching, closer Jordan Walden is upping the ninth-inning ante by adding a third pitch to his arsenal. Don’t be surprised by how often he throws a changeup this year. Also, reliever Kevin Jepsen seems to be on track early — a good sign, since last year’s early troubles never ended.
- Albert Pujols now has a familiar face at Spring Training. Former teammate closer Jason Isringhausen is taking his talents to So Cal.
- Did you hear? Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension is no more. Read more from yesterday’s Around the Horn post. Or here. His teammates are thrilled to have him back on board, but it’s not all sunshine and roses from here on out. He has some ‘splainin’ yet to do!
- Meanwhile, Zack Greinke has a contract issue to work out. Only, he has no agent to work on his behalf. The Brewers, though, say there’s no reason to worry. Discussions will continue uninhibited.
- Rickie Weeks, who suffered an ankle injury in July, still doesn’t feel 100%. Ron Roenicke isn’t surprised, or particularly concerned. It’s simply a matter of learning to deal with the stiffness.
- Still making moves, the Tribe traded lefty Kelvin De La Cruz to the Rangers for cash early this week. They did not, though, seal the deal with Jon Garland. It seems the pitcher (who is still in rehab for a right shoulder issue) did not go through with the necessary physical to complete the deal.
- Veteran Cristian Guzman is blazing the comeback trail, signing to a Minor League contract this week with hopes of winning a spot in the middle infield.
- And for a little more good news, ace Justin Materson has a clear bill of health looking towards a potential Opening Day start. Surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in the off season could have been a setback, but he says he’s good to go.
- To jump-start their week, the Bucs finalized the A.J. Burnett deal, just in time for the former Yankee to get to Spring Training.
- There’s a new society in the Pirates clubhouse — the Mac Pack. And as of today, its membership stands at lucky number seven: McLouth, McCutchen, McDonald, McPherson, McKenry, McGehee, McCutchen. And now you know.
- In unfortunately less pleasant news, the club’s president, Frank Coonelly, has been charged with four drunk driving-related incidents. His arraignment is set for March 20. Not the story you want facing you when you arrive to Spring Training, that’s for sure.
- “Healthy” is the word of choice so far for the Rockies camp. Both Jorge De La Rosa (recovering from Tommy John’s), Carlos Gonzalez (bothered by a wrist injury in 2011) and Juan Nicasio (back after fracturing his C-1 vertebra after taking a line-drive to the head) are good to go.
- Minor League prospect Joe Torres was handed a PED-induced suspension. Afterwards, he issued an apology, taking full responsibility for the situation, though maintaining that the medication he did take was not for enhancement purposes.
- Apparently, a hand shake between peers holds its weight in gold. That’s all it took for manager Jim Tracy and GM Dan O’Dowd to unofficially agree on an “indefinite” extension.
- And if you need a bit of inspiration to get through the weekend, look no further than Jamie Moyer (also recovering from Tommy John’s). That’s what his teammates did in their first week at camp.
- Coming off of a 99-loss season, the Twins could use some good news. That came in the way of a massive health update. So here we go. Francisco Liriano says his left shoulder feels fine. Joel Zumaya is back and ready to pitch at the big league level. Nick Blackburn’s October 1st surgery shouldn’t require any restrictions.
- Joe Mauer is three weeks further along than he was last year at the start of camp.
- Justin Morneau still needs to get medical clearance, but his concussion symptoms are gone. Denard Span, too, had to get clearing after suffering a concussion. He did. Game on.
- Oh, and Luke Hughes’s right shoulder pain? Just a little inflammation that a cortisone shot should take care of.
Tara is a St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball and a contributor to Around the Horn. Follow her on Twitter @tarawellman.