Monday, March 24, 2008

Chinks in the Armor

The season kicks off early tomorrow morning as the Red Sox and A's square off in Japan.

Before the season starts, let's get an update on our division rivals.

Tampa Bay Rays

Along with staff ace Scott Kazmir and projected RF Rocco Baldelli, utility man Ben Zobrist is expected to start the year on the DL. Also, in an act of ultimate cheapness, Evan Longoria was reassigned to minor league camp.

Kazmir has a strained elbow and there is no timetable for his return. The staff (Shields, Garza, Sonnastine, Jackson, Hammel) hardly looks as promising with Kazmir out of the picture.

RF will be manned by old man Cliff Floyd who will be lucky to be a league average hitter before he gets injured and Eric Hinske had to take over.

With Longoria gone, third will be manned by the sorry Willy Aybar who didn't play at all last season and is a headcase to say the least. (Tampa shipped out Delmon Young and Elijah Dukes because of their personality flaws but at least they had talent! Aybar is a marginal major leaguer and a problem child...) Aybar us injured and so is Zobrist so your guess is as good as mine who will open the season at the hot corner.

Toronto Blue Jays

It was only a matter of time but even I didn't expect Scott Rolen to go down this fast. Marco Scutaro, a downgrade both offensively and defensively, will play third. Rolen is expected to be out at least a few of weeks.

The Jays great bullpen is showing some cracks as B. J. Ryan's comeback has hit some bumps in the road and their best reliever from 2007, Casey Janssen, is gone for the season.

A.J. Burnett is battling a broken fingernail on his throwing hand. Expect his struggles to continue.

New York Yankees

Andy Pettite is battling back spasms. That's a big deal for a team whose rotation is a bit thin after the number 2 hurler but other than this news it's situation normal for the Yanks.

Boston Red Sox

Schilling's down. Josh Beckett is battling injuries. Mike Timlin has an injury to his right ring finger.

It would be nice if Beckett's injury lingered...

2 comments:

Desert O said...

Not to mention the crappy spring shared by Bucholz, Lester and Ellsbury. I know its early, but Boston looks bad.

hrb said...

I don't put a whole lot of clout in Spring Training stats but sure, it wouldn't surprise me is Bucholz or Lester (or both) struggle this season, normal for young starters...

J.D. Drew is already showing his fragility as he was unable to go this morning in Japan.