Ryan Boyer

Spring Training Daily

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Papi Problems

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

An Achilles injury cost David Ortiz two months of action during the second half last season. Unfortunately, it appears he’s still not totally over his heel issues.


The Red Sox have shut the designated hitter down until at least this weekend after he developed soreness in both of his heels following a workout Saturday. An MRI revealed that the inflammation he’s experiencing isn’t directly related to his Achilles, but rather a different part of the heel. Nonetheless, Big Papi isn’t going to be ready for Opening Day.


“Everybody wants to be there for Opening Day, but it is what it is. … Opening Day was my goal. You guys heard me talking about it when I first got here. I was feeling good and pushing things the way I was being told,” Ortiz said on WEEI.com. “Right now, Opening Day seems like it’s not the case. The case is get me healthy for five or five and a half good months. That’s what we’re looking for now.”


Ortiz is confident that he’ll be pain-free at some point this year, but he has to be considered a major injury risk heading into the season. The 37-year-old was incredibly productive when on the field last year, batting .318/.415/.611 with 23 homers and 60 RBI over 90 games. It’s hard to bet against him hitting when not on the DL in 2013, but fantasy owners should have a backup plan in place.


As far as the Red Sox’ backup plan goes, Ryan Lavarnway is now a candidate to make the Opening Day roster and see time in the DH spot. The Sox could also slide Mike Napoli into the DH slot and use Mike Carp at first base. Mauro Gomez is in the mix, as well.


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Greinke Gets Injection For Sore Elbow


Dodgers fans received a scare Monday when it was revealed that $147 million pitcher Zack Greinke had been sent to the doctor to have his sore elbow checked out. The results of the exam, though, probably left them feeling a bit relieved.


Dr. Neal ElAttrache injected Greinke with platelet-rich plasma and also prescribed him anti-inflammatory medication. He did not perform an MRI, though, as the right-hander had one last week and it came back clean. The hope is that Greinke will be able to resume throwing in a few days, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready by Opening Day, with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly saying the club will be “ultra-cautious” with their big offseason acquisition.


Luckily for the Dodgers, they can afford to play things safe with Greinke given their rotation depth. As it stands right now, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are competing for the final spot in the rotation. So, even with Greinke’s and Chad Billingsley’s statuses somewhat up in the air, they should be covered. They could be less inclined to deal Lilly, Capuano or Harang than they were a few days ago.


As far as the battle for the No. 5 spot goes, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick believes that Lilly might be "in position to initially be the fifth starter" because he's "the least likely to adapt to relief." It’s not the best criteria to use when making an important roster decision, but it could give the Dodgers an excuse to put Ryu in the bullpen for a while after his so-far underwhelming spring performance.


Yanks Digging Deep for Corner Infield Options


The Yankees will be down both of their starting corner infielders at the beginning of the season, and their search for help at first and/or third base has led them in interesting directions.


David Waldstein of the New York Times reported late Sunday that the Yanks had reached out to Derrek Lee in hopes of luring him out of quasi-retirement. General manager Brian Cashman confirmed the report but added that he's "not optimistic" the club will get anything done with the 37-year-old first baseman. Lee took 2012 off after batting .267 with 19 home runs over 113 games in 2011 for the Orioles and Pirates.


Cashman also expressed a desire to reach out to Chipper Jones’ agent in order to gauge the future Hall of Famer’s interest in coming back for another year. All indications are that Jones is happy with retirement, though, and even if he did decide to come back, it would probably be with the Braves, as they don’t have a player locked into the third base job.


The Yankees’ GM has also contacted Scott Rolen’s representative. Rolen would apparently consider playing another season in the right situation, but there doesn’t appear to be a fit with him and the Yankees.


For now, it appears that the Bombers will go with Kevin Youkilis at third base, with Juan Rivera and possibly Dan Johnson covering first base. The Yanks had been viewing Rivera as more of an outfielder, but they’ve decided to give him a longer look at first following the signing of Ben Francisco. Youkilis could also slide over to first on occasion, with Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix and Ronnier Mustelier representing options at the hot corner in that instance.


Kazmir Continuing to Impress


When the Indians signed Scott Kazmir to a minor league deal back in December, no one gave it much thought. After all, this is a guy that’s appeared in one major league game since the beginning of the 2011 season and who posted a 5.34 ERA last year in independent ball. But, here we are a good ways into spring training and Kazmir looks like he has a real chance at cracking the Opening Day rotation.


The southpaw spun four shutout frames Monday, running his Cactus League and "B" game scoreless streak to 11 innings. He boasts a 13/2 K/BB ratio over that span.


Not only are Kazmir’s numbers impressive, but his velocity is back. The southpaw’s fastball dipped all the way down to the 84-85 mph range during the end of his tenure with the Angels, but this spring he’s been sitting comfortably in the low-90s.


With Zach McAllister officially locking down a spot over the weekend, Kazmir is competing with Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final spot in the Indians’ rotation. We’re not ready to say he’s poised for a bounce-back campaign, but at the very least he’s worth keeping an eye on.




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Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
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