Michael Pineda (AP)
One, players will begin getting loopy and start doing things like sharing a big pair of pants with a teammate.
Two, the reading on radar guns become a source of both concern and stories.
Actually, just make that a source of stories. As we get deeper into spring training, the murmurs of diminished velocity have created a new way to make headlines. Perhaps you've seen them.
• Roy Halladay got a bit angry on Thursday morning and denied there was anything wrong with his health after a report suggested otherwise. Ol' Doc hasn't had the best of springs — he's sporting a 10.56 ERA after three starts — and he even acknowledges that his velocity is down. But Halladay said that's to be expected when you're 34 years old and have 2,500 big-league innings on your arm.
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• Michael Pineda pitched well on Thursday, but Yankees beat writers noted that the sophomore right-hander's zip still hasn't returned from last season. His fastball was in the 90-92 mph range when last season it was up around 95-98. "It's spring training," Pineda noted.
• As our own Jeff Passan reported, Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman has seen his pitch speed decrease as he aims for more "control and command" in his bid to become a starter.
If I were to rewind the Internet one or two years, I'm sure I'd be able to write the same post with three different names. Some of them might have gone on to bad years. Others probably worked out just fine once the regular season rolled around.
But when it comes to stories of this nature, I need a few readings from a regular-season game — you know, when everyone's supposed to be in game shape and everything's on the line — to have an opinion one way or the other. Yeah, we've worked our way into spring training, but it's still far from being over.
- Roy Halladay
- spring training