Baseball is back. As we get closer to the regular season, be sure to stop by The Stew each morning for your daily helping of spring storylines. TIM LINCECUM SUFFERED A BRUISED KNEE after being struck by a line drive comebacker off the bat of Oakland's Daric Barton. Lincecum was unable to put any weight on his leg initially, which obviously caused great concern. However, x-rays were negative and the team is so far labeling it a contusion.
Speaking after the game, which was obviously a good sign, Lincecum himself didn't seem too concerned about the situation. In fact, he still seemed set on making his scheduled season debut on Thursday.
“Just a dead leg to the knee,” said Lincecum. "We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. Right now, it feels pretty good.”
“I knew it hit me in a relatively good spot, not in front of the kneecap or anything like that,” Lincecum said. “I feel better now … Right now things are looking positive, at least the way I feel right now.”
Things could change when Lincecum wakes up on Saturday. For now, we'll keep the "Freak" penciled in for Thursday.
DOUG FISTER WILL BEGIN THE SEASON ON THE DISABLED LIST after leaving his final spring tuneup on Thursday with a right lat strain. Fister was already behind schedule after suffering through some elbow inflammation early in spring training, but the team was pushing to have his ready for an opening week start.
It is not clear how long Fister, whom the Nationals will re-evaluate after his five days without throwing, will remain out. Timetables can vary based on individual circumstances, but ace Stephen Strasburg suffered a minor lat strain last season and returned after the minimum 15 days on the disabled list. Fister’s return will be more complicated, clouded by the need to build sufficient innings for the season.
As a result of Fister's injury, the battle for the final spot in Washington's rotation will turn up two winners as both Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan are expected to open the season in the big leagues. Roark, 27, was especially impressive in a late-season call-up last year, going 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA.
THE RANGERS SIGNED VETERAN SCOTT BAKER to a minor-league contract just days after he was released by the Seattle Mariners. The Rangers are pursuing all of the reinforcements they can find with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, and Derek Holland all shelved for the immediate future. The team also released veteran Tommy Hanson earlier this week, which doesn't bode well for his prospects to make a major league roster this season.
Baker himself wasn't very good this spring in Mariners camp after missing most of the past two seasons following Tommy John elbow surgery, but the rash of injuries not just in Texas but all around the league keeps the door open.
OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPENED FRIDAY
• Mets left-hander Jonathan Niese felt "amazing" in his return from elbow discomfort. He's on track to return from the DL on April 6.
Finally some good news for the New York Yankees on outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 28, 2014
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