Programming note: The 2011 Friends & Family draft is scheduled to begin in approximately two hours, so this post might be a bit thin. Need to do some pre-ranking, then see if I can somehow sabotage Pianowski's wireless network. Here's your abbreviated Opening Time, featuring the must-have injury of the modern era…
San Francisco closer Brian Wilson (pictured right, age 7) is dealing with an oblique strain, but he's vowed to be ready by opening day — in fact, he claims that he'd be able to pitch right now, if the regular season were underway. Sergio Romo is likely next in line to close, but this situation doesn't yet sound too serious.
In other oblique news, Curtis Granderson is having issues on the right side. The severity of his oblique injury is not yet known; he reportedly suffered the strain during BP. If Granderson misses time in the opening weeks, then Brad might just get his Andruw Jones post out of the way early this season. Bet it's already written.
There's no telling when the latest oblique plague will subside, but lucky for Major League Baseball, this issue has already been addressed by Yahoo! Answers. Best response: Rest, ice, compress, elevate, repeat.
• To my great relief (because I just bought Scott Baker in Tout for $1), Kevin Slowey will open the 2011 season in the Twins' bullpen. Baker is the fifth starter, and apparently Nick Blackburn's starting job was never in doubt. Hmmm.
• Good news here on Chris Coghlan (shoulder) and Mike Stanton (quad), via the Miami Herald:
[Edwin] Rodriguez said both Coghlan and Stanton would be ready for Grapefruit League action on Thursday, and also added that he fully expects both to be in the Opening Day lineup when the Marlins kick off the season on April 1 against the Mets.
• You'll probably never believe this, but a Mets outfielder suffered an injury on Tuesday. That streak has ended. Angel Pagan left a spring game with "tightness in his lower back." Not what New York fans need to hear. But on the plus side, Carlos Beltran (knee) is thinking that he could maybe possibly DH in a minor league game, if he can have a courtesy runner. (No, that's not a joke. That's an actual Beltran news item).
• Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, recently sidelined by biceps soreness, pitched a scoreless inning in a minor league game on Tuesday. However, his fastball reportedly topped out at 87 mph, which is no small concern. Spring velocity isn't necessarily such a big deal, but this is a pitcher in a multi-year mph slide, a guy who averaged 95-96 in his best years.
• JP Arencibia has had a messy spring at the plate (.140/.240/.163), but he's still "set to become Toronto's No. 1 catcher." However, he'll only catch three out of every five games to open the season, and he's expected to bat ninth. There's clearly power here (32 HR, .626 SLG at Triple-A), but flaws as well.
• Seattle has decided to open the season with a funny/bad middle infield situation, but Dustin Ackley isn't far off. There's hope for the Fightin' Funstons.
• OK, so perhaps Jake Peavy (shoulder) isn't quite a surgical miracle. But he did manage to play catch on Tuesday … for five minutes, at short range. He hopes to return to a mound late in the week, though he'll reportedly miss his next 3-4 starts.
Photo via AP Images