Baseball's back! As we get closer to the regular season, stop by The Stew for a helping of spring storylines.
KRIS MEDLEN OFFICIALLY HAVING TOMMY JOHN SURGERY: Not a huge surprise here, because even the Atlanta Braves were figuring Kris Medlen's season was over. But the worst is now confirmed after a second opinion: Medlen needs his second Tommy John surgery.
With teammate Brandon Beachy still awaiting his second opinion, the Tommy John bug has spread from the Braves to the Arizona Diamondbacks (who look to be losing Patrick Corbin) and the Oakland Athletics (who announced Jarrod Parker needs surgery).
Medlen had his first Tommy John in 2010 and missed most of 2011. He returned in 2012 to go 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA. Last season, Medlen had a 3.11 ERA and a 15-12 record. He'll be 29 next season.
JON NIESE GETS GOOD NEWS: New York Mets starter Jon Niese got some good news Monday about his arm discomfort, which makes him a rarity in these days of starting pitchers dropping like pop flies in the sun.
The lefty, who was in the running to be the Mets opening day starter, had his second MRI of the spring after an uncomfortable start Sunday. There's still no structural damage and he's been cleared to resume throwing later this week after getting a cortisone shot. He's still expected to start the season on disabled list, but it beats surgery.
MEANWHILE AT TIGERS CAMP: We know about the Detroit Tigers' issue at shortstop. Jose Iglesias confirmed Monday that he has stress fractures in both legs, and he's not sure when (or if) he'll be able to play this season. ''It's bad news for me and bad news for the team as well,'' Iglesias said Monday.
Adding to the bad news: starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez was scratched from his start because of shoulder inflammation. It's a precaution at this point for the Tigers, but Sanchez has a history of shoulder problems, so the Tigers don't want to take a risk. Sanchez was the American League leader in ERA last season.
Of course, the Tigers have the luxury of Sanchez being their No. 3 starter. The team named Justin Verlander as opening day starter Monday, with reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer as No. 2.
ROSS DETWILER SENT TO THE BULLPEN: Washington Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler has been sent to the bullpen and, according to Nats Insider, he's not happy about it. Detwiler pitched some as a reliever for the Nats in 2011 and 2012, but was a starter exclusively in 2013. He had a 4.04 ERA with a 2-7 record. Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark will now compete for the Nats fifth starter spot.
"It was good, man. It felt good just to get on the base, steal, and then do things that you're supposed to do as a player on the field. It was good overall."
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