Baseball's back! As we get closer to the regular season, be sure to stop by The Stew each morning for your get your daily helping of spring story lines.
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke said he didn't want to pitch in Australia. Well, he's got his wish after sustaining a strained right calf that puts him out of action for too long to build the necessary arm strength to pitch by March 22-23 when the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney.
Manager Don Mattingly was quoted by MLB.com as saying:
"From a standpoint of having 90 pitches, he won't be there," Mattingly said.
Although he later explained and clarified his comments, Greinke caused a stir by saying the trip to Australia is too much of a hassle to be worth the good publicity. This probably puts a little more pressure, from a public relations standpoint, on the Dodgers to pitch Clayton Kershaw against the D-backs. They've been implying that he won't pitch in Sydney because, well, it's kind of a hassle and they worry about their most expensive asset being put at the slightest risk, or even discomfort, which could lead to injury.
JETER + HOUSTON = CLEMENS: When the New York Yankees visit the Houston Astros for the opening series of the season, the home team also is planning to give Derek Jeter the first of many good-bye parties. And Roger Clemens will be there. As a prominent teammate of Jeter when both played for the Yankees from 1999-2003, Clemens will be "driving the bus" for Jeter's party, Astros' GM Jeff Luhnow said in the New York Post. Coincidentally (or maybe not), the Yankees ended the 2013 season in Houston, which also celebrated the career of Mariano Rivera at Minute Maid Park. Clemens was there for that, too.
Luhnow said he is looking forward to making the Jeter ceremony a teaching point to his young, improving team.
“To have Mariano to finish the season at Minute Maid Park and to be able to recognize him and to follow up and be able to open up against the Yankees and Derek Jeter this year, we want those types of players in our system,’’ Luhnow said. “We hope that some of those guys are already there. The more our young players can see greatness like that and model themselves after two of the greatest players who ever played and did it the right way the whole time, that’s something we really want our guys to appreciate.
BILL BUCKNER RETIRES FROM COACHING: Former major leaguer Bill Buckner stepped down as batting coach of the Boise Hawks after two seasons. Boise is a Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, where Buckner spent a big chunk of his 22-year major league career. Many of the Cubs top prospects have come through Boise in recent seasons.
“Just too much time away,” Buckner said of his decision to retire. “My wife has put up with it for 30-something years. “It just was the right thing to do,” he added. “I’ve been doing it a long time, and it’s been great.”
Buckner's move has been anticipated. Not only did he put his Idaho ranch on the market over the summer, but he's talked in recent seasons about wanting to be coaching/managing in the majors. Even though he did a great job in Boise by many accounts, he wasn't fast-tracked to the big leagues and he might have gotten sick of waiting.
REINSDORF'S SON DIES: The White Sox had a moment of silence at spring training camp Tuesday morning to honor the passing of David Reinsdorf, a 51-year-old son of club owner Jerry Reinsdorf. No cause of death was given immediately for David Reinsdorf, who was a father of four and a senior vice president of an asset management group in Chicago. Jerry Reinsdorf and his wife had four kids, including Michael Reinsdorf, who runs the Chicago Bulls.
The stats don't count in spring training, but they still hold our interest
2 — home runs Jhonny Peralta hit in his spring opener for the Cardinals.
5 — baserunners allowed by Clayton Kershaw in the third inning against the A's after pitching the first two innings perfectly
1 — home runs hit against the Brewers by Cubs prospect Javier Baez, who still won't break camp as the club's starting shortstop.
The Bears were limited to a Robbie Gould field goal.
STRASBURG DEBUTS: Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasberg makes his first start of the Grapefruit League season Tuesday. Strasburg, coming off surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, will be limited to two innings. As with the team's other starters, it's all about building arm strength, manager Matt Williams said.
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