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.
YU DARVISH WAS SCRATCHED FROM HIS SCHEDULED start after reporting stiffness in his neck on Friday. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Darvish first experienced the issues on Thursday after "sleeping wrong" the night before, but doesn't expect the issue to linger. As of now, he's still on track to start their season opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on March 31.
“If I have two or three days of rest, I’ll be ready to make my next start,” Darvish said Friday morning through an interpreter. “I’ve covered almost everything that I wanted to, so, as far as a setback, I don’t think so. I think I’m ready to go.”
The Rangers will continue to evaluate Darvish over the weekend. In the meantime, they should encourage him try out one of those regular pillows that's working out so well for Edward Mujica.
THE LOS ANGELES DODGERS FINALIZED THEIR 25-MAN ROSTER ahead of Saturday morning's opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The moves included adding Matt Kemp, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley to the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 19. Dan Haren, Zack Greinke and Brandon League were all placed under a roster exemption after making the trip with their various ailments. Carl Crawford was placed on paternity leave.
Eric Stephen of True Blue LA fills us in on a couple notable players who did make the roster.
The biggest surprise - well, somewhat of a surprise anyway - was Tm Federowicz optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque in favor of Drew Butera, who is out of options. The Dodgers kept Alex Guerrero, who isn't starting the opener against a left-handed pitcher, at least for these opening two games.
The Dodgers will have several roster decisions to make in the days following the Australia series, so those getting an opportunity to play this weekend will have some added motivation to play well.
BRENDAN RYAN IS LIKELY HEADED TO THE DISABLED LIST to begin the regular season after experiencing renewed tightness in his lower back. Ryan was reportedly making progress in recent days and seemed close to returning to spring training action, but was unable to complete a workout.
Ryan arrived and took batting practice without a hint of discomfort from the lower back that had been ailing him. Everything seemed normal. Then he played catch and, to test his back, decided to windup for a harder throw. Immediately, he felt a pinch in his upper back.
“It just tightened up,” Ryan, 31, said. “So I figured I better just stop right now before it gets worse. It’s frustrating.”
The Yankees acquired Ryan from Seattle in September and then brought him back on a two-year, $5 million deal to provide insurance in their infield, particularly at shortstop where Derek Jeter is working back from his ankle issues. Ryan is a top notch defender, but offers little upside offensively.
DAVID ORTIZ IS CLOSING IN ON CONTRACT EXTENSION with the Red Sox according to ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes. Ortiz was summoned to the office of CEO Larry Lucchino on Friday, fueling speculation that a deal was already in place. All sides continue denying that, but say talks will are on-going.
Here's more from Edes.
There is little doubt that an agreement will be reached, perhaps even in the next few days. Ortiz's agent, Fernando Cuza, is in town, as well as Sox majority owner John W. Henry. Asked if things were looking good, Ortiz said, "Yes."
In January Ortiz was quoted as saying he'd be ready and willing to leave town after the season if he didn't receive a multi-year deal. A few weeks later he amended that to state he'd willing to take a one-year extension. It's believed that's what Boston will be looking to offer, but we may not know for sure until the deal is finalized.
Elvis Andrus cleared by Dr. Keith Meister to begin throwing. He will be on a seven-day throwing program before playing games. #Rangers
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) March 21, 2014
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