This is what we’ve all been waiting for, despite the promise of a tough season ahead. Wednesday was the first full day of spring camp for pitchers and catchers. Baseball things went off without a hitch and the pop of fastballs finding catcher’s mitts was heard all over the Tigers’ Lakeland training complex. Finding the energy level a bit low for his liking, new Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire cranked up some Motown, and soon things were rocking.
We got the story of Travis Wood’s crossbow mishap, which nearly cost him the index finger on his right, non-throwing, hand this offseason. Wood, asserting himself as a crazy person on the level of Alex Wilson’s attempt to pitch on a broken leg, asked his surgeon if it might not be better to amputate the fingertip in order to be ready to pitch on schedule. Fortunately for him, such drastic measures were completely unnecessary and he should be good to go within weeks.
We got Gardenhire’s dad joke, remarking that Wood had a split-finger pitch now. He also showed off his range at first base fielding some ground balls. Typical Gardy spring camp fare.
Daniel Norris’ face emerges from the overgrowth
In a traditional sign of spring, Daniel Norris shaved his prodigious beard and lit Twitter aflame with commentary.
Tigers lefty Daniel Norris on Tuesday....and on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/9aLLV5eqSl— Evan Woodbery (@evanwoodbery) February 14, 2018
One wonders how much of Tuesday night was spent shaving.
Norris also sat for a lengthy Q&A with Katie Strang of the Athletic (subscribers only). Norris talked about changing his training to emphasize mobility, his offseason travels, and his focus as he begins what figures to be an important season for him. He also channeled his inner Verlander with a response to a fan that was a statement of intent.
I will be great as a starter. https://t.co/u1h0Me3udw— Daniel Norris (@DanielNorris18) February 14, 2018
Bryan Garcia will have surgery
This is unfortunate but not unexpected. Hopefully everything goes well for Garcia, and he can get back on the field at a hundred percent sometime next season.
Tigers RHP prospect Bryan Garcia will have Tommy John surgery. Dr. Andrews determined today he had a complete UCL tear.— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) February 14, 2018
This is a private party, pal
Many unsigned free agents this spring have shown up at the players union’s spring camp at IMG facilities in Florida. On Wednesday, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported that an unidentified special assistant from a team showed up to the camp thinking he’d just be invited in to watch players workout. Nope. He was quickly sent packing. Marc Normandin explains why there is no way the union is going to conduct the camp like some kind of amateur tryouts.
Impersonating a baseball player
The Giants had some fun impersonating each other. Andrew McCutcheon’s Hunter Pence is particularly good.
Andrew Mccutchen doing his best Hunter Pence impression. This is great pic.twitter.com/5iLLqHR4Uw— Baseball King™ (@BasebaIlKing) February 14, 2018
Around the horn
Can the A’s Matt Olson follow in J.D. Martinez’s footsteps? Craig Edwards at FanGraphs makes Roy Halladay’s Hall of Fame case. Justin Verlander took issue with Chris Russo’s claim that the Yankees should be favored to win the World Series.
After a tough seven weeks where he and his wife stayed with their premature twins in the hospital, James McCann and his family are in a good place as camp opens. Jack Morris visited his future digs in Cooperstown.
I’d also highly recommend this piece on former Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder, Ryan Flaherty. Major league baseball, even at first base, is incredibly hard.