Certainly, it wasn’t a weakness on the 2010 team, but with a better bullpen, the A’s can certainly challenge for a playoff spot in the AL this upcoming season. Perhaps the biggest issues were managerial mismanagement and injuries, in truth.
Second baseman Gordon Beckham is expected to improve on his rookie year and second year numbers. Catcher A. J. Pierzynski handles the pitching staff well with veteran leadership but also is consistent at the plate, often coming through in the clutch. Young catcher Tyler Flowers may start to press Pierzynski for playing time this season.
If the second lefty can remain seated for an entire fortnight, it stands to reason that there will be even less use for a third lefty. And if Sergio Santos maintains his significant reverse splits, Ohman would actually be the fourth guy you’d want to see against a lefty.
In addition to losing Crain, the Twins lost Matt Guerrier to the Dodgers, Brian Fuentes to the Athletics, and Jon Rauch to the blue Jays. Additionally, their former all star closer Joe Nathan is coming back after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. Also, a week into spring training Twins all star first baseman Justin Morneau had yet to play and there was no time table for his return as he continues to deal with a concussion he suffered mid way through last season. With the subtractions and uncertainty of key Twins, it seems that the Sox have overtaken Minnesota as they, along with the Detroit Tigers, battle for the division.
However, the magic or talent has not been the same in 2013. The White Sox are currently at the bottom of the division and not many things are going right. Jake Peavy is injured again, Sale is struggling, and Paul Konerko could be finally showing his age. Then, there is Adam Dunn, with a batting average that is lower than some co-ed league bowling scores.
He hasn’t helped offer the Yankees any victories thus far, as they got swept by a sale jerseys team that had a 10-game losing streak before this series. However, Rodriguez and his distractions can’t be used as a scapegoat, given how New york has struggled for weeks.
The first thing to watch for regarding Peavy is pretty obvious: Will he make an appearance in a spring training game? Given Peavy recently threw off a mound, I’d say that’s likely-but until he actually throws in live action this spring (be it an an or a b game), this is a question mark.
In addition to the Yankees victory, their Captain, Derek Jeter continued his path towards baseball immortality, surpassing Eddie Collins for sole possession of ninth place on baseball’s all-time hits list with a 2-for-3 evening.