Spring Training is well underway as the opening day of the MLB looms ever closer and there has already been a lot to talk about.
With players featuring in the World Baseball Classic, teams have had to delve into their Spring Training rosters and utilise their reserves to play the scheduled games and try to get players into some sort of form coming into the season.
Here is a recap of what has happened this week in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.
|What:||MLB Opening Day|
|Where:||Venues across USA and Canada|
|When:||March 30th 2023|
|How to Watch:||MLB.TV|
|Odds (To win the World Series):||Houston Astros +600, LA Dodgers +700, New York Mets +700, New York Yankees +800, San Diego Padres +850, Atlanta Braves +850|
Top outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez has been reassigned to Minor League Camp and is likely to play for Double-A Somerset.
The general understanding is that Rodriguez is close to joining the Major League roster, depending if there is a place this season or maybe next. Whatever, the young player is close.
Speaking to the official New York Yankees' website, Aaron Boone said: "I told him (Rodriguez) I don't plan on sending him down very often moving forward.
"Really, the message just being, go continue to build on what's been a really strong 12 months for him."
Dominguez, who is the number 2 prospect in the MLB pipeline for the Yankees, was the youngest player in the Yankees camp, and he made one of the strongest impressions.
The switch-hitter, nicknamed "The Martian" batted .455 (10-for-22) with a double, four homers and nine RBI's in the Grapefruit League. The thing that Dominguez requires now is experience and that will come with regular games in the outfield.
Top closer Edwin Diaz's 2023 season is over before it has begun after he suffered a right patellar tendon tear after celebrating Puerto Rico's victory over the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
The stunning injury leaves the Mets with a big hole in the bullpen where the club was counting on Diaz after signing a five-year, $102 million deal in the offseason. Who do they have now on the roster to compensate for Diaz's missed time?
Could the Mets make David Robertson the closer? As long as he stays healthy, it would be an option for them after 20 saves for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.
Could the Mets sign Zack Britton, a free agent who has held a few workouts for a number of clubs this season? Britton only made three appearances in 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and he played under Mets manager Buck Showalter while the pair were at Baltimore Orioles.
Other available relievers are Corey Knebel, Archie Bradley, Mike Minor and Ken Giles.
Despite the Twins being 8-10 in the Spring Training campaign, we all know it's making sure that batters get their at-bats and pitchers pitch. With the Twins making some key signings over the course of the offseason, such as the re-signing of Carlos Correa and Joey Gallo, they have a genuine chance to win the American League Central this season.
The Twins are +260 to win the AL Central, a division they last won back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020.
Minnesota made moves to improve their defense, depth and rotation which includes Pablo Lopez and Joe Ryan. Throw in the return of Kenta Maeda and the relief of Jhoan Duran, keep them fit, and the Twins could surprise a few and challenge the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox for the Divisional title.
St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong was scratched from the lineup for the Cards game against the Mets during the week suffering from back pain.
Cardinals' manager Oli Marmol revealed DeJong would be sidelined for a few days. With a little more than two weeks before the start of the season, DeJong is sitting on 19 plate appearances and 13 at-bats which was talked about as a make-or-break Spring Training for him.
Speaking to the official Cardinals' website, Marmol said: "Yeah, it's not ideal. Obviously, he worked really hard this offseason to address certain things with his swing.
"Our hope would be that he gets a decent amount of at-bats, especially with Tommy Edman going to the World Baseball Classic. Unfortunately, that's not the way things have worked out."