Several championship contenders, including the Astros, Dodgers, and Padres, face fresh injury concerns to key players following the first week of Spring Training.
|What||MLB Opening Day|
|Where||Venues across USA and Canada|
|When||Thursday March 30th 2023|
|How to watch||MLB.TV|
|Odds (outright)||HOU Astros +600, LA Dodgers +700, NY Mets +700, NY Yankees +800|
The Astros' aim to win back-to-back World Series for the first time in their history has hit a slight snag at the start of the season with the news that starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr will miss Opening Day.
McCullers has a strained muscle in his pitching arm, he went for an MRI last week which showed no structural damage to his elbow, but it will delay his start to the season.
McCullers was sidelined for just over four months last season with a right flexor pronator strain, but was hopeful that this wasn’t serious.
Speaking to ESPN, McCullers said: "I was really looking forward to a great start to camp and a great start to the season.
"It will set me back a little bit, but it shouldn’t be anything like last year. It should be something where hopefully I’m playing catch in a couple of weeks."
McCullers is +4000 to win the American League Cy Young Award.
The Dodgers allowed Trea Turner to leave in the winter and sign for the Philadelphia Phillies.
They were expecting Gavin Lux to take a significant step forward in his development as the new starting shortstop. Instead, those plans came to a crashing halt as the after he suffered a torn ACL and a sprained LCL in his right knee.
Lux is expected to be out for the entire season, which is a huge blow to the 25-year-old and to the Dodgers. He was a huge part of the new youth movement as LA look to improve on last season’s playoff failure, which came after their fantastic regular season dominance.
Lux was behind Turner and Corey Seager previously, but now over the course of the past two seasons they have left, leaving Lux to claim the position for himself. Sadly, it will be another year before we see him back in action.
Picking up the slack will be Miguel Rojas after the Dodgers traded for him in January for this very scenario. Rojas was brought in in exchange for prospect Jacob Amaya. Rojas wasn’t expecting to be making his debut on Opening Day though.
Speaking to the official Dodgers website, Rojas said: "What it means to me is what I’ve been preparing for. I’ve been playing shortstop every day for the past four or five years of my career. So, here’s an opportunity I’m not going to take for granted."
Chris Taylor is likely to deputise for Rojas at shortstop when he is available.
The Dodgers are +700 to win the World Series in 2023.
Despite the offseason team-building yet again by the Padres, no club is not susceptible to injuries, but it came as a blow when the Padres announced two of their starters going down with temporary ailments.
Joe Musgrove first of all dropped a weight on his big toe and is expected to be out for two weeks, which puts his start on Opening Day under serious doubt.
Also, the Padres announced that Tyler Glasnow will miss a significant period going forward with a Grade 2 tear of an oblique. He is going to miss around six to eight weeks of the start of the season.
Glasnow has missed a majority of his time with the Padres due to injury, he underwnet Tommy John surgery in August 2021 which saw him miss most of the following season. Some people are predicting that they won’t see him back until early June.
The most significant change to the new rules has been the timing of matches. There has been a severe shift in favour of matches finishing quicker.
Last week, there were three games that finished under three hours despite having 15 runs or more. That only happened 19 times in 2022 according to the Elias Sports Bureau.