Around The Horn Of The Grapefruit League 2/19/12
Sports Fan Insider
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The calendar may still read February, but spring training is getting underway across Florida and in Arizona. Almost every team has had pitchers and catchers report, though the Miami Marlins, Chicago White Sox, and Texas Rangers will report Wednesday.
Around the Sunshine State Monday, teams like the Yankees, Nationals, and Pirates all were making news.
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is back at the young age of 42 to once again serve as the Yankees closing pitcher.
Rivera said that he won’t consider retirement until after the completion of the current season. Rivera had 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA during a stellar 2011 campaign.
The Washington Nationals hopes reside on the surgically-repaired elbow ligaments of pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
The 23-year-old phenom returned last year for five starts, but the franchise has been built around him and fellow youngster Bryce Howard.
Strasburg is going to face a full spring training too according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
“There’s not going to be a whole lot of tinkering going on,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to run him out there until his innings are done.”
For the Atlanta Braves, they’re just hoping all of their pitchers make it to spring training. Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson had an accident after blowing a tire on his way to the first day of spring training Monday.
Hanson apparently bumped his head on the steering wheel or windshield and was being checked for a concussion.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are hoping a change of scenery for pitcher A.J. Burnett will help reinvigorate the pitcher’s career.
Burnett had been playing for the Yankees, but his record fell to 21-26 over the past two season and he was traded for a pair of prospects Sunday.
“It was fun the first couple of years,” Burnett said of his time in New York. “Then it got like, ‘I’m never going to get out of this funk.’”
Burnett got out of the funk and all the way from one of the top teams in Major League Baseball to one of the worst teams in baseball.
Finally, what do you do for an encore? That’s the question facing reigning American League Cy Young and MVP right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander.
Last year, Verlander was spectacular, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and pitched a no-hitter.
Still, Verlander said, “having one great year isn’t going to change anything” about how he approaches the game or his competitiveness.
Verlander said personal accomplishments were great, but that the team’s ultimate goal of a World Series title is still what he’s chasing.
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