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Tuesday February 16, 2010 2:41 pm

Pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB,

John LackeyWhile the Winter Olympics may be going on, spring is definitely in the air. Major League Baseball’s Spring Training officially kicks off on Wednesday when each team’s pitchers and catchers report to training facilities to start warming up their arms for the long season. Over 1,000 players will begin the long journey towards Opening Day while the rest of the position players have an extra couple of weeks off before joining their teammates in sunny Florida or hot Arizona.

Clubs will welcome back familiar faces and get a first look at new arrivals. The Yankees will look to hurlers CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera to help repeat a World Series victory, while other clubs like Philadelphia and Boston will welcome new right-handers Roy Halladay and John Lackey, respectively. For the younger players, regardless of actual experience or talent, there are battling for hundreds of jobs where maybe one-in-three will make it.

The pitchers get the early call because the physical strain on their arms demands some extra practice before they begin throwing to live hitters. The catchers get the call because, well, the pitchers have to throw to somebody. This all seems a bit misleading. Teams invite 30+ pitchers to camp and will take 12 or 13 with them to the big parks. Essentially, Spring Training is a job audition for many pitchers. For some reason, this fact is often left out in favor of the “arm conditioning” excuse.

With the amount of arm injuries that pitchers suffer throughout the course of a season, from minor tears to sending-ending surgeries, it’s tough not to wonder what exactly is the use in preparing the pitchers’ arms for an extra week or two. It must be tough on their bodies to spend eight months undergoing extreme pressure then relax for four months. A pitcher must keep his arm in top-shape year round. That way a player can guarantee himself to be in the best condition possible when Spring Training comes around.

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