Sunday, February 13, 2011
Pitchers and Catchers Report
Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander in Lakeland. (Photo courtesy of Roger Dewitt/hueytaxi)
One of the sweetest phrases for a baseball fan...Pitchers and catchers are reporting to Lakeland today. Many have actually been there for a while, but today is the day they are officially required to be there.
This means that the end of the long cold winter - one of the worst in years in many parts of the country - is near. Opening day is more than six weeks away, but the thought of pitchers and catcher's reporting to Florida and Arizona makes you feel the warmth of a summer night at the ballpark.
Every injury prone veteran is healthy and in the best shape of his life. Every rookie pitcher has a new pitch and is ready to blossom. Every manager thinks the atmosphere in camp is the best he's seen in all his years. Every fan's favorite team is in first place and is a legitimate contender for the playoffs.
This is the year Rick Porcello breaks out and becomes a dominant pitcher. Phil Coke is going to adjust just fine to his new role as starter. Brad Penny is going to be healthy this year. We know that because he's already in the best shape of his life. Joel Zumaya is finally going to make it through a full-season and be the pitcher he was in 2006
Ryan Raburn is going to put together two good halves. Scott Sizemore is a new man this year - healthy and confident and primed to seize the second base job. And even if he doesn't they'll be fine because Carlos Guillen is going to be healthy and Will Rhymes is solid. Austin Jackson's going to be even better this year. Alex Avila will be the most improved young catcher in baseball.
Everything is right with the world today and the Tigers are going all the way this year.