By and large the entire 25-man roster is mostly set for this team. Only an injury is likely to change the names of our bench or our rotation. The biggest spring training competition remains the name of the 7th man out of the bullpen. And we got some interesting notes this week that may illuminate who that name may be.
Just for review, I’m considering these 6 guys locks to make the team, either due to their contract, their option status or their earning the spot: Soriano, Clippard, Storen, Mattheus, Stammen and Duke.
The leading candidate for the 7th spot has always been Henry Rodriguez: he has no options, the GM loves his arm and when he’s on, he is the embodiment of “unhittable.” But there’s a slew of possible issues with Rodriguez, not the least of which is the fact that he’s not yet recovered from his off-season surgery.
I had been advocating (partly out of fond memories, partly for self-interest since I know his cousin and think I could swing some free tickets) for Bill Bray to make the team as a 2nd lefty out of the pen and a LOOGY-focused guy. However, he struggled in his ST appearances and he was sent to minor league camp yesterday (3/3/13). Davey Johnson was quoted as saying that Bray’s mechanics are still not right, and it seems more likely now that he’ll be working in Syracuse for at least the beginning of the season.
Meanwhile, Christian Garcia has succummed to yet another injury, this one a “partial tear” in his forearm that (so far) won’t be treated surgically. For a guy who has already had 3 arm surgeries, you have to wonder if he’ll ever be healthy enough to pitch for this team. For what its worth, apparently the words “partial tear” are the same thing as “strained tendon” in this case, so perhaps it isn’t as bad as it sounds. In any case, i’m guessing this little setback makes it certain that Garcia is not going to be the 7th guy out of the pen.
Meanwhile, out of nowhere Non-roster/Minor league signing Fernando Abad has looked pretty good so far; in 3 appearances he’s given up just 1 hit and 2 walks against pretty decent competition (B-r rates his opposition as an 8.3, where 10=all major leaguers). Abad doesn’t have the greatest MLB numbers (5.09 ERA for Houston in 2012), but has looked decent in small samples so far this spring.
We’ll see how things play out from here.