For some teams, the start of this spring training has been about finding answers to problems, about finding solutions. For other teams, the early signs are ominous.
Bad news: The Brewers. For Milwaukee to win, the team must function as designed, with dominant starting pitching overcoming the seeming flaws -- the defense, the lack of lineup depth. Well, right out of the gate, Milwaukee will not have its projected No. 1 starter, Zack Greinke, who cracked a rib playing pickup basketball near the outset of camp.
The Brewers of have bet a lot on this season, trading prospects for Greinke and Shaun Marcum, partly because this is probably Prince Fielder's last season with Milwaukee, after he turned down a $100 million offer. Fielder needs to get off to a good start, to stay clear of the pressure that prospective free agents often feel. The Brewers need to start well. And now they will not have their best pitcher at the start.
There is no contract violation in Greinke's situation, says GM Doug Melvin.
Good news: The Twins. Justin Morneau played in a game Tuesday for the first time in 214 days, after an hour-long conversation with his doctor about his concussion symptoms, as Joe Christensen writes. From the story:
- Morneau, 29, spent the game smiling and giving fist bumps, clearly enjoying himself, but he warned afterward that this is still a process.
"I just don't want to get overly excited by [four] innings of one game," Morneau said. "It's great to be out there, but I've been through some setbacks along the way." He added: "[Wednesday], when I wake up, if everything feels good, I think the confidence will start to grow then."
Morneau is right to be cautious; undoubtedly he is aware of the history of others who have come back from concussion symptoms, only to be overtaken again. But this was the first step. There were no cheers, no standing ovations, but this was a big day, as Kelsie Smith, writes. Morneau's wife and child cheered him up during his time away from the game, as Patrick Reusse writes.
Bad news: The Phillies. Chase Utley stood in the cage Tuesday, taking his turn in batting practice with other teammates, and looked OK -- but his patellar tendinitis really isn't that much of a factor for him at the plate.
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