JMLs in the new year: a spring training report
Opening day is just around the corner, so it’s time to take a look at the Jewish Major Leaguers for 2012.
• Ike Davis (NY Mets) spent most of 2011 on the disabled list. So far, it hasn’t been a promising new year; he’s been suffering from Valley Fever, a fungal infection which affects the lungs. He has been ordered to take things relatively easy for the time being.
• Josh Satin (Mets) has been playing a good deal of first base in Davis’ stead. He’s hoping to stick with the team as a utilityman.
• Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers) — the 2011 National League MVP — breathed a big sigh of relief after a three-member arbitration panel last month cleared him of testing positive for a banned substance in a controversial decision. But if fans suspect any fall off his statistics based on suspected drug use, it wouldn’t be fair; the team lost power hitter Prince Fielder to free agency, so Braun will not have that protection in the lineup.
• Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers) will be looking for a third season of 30 homers and 30 stolen bases to go along with his strong defense at second base.
• Scott Feldman (Rangers) is looking to return to a strong rotation after missing a good chunk of 2011. He has pitched five innings over two games without giving up a run.
• Kevin Youkilis (Boston Red Sox) is hoping to return to his All-Star status after his own injury problems.
• Ryan Lavarnay (Red Sox) might see some extra playing time behind the plate now that Jason Varitek has retired.
• Ryan Kalish (Red Sox) had shoulder surgery during the off-season and is not expected to return to action until April or May.
• Danny Valencia (Minnesota Twins) will be back at third base and looking to return to his rookie season numbers after a bit of a sophomore slump.
• Jason Marquis (Minnesota Twins) has a fair amount of pressure on his shoulders as he moves to his seventh team in 13 years. So far, not so good: in two games he’s given up six hits and walked five in 4.2 innings, taking one loss to go with a 9.64 earned run average.
• Craig Breslow (Arizona Diamondbacks) has adopted a new uniform number: 32. The lefty reliever is no doubt paying homage to Sandy Koufax, who wore that numeral for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers during his Hall of Fame career. Breslow pitched for the Oakland A’s in 2011.
• John Grabow (Los Angeles Dodgers) is also sporting a new uniform. The eight-year veteran signed a minor league contract in the off-season. He has appeared in two games without allowing a run.
• Michael Schwimer (Philadelphia Phillies) has been impressive in relief so far. In three games, he has a win and a save and has not allowed a run while striking out four without a walk.
• Sam Fuld (Tampa Bay Rays) enjoyed folk hero status early last year before coming down to earth. This year he hopes to continue his highlight reel performances as a defensive outfield specialist.