There's still no timetable for his first game action this spring as he competes for a spot in the Reds' rotation. Nonetheless, it's good to see him back in camp and participating in normal pitching activities.
He threw his first live batting practice of the spring on Wednesday, and now we have a firm date for his return to game action. Wheeler's return from Tommy John surgery has been a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks it is an easy road back, as he was supposed to be ready for game action last June. Health is a big concern, but the emergence of Robert Gsellman as a strong option for the fifth spot in the rotation is another obstacle for Wheeler.
Reports say Wheeler threw between 20-25 pitches in the session, his second of the spring. The Mets have been extremely cautious with the right-hander this offseason, but it finally appears the rehab is nearing an end after two successful weeks. Look for Wheeler to make his Grapefruit League debut in one of the five games the Mets have between next Thursday and Saturday.
He worked his way out of trouble in the first inning, picking Magneuris off first base after a leadoff single then starting a double play by catching Kolten Wong straying too far off second base with runners on first and second. Foltynewicz is the favorite to win the fifth starter role for the Braves to begin the season, but if he stumbles this spring Matt Wisler or Aaron Blair could push their way into the mix.
The 37-year-old is trying to resume his career after not pitching in the majors at all last season, and while Guthrie has no shot at winning a spot in a stacked Nats rotation, he could break camp as the long man in the bullpen with a good spring. Tuesday's sharp outing was a step in the right direction.
A double play quickly erased Jose Reyes' infield single, and Chen needed just nine pitches to complete his day. The 31-year-old is coming off his worst season in MLB, but a lot of the damage came later in his starts -- he had a 7.64 ERA after the fifth inning in 2016. The Marlins have a deeper bullpen this year and manager Don Mattingly has indicated that he won't hesitate to give his starters quick hooks if they get into trouble, so Chen's ratios should improve if he's only required to go through the opposition batting order twice at most, although that won't help his chances of racking up wins.
While his entire 2016 season should be considered a bounce-back (3.81 ERA) after posting an ERA north of five in 2015, Samardzija was referencing the tail end of his season when he talks about finding his split-finger fastball. Earlier in the year, the hard-throwing righty was relying on his cutter as his go-to secondary pitch, with mixed results. Incorporating a curveball had some success at certain points of the year, but it was the splitter that provided the best results for Samardzija. He threw 113 splitters in September after throwing just 35 combined splitters over the first five months of the season. The results were notable for the Shark, posting a 2.95 ERA with a 4.2 K/BB ratio in the final month of the season. Samardzija said that he will be working on honing his splitter throughout the Cactus League, so -- as with all veteran pitchers who have their rotation spot locked down -- take his spring training stats with a grain of salt.
Nova, who could pitch for the Dominican Republic in the second round of the World Baseball Classic in March, is set to start Pittsburgh's home opener four games into the season. Nova probably won't match the stunning 52:3 K:BB in 64.2 innings he compiled after coming over to the Bucs last summer, but he figures to see a continuing uptick in peripherals now that he's out of Yankees Stadium and the AL East.
While Ray racked up 218 strikeouts in 174.1 innings last season, he struggled with walks, which paired with a high batting average on balls in play fueled by a mix of hard contact and a subpar defense behind him translated to a 4.90 ERA. A healthy A.J. Pollock in center field should help the D-backs defense in 2017, but Ray's adjustments, which might include a more consistent third pitch to complement his fastball and slider, will likely go further in determining whether he can take another step forward this season.
Provided he continues to throw well, Kuhl will likely start the Bucs' third game of the season in Boston. He threw at least a half-dozen changeups Monday. "I'm working especially on the changeup," Kuhl said. "I want that to be a weapon for me this year." The righty doesn't strike out a ton of batters (6.8 K/9 in 2016), but team is looking at the innings-eater to build off his rookie season, which included a 4.20 ERA (3.95 FIP) in 70.2 innings.