MLB preseason begins with catchers and pitchers

“2023 World Series Champions,” it said.

“I’ve been able to appreciate even more deeply what these guys did. It was just an incredible year, with a lot of ups and downs,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I mean there were hard hits, on the injury side and some painful losses. But the way these guys focused the whole time and what they accomplished at the end, during the postseason, was just amazing.”

Texas was among 18 teams that began workouts for pitchers and catchers. Ten more will do so this Thursday.

But the Rangers were the only team that began hoping to match what the Kansas City Chiefs just did in the Super Bowl: win back-to-back titles.

Bochy emphasized the challenge of winning a World Series, but also referenced what the Chiefs accomplished on Sunday.

General manager Chris Young said his perception of the Rangers is that they are still hungry.

“As I said last year, this is the most professional group I’ve ever been with. They are extremely focused, extremely motivated. And I sense that they are not satisfied,” Young said. “And while I think they deserve the celebrations for what they accomplished last year, I think this group has expectations and ambitions that go beyond reaching the top once.”

Although this was the opening day for many of the pitchers and catchers, it was also the first full-squad workout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who open the season in Seoul, against the San Diego Padres, on March 20 and 21. .

Among them is Shohei Ohtani, who appeared for the first time dressed in Dodger blue.

And many position players appeared in camp and began their preparation for the preseason. Dominican Julio Rodríguez, for example, hit in the cages of the Mariners’ facility in Peoria, Arizona, just a couple of days after visiting Las Vegas to watch the Super Bowl.

Fellow countryman Elly de la Cruz caught grounders in Goodyear, Arizona, where the Cincinnati Reds practice.


While the snap of gloves catching balls was already echoing in Florida and Arizona, there were several homeless household names in the majors. National League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell; slugger Cody Bellinger and Gold Glove-winning third baseman Matt Chapman led the group of free agents without a team.

Of the 169 players who declared free agency after the World Series, more than half still did not have a team at the start of the week. That number finally reached the 50% mark on Wednesday, when Yasmani Grandal (Pittsburgh), Shintaro Fujinami (Mets), Phil Matton (Tampa Bey) and Scott Alexander (Oakland) reached agreements.

Philadelphia also signed right-hander Spencer Turnbull, who threw a no-hitter in 2021 before Tommy John surgery limited him to seven starts over the past two seasons.

Last year, half of the free agents had signed deals by the first week of January.


The first day of practice also attracted a mix of first-time managers, as well as experienced ones who are on new teams.

One of the most notable cases is that of Craig Counsell, who moved from Milwaukee to Chicago, his National League Central opponent.

Bob Melvin is now with San Francisco, after leaving the San Diego cave. Pat Murphy replaced Counsell with the Brewers. Mike Schildt returned to direct, replacing Melvin in the Los Padres.

And Venezuelan Carlos Mendoza supervised his first training session as manager of the New York Mets.

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That’s just in the National League.

The Americana had a less volatile offseason, with only three changes. Stephen Vogt took the reins in Cleveland, replacing Terry Francona. Ron Washington replaced Phil Nevin with the Angels and Joe Espada took Dusty Baker’s place with Houston.

“I’m super excited. The emotion is great. “I’m really looking forward to getting on the field and working with this group,” Espada said. “It’s pure joy. “I feel humbled by this opportunity, not everyone can manage in the Major Leagues, I am one of the lucky 30, and what makes this more special is being with this club.”


Yadier Molina’s return to the St. Louis Cardinals’ preseason complex will have to wait a few more days. The Puerto Rican led the Criollos de Caguas in winter baseball and Puerto Rico recently completed its participation in the Caribbean Series.

“Given the fact that this season has just concluded in Puerto Rico, we are going to give it a few more weeks before it is actually reported. It will be decided,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals announced in December that Molina, who retired after the 2022 season, would return to the club as a special assistant.