Jose Fernandez AP

Jose Fernandez expected to require season-ending elbow surgery

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UPDATE: The news just keeps getting worse. According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins anticipate that Fernandez will need season-ending surgery on his right elbow. Presumably we’re talking about Tommy John surgery here.

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that the injury involves Fernandez’s elbow, not his shoulder. And while there have been some recent examples to the contrary, Tommy John surgery still has a very high success rate. The injury is a tough blow to the Marlins, but Fernandez doesn’t even turn 22 until July. Here’s hoping he’ll be dominating major league hitters again at some point in 2015.

6:39 p.m. ET: Gulp. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Fernandez is going on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain. He complained of discomfort after his start on Friday. This situation doesn’t sound particularly promising, as a “sprain” indicates the possibility of ligament damage and the worst-case scenario of Tommy John surgery, but results of the MRI are still pending. Stay tuned.

6:00 p.m. ET: Ominous news this evening for Marlins fans — and really, all baseball fans — as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that right-hander Jose Fernandez is expected to be placed on the disabled list. No word yet on the exact nature of the injury, but Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that he was sent for an MRI in Los Angeles.

Fernandez had a rare clunker in his most recent outing on Friday against the Padres, allowing six runs (five earned) in five innings, but he was feeling sick before the game. While his fastball velocity was down some, he said that his arm was perfectly fine.

Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel passes along word that Marlins manager Mike Redmond is expected to address the situation at 6:30 p.m. ET, so we should have more information soon. Hopefully it’s not a big deal. Fernandez is truly a joy to watch regardless of your rooting interest.

Fernandez, 21, has compiled a 2.25 ERA and 257/71 K/BB ratio over his first 224 1/3 innings in the majors.

It’s spring training for groundskeepers too

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Or, I should say, it’s spring training for whatever automated timer thingie turns the sprinklers on and off.

This was the scene at Goodyear on Saturday as the Indians and Reds played in the bottom of the eighth in their spring training opener. Reds manager Bryan Price says that this was probably the second or third time this has happened in the middle of a game there.

Maybe investigate manually operating that bad boy? Just a suggestion!

The Chicago Cubs: Spring training games, regular season prices

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Craig Calcaterra
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MESA, AZ — I’ve been covering spring training for eight years, and in just those eight years a lot has changed in the Cactus and Grapefruit League experiences. The parks are bigger and fancier and the vibe is far more akin to a regular season major league one than the intimate and laid back atmosphere most people think of when they picture February and March baseball.

Just imagine, however, how much has changed if you’ve been coming to Florida or Arizona for a really long time.

“When we first started coming, you could bring your own beer in,” says Don Harper, a lifelong Cubs fan from Kennewick, Washington who spends his winters in Arizona. “You couldn’t bring a cooler, but you could bring a case of beer and a bag of ice and you just set it down in between you and you just put the ice on it and keep it cold.”

I asked Don if the beer vendors complained.

“They didn’t sell beer,” he said.

That was three decades and two ballparks ago. They certainly sell beer at the Cubs’ gleaming new facility, Sloan Park. Cups of the stuff cost more than a couple of cases did back when Don first started coming to spring training.

The price of beer is not the only thing that has changed, of course. The price of tickets is not what it used to be either. Don told me that when he started coming to Cubs spring training games tickets ran about seven dollars. If that. It’s a bit pricer now. Face value for a single lawn ticket, where you’ll be sitting on a blanker on the outfield berm — can be as high as $47 depending on the day of the week and the opponent. Infield box seats run as high as $85.

The thing is, though, you’re not getting face value seats for Cubs spring training games. Half of the home games sold out within a week of tickets going on sale in January. Since then just about every other game has sold out or soon will. That will force you to get tickets on the secondary market. According to TickPick, the average — average! — Cubs spring training ticket on the secondary market is $106.30. For a single ticket. It’s easily the highest price for spring training tickets in all of baseball, and is $26 higher than secondary market tickets for the next highest team, the Red Sox:

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That may be shocking or even appalling to some, but as the automatic sellouts at Sloan Park and those high secondary market prices suggest, there are at least 15,000 people or so for each Cubs home game who don’t seem to mind. Supply meet demand meet the defending World Series champions.

I spoke with two younger Cubs fans, Corey Hayden and Eleanor Meloul, who traveled here from Salt Lake City. On Sunday they lucked out and got a couple of lawn seats for $28. On Saturday, however, they paid $100 a piece on StubHub to get some seats just beyond third base. I asked them if there is some price point that would keep them from coming.

“There isn’t one,” Hayden said. “I paid $4,500 for a World Series ticket, so . . .”

Don Harper wouldn’t do that, but he doesn’t really mind the higher prices he’s paying for his spring tickets. Of course, he’s a longtime season ticket holder so he gets access to the face value seats. I asked him whether his spring training habit would end if those prices got jacked up higher, as the market would seem to bear, or if he had to resort to the secondary market.

Don paused and sighed, suggesting it was a tough question. As he considered it, I put a hard number on it, asking him if he’d still go if he had to pay $50 per ticket. “Yeah, probably,” he said. “$75?” I asked. He paused again.

“As long as I got enough money.”

Don is a diehard who, one senses, will always find a way to make it work. Corey spent a wad of cash on that once-in-a-lifetime World Series ticket, but he and Eleanor seem content to bargain hunt for the most part and splurge strategically. If you’re a Cubs fan — and if you’re not rich — that’s what you’ll have to do. The ticket it just too hot.