Tommy Hunter questionable for Opening Day

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Tommy Hunter was scratched from yesterday’s scheduled start after straining his left oblique during pregame warmups:

I was feeling strong in the bullpen. Throwing great. I was spotting a perfect game, a no-hitter in the bullpen. Then I went, “Oh poop,” and said all kinds of choice words.

Right, like “oh poop.”
Hunter and his filthy mouth had been the favorites for the Rangers’ fourth-starter gig, but now he’s expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks and oblique strains often linger beyond the initial recovery timetables.
Assistant general manager Thad Levine gave Hunter merely “an outside chance” of being ready for his first scheduled turn in the rotation on April 9 against the Mariners, likely leaving either C.J. Wilson or Matt Harrison to fill in. Wilson is trying a move to the rotation after five years in the bullpen and Harrison is coming back from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.