Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that, despite Joe Girardi’s stated preference of keeping Derek Jeter as his leadoff hitter, “some inside the organization” want to see Brett Gardner at the top of the order and Jeter moved down to the two-slot.
There are two ways to look at this, I reckon. On the one hand, Garder’s on-base skills are pretty special. Unless Jeter returns to 2009 form and Gardner slumps, Gardner is almost certain to get on base at a better clip than Jeter.
On the other hand, there’s this. So you see, it’s not nearly as clear-cut as one might imagine.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.