Baseball players continue to loosen up the joints and get back into the rhythm during spring training, with some already taking the field in games to see how they perform.  There’s still a lot of work to do, but things are beginning to take shape.  After just a few more games, teams across the MLB will have a better idea of who will be starting and who might need to develop their skills more in the minors.

Freddie Freeman Still On The Mend

The Atlanta Braves will take on the Minnesota Twins today, but they’ll be doing it without Freddie Freeman as he’s still on the mend.  The first baseman has been dealing with pain in his right elbow since last year and, when it was determined that the pain was from a bone spur, Freeman went under the knife.  Rehabilitation went well, but not well enough for him to be put in the lineup for tonight’s game and he has now been scratched.  With no other strong contender for first base, his absence puts a lot of pressure on the Braves to cover the diamond.

Freeman isn’t the only player on the mend with right arm issues.  Miles Mikolas of the St. Louis Cardinals is now on the MLB injured list after receiving treatment for a problem with the flexor tendon in his arm.  It isn’t clear when he might be well enough to play.

More From Spring Training

The list of players with problems in their arms continues to grow.  Luis Severino is not going to be able to start for the New York Yankees as expected due to forearm soreness stemming from a problem that still hasn’t been identified.  MRIs and a CT scan haven’t found the issue, and he’s back in New York to start undergoing more tests to get to the root of the issue.

Lonnie Chisenhall has decided that he wants to take some time off from baseball.  After eight years in MLB, and some time in Triple-A, he wants to take a break and announced his retirement a few days ago.  At 31 years old, however, it might be possible to see him try to stage a comeback down the road.

The Kansas City Royals are still trying to put together a winning lineup.  There is a lot that still has to be determined, but the team has had some difficulty with its pitching rotation.  Things have been so uncertain that the Royals brought up Stephen Woods for a shot at the big time.  Woods comes from Single-A background, and making the jump to the majors is a huge adjustment.  He has already started to get in some time on the mound, appearing in two games in which he pitched a total of three innings.  That garnered him a single strikeout, two walks and two hits but, fortunately for him, no runs.

Ross Stripling is close to becoming a permanent fixture in the rotation for the LA Dodgers.  He pitched a scoreless first inning yesterday against the Chicago White Sox, only facing four batters, and feel like he’s finding his grove.  Stripling is developing his changeup and, if he gets it to where it needs to be, he’ll see a lot more time on the mound this year.

Stripling’s trips to the mound can’t come soon enough for him, but he’s going to have to be patient.  As the Dodgers prepare for more Cactus League games this coming weekend, Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler are in the spotlight to see what they can do.  Kershaw will pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, and Buehler will take the mound on Saturday in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Whether they continue to see the field comes down solely to the performances they give this weekend.  Both are in the running to be the starter for the team on Opening Day.

The new manager for the Philadelphia Phillies is going to be pulling double duty.  Joe Girardi is going to be leading the team when it takes the field, but will be hopping up to the broadcaster’s booth to talk about the Phillies.  Girardi has broadcasting experience already – most notably as part of the Yankees – and this will be his first run with the Phillies.  He will be with NBC Sports Philadelphia for his debut when the team takes on the Boston Red Sox on March 7.