The MLB regular season kicks off Sunday with an opening-night game featuring the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros. Both teams will be contending for the AL West Division crown this year as the Astros have moved over from the NL.
The regular season will get into the swing of things on Monday when the rest of the 28 MLB clubs open up their 2013 campaigns. With that said, there are bound to be players on each of those teams who are not ready for the start of the season.
Here are 10 players who don't look to be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura seems to be set on handing over the cleanup role to Adam Dunn. That decision may not be a good idea, as Dunn has struggled mightily through spring training.
Dunn appears to be in midseason form, as he is batting .204 with 16 strikeouts through 20 games this spring. The decision to bat Dunn cleanup seems to be the best option for the Southsiders since A.J. Pierzynski, a left-handed bat, is now a member of the Texas Rangers.
It seems Ventura is not keen on moving the speedy Alejandro De Aza out of the leadoff role. Sox fans can only hope that Dunn can somehow hit his stride when the season opens next week.
There are high expectations on the shores of Lake Erie, as the Cleveland Indians signed Michael Bourn to a four-year, $48 million contract this past spring. Those expectations have not been met this spring as Bourn has struggled at Indians camp.
Through 19 games, Bourn is batting .222 with no homers and a .288 OBP. It seems Bourn has yet to hit his stride with his new team. With a significant amount of financial resources invested in Bourn, you can only hope if you are a Indians fan that he can turn it around.
The spring has not been kind to two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. It has been pretty much forgetful, as he has pitched to a bloated and unimpressive 10.97 ERA.
Not a very auspicious sign with the regular season a mere week away.
You have to wonder whether or not Lincecum will ever return to his dominant form. He had a rough 2012 regular season, when he pitched to a 10-15 record with a 5.18 ERA. Still, he did flash moments of his former Cy Young self as he played in important postseason role in 2012 by helping the Giants secure their second championship in the past three seasons.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Lincecum can put his struggles behind him and once again emerge as an important piece in the Giants' starting rotation.
The 2012 season was full of struggles for Washington Nationals pitcher Dan Haren. The 32-year-old right-hander fought through numerous injuries on his way to compiling a 12-13 record with the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels decided to pass on his option and he wound up signing a one-year, $13 million contract with Washington.
The spring has not been kind to Haren, as he has pitched to an 0-4 record with a 6.05 ERA. You have to wonder whether or not Haren is ready for the start of the regular season. Luckily for Nats fans, Haren is not expected to lead the rotation, as that responsibility will go to Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
The Yankees were hoping that Derek Jeter would be able to assume his regular role at shortstop when the season commences next week.
However, it is looking more likely that Jeter will be starting the season on the disabled list as he continues to recover from the broken ankle he suffered in last year’s ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
Jeter has had a decent spring statistically, as he is batting .273 in limited action. It just doesn’t seem that he has fully recovered from his ankle injury.
Yankees fans are crossing their fingers and hoping that his latest setback will not be a permanent one.
We shall see!
The White Sox are hoping that John Danks can return to his All-Star form as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. Danks, 27, is expected to start the season on the disabled list in an attempt to continue to work on regaining velocity on his pitches.
The spring campaign has not been kind to Danks, as he has posted a 0-2 record with a bloated 16.36 ERA. A successful and healthy Danks is key for the White Sox, who will look to contend in the AL Central.
The 2013 spring campaign can be best categorized as “ugly” for Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. The 33-year-old has struggled this spring, posting a poor .215 BA with two home runs and five RBI.
The Braves will need Uggla to contribute, as they have lost a significant amount of infield production with the retirement of Chipper Jones. It will be interesting to see whether or not he is up to the task.
The Tigers will be depending on Austin Jackson to contribute if they have any chance to return to the World Series this season. The spring season has not been very encouraging for Jackson, as he has hit a very pedestrian .241 with one homer and six RBI.
The Tigers are in “win now” mode, and Jackson will have to pick up his game if they have any chance at repeating as AL champs.
The spring has not been kind to Phillies ace Roy Halladay. A stomach bug as well as concerns about his fastball velocity have been the prevailing stories this spring for the ace.
David Schoenfield of ESPN even went as far as saying that this could be the end of Halladay.
I'm not ready to write the Doc off just yet, but his spring stats have been far from dominant.
In five starts, Halladay is 2-1 with a 5.75 ERA. He will have to figure out soon what is going on with his stuff with the regular season opening next week.
The Nationals will be depending on Stephen Strasburg to help anchor the rotation when they open up the season against the Miami Marlins next week.
The spring, however, has not been overly successful for Strasburg, as he has posted an 0-3 record with a 4.62 ERA. If the Nationals are going to contend for the NL crown, they are going to have to have a dominant Strasburg anchoring the top of their rotation.
So far, that has not been the case.