MLB Spring Training: 10 Players Whose Slow Starts Are Nothing To Worry About

Mark MillerCorrespondent IMarch 6, 2011

MLB Spring Training: 10 Players Whose Slow Starts Are Nothing To Worry About

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    Spring Training is a great opportunity for teams to find out what type of talent they'll have on their side as they prepare to embark on a 162-game journey.

    Players are excited to get back into the swing of things, and the slates are wiped clean as every team is in preparation mode.

    It's hard to look too deeply into statistics during spring training, as this time is more often used to fine tune habits and learn how to work with new teammates.

    That said, here are a few players whose slow starts this spring won't likely be an indicator to their regular season successes.

Kevin Youkilis

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    Having played in only four spring training games thus far, Kevin Youkilis hasn't had much of an opportunity to shake off the rust and regain his form.

    In 10 at-bats he has only managed one hit and has an on-base percentage under .200.

    Youkilis has been able to bounce back from sub-.200 spring trainings in past seasons, and even with a full-time transition to third base there's no reason to believe Youkilis won't once again be very successful as the regular season gets under way.

Miguel Cabrera

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    Miguel Cabreras tumultuous spring training began before he even reported. A DUI arrest sidetracked his return to Florida and took a great deal of attention away from his season.

    After his first six games this spring, Cabrera has gone 2 for 17 with just three total bases. His .118 average is well below his previous spring training efforts (.400 in 2009 and .356 in 2010).

    As he moves on from his off-the-field issues however it's more likely that he'll be able to regain his form and will once again be one of the top first baseman in the league.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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    You can't blame Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka for experiencing some growing pains as he transitions to baseball in America.

    The game is played at a much different level here and it will no doubt take time for Nishioka to adjust to Major League pitching.

    After managing only two hits in his first 12 spring training at-bats, Nishioka reached base safely twice in Sunday's game against Baltimore bringing his spring training average up to .267.

Jorge Posada

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    With a .083 spring training batting average to his name, it's clear that Yankees catcher Jorge Posada is still adjusting to his new role with the team.

    Since first appearing in 1995, Posada has caught over 1,500 games with the Yankees.

    This year the team will be moving Posada to the designated hitter spot with Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli serving as the team's catchers.

    As spring training progresses and the summer approaches, Posada's aging body will enjoy the opportunity to remain productive as one of the team's many offensive assets.

Matt Garza

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    Matt Garza's first two appearances with the Chicago Cubs have been less than impressive. After starting one game and appearing in relief in another, Garza is 0-1 with a 11.25 ERA.

    Spring training really isn't a time to worry about ERA, as most pitchers spend the time refining their pitches and getting their arms ready for regular use.

    By the time opening day rolls around he should find himself anchoring the front end of the Cubs' rotation along with Ryan Dempster.

Johnny Damon

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    Johnny Damon is in the midst of his third stint in the AL East, as he joins the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2011 season.

    Damon is batting .182 in five games this spring, far below the .367 average he put up last spring.

    At the same time, he boasts a career .287 average and has only once batter under .260, leaving plenty of reason to believe that Damon will be an important part in the Rays' quest to contend for a division title.

Andrew McCutchen

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    Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has only three hits thus far in spring training—good enough for a .176 batting average.

    He's batted .318 or better the past two spring trainings and is a career .286 hitter so it's not likely that he's worried about his slow start to the spring.

Aaron Rowand

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    Coming off his worst statistical season in 2010, Giants Center Fielder Aaron Rowand hoped that spring training would provide for a fresh start.

    So far things haven't worked out in his favor. Rowand is batting .111 this spring and has struck out five times in 18 at-bats.

    Spring Training can't always be considered to be the indicator of regular season success, as Rowand batted over .400 last spring en route to a .230 regular season output.

Xavier Nady

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    Outfielder Xavier Nady hoped for a new opportunity for growth in signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks this past offseason.

    The career .277 hitter is on his fifth team and hoping to provide a spark for a Diamondbacks team looking for consistency.

    Nady has gotten off to a slow start this spring, managing only a .158 average in seven games.

    To his credit, each hit was good for extra bases.

C.C Sabathia

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    With questions surrounding the back half of the New York Yankees rotation, the team is looking towards the C.C. Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett to anchor the rotation and keep the team in contention throughout the season.

    Two starts into the spring, Sabathia's ERA is hovering above 9.00 and he's giving up more than two hits an inning.

    Sabathia has rebounded from less than average spring training performances in the past, and there's no reason to believe that he won't be able to perform at the elite level that he has in previous seasons.