Michael Pineda, still recovering from a shoulder injury, could be a big key to the Yankees future if the team handles his recovery correctly. (Image Credit: John Munson/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports)

Starting Lineup: Designated Hitter History, Shoulder Injuries, and April Fool's

Four organizations made their debuts on this date in 1969, with three winning their first games. The San Diego Padres, Seattle Pilots, Montreal Expos, and Kansas City Royals were all new expansion teams that season, expanding baseball’s landscape even further. Montreal defeated the New York Mets that day, 11-10 at Shea Stadium, with the big hit – and the first home run of the organization’s history – coming from pitcher Dan McGinn. The Expos may no longer exist, having moved to Washington, but it was a significant day in the history of all four organizations. In the 44 years since, only the 1985 Royals have been able to win baseball’s biggest prize, a World Series title.

Also on April 8th – Hank Aaron hit career home run #715 on this day in 1974. Will Clark made his MLB Debut in 1986, hitting a home run in his very first at bat off of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Jim Abbott also made his debut on this date in 1989. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning in relief for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, becoming the first Korean-born player in MLB history.

Now, once again, it’s time to take a look at some of the work from around FanSided MLB from this past week.

Forty years ago Saturday the designated hitter rule first was introduced. On April 6, 1973 Ron Bloomberg stepped into the batter’s box for the New York Yankees against Luis Tiant of the Boston Red Sox. Bloomberg would work a walk in the plate appearance, which is insignificant compared to the fact that the moment forever changed how we watch American League baseball. As Steve Peterson at BoSox Injection reminds us, however, the rule still hasn’t quite captivated all baseball fans – and there’s a big segment of the game’s fan base that still prefers the “tradition” of the National League style game.

It’s the intrigue and drama of knowing that a pitcher who just drilled a guy in the ribs has to stand in the batter’s box the next inning. It’s knowing that even a weak hitting hurler can lay down a sweet bunt to move a teammate into scoring position. It’s that moment, as happened on Opening Day, when the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw had a stellar outing on the bump and greatly helped his cause by jacking a homer en route to a 4-0 Dodgers win.

Getting players to rehab from injury is always a tricky task, particularly when the injury itself is so severe. The Yankees have been decimated by injuries already this season, but one lingering from last year – to Michael Pineda – continues to be a concern for the team moving forward. Yet, Alex Pugliese of Yanks Go Yard suggests that the Yankees could (and should) learn something from how the New York Mets have handled Johan Santana, considering both pitchers suffered from serious should concerns.

As it currently stands, the Yankees parted with one viable starter in Hector Noesi, and the highly-touted Jesus Montero (who, let us not forget, once stood between the Yankees and the acquisition of Cliff Lee in 2010), for Jose Campos and Michael Pineda, both of whom were effectively lost for the season last year with injury. To that end, the Yankees used their one silver bullet in the farm system by trading Montero, and after roughly a year and a half, have seen nothing in return for their bold move.

Finally, some of our sites had a little fun on Opening Day, since it coincided this year with April Fool’s Day. Perhaps the best received joke came from David Polakoff at Marlin Maniac. The poor fans of the Marlins already have enough to deal with – considering the state of their franchise, the perception the organization has across the game, and the ineptitude of their ownership – but a joke that many fell for (at least initially) might have been the last straw. We’ll let you be the judge in the end.

Tags: Boston Red Sox Miami Marlins New York Yankees

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