The aches and pains of MLB spring training

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 03: Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 03: Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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MLB Spring Training Recap: March 7

Winner: Microphones

Major League Baseball has discovered the fun of mic-ing up players during MLB spring training games.

The Braves put a microphone on Freddie Freeman Friday and got a play-by-play of a first-to-home trip around the bases on a bloop single. On Saturday, the microphones multiplied.

The Chicago Cubs’ Kris Bryant wore one for his return to his home town of Las Vegas, where the Cubs played Cincinnati. In eh first inning he doubled to left, then told Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas – and by extension the world – about it.

Mallex Smith also wore a microphone Saturday during Seattle’s 8-4 loss to Oakland. Smith didn’t have a hit to brag about—he went 0-for-3 —  but he had a better audience. His conversation partner was Mariners legend, Ken Griffey Jr., doing a guest stint in the Mariners broadcast booth Saturday.

Winner: One pitch, three out

The Tamps Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves played a 1-1 tie Saturday. But that wasn’t the afternoon highlight. What the fans wanted to talk about was a couple of seconds in the middle of the game.

Rays pitcher John Curtiss began the inning by walking Atlanta’s Alex Jackson. He followed that by also walking Ender Inciarte.

Fans may have thought Curtiss was having control problems. Actually he was only setting up his defense. The next batter, Ozzie Albies, hit a low liner that shortstop Wander Franco grabbed just inches off the ground. Franco’s quick throw to first doubled Inciarte, who had strayed too far. Meanwhile, at second, Vidal Brujan yelled for the ball, noting that Jackson had not tagged up.

First baseman Dalton Kelly made the throw, and the triple play was in the book.

Winner: Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

Adalberto Mondesi didn’t get on the field Saturday. In fact, he hasn’t played all MLB spring training. But Saturday was still a good day.

The Royals team physician pronounced Mondesi’s progress from late-season shoulder surgery to be good, and the team left open the hope that he may be in the opening day lineup.

“I don’t know if you can say you are ever without doubt,” Matheny said of Mondesi’s chances of taking the field on opening day. He noted, however, that “the surgeon said everything really looks good…that’s the green light to keep pushing.”

Mondesi is a key factor for the Royals. He hit .263 in 102 games last season, and also stole 43 bases.

Winner: Steven Matz, New York Mets pitcher

The Mets lost 5-0 to Washington Saturday. But even so, Steven Matz’s three innings had Mets fans smiling.

In his third league start, Matz stuffed the Nats nine up and nine down, striking out three. He lowered his spring ERA to 1.50.

The Mets are counting on Matz to be a solid No. 3 option behind Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. That’s what he looked like Saturday.