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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(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

MLB Spring Training Recap: March 7

Loser: Dellin Betances, New York Mets pitcher

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If Matz lightened Mets’ fans hearts Saturday, Betances’ performance brought them back to earth.

Relieving Matz in the fourth inning, Betances faced four batters and retired just one of them. The outing began with walks to Trea Turner and Victor Robles. Following a strikeout of Starlin Castro, the runners pulled off a double steal and Ryan Zimmerman singled them both home.

The Mets clocked Betances’ fastball at a disturbing 88 to 90 mph. This being MLB spring training, Betances shrugged it off. “It felt a little out of whack, but I came out healthy…which is the number one key for me,” he said.

Loser: Yairo Munoz, St. Louis Cardinals infielder

This hasn’t been a good spring for Munoz, and from a baseball standpoint, it hit rock bottom when he asked for and was given his unconditional release.

“He just wasn’t happy here … frustrated,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters.

Munoz, who had suffered an injury earlier in the week, was supposed to have an MRI don Friday. He didn’t show up for that test and didn’t explain why. “The bottom line is he left the club,” Mozeliak said. Manager Mike Shildt said  Munoz “just kind of went off the grid.”

Loser: Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians pitcher

The health saga of Carlos Carrasco took another unfortunate turn Saturday when manager Terry Francona said his next start would be delayed due to elbow inflammation.

He did not have a specific timetable, but sounded as if he believed it to be a minor delay and not a true setback.”Every spring after his first outing he gets mild elbow inflammation,” Francona said.

Carrasco is trying to return from leukemia. He made his first spring start last Tuesday after recovering from a hip flexor strain.

Loser: Gary Sanchez, New York Yankees catcher

As if the Yankees need more health issues.

Already hobbled by the losses of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, James Paxton, and Luis Severino, the Yanks pulled Gary Sanchez from batting practice Saturday due to a sore back.

Sanchez woke up sore following a Friday game in which he allowed three wild pitches and a passed ball, prompting Yankee spring fans to boo him.

Manager Aaron Boone was not concerned. “It’s kind of normal wear and tear…I don’t think it will be much of an issue,” he said.

Loser: Evan Phillips, Baltimore Orioles pitcher

Phillips came to spring camp hoping to compete for a spot in the team’s bullpen. That hope appeared to evaporate Saturday when the Orioles shut him down due to elbow soreness.

Instead of pitching, he spent time in a doctor’s office, tests revealing a mild strain.

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“I’m not quite sure the time frame right now,” Phillips said. “I just know it’s going to be a few weeks off from throwing and then  rebuilding from there.”

Phillips had made two MLB spring training appearances, allowing three runs.