There's been a few more events occurring in the past week that have changed the projections, and the domino effect that ensues will change everything.
First, Brandon Inge has backed off of his catching statements, leading me to believe he is still in line to be the backup catcher come opening day. Jim Leyland has confirmed that Vance Wilson will not be ready for the season. I am now projecting Brandon Inge is a backup catcher/super sub, allowing Ryan Raburn to make the roster. The bench may be a bit right-handed heavy, but these guys are the most deserving players. While I am on the topic of Ryan Raburn, there's an interview with him up on Baseball Prospectus. I continue to be impressed with his attitude, especially when you consider he did everything he could last year to earn a spot.
Two injuries occurred during last Thursday's game against the Braves. Wilkin Ramirez dislocated his shoulder trying to make a shoe-string catch in left field. Jordan Tata also had problems throwing a strike, at one point throwing several pitches over the batter's head. As if that wasn't enough, he broke his hand in frustration after the outing. That link says that Tata's shoulder injury last spring was a torn labrum. That's the first I've heard of that actually being the injury, but I don't know of any labral tears being healed with rest. It's something worth keeping an eye on if he pitches this year. In the meantime, both Tata and Ramirez are starting on the disabled list.
I'm still projecting Fernando Rodney to start on the DL. The same is true of Clay Rapada, who is on roughly the same timetable as Rodney. Jeff Gerbe and Matt Joyce are also battling with tendinitis. Joyce played yesterday, so I am assuming all is good with him. I will still push him back to Erie. With the Ramirez injury and the logjam in the outfield, it seems Joyce may start the year there. We'll need to keep an eye on Gerbe. I will bump him back to Lakeland for now. He did have lingering shoulder problems last year, so this is a bit of a worry.
Francisco Cruceta is still not in the country, and I am going to assign him to Extended Spring Training. It does look like the Government is cracking down on international steroid users though.
I moved Deik Scram, Duane Below, and Brett Jensen from Lakeland to Erie as a result of all of the injuries. Given all the playing time he is getting, it wouldn't shock me to see Scott Sizemore there either. He seems to be making a good impression.
Max St. Pierre
3B-Santo De Leon