Spring is in air as pitchers, catchers report


Atlanta Braves catcher Christian Bethancourt hits inside a batting cage during a spring training baseball workout in Kissimmee. (The Associated Press)

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 1:45 p.m.

New Marlins manager Mike Redmond arrived at his office at 5 a.m. Monday ready to go long before the Florida sun was shining, his thoughts already on a date 254 days from now: Game 1 of the World Series.

Ah, spring training. When all 30 teams are still contenders.

"Everybody's excited," Redmond said in Jupiter. "Obviously, we've got a tremendous opportunity for guys in this camp and I think everybody realizes that. It's a fresh start."

From a chilly and damp Phoenix, Ariz., to balmy Kissimmee, pitchers and catchers for 10 teams reported to training camp Monday, taking physicals, meeting new teammates and, in some cases, managers and coaches.

The pop of fastballs in mitts, they could be heard, too.

Many eager players have been working out "informally" for weeks on minor league fields — position players don't report for several more days, and all teams will be in full swing by the weekend.

In Tampa, Yankees captain Derek Jeter ran on a treadmill for the first time since breaking his ankle on Oct. 13, a big step toward reaching his goal of being in New York's opening day lineup on April 1 against Boston in the Bronx.

In his third week of baseball activities, Jeter was on the infield grass fielding groundballs and in a batting cage taking swings — all while dozens of autograph-seeking fans lined up outside the Yankees' minor league complex down the road from the big league facility.

In Scottsdale, Ariz., Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson greeted his team with a new determination — one that could be mimicked all around the league.

"I'm just determined," he said. "I can just say that 81-81 (last season) does not sound good to me at all, and then I took it very personally, and I take responsibility for it."

Added Gibson: "In 2011, we overachieved. In 2012, we underachieved. We want to overachieve again."

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