Pitchers to Report to Spring Training Soon
- Emily Townley
- February 3, 2024
After four long months of no baseball, pitchers and catchers begin reporting to Spring Training this month. Later in the month, all players will join their respective teammates in either Florida or Arizona. They will practice until Opening Day, which falls on March 28. While Spring Training games are meant for athletes to get back into the swing of things before the start of the regular season, they are also like try-outs for the team, with a team’s front office and coaching staff determining who will make the final 40-man lineup.
The games themselves aren’t considered necessary in the grand scheme or indicative of how well a team will play once the season starts. The St. Louis Cardinals, for example, finished first in the Grapefruit League, based in Florida. Following Spring Training, the Cardinals finished last in their division, the National League (NL) Central. In some cases, they are a preview as to how well teams may or may not perform. For example, the Rockies were second to last in the Cactus League, based in Arizona, and last in their division, the American League West (AL).
As mentioned before, Spring Training also serves as a way for the front office to make roster changes. For example, a team may call up a player who performed well in the minor league, have him play in a couple of games, and then send him back to the minor or big leagues. Teams can also sign players to minor league contracts. By the end, a team should have their 40-man roster set up. Those who didn’t make the cut are either sent back to the minors or are designated as free agents.
Though there haven’t been any games since the World Series, that doesn’t mean nothing happened in baseball. Teams are constantly trading, signing, and cutting players. These deals continue during Spring Training. As Freddie Freeman was a free agent during Spring Training, he didn’t play with the Atlanta Braves and didn’t play up until he signed with the Dodgers. With many big free-agent signings out of the way (i.e., Shohei Ohtani), there shouldn’t be any big splashes made in Arizona and Florida. Yet, with the season on the horizon, fans everywhere should be excited to finally hear the familiar notes of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” once more.