Baseball is back, spring training begins Members of the St. Louis Cardinals stretch at the start of spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson/Chris Carlson)
Baseball is back, spring training begins
Lexile

David Price made his first big-money throws of spring training as Boston's prized offseason pick-up.  Meanwhile, new Diamondbacks ace pitcher Zack Greinke began Day 1 with his new club by drilling on the basics of covering first base.
 
Pitcher Johnny Cueto showed off some orange-tinted dreadlocks. They could be spotted beneath his off-kilter cap. The orange-tinted hair will fit in perfectly with his new San Francisco Giants colors. His former team, the World Series champion Kansas City Royals, arrived in the Arizona desert and got started Feb. 18.
 
From Arizona to Florida, that familiar sound of baseballs snapping into gloves has returned. Clubs held their first spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers.  It signaled the true start of baseball's new year. In the greater Phoenix area, a cooling cloud cover provided relief from the unseasonably warm 90-degree temperatures.
 
Now, all those franchises that went on offseason spending sprees to improve their pitching are counting on those arms to come through.
 
Greinke signed a $206.5 million, six-year contract with Arizona. He has already been picked as the Diamondbacks' opening day starting pitcher.  Manager Chip Hale called it the easiest decision he has had to make. The D-backs train in Scottsdale.
 
Price brought his new $217 million, seven-year deal to Red Sox camp in Florida's Fort Myers.  His arrival received similar fanfare. Pitcher Jeff Samardzija began getting in sync with his new San Francisco catcher, Buster Posey.
 
After playing catch with pitcher Santiago Casilla, Cueto sat in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium. He was soaking in the scene of his new spring home in Arizona. His Dominican Republic countryman, former Giants manager Felipe Alou, stopped by. Alou thanked the pitcher for joining the organization.
 
Are there any nerves for Cueto at this stage? After all, he just won a World Series with the Royals.
 
"Claro que no" -- of course not, he quipped. "Maybe if I were a rookie," he said through translator Erwin Higueros. "I came from pitching in the World Series. I don't get nervous."
 
He is plenty funny, however. When told pitcher Madison Bumgarner brought horses to spring training, Cueto cracked, "Maybe he will sell me one. Or maybe he will gift me one."
 
Manager Bruce Bochy figures Cueto will fit in well with the Giants. The team has won the World Series in even years of late -- 2010, '12 and '14 -- with some different characters.
 
"We've been called misfits, cockroaches," Bochy said. "This is as solid as I think we've been, and that's saying a lot."
 
In nearby Tempe, Arizona, the Los Angeles Angels pitchers and catchers reported.  Reporting day for Padres pitchers and catchers was decidedly more low key this year than in 2015. Last spring, San Diego had big expectations following a shopping spree by general manager A.J. Preller.
 
"Same as every spring training," said outfielder Matt Kemp, one of a handful of players who arrived early. "I think everybody has a goal of coming in and making a championship team. Nothing has changed from last year."
 
In Florida, catcher Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals got going in Jupiter. Former all-star pitcher Pedro Martinez was busy working as a special assistant on the field with the Red Sox in Fort Myers.
 
In Sarasota, manager Buck Showalter loved seeing so many of his Baltimore Orioles regulars report ahead of time. That included South Korean outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim.  He brought with him a dozen members of the South Korean media.
 
Asked if he was nervous, he said with a smile, "A lot."
 
"They enjoy coming here," Showalter said of his players, "I think they enjoy being around each other."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are pitchers and catchers the first to begin practice?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (85)
  • samuelr-2-bar
    2/23/2016 - 05:02 p.m.

    Pitchers and catchers are the first to begin to practice because they are the two most important players in the game. The pitchers and catchers playing first shows that they need more practice than the rest of the players on the team. The pitchers are very important because they determine whether the opponent hits the ball and scores. If the pitcher is not well practiced then he will throw easy balls for the opponent to hit and score runs. The catcher is very important because he throws the ball to a base when and player on the opposing team tries to steal a base. The catcher has to be able to throw the ball quickly and have quick instincts. Pitchers and catchers are the first to begin practice because they are the two most important players in the game.

  • aidenk-dal
    2/23/2016 - 08:05 p.m.

    Man!!!!!!!Holey cow!!!Greinke has a 206.5 million dollar contract. Well, I definitely will want a career in baseball. I think it is weird how Cueto's hair matches the team color.

    In my opinion, the Reds have made some very stupid trades this offseason. I mean, who would trade their best pitcher in a time where their team isn't really much better anyway?!!!!!!!!????????Cueto was their only chance, and they go on trading him to the San Francisco Giants!!!!


    :( :( :( :( Boy am I really disappointed!!


    Sincerely,
    #KENNY BOY

  • william1108-yyca
    2/23/2016 - 09:07 p.m.

    WOW! I can't believe that spring training is back. But for kids, we already have baseball training. But baseball is fun and dangerous at the same time. If you don't catch the ball then maybe it will land on your face and you might catch a bloody nose. Maybe one day I will decide if I want to do baseball or not.

  • hpalmer-cel
    2/24/2016 - 11:06 a.m.

    Pitchers have to start up faster because they have to get their arms warmed up and get back into the motion of things. For catchers, they have to be there for their pitchers and they need to get back used to squatting all the time. I love watching baseball. I play softball which is closely related to baseball. My dad played baseball and my brother plays baseball so I have kind of grown up in it.

  • kaylip-hol
    2/24/2016 - 11:23 a.m.

    That's a lot of money just for playing baseball. That would be amazing.

  • connorm-eri
    2/24/2016 - 12:23 p.m.

    because the pitcher and the catcher is the most important how whould the game start

  • tammyn-eri
    2/24/2016 - 12:24 p.m.

    Pitchers and catchers are the first to begin practice because they try to improve their skills and also the are important.

  • connorm-eri
    2/24/2016 - 12:33 p.m.

    why did pitcher johnny cueto diy his hair orange

    • mattim-eri
      2/25/2016 - 12:08 p.m.

      Because it went with his team colors.

    • jakei-eri
      2/25/2016 - 12:09 p.m.

      To represent his new teams colors

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