The start of Spring Training always seems to lead to a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, hearing that pitchers and catchers are reporting makes you feel like Navin Johnson in “The Jerk.” But soon, the realization that we’re still six weeks away from any meaningful baseball sinks in and leaves you depressingly sorting through articles looking for anything the least bit interesting.
John Danks says he feels good coming into Spring Training. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
The first two days of White Sox camp, like every other camp in the country, is filled with mostly nothing of note. While beat writers have inches to fill, most of what we get is mindless talk mixed with the occasional bit of news, like Saturday’s report that Nate Jones is out indefinitely with a strained glut. And oh, there will be optimism. Lots and lots of optimism. Everyone is in the best shape of his life and/or ready for a career year, like John Danks, per this Daryl Van Schouwen article:
"There are signs that it might be coming back. Danks told trainer Herm Schneider that he feels like he’s 18 again. “You name it, I’m stronger,’’ Danks said. “Not having to force things quite as much. The ball is coming out of my hand night-and-day better than it was last year, and hopefully it will continue to improve. But I feel good about things and confident. I have high expectations for myself, and we’ll see. We’ve got to go do it.’’"
Hitters aren’t required to report to camp until Thursday, but Matt Davidson showed up and is ready to go, per the Tribune’s Colleen Kane:
"Matt Davidson was acquired this offseason to be the White Sox’s third baseman of the future, but the 22-year-old indicated Sunday that he is not necessarily approaching his first spring training with the club as a job interview. “I really just want to make myself the best player I can, if that’s breaking with the team or going to Triple A,” Davidson said. “I want to make sure that I make myself the best player I can and not try to win a job or try to do this. I don’t want to come in and have a great spring and then at the end have no clue of what I’m doing.”"
While it’s foolish to read too much into anything you read this early in the spring, one bit from Kane’s piece did stick out as a good sign for a young player with a lot of question marks:
"“(Steverson and I) have been working on using the whole field,” Davidson said. “I kind of got away from that the last couple years, pulling a lot of balls, so I’m just trying to use the whole field and hopefully the average goes up and the strikeouts (go down).”"
Jones isn’t the only reliever missing from action in the early days of camp. Ronald Belisario was said to be arriving late because of visa issues. As Spring Training wears on, there will be more stories like these. Separating the meaningful from the meandering is key, however. Expect a whole lot more of the latter going forward.