Spring Fling

The greatest time of the year is upon us. A time of promise and hope.  A time of sentimentality and tranquility. A time, to play ball.

With spring training kicking into high gear, let’s get you caught up with some of the latest and greatest. Do you want to know how the former/possibly future RailRiders have fared in Grapefruit League play? Just click HERE to check up on Russ Canzler, Gary Sanchez and the gang. HERE is the team’s spring training schedule which continues tonight at 7:05 p.m. with a home clash against the Orioles – the first night game of the spring on YES, something the talented Ken Singleton is very excited about.

Who will actually play for the RailRiders? Nobody covers it the the Times-Tribune‘s Donnie Collins (@RailRidersTT). HERE is his blog which has fantastic breakdowns of each position. PIP is in agreement – there are a number of battles that have far more combatants than slots available.

Donnie’s predecessor covers the big club these days, and does a darn good job of it. He still sprinkles in a number of notes that affect us right here in NEPA as well. Who does Chad Jennings (@LoHudYankees) think might be this year’s Ronnier Mustelier? HERE is that breakdown, some encouraging news about the highly-touted Mason Williams and more in his dynamite LoHud blog.

Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect list only included a pair of Yanks, one of which carries a significant asterisk as a “prospect” in Masahiro Tanaka. But the publication’s superb minor league guru, J.J. Cooper, compiled a follow-up “Top 100 Also-Rans” list of those that made the top 150 lists of BA editors, but did not crack the composite top 100. HERE is the list that features a number of potential Pinstripers in outfielders Aaron Judge, Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams; third baseman Eric Jagielo; second bagger Gosuke Katoh; first baseman Greg Bird; southpaw Ian Clarkin; backstop John Ryan Murphy; and right-hander Luis Severino.

Remember, 2014 will be guaranteed to be significant in the game’s history for one big reason – expanded replay. HERE is a video of the legendary former Yankees skipper, now MLB executive VP of baseball operations Joe Torre on the implementation of the elevated replay system. And ICYMI, HERE is the breakdown of the first challenge from yesterday’s Blue Jays/Twins game.

How is Michael Pineda looking? Read the latest from MLB.com‘s Bryan Hoch HERE and HERE from the New York Times‘ David Waldstein.

Also on the pitching front, some very encouraging news on both Jose Campos and Manny Banuelos from Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com HERE.

The RailRiders have a fantastic series of promotions lined up for the 2014 season. The full list is available HERE. But we must give a tip of the cap to our friends in Toledo. The Mud Hens have made national news with their special jersey night scheduled for May 30. HERE is the link to some Sports Illustrated love, and before you click, a hint – “I ain’t afraid of no…”.

Just 30 days until the RailRiders begin the 2014 season at Syracuse. And a week after that, the April 10 home opener against those same Chiefs (Washington Nationals) at PNC Field. Be on the lookout in the coming days for a substantial guarantee about that very ballgame from your friendly neighborhood RailRiders’ president/GM.

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