Koufax Arian Foster Jersey provides relief for Dodgers’ first pitch

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly made one call to the bullpen on Opening Day, but it wasn’t to relieve starter Clayton Kershaw.

Mattingly called on former Dodgers great and Hall of Fame left-hander Sandy Koufax Arian Foster Jersey to throw out the first pitch before the game.

For a moment, it appeared ownership partner Magic Johnson would have the honor.

Johnson slowly walked toward the mound with a baseball in his hand as former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser got in position behind the plate. Johnson took a deep breath, looked in at Hershiser and shook off his catcher. Before he could throw the ball, Mattingly hustled out of the dugout and called a meeting on the mound.

Mattingly lifted his left hand and signaled for a lefty.Arian Foster Youth Jersey.

Koufax appeared from the dugout as the crowd roared and rose to its feet.

“It was pretty cool,” Mattingly said after Dodgers beat the Giants, 4-0. “I was kind of working on my acting skills. Pretty weak. I was thinking this wouldn’t be a bad lefty to bring in.”

Koufax slowly walked toward the mound, first stopping to shake hands with Maury Wills and Tommy Davis from the 1963 championship team and Tommy Lasorda. Johnson greeted him with a hug, as did Hershiser. Mattingly handed Koufax the ball and the pair shared a brief word.

Koufax Arian Foster Jersey stood ready at the base of the mound, until Mattingly implored him to step on the rubber.

As music from “The Natural” pumped through Dodger Stadium’s new sound system, Koufax kicked off the 2013 season with a pitch that fell just short of the plate.

Koufax shrugged his shoulders, shook Mattingly’s hand and then embraced Hershiser once again. As the two walked off the field, Hershiser handed Koufax the ball.

Kershaw followed with a pitching performance that reminded Mattingly of the great Koufax. The lefty shut out the Giants and struck out seven on just 94 pitches.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it didn’t flash through my mind there in about the sixth that this guy is rolling along and Sandy throws out the first pitch today,” Mattingly said. “It’s probably not fair to Clayton to throw that on him right now. But really for this day, Opening Day and Sandy throwing the first pitch out, just the way Clayton was pitching, it makes you think about him during the game.”

Houston Texans Arian Foster Jersey.Catcher A.J. Ellis wasn’t shy about comparing the two left-handers.

“You got a sense on this day, with the first pitch thrown by Sandy Koufax and the last pitch by Clayton Kershaw, it’s almost like a passing of the torch today,” said Ellis. “He’s the most special player I’ve ever played with.”

But Kershaw believes he hasn’t quite reached the same level as Koufax.

“I just don’t want to disrespect Sandy; he doesn’t deserve that,” said Kershaw, who put the Dodgers on the board first with a home run to lead off the eighth inning. “He’s the best left-handed pitcher ever. Obviously, I’m honored with the comparison. I don’t put merit into it. I’ve got a long way to go.”Arian Foster Black Jersey.

Kershaw Arian Foster Jersey dazzles with shutout, homer vs. Giants

The $100 million renovation of Dodger Stadium blends the best of the past and the present, which makes it a lot like Clayton Kershaw.

With a four-hit shutout and a 4-0 Opening Day win over the defending World Series champion Giants, Kershaw was a throwback to Cy Young winners back in the day: Sandy Koufax, who threw out the first pitch, and Orel Hershiser, who caught it.

Kershaw Arian Foster Jersey became the first pitcher to homer and pitch a shutout on Opening Day since the Indians’ Bob Lemon on April 14, 1953, against the White Sox.

With his first career home run (and a bomb to center at that) breaking a scoreless tie and triggering the winning eighth-inning rally, Kershaw turned into a left-handed version of slugging righties Don Newcombe or the late Don Drysdale, and not unlike another retired workhorse on the field pregame, power-hitting Fernando Valenzuela.

And like those aces, Kershaw will soon be financially rewarded, if rumors of current negotiations on a contract extension prove true.

“Show him the money,” Matt Kemp said.

“Verlander doesn’t hit home runs,” Jerry Hairston said, referring to Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who just signed a $180 million extension.

Kershaw — who took a pair of uncustomary curtain calls after his blast — wasn’t talking contract afterward and neither would general manager Ned Colletti as the agreed-upon news blackout held.

Kershaw’s teammates weren’t only talking money after Kershaw’s amazing one-man opening act, which included seven strikeouts and no walks. Most of the talk was about his bat.Arian Foster Youth Jersey.

“Pandemonium,” catcher A.J. Ellis said in describing the dugout when Kershaw blasted reliever George Kontos’ first pitch of the eighth inning over the center-field fence.

Kershaw already had outlasted rival San Francisco ace Matt Cain, who was done after six scoreless innings because of a 30-pitch first inning that included Kemp’s 11-pitch strikeout.

“It just erupted,” Adrian Gonzalez said of the dugout scene. “It was tough, getting it through the wind, through the traffic. It was huge. We had opportunities but didn’t get him run support, so he did it himself.

“To me, he’s probably the best pitcher in baseball.”

Kershaw, as usual, shied away from the Koufax comparisons that have stuck since Joe Torre linked them after his first Spring Training start for the Major League team in 2008.

“I just don’t want to disrespect Sandy; he doesn’t deserve that” Kershaw said of his reaction to the comparison. “He’s the best left-handed pitcher ever. Obviously, I’m honored with the comparison. I don’t put merit into it. I’ve got a long way to go.”

Ellis doesn’t think so.Houston Texans Arian Foster Jersey.

“You got a sense on this day, with the first pitch thrown by Sandy Koufax and the last pitch by Clayton Kershaw, it’s almost like a passing of the torch today,” said Ellis. “He’s the most special player I’ve ever played with.”

This was Kershaw’s sixth career shutout and third against the Giants and, adding to his legend, he is a true Giant killer with a 9-4 record and a 1.28 ERA lifetime against San Francisco. In his three Opening Day starts, Kershaw has thrown 19 scoreless innings. Arian Foster Black Jersey.This, however, was the first Dodgers shutout on Opening Day since Hideo Nomo in 2003.

It was the first shutout in a Dodgers home opener since Valenzuela in 1981. The home run was the first by a Dodgers pitcher on Opening Day since Drysdale in 1965 and the first in MLB since Joe Magrane in 1988.

“He’s an athlete,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Kershaw Arian Foster Jersey . “I think the ball ran back to the middle a little bit, and he was all in. He was swinging no matter what.”

Kershaw’s home run was followed by a double from Carl Crawford, whose impressive Dodgers debut could easily be overlooked. There was great doubt Crawford would even be healed from Tommy John surgery in time for this game, and all he did was go 2-for-4 with a run.

“He’s going to be the catalyst,” said Gonzalez.

Also easy to overlook was the catching of Ellis, whom Kershaw said he shook off only once. Ellis also threw out Angel Pagan trying to steal second base to end the third inning.

Of course, Ellis deferred to Kershaw, complimenting a sharp curveball thrown for strikes to go with the 93-mph fastball and the slider that took Kershaw to the upper echelon of pitching two years ago. Ellis said there’s also an explanation for Kershaw to need an economical 94 pitches for a complete game.

“When you’re facing dominant stuff, hitters don’t want to get deep in counts,” he said. “So he’s getting easier, cheaper outs.”

The game also marked a flawless debut of the left side of the infield, Justin Sellers recalled from the Minor Leagues at shortstop and Luis Cruz back at third base. Cruz was busy with three nice plays on grounders, while Sellers handled his only grounder and hung on when staggered by a Cain liner in the third inning.

 

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Threats of annihilation normal for South Koreans.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

Editor’s note: Jim Clancy, host of the weekly show “The Brief” on CNN International, is a 30-year veteran with the network. He has been an international correspondent based in the Beirut, Frankfurt, Rome and London bureaus, and has covered conflicts around the globe.

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) — As winter recedes, winds whip through downtown Seoul and chill the crowds of commuters on their way home. The sun is dropping and the pale golden light streams between tall buildings. A girl smiles as she chats excitedly on her cell phone. Men in black suits cluster on a street corner debating their happy hour destination.

Nowhere is there the slightest inkling that anyone in this second largest metropolitan area in the world — is fearful or even anxious about the stream of threats emanating from North Korea.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey.

Just as sure as spring is coming, most seem to find it entirely normal that warnings of thermonuclear war, annihilation and utter devastation punctuate this, the season of joint U.S., South Korean military maneuvers.

Opinion: Why North Korea regime is scary

“We are post-war, we don’t worry about that,” a journalist specializing in local news told me. “We take it for granted.” He was just one of about 30 reporters I met in a session discussing news in the South Korean capital this week.

Seoul is a scant 30 miles from the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea — one of the most militarized places on the planet. If a full-scale war were to break out, the South Korean capital would be Pyongyang’s prime target. It might only be minutes before artillery or rockets would come raining down.

North Korea has an array of artillery and other conventional arms that make its military a credible threat, especially to South Korean. Pyongyang is also believed to possess thousands of tons of chemical agents, although it has denied possessing such weapons.

I wondered aloud if South Koreans really weren’t afraid or simply felt there was nothing they could do about it anyway?

“We’re insensitive,” one offered in reply.

It’s not the futility of fear in their predicament; it’s that they have lived their entire lives under a cloud of threats and warnings from the North.

READ: Timeline of North Korea’s escalating rhetoric

“We know North Korea doesn’t want war,” said another. “They want money and food,” adding that Pyongyang has tried it all — missiles, the nuclear threat, its million man army — to try to blackmail the South.

READ: Five things to know about North Korea’s threats.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell visited this week and told hundreds of people gathered for the Asian Leadership Conference that North Korea knew well an attack on South Korea, much less the United States, would mean a “regime ending” retaliation.

He encouraged his mostly South Korean audience to be optimistic because they were part of the world that has grown more democratic and wealthier, as opposed to the road chosen by the Kim family dynasty. Rather than being burdened by the dark clouds of threats, Powell urged them to pursue jobs and human dignity, to focus on the environment and poverty reduction.

Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey.What’s Kim Jong Un up to?

South Koreans seem overwhelmingly willing to take that advice. In the week I’ve been here, I have only found one woman who remembers participating in civilian air raid drills. “It was 30 years ago,” she told me. Today, Seoul’s 25 million people have absolutely no ambition to live in constant fear.

But Seoul isn’t all of South Korea.Arian Foster Houston Texans 10th Anniversary Jersey.

“It’s different for us than people on the islands,” one told me, recalling the attack in 2010 that killed four South Koreans on Yeonpyeong island barely outside North Korea’s territorial waters. In Seoul, the prospect of war is unthinkable. But in a select few flashpoint areas, the threat of armed provocation is very real, indeed.

Arian Foster Jersey.Korean nightmare: Experts ponder potential conflict

I paused on a street corner near CNN’s Seoul offices and looked up at the jagged peaks rising behind the Blue House, which is the South Korea’s presidential office. If missiles ever did come streaking toward the South Korean capital, they would likely arc above those mountains. The nearest shelter, I thought, would be the subway system. I considered how long it would take me to get there, even if I were lucky enough to see them still short of their targets. My calculations weren’t at all comforting.

Then, like about everyone around me, I decided to think about something else.

Saying Goodbye To Johan Santana Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

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Everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end.” That’s a quote about relationships — I thought I remembered it from some distinguished novel; it turns out, nope, it’s from “Cocktail” — but, as you might expect, it also applies to pitchers. There are exceptions, but not many. At only age 34, Mets ace Johan Santana is the latest to go down before he should rightly go down. After a 2011 lost to injury and a briefly brilliant but abbreviated 2012, he’s re-injured his shoulder and is almost certainly done for the year, and quite possibly, though you still have to hope not, just done. Shoulder injuries are bad news, say people who know about these things, and shoulder re-injuries even more so.

Watching Santana Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey pitch was, for a decent stretch of time, about the most fun a baseball fan could legally have at the ballpark. When he was at his best, with the Twins, with whom he won two Cy Young awards and deserved every inch of them, he dominated with a light, graceful touch. His fastball zipped around the strikezone in the low-90s, his slider slid — but most of all there was his changeup. He delivered it, to all appearances, just exactly the way he delivered his fastball, and it made hitters look ludicrous. Santana usually seemed like he was having a good time, too. So would you if the best sluggers in the game were either a mile ahead or behind on your pitches, furiously muttering to themselves as they stalked back to their dugout.Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey.

Arian Foster Jersey.He had not been that guy for a while, but he still had his moments, major ones, after being traded to the Mets. In 2008, his first year in New York, he put his team on his on his back, as much of an ace as you could ever ask, and won the penultimate game of the season 2-0 over the Marlins with a complete-game shutout to preserve the Mets’ playoff spot. To the extent that you can apply the term to a baseball game, it was downright heroic. (Strangely enough, the fact that the Mets lost the final game of the season, and therefore their playoff spot, the very next day, somehow did not diminish the impressiveness of SantanaArian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey ’s effort, but emphasized it.)

And then, of course, there was June 1 last year. It was a Friday, and I was out at Italian restaurant with my boyfriend; we were finishing our entrees and most of the way through a bottle of wine when both of our cell phones started going nuts. Get to a TV. Johan Santana. Eighth inning. Get to a TV. Now. We told the waitress there was an emergency, threw money down, did not wait for change, and dashed down Court Street until we found a bar with a TV, P.J. Hanley’s, where we watched the last three outs with a hearty contingent of deeply freaked-out yet hopeful Mets fans, many of whom had arrived after similar text messages. At the last out there were shouts and hugs and free shots. It’s one of the nicer baseball memories I’ve got, and I’m not even a Mets fan. It’s not every player who gets a “I remember exactly where I was” game like that one.

Enjoy spectacle of Opening Day with MLB.TV.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

More than five months have passed since Sergio Romo snuck an 89-mph four-seamer past Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey to end the 108th World Series in Detroit.

Now it is finally time again for real Major League Baseball games. Signups are under way for MLB.TV, the Internet’s longest-running and most prolific live video subscription service, so you can join millions who watch live out-of-market action everywhere over an even wider range of connected and mobile platforms.

It is the 11th year for streaming by MLB Advanced Media, and packages are $129.99 yearly or $24.99 monthly for MLB.TV Premium or $109.99 yearly and $19.99 monthly for basic MLB.TV. As clubs are finalizing rosters, think of this as finalizing your own preparations as you settle in for what will be a daily routine taking you into autumn.

Just ask R.A. Dickey, who is about to start on Tuesday for his new team, Toronto, for the first time since he won the 2012 National League Cy Young Award. It’s a new league for him and a new season, but it is a longstanding ritual when his mother, Leslie Wheeler, watches his starts live on MLB.TV back in Tennessee.

“It’s been fun to watch, because of the progression of technology,” Dickey said. “One, because it brings the gift of baseball into so many more lives. That’s what’s first and foremost — it’s awesome. Secondly, it gives my mom a chance to watch every time I pitch, which probably should be first.

“She used to just follow on the [Gameday] pitch tracker and then she got MLB.TV. The evolution of it has just been fantastic. She started subscribing around 2006-07, and she has been with it ever since.”

Get HD-quality video, thanks to speed detection that delivers high-def on any size monitor. Alternate Audio Options allow you to overlay the home or away teams’ radio broadcasts over live video feeds or use the “Park” option to enjoy the ballpark’s natural sounds. Pause and rewind or fast-forward live games. Use Clickable Linescores to go directly to any at-bat or half-inning of a game. Watch up to four games simultaneously.

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Take advantage of Picture-in-Picture to choose one game and track another or watch in-game highlights simultaneously in a secondary window. Track the location, type and speed of every pitch. View real-time highlights and player stats that automatically load into the media player, instantly launching a Picture-in-Picture window with one click. Customize a list to feature entire fantasy rosters and receive on-deck notifications to watch live look-ins for each player.

MLB.TV Premium will continue to support a growing variety of mobile and connected platforms. Additional distribution platforms for MLB.TV live streaming will launch this season, and each will be announced as it becomes available.

If you sign up for MLB.TV Premium, you will receive an exclusive offer for a subscription to MLB.com At Bat 13, the top sports app of all-time. This offer is only available for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets. At Bat was just updated, along with other popular apps from MLBAM including MLB.com At the Ballpark and Beat the Streak Presented by Dunkin’ Donuts.

Another perk that comes with having MLB.TV Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey Premium: watching tomorrow’s stars today. You can save $20 on a yearly subscription to MiLB.TV, which allows you to watch live games involving all Triple-A teams, select games from other classifications, select All-Star and playoff games and on-demand archives.

“I signed up for MLB.TV three or four years ago and have never looked back,” said Peter Drozda, a market research analyst for a scaffolding-solutions company in the Milwaukee area, and an MLB.TV Premium Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey subscriber who follows the Red Sox (lifelong favorite), Brewers and Royals. “I love that MLB.TV gives me every significant game, marquee pitching matchup and Vin Scully radio broadcast in the palm of my hands, regardless of where I am at the time.

“I use MLB.TV on my iPhone and/or iPad when I’m at the office or out of town, and on my Apple TV at home. I am eagerly counting down the days until I have a full slate of games waiting for me to turn on when I arrive home at night, and am even more excited to have day games to listen to while at work.”Arian Foster Jersey

Selig excited for start of the 2013 season.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

It sometimes is lost in the press of events, but the Commissioner, Bud Selig, is first and foremost, a baseball fan.

This was why, as a private citizen, he became deeply involved in the first place, trying to find a team for Milwaukee after his beloved Braves moved to Atlanta.

 

So, looking for some season-beginning perspective, we asked the Commissioner what Opening Day meant to him.

“Renaissance,” Selig said.

He said some other things, as well, and we’ll get to those, but “renaissance,” like Opening Day itself, is a very good place to start.

The start of another baseball season is a rebirth, a revival, a renewal, and you don’t have to be a baseball poet to feel that way. The game reopens and brings with it promise and high expectations. There is not enough room for the hopes of all 30 franchises to be fulfilled, but those hopes can still have another chance in another April.

The Commissioner used to employ the term “golden renaissance” to describe baseball’s condition. This isn’t that. After it appeared that, by measurements of attendance and viewership, baseball had a larger following than ever before, the “golden renaissance” appeared to be an understatement.

Baseball, by those standards and by the standard of increased competitive balance, is bigger and better than ever. But when the Texas Rangers play at the Houston Astros Sunday night, this will represent a renaissance.

What it won’t represent is an Interleague game. Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey.That notion will require some adjustment for those of us accustomed to finding the ‘Stros in the National League Central as opposed to the American League West. The Astros are starting over in more ways than one, but they were willing to make the move that evened the leagues at 15-15, and we wish them well, even if their current direction is uphill.

On Monday the larger renaissance sets in, with 12 games, and by Tuesday, weather permitting, all 30 clubs will have played baseball.

“It’s spring,” the Commissioner said. “And it’s been a long, cold winter, especially around here [in Milwaukee].”

I can’t speak for the portions of the nation that don’t have four seasons, but in the sectors of the upper Midwest that my family has called home for 165 years, we spend considerable time looking diligently for signs of spring.

The first robin was always one certain sign.Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey. But in the Milwaukee market for many years, the first Robin was Yount. When he and the Brewers reappeared, that was a terrific sign that, even if the weather still had Arctic overtones, at least better days were within sight.

“It’s a beginning,” the Commissioner said. “You have a sense of renewed hope.”

Selig speaks frequently of baseball owing its fans “hope and faith.” That’s what the push toward parity has been about. When another April comes around, the more franchises that have a genuine chance to win, the stronger the game is.

Look at the Major Leagues. You can make an argument that at least 22 teams — or more than 73 percent — have a genuine chance to win something of value. Try that out on the other North American professional sports. Baseball is becoming a role model for competitive balance.

“It’s really exciting,” Selig said. “Opening Day is exciting, not only for baseball, but for the entire country.”

It is exciting. We are excited to see the game again. Arian Foster Jersey.The opener is a terrific occasion unto itself, but it’s also a gateway for the 161 games to follow.

We grant the possibility that there are people in this fair land who may not be as excited as we are about Opening Day. We understand that, in a democratic society, people have the freedom to sometimes be mistaken.

But as the Commissioner summed up, we find Opening Day in four basic categories:

Arian Foster Houston Texans 10th Anniversary Jersey.Renaissance. Spring. Beginning. Exciting.Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey.

We are 4-for-4 and the umpire has not even said “Play Ball!” Opening Day beckons and it is once again a great time to be a baseball fan.

Marlins Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey: Nolasco opposes Strasburg on the hill

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, 30, has more big league wins (76) than the rest of the Marlins Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey ‘s projected rotation combined (67). So, it’s no surprise that he was named the Opening Day starter.

“Well, then, we’d better win,” Nolasco told Mike Redmond when the manager gave him the news.Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey.

“He’s the leader on that staff. I know he’s excited about it. He has that experience. He knows how to pitch. He knows the league,” Redmond said.

Not only will this be Nolasco’s second Opening Day start, it will be the second time he’s done it against the Nationals. In ’09, he allowed five runs in six innings and got the win in a 12-6 Marlins victory.

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Nationals: Ramos, Suzuki form top-notch backstop tandem

• With Wilson Ramos almost fully recovered from May’s knee surgery and veteran Kurt Suzuki also on the roster, Johnson has options behind the plate.

“I look at them both pretty much being on equal footing,” Johnson Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey said.

It’s possible that Ramos and Suzuki will open the season splitting playing time, which is how they were used during the final stages of Spring Training.

“We’ll see how it pans out. Last I checked, they’re both hitting good and catching every other day. If it ain’t broke, why do I gotta fix it?” Johnson said.

Worth noting Arian Foster Jersey.

• The Marlins and Nationals split 18 head-to-head games last year.

• Soriano is positioned to become the seventh different reliever to lead the team in saves in the last seven years following Tyler Clippard (’12), Drew Storen (’11), Matt Capps (’10), Mike MacDougal (’09), Jon Rauch (’08) and Chad Cordero (’07).

Nats open highly anticipated season vs. Marlins Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

Reigning National League Manager of the Year Davey Johnson is 70 years old. It has been announced that this will be his last year as the Nationals manager after 17 big league seasons. In that span, Johnson has posted winning records in all five stops he’s made, seven top-three finishes in the Manager of the Year Award voting with two wins, and six postseason appearances, including a pennant winner and a World Series championship with the Mets in 1986.Arian Foster Jersey.

Mike Redmond is 41 years old. The Marlins are his first shot as a big league manager after prepping with two seasons at Class A Lansing in the Blue Jays’ system.

Johnson’s Nats had the best record in the Major Leagues last season and appear to have gotten better. Redmond’s Fish finished last in the NL East and saw many of their most recognizable players depart, including Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Hanley Ramirez and Emilio Bonifacio.

Two teams that seem to be in very different places — World Series or bust for Washington, the first steps of a rebuilding process for Miami — will be in the same place on Monday: At Nationals Park for Opening Day. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.Arian Foster Houston Texans 10th Anniversary Jersey.

Despite their striking contrasts, both teams have something to prove. The Nationals that they can live up to sky-high expectations. The Marlins that they can overachieve until the haul of top prospects they got in return for their stars begin arriving.

It won’t be easy for Miami Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey in the opener. They’ll be facing Stephen Strasburg, who is one of the reasons the Nationals are so highly regarded. Coming off Tommy John surgery in 2010, Strasburg was on an innings limit and shut down in August last season. That wasn’t a popular decision at the time, but now that the ace right-hander is fully healthy and unrestricted, hindsight may well look more favorably on it.

“Great pitcher,” Redmond said. “I’ve been watching video on him since I got hired. It’ll be a great challenge for us. They’ve obviously got a pretty good team. We’ll have our work cut out for us. But I’m excited. We’ll be ready for it.”

The other reason for excitement on the banks of the Anacostia River is Bryce Harper, who was called up in May and went on to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. But Johnson stressed that this team has more than two trump cards to play.

“It’s not the two players that makes the Nationals a good ballclub. It’s the 25. They’re just pieces of the cog,” Johnson said. They’re talented, yes. It’s nice to write about No. 1 picks and tremendous upside to them, but when I look at this ballclub, I look at [third baseman Ryan] Zimmerman, I look at the catching, I look at Desi [shortstop Ian Desmond], Espy [second baseman Danny Espinosa], [first baseman Adam] LaRoche. I look at every position and when I see it, we have a little more of an upside even from last year. You’re strong by having 25 good players, not just two marquee guys.”

Not to mention two starters — Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann — who would be possible No. 1s on other clubs, new closer Rafael Soriano at the back of a deep bullpen, new center fielder Denard Span and Jayson Werth in right.

“Harper hit .270 last year. He had a rough stretch. And through all that [shutdown] thing at the end, Stras had some rough starts. I look at them to weather the bad times they went through last year. That’s why we’re very optimistic about this year,” Johnson said.

On the other hand, Redmond knows that youthful energy and enthusiasm can go a long way.

“It’s a new start. It’s a clean slate,” Redmond said. “I think it’s going to be an easy sell. The sell is the opportunity. There has been so much change and guys are so young. This reminds me a lot of ’98, when I got to the big leagues. It was a great opportunity for us. Sure, there were good days and bad days, but we all went through it together. When we won the World Series in 2003, it was so satisfying with all that we had gone through.”

The influx of young talent could begin later this season. Nobody would be surprised to see outfielder Christian Yelich, right-hander Jose Fernandez or outfielder Jake Marisnick playing in the big leagues this season.

“It’s definitely a great opportunity for everybody,” said outfielder Juan Pierre who, along with third baseman Placido Polanco, gives the Marlins a veteran presence. “I think if everybody pulls together that we can actually have a good team. I know we’re going to have to outwork guys. I know the young guys are working, and eager to go.”

The Marlins Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey  also have 23-year-old Giancarlo Stanton, one of the most feared sluggers in the game. Former Marlins All-Star Mike Lowell, who spent a lot of time around the team this spring, was impressed with what he saw.

“I think there is a lot more talent than people think on this team,” Lowell said. “Now, how that translates, how soon? We’ll see. I think the stereotype that there is no chance of winning here, I don’t think that’s the case.”

The Nationals will be taking the first step on Monday on a journey they hope will end in the World Series. The Marlins will be taking the first step toward trying to get where the Nationals are now.Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey.

Opening victory is bold step for Porter, Astros Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey

Astros Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey manager Bo Porter ran a tough, fast camp. He had mirrors installed in every locker, and he prominently displayed a sign that said, “It starts with the man in the mirror.” He talked constantly about attitude and energy.

He began each workout with a quote of the day. For instance:

“Greatness is a lot of small things.”

And … 

“The road to being a champion is always under construction.”

And … 

“Ignore the noise.”

Outside the clubhouse, the Astros were said to be in a three-year rebuilding plan, or maybe a five-year plan. General manager Jeff Luhnow spent his first year on the job stripping the roster of a lot of experienced players to replenish the Minor League system.

He hired all sorts of people, traditional scouts and instructors, but also men and women with advanced degrees to collect data and then interpret what it all meant.

Inside the clubhouse, though, there was the usual job of preparing a baseball team for a season. Porter didn’t give a rip about a three-year plan. He saw his job just like that of every other manager.

He wanted his players to take care of the details and to play hard and to play with attitude. He trusted veterans like Carlos Pena and Rick Ankiel, players Luhnow handpicked for their work ethic and ability to contribute and set an example.

During Spring Training, outfielder Justin Maxwell approached Pena one day and told him, “I really admire the way you do things. You run hard every single time.”

Maxwell understood that if a 12-year veteran like Pena ran hard, then someone like himself, a guy still trying to prove himself, had to do it exactly that way.

Porter wanted a team with a certain attitude, a team that would force the action and be solid defensively. He wanted them to understand if a team just did the basic things, if they let the other team know they weren’t about to back down, then the Astros had a chance to be competitive.

“If you allow a team to relax, they will relax,” Porter said. “But if you make them play faster than they want to play, that’s how you force people into making mistakes.”

Some of his players wore T-shirts Sunday night that had the word “Defense” on the front and “27 outs, no more” on the back.

Translation: Play cleanly, don’t give outs away.

After 20 years in the game, Porter had worked too hard and too long to give up on a season, especially his first one. He’d also been one of those borderline players who, maybe, just maybe, needed someone to believe in him.

So if a lot of people thought the Astros were going to lose at least 100 games for a third straight year, Porter just asked that his players ignore that stuff and do things right.

To a franchise like the Astros, little moments are important. Arian Foster 10 Year Patch Jersey.This Opening Night was one of those. Six months from now, the Rangers may not even remember Game 1.

For the Astros Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey , though, it was huge. It was a night to soak in an electric atmosphere, to appreciate 41,307 packing Minute Maid Park.

Porter himself paused a moment during pregame ceremonies to think what the moment mean to him and his family.

“You get to moments like this, and you think back to all the blood, sweat and tears,” he said. “It’s nights like tonight that makes it all worth it.”

Anyway, on this one Sunday night, the Astros, this team no one expects anything from, played a perfect baseball game. They ran the bases aggressively and forced the Rangers into a couple of mistakes. They got great pitching from Bud Norris and Erik Bedard.

Ankiel hit a three-run pinch-homer, and Maxwell drove in two runs and made a couple of flashy plays in center field, and the Astros began their American League era with an 8-2 victory.

Afterward, the players talked about their manager, how he’d gotten them prepared mentally as well as physically, how he’d made them believe in themselves when almost no one else would.

“I think it starts with Bo — the tone he sets every day,” first baseman Brett Wallace said. “He’s got that energy and an aggressiveness about him. He’s really instilled that in us. Every day, whether we had drills or we had a game, we were attacking it and being aggressive. I think you can already see it in Game 1 today.”

As Ankiel said, “Bo’s aggressive by nature. He’s high energy. He’s passionate. If you spend time around Bo, he’ll make you more passionate about the game.”

The truth is the Astros have no idea how many games they’ll win this season. That’s why this first one was so important. It is still a rebuilding project.

In a lot of ways, it was a chance to show off their new uniforms and colors and a chance to show that they’re going to play the game a certain way.

“He had us ready to go,” Norris said. “He had us focused day in and day out. He has pushed to get the most out of each player.”

Porter got the job, in part, because of his energy and ideas. He also got the job because he convinced Luhnow he would be open to the volumes of data his front office will prepare.Arian Foster Jersey.

There was a glimpse of that data in the top of the seventh inning when Astros shortstop Ronny Cedeno was positioned almost behind second base and fielded a Mitch Moreland grounder hit directly at him.

Upstairs in Luhnow’s box, Astros owner Jim Crane turned to Sig Mejdal, who has the title of “director of decision science,” and asked, “Did you move him there?”

Mejdal smiled and nodded.

In the end, though, these Astros, this collection of young guys and veteran players nearing the end of the line, will be challenged by teams with more pure talent. But Porter has convinced them that attitude and effort and playing smart also matter.Arian Foster Houston Texans 10th Anniversary Jersey.

“We feed off Bo’s energy, too,” Maxwell said. “It’s all the little things. Running bases hard. He reminded us tonight, `You did a great job in Spring Training. Don’t let up.'”

Andrus, Rangers Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey reportedly near eight-year deal

The Rangers are working on a contract extension with shortstop Elvis Andrus that could be as long as eight years, a source said Sunday.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network first reported that the deal was in the works. Rangers Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey general manager Jon Daniels declined comment.

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The deal, being worked out between the Rangers and agent Scott Boras, could be announced as soon as Andrus undergoes a physical. That most likely won’t happen until the Rangers return to Arlington on Thursday.

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The biggest question is the length of the deal. Eight years has been mentioned, but the deal is also expected to have clauses that would allow Andrus to get out of the contract earlier than that. The main thing is there have been serious discussions between the two sides

Andrus, 24, is in the second year of a three-year, $14.4 million contract that he signed on Feb. 7, 2012. That deal is through the 2014 season. Andrus can become a free agent after that season unless he agrees to this extension.

The Rangers Arian Foster 10th Anniversary Jersey have already signed second baseman Ian Kinsler through 2017 with an option for 2018. If the Rangers lock up Andrus, it would leave Jurickson Profar’s future up in the air. Arian Foster Jersey.Profar is playing shortstop at Triple-A Round Rock and is MLB.com’s top-ranked prospect.

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