Sometimes you feel like you drew the short straw when you get picked to play in a road game for Spring Training in a city hours away. That is the case today as the Washington Nationals take a trek across the state of Florida with 7 hours on a bus in one long day for a game in Tampa. Big league players graduated from the long bus ride circuit during the regular season, but someone’s gotta do it in Spring Training when your number is called. It is waking up at 5:30 am to get to a 6:30 am bus ride up the Florida Turnpike to Route 4 west to George Steinbrenner Field to face the New York Yankees. It is 210 miles of boredom each way for anyone who cannot sleep. For some of these players, this will be the closest they ever come to playing the Yankees. Playing the Double-A Trenton Thunder just is not the same as playing the actual Yankees. These are the Yankees! Okay, you can be sure that not all of the Bronx Bombers starting twenty-five are playing today, but some will. I’d volunteer to play if I was a Double-A guy. Why not.
Last year, some players went the night before to Tampa to stay overnight. Will Mother Nature wreak havoc again? There is a 65% chance of rain at game time and 80% at 2 pm. It does not look good. That is the issue with playing in the open air in Florida as rain can make it miserable to get games in some days. And that is what Spring Training is about for many of the veteran players — just getting in their work. For Joe Ross, he is actually competing for a job, and he did not get his first start in due to rain in the Spring Opener.
This 1:05 pm game will be televised on the YES Network and available for all MLB app subscribers. The Yankees plan to start Masahiro Tanaka who is their right-handed number two pitcher right now after Gerrit Cole. The Yankees announced today that they lost Luis Severino for the season as he will have Tommy John surgery, and James Paxton is down with arm soreness.