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MLB News And Notes for March 23

With just a few weeks until Opening Day, teams around the majors are playing spring training games in hopes of getting work in and building up stamina for the upcoming season.

While all eyes are focused on the upcoming season, there is still plenty of news circulating around the league. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories of the week in MLB.

Cardinals Lose Pitching Depth

One of the biggest concerns of teams around the majors is the amount of pitching depth their team has. With inevitable injuries popping up, teams need multiple starters and relievers, beyond just their initial roster, in order to complete a season.

For the St. Louis Cardinals, they are going to have their depth tested right away. According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty will be out to begin the season due to a labrum tear in his right shoulder.

Flaherty was limited to just 15 starts last season (17 games total) and went 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA.

Additionally, Jeff Jones of Belleville News-Democrat reports that Alex Reyes will also be out as he too is dealing with a shoulder issue.

Reyes pitched in 69 games last season and finished 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA and 29 saves for the redbirds.

Both of these pitchers are being shut down for a couple of weeks and will then be re-evaluated; however, neither of them will be ready for Opening Day for St. Louis.

St. Louis has the second-best odds of winning the NL Central at +195 and are +1800 to win the World Series.

Shane Baz Shut Down

The Cardinals aren’t the only ones dealing with an injury to their pitching staff. The Tampa Bay Rays are shutting down Shane Baz due to having surgery on his pitching elbow.

In three games last year, Baz went 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 0.675 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.

The Rays are tied for the eighth-best odds of winning the World Series at +1400.

Rockies Extend One Of Their Own

After signing Kris Bryant to a massive contract last week, the Rockies spent a little more money on Monday on one of their own. Infielder Ryan McMahon agreed to a six-year extension worth $70 million.

Last season, the 27-year-old hit .254/.331/.449 with 23 home runs, 86 runs batted in, 80 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 596 at bats.

While the Rockies have made some headlines over the last couple of weeks, they are still longshots in their own division. They have the fourth-best odds of winning the NL West at +8500.

Ghost Runner Back For 2022

Easily one of the most polarizing rules is making its return in 2022. On Tuesday, the league and the MLBPA agreed to bring back “ghost runners” in extra innings.

Basically, once the game moves to extra innings, teams will start with a runner on second base in an effort to increase the likelihood of a team scoring, thus shortening the length of games.

In addition to extra innings, a couple of other adjustments were made. First, teams will be allowed to carry 28 players until May 1 this season.

With the abbreviated spring training, there was some concern with the workload on pitchers. This will allow teams to carry a couple extra players to avoid the issues of decreased preparation time.

Lastly, in what many are deeming the “Ohtani rule,” pitchers will be allowed to stay in the game as a designated hitter throughout the life of the current collective bargaining agreement.

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