Fantasy Baseball Prep: Feb. 19 Spring Training Update

Brandon McCarthy tosses for the first time while two other big hurlers work out injuries.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Know who you should be watching as you prep for your fantasy baseball draft. Here are a few notables from Tuesday's Spring Training sessions, all involving pitchers:

First, news from the Arizona Diamondbacks. They're reporting that Brandon McCarthy took big strides Tuesday in throwing at a live batter for the first time since he was clocked in the head by a line drive from Erick Aybar last Sept. 5. The injury put him in the hospital for weeks and nearly ended his life.'s Steve Gilbert wrote this:

"It honestly is completely normal," McCarthy said. "Anything you would have thought might have been there wasn't. I was more nervous about where my command was at, where my stuff was at."

So no apprehension?

"There's that thought of, 'Is something going to happen? The first time they swing, are you going to duck for cover and run for center?'" McCarthy said. "But it really wasn't there. I threw the first pitch, he didn't swing and it was, 'Oh, this is easy, let's go back and do this again.'"

This is according to Yahoo! Sports: "D-backs general manager Kevin Towers says he expects McCarthy to be one of the team's top starters this season, and with what he saw Monday, Towers says McCarthy is on track for that"

So if you're in a league that doesn't need you to rack up Ks, McCarthy looks to be a great buy-low.

Not great news for Cubs fans waiting to pounce on Matt Garza.

This is from Yahoo! Sports:

"Matt Garza will get an MRI to see how severe his side injury is. Garza, who missed the final two months of 2012 with an elbow injury, re-injured himself on his first day back."

The Cubs initially called Garza's injury a ''mild strain'' but general manager Jed Hoyer said Monday that the right-hander will undergo further tests so team doctors will have a better sense of how long Garza will be sidelined.

''The good news is his arm felt really strong,'' Hoyer said. ''It's unfortunate and it's going to set him back a little bit. But we're still really confident. Our concern was with the elbow injury that shut him down last year.''

And finally a note from in regards to Ricky Romero's rehab:

The Blue Jays will have to keep a close eye on left-hander Ricky Romero this spring as he attempts to battle back from tendinitis in both knees.
Romero received platelet-rich plasma injections in both knees during the offseason to help alleviate the chronic pain, but the treatment was met with mixed results. He currently isn't in any danger of being shut down, but it's still relatively alarming the discomfort didn't completely subside during the club's down time. "Right now, the good thing is that everything is coming out free and easy and just trying to build off that," Romero said.

Ya, doesn't sound awesome — definitely doesn't get my vote of confidence in a comeback season.

But some encouraging news from an update in regards to one other vet; Tiger outfielder Torii Hunter:

Tigers manager Jim Leyland expects to have Torii Hunter hitting second in the batting order.
While Leyland isn't ready to finalize an order quite yet, he can end what's left of the speculation that Hunter could move down to the middle of the lineup behind the trio of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez. Instead, he'll bat in front of them and support leadoff hitter Austin Jackson. "I thought he was real comfortable in that two-hole," Leyland said Monday, "so I'm going to keep him there."

Hunter had a solid season last year with the Angels, but with a high BABIP and with his older age, many don't think he has any chance of replicating those numbers in Detroit. Hitting at the top of the order in a stacked lineup definitely won't hurt him.

Josh Helmuth is the editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at

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