MLB Opening Day: 5 questions facing Hudson Valley's big-leaguers
As Major League Baseball's 2013 season gets under way, several teams are looking toward some Hudson Valley-bred talent to come through big for them. Here are five questions facing players -- and one manager -- from our area:
Can Walt Weiss lead a Colorado Rockies turnaround?
The first-year manager and Suffern native is taking over a team that finished with a franchise-worst record of 64-98 last season. There is some hope the Rockies could see better days under Weiss, the former Oakland A's and Atanta Braves star who spent last season coaching his son’s high school team: Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio are all back from injuries.
Can Jason Motte bounce back quickly from his elbow injury?
The St. Louis Cardinals closer and former Valley Central High and Iona College standout will start the season on the disabled list with a mild strain in his right, throwing elbow. It’s unclear when Motte might return to action. Losing Motte for any extended period of time will be a significant blow to the Cardinals – he accounted for all of the team's 42 saves last season.
Can Joe Nathan hold off Father Time for at least another year?
Nathan, a five-time All-Star who played at Pine Bush High School, has been one of the league's premier closers during the past decade. But at 38 years old, it's fair to wonder if the Texas Ranger will show his age at some point during the long season. Nathan had a shaky spring, and injuries limited him to just 14 saves in 2010 and 2011 before he bounced back with 37 saves last season.
Can Mike Aviles be a .300 hitter again?
In his first two big-league seasons in which he saw extensive action, Aviles, who played at Middletown High School and Concordia College in Bronxville, batted .325 and .304. But last season with the Boston Red Sox, Aviles' batting average plunged to .250. This season, he joins the Cleveland Indians, where he is expected to be used as a utility man.
Can Darin Mastroianni establish himself as one of the league’s better base stealers?
Mastroianni fell short in his bid to win the Minnesota Twins’ starting center fielder job this spring, but he should be one of Minnesota’s top bench players, largely in part because of his speed. The Mount Kisco native and Fox Lane High School alum swiped 21 bases in just 77 games as a rookie last season.