Coffee and Clippings: Rotation questions could force Angels to open with 8-man bullpen

Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) of the LA Times writes that questions surrounding Angels’ rotation could force them to open with an eight-man bullpen…

Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday that the Angels could open the season with eight relief pitchers, an acknowledgement that a youth-filled rotation may not be able to pitch as deep into games as the team would like.

Jered Weaver, who has thrown 200 innings or more in three of the past five seasons, is an established ace, and C.J. Wilson, who surpassed the 200-inning mark in each of the past four seasons, is a solid No. 2 starter.

But none of the other three projected starters — Garrett Richards, 25, Hector Santiago, 26, and Tyler Skaggs, 22 — has thrown more than 158 innings in any of the past three seasons.

Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) of the Boston Herald writes about Rich Hill arriving at Red Sox camp after the tragic loss of his infant son…

Then comes a day like yesterday, when Sox reliever Rich Hill brought everyone to their knees in delivering a piece of news about his late arrival so heart-breaking and spirit-crushing it begged to be misheard.

Lifting his eyes up and over the heads of the reporters circled around him, Hill gazed toward an obscure spot in the corner of the clubhouse.

Focusing on a memory that for a parent is as unimaginable as it is inextinguishable, Hill’s wide, unblinking and slightly moistened eyes spoke far more plaintively than the words he offered for why he had arrived in Red Sox camp one week into the Grapefruit League season.

John Harper (@NYDNHarper) of the NY Daily News writes that Masahiro Tanaka’s famed splitter looks ‘nasty’…

As they answered questions about Masahiro Tanaka, the Phillies sounded a bit like the ’86 Mets talking about Mike Scott, maybe the only pitcher that championship ballclub ever dreaded facing — because it couldn’t hit his split-finger fastball.

The difference was the Phillies weren’t accusing Tanaka of scuffing the ball. Instead they offered only the highest of praise.

“It’s the best splitter I’ve ever seen,” said Freddy Galvis. “You don’t want to get two strikes on you against him with that pitch, or you are in trouble.”

James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) of the Washington Post writes about Jayson Werth’s take on the Nationals being “aggressive’ baserunners…

The baserunning philosophies in place during Werth’s time with the Nationals have been different from what Williams is preaching this spring. Williams’ offensive ideology may be a little more aggressive than Werth’s, but the right fielder said the two “are in line.”

“The key to stealing bases is being aggressive,” Werth said. “We’re where we need to be. This will be the first year that it’s like this.”

Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) of Joe Blogs talks about Gary Nolan and his story with Tommy John surgery…

By now, most baseball fans know the story of Tommy John surgery. In 1974, John — a solid pitcher for a decade — blew out his elbow while pitching for Los Angeles against the Montreal Expos. “Blew out his elbow” is not a medical term, of course, but there was no need for medical terms when it came to pitchers in 1974. Once a pitcher tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm, he was finished. That was exactly what Tommy John had done.

Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) of the New York Post writes that the Yankees’ spring is already better than last year’s…

It was all rather routine — and the Yankees will respond in unison, “Thank goodness.”

If you hadn’t known any backstory whatsoever, Masahiro Tanaka looked like a veteran pitcher readying for a season Thursday, and Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano veteran position players doing the same.

Maybe that shouldn’t mean much on March 6, but by this date last year, the Yankees’ season already was over, even if they hadn’t received official notification. The injury plague that would devour their year was setting a dreary tenor from which the Yanks never would escape.

Mike Petraglia (@Trags) of WEEI talks about why Red Sox pitchers trust catchers so much…

The Red Sox possess one of the deepest and most skilled pitching staffs in the game. From Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz at the top to Anthony Ranaudo, Henry Owens and Matt Barnes in the upper levels of the minors, there’s little disputing the wealth of talent.

But in this day and age of endless data streams, video and scouting, great pitching is wasted without a skilled catcher behind the plate.

The current generation of Red Sox fans understand this concept really started with Jason Varitek and his ring binders before the Red Sox were World Series champions in the early 2000s.

Trust through leadership.

Valerie J. Nelson (@valeriejnelson) of the LA Times talks about Dr. Frank Jobe, best known for Tommy John surgery, as he passed away yesterday at age 88

Jobe borrowed the idea of transferring a tendon from one body part to another, which had been used in hand surgery and to reinforce the joints of polio patients but never to repair a joint that endures so much stress — the elbow of a major league pitcher.

He snipped a 6-inch tendon from the pitcher’s good arm and wove it like a figure eight through holes drilled in the elbow of the injured left arm to replace the ligament destroyed by overuse. It worked so well that Pete Rose, then a player with the Cincinnati Reds, quipped: “I know they had to give Tommy John a new arm. But did they have to give him [Sandy] Koufax’s?”

Jobe, 88, died Thursday in Santa Monica, the Dodgers announced. No cause was given.