New Marlins manager Mike Redmond arrived at his office at 5 a.m. Monday ready to go long before the Florida sun was shining, his thoughts already on a date 254 days from now: Game 1 of the World Series.
Ah, spring training. When all 30 teams are still contenders.
"Everybody's excited," Redmond said in Jupiter, Fla. "Obviously, we've got a tremendous opportunity for guys in this camp and I think everybody realizes that. It's a fresh start."
From a chilly and damp Phoenix, Ariz., to balmy Kissimmee, Fla., pitchers and catchers for 10 teams reported to training camp Monday, taking physicals, meeting new teammates and, in some cases, managers and coaches.
The pop of fastballs in mitts, they could be heard, too.
Many eager players have been working out "informally" for weeks on minor league fields position players don't report for several more days, and all teams will be in full swing by the weekend.
In Fort Myers, Fla., Red Sox principal owner John Henry put to rest reports that he was considering selling the franchise.
"You just don't get an opportunity to own something like the Boston Red Sox. As long as we can do it, the three of us are committed to being here," Henry said, while acknowledging team president Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner. "These thoughts that we're somehow selling, those are just not true."
With a new manager, John Farrell, replacing Bobby Valentine after one disastrous 69-93 season, Henry likes Boston's chances.
"I would say, especially in comparison to last year, I should be optimistic," Henry said.
In Kissimmee, Fla., the Houston Astros began their first day in the bruising AL West. One of the most inexperienced teams in baseball will wear fiery orange practice hats and jerseys that evoke the orange rainbow stripes of a better time for an organization that lost over 100 games each of the past two seasons.
The new uniform "kind of sets the tone" for a changing team, first-year manager Bo Porter said.
Also hoping for a clean start, Bartolo Colon is back with the Oakland Athletics after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test.
As his teammates reported to Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Chris Carpenter said in St. Louis he he's not ruling out pitching again even this season.
Last week, the Cardinals said the 37-year-old former ace almost certainly won't pitch in 2013 and that his career is probably over after a recurrence of a nerve injury that cost him most of last season.
MLB key dates
Tuesday-21 • Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix
March 2-19 • World Baseball Classic
March 31 • Opening day, Texas at Houston. Active rosters reduced to 25 players
June 6 • Amateur draft
July 16 • All-Star Game, Citi Field, New York
Oct. 23 • World Series begins