Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Beaten writer

The [insert team here] arrived today to [sunshine, warmer temperatures, and the smell of the sea/oranges/other Florida cliche - or - sunshine, warmer temperatures, and the site of cacti and mesas/other Arizona cliche], [defending their title/hoping to improve on last year's disappointing season/ready to prove their critics wrong]. They know [how difficult it is to defend their title/they are viewed as underdogs in a tough division], but they report to camp ready to compete.

The day consisted of [physicals/team photos/light lifting]. While only pitchers and catchers were required to report, [insert star player and some utility infielders] showed up to camp early. The full squad of [insert number of players] is due to report on [insert day], with the first exhibition game scheduled on [insert day] at [location].

"It's never too early to get a leg up on the competition," [star player said]. "[We're ready to defend our title/We're out to show our critics that we're in it to win it.]

The [team] went [last year's record] in 2014, [fulfilling expectations/surprising everyone/a disappointing finish/a year that was considered a rebuilding year to many.]

"[We were fortunate to be healthy last year/we had a lot of injuries last year] that [really helped us/put us in a position where maybe we didn't finish as well as we had expected,]" said [a starting pitcher].

If the [team] wants to [defend its title/improve upon last year's performance/compete in a tough division], there are some things to watch for. [Injured player] has to recover his [insert year he was good] form. Coming off [insert surgery type], he is [on track/slightly behind/not likely to be ready for Opening Day], but the team needs [his bat/his pitching] to make stay competitive.

[Insert two or three starting pitchers' names] are solid bets to make the rotation, while the remaining [two or three] spots are up for grabs. Among the candidates are [insert one number four type of starter and four or five others from young guys to aged veterans trying to make a team].

The bullpen was [among the best/an arm or two short/a weak spot] in 2014. [Insert two or three reliable pitchers] had solid seasons, while [insert two or three names] seek to replace [insert gone players]. [Insert a few longshots] are also competing for spots.

[Insert player who had career year/disappointing season] will have to [repeat/improve] his 2014 numbers, when he [hit/pitched] [insert stats].

"We think we have a good team," [player] says. "If we play the way we know we can play, we're going to compete."

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