Antonelli traces his struggles back to last winter. Soreness in his wrist (the opposite wrist from that one that caused him to miss the 2010 season) limited his time in the batting cage.
“As the season went on, I realized not hitting in the offseason really affected me,” said Antonelli. “I just never felt comfortable. I felt like in the spring I had a good chance to make the team (in Baltimore), then I got to Triple-A and it was play a few days, sit for a few days. It was strange.”
Excited for ex-teammates
Antonelli’s last three organizations are gearing up for Major League Baseball’s postseason. Both the Yankees and the Orioles have clinched playoff spots and are still battling for the American League East title, while Washington has clinched the National League East crown.
The biggest surprise of the bunch is certainly Baltimore, which is in the midst of its first winning season since 1997.
“In the spring you could see that the team had talent. Hanging out with the offensive guys, I was impressed with how good offensively the team was,” Antonelli recalled. “Guys like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters ... I got a real appreciation for how good they were.
“The thing you always heard about Baltimore was about not knowing if they had the pitching, but I was impressed with what I saw. They had a lot of young guys with great arms. I don’t know if I would’ve predicted they’d be this good, but they had the pieces.”
Going back to his 2010 spring training with San Diego, Antonelli has spent the spring with winning ballclubs just about every season. That year, the Padres led the National League West most of the year before losing it in September.
He may wonder what it would be like to be in the postseason with those teams, but Antonelli isn’t the type of athlete that broods over what might have been.