Cards ace Wainwright set to make spring debut vs. NL champs
By Chad Thornburg
For the first time in nearly a year, Adam Wainwright will be back on the mound to start for the Cardinals in the first of four spring tuneups as he prepares for his fourth consecutive Opening Day start. Rookie hurler Steven Matz will also make his spring debut for a split-squad Mets team on Monday at Roger Dean Stadium in a matchup available for streaming live on MLB.TV.
The reigning NL champs will also feature Bartolo Colon making his first start of the Grapefuit League season in split-squad action against the Tigers.
Wainwright made a few relief appearances at the end of last season and in the playoffs, but hasn't started a game since rupturing his left Achilles on April 25, 2015.
The action doesn't end there, however, with a full slate of games -- four more on MLB.TV -- set for Monday.
Here are a few things to watch for throughout the day (all times ET).
Wainwright rejoins Cardinals rotation: NYM@STL, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
After totaling 733 1/3 innings from 2012-14, the veteran right-hander has made just 102 pitches in the last 11 months. Wainwright made a few relief appearances at the end of last season and in the playoffs, but hasn't started a game since rupturing his left Achilles on April 25, 2015.
"It's hard to admit that some time off helped me, because you want to be out there competing, you want to be out there helping your team," Wainwright said. "But I have to look at the positives. [With] the time away, my arm hasn't felt as fresh as it does now at any time since 2013. That was the last time my arm has felt anywhere close to this."
Matz showed promise in limited exposure last year, going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in the regular season and making three starts in the playoffs, including Game 4 of the World Series.
Colon makes spring debut in advance of 19th season: DET@NYM, 1:10 p.m., MLB.TV
The rest of the Mets roster will stay home for a meeting with the Tigers in which Colon is set for his first spring appearance. Colon, who turns 43 on May 24, is still going strong as the oldest player in the Majors entering his 19th big league season. In two years with the Mets, he's 29-26 with a 4.13 ERA through 64 appearances (62 starts).
The Tigers will counter with Mike Pelfrey, who began his career with the Mets more than a decade ago as the organization's No. 9 overall Draft selection in 2005. Pelfrey tossed three perfect frames in his spring debut last week. Nick Castellanos, James McCann and Anthony Gose are also scheduled to make the trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Fernandez sees first spring action: MIA@WSH, 1:05 p.m., Gameday Audio Jose Fernandez will toe the rubber for his first Grapefruit League outing Monday, getting the start against the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium. The 23-year-old former NL Rookie of the Year impressed in an intrasquad game earlier this week, striking out five batters over two scoreless innings. Fernandez made just 11 starts last season in his return from May 2014 Tommy John surgery, going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
"The biggest step is being out there, having fun and competing, " Fernandez said earlier this week. "You miss that a lot in the offseason. I'm just happy I get to do that again."
Dickey goes for Toronto: ATL@TOR, 1:07 p.m., Gameday Audio R.A. Dickey is headed back out to the mound for the Blue Jays with his second spring start Monday. The veteran knuckleballer is expected to go three innings and should be joined by a number of regulars in the home matchup vs. Atlanta. Aaron Blair will start for the Braves. Blair was part of the package Atlanta received in the Shelby Miller trade. He had a rough outing in his debut last week, allowing four runs on two homers in two innings.
Yankees veterans take the field: HOU@NYY, 1:05 p.m., Gameday Audio
Several Yankees regulars are scheduled to play against the Astros, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. Rodriguez got off to a strong start, launching a two-run homer with his first swing of Spring Training last week. Michael Pineda will see his first Grapefruit League action as he gets the start with Luis Severino scheduled for relief. For the Astros, Mike Fiers will start. A Trade Deadline acquisition last season, Fiers went 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts) with Houston.
Angels, White Sox clash in Tempe: CWS-LAA, 3:10 p.m., MLB.TV
The competition for the Angels rotation will be on display Monday as the front-runner, Hector Santiago, takes the ball against the White Sox in Tempe, while another rotation candidate, Matt Shoemaker, faces the Reds in Goodyear. Santiago made his first All-Star team last season, going 9-9 with a 3.59 ERA through 33 games (32 starts) with the Angels. He tossed two scoreless frames against the Giants earlier this week.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.