While Rays take on Cuban National Team, many other matchups add intrigue
By Chad Thornburg
The historic exhibition between the Rays and Cuban National Team in Havana, Cuba, will surely take center stage this afternoon, but there's still plenty of Major League action stateside in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues.
Watch a historic live look-in on MLB.com beginning shortly before 2 p.m. ET of ESPN's coverage of the ceremonies, first pitches, anthems and more, including the start of the game. The remainder of the broadcast will be available on MLB.TV.
Before and after the Rays' contest, the spring slate will feature another 14 games. Seven of the 14 will be available for streaming live on MLB.TV.
Here are a few things to watch for throughout the day:
Regulars return for Astros: ATL@HOU, 1:05, MLB.TV
A trio of Astros stars -- Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer -- will be back in the lineup when Houston takes on the Braves in Kissimmee, Fla. They'll be joined on the mound by Mike Fiers, making his fourth spring start. Fiers will look to rebound from his last outing, when he gave up three runs and five hits in three innings.
For the Braves, former Astros prospect Mike Foltynewicz will make his second Grapefruit League appearance as he continues to compete for a rotation spot. Foltynewicz went two innings in his debut last week, returning to live action for the first time since he was sidelined with a blood clot last fall.
Wright tries for repeat success vs. Twins: BAL@MIN, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The last time Mike Wright faced Minnesota, he was at his best, holding the Twins scoreless for five innings. He'll look to continue that success when the O's and Twins meet for the sixth and final time this spring. Wright surrendered seven earned runs through his first 6 2/3 innings, but he made a statement last week against Minnesota.
"I don't have a guaranteed [roster] spot, so to get the results, it's huge," Wright said. "It's good for confidence, and it makes me feel better going home tonight."
Opposite Wright will be left-hander Logan Darnell, who's competing for a place in the Twins' bullpen.
Latos makes spring debut: SF@CWS, 4:05 p.m., MLB.TV Mat Latos is set to make his first Cactus League start with the White Sox, the team with which he signed a one-year, $3 million deal last month. Latos has been slowly eased along with his new club, working in side sessions and pitching in "B" games, but he will progress to live Major League competition when Chicago hosts the Giants at Camelback Ranch. San Francisco will send a familiar pitcher to the mound in Jake Peavy, who pitched for the White Sox from 2009-13. Avisail Garcia is also expected to return to the starting lineup for Chicago.
American League West showdown: OAK@LAA, 4:10 p.m., MLB.TV
A pair of AL West opponents will be on display in Tempe, Ariz., when the Angels host the A's. Coming off his first All-Star campaign, the Angels' Hector Santiago has a 3.00 ERA through four Cactus League starts (12 innings). The A's will counter with Kendall Graveman, who is competing for a place in Oakland's rotation. He gave up two home runs and walked three batters in 4 1/3 innings his last time out but was happy with the progress he had made since his first two appearances.
"Making the jump from last start to this start, just mentally, I was better, being more prepared and treating it like I'm starting a normal game," Graveman said.
Dodgers, Royals meet in Surprise: LAD@KC, 9:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Dodgers will travel to Surprise, Ariz., to take on Chris Young and the defending World Series champion Royals, who will be well rested coming off their first off-day of the spring. Alex Wood will start for Los Angeles, while former Royals right-hander Louis Coleman is among the Dodgers relievers expected to pitch. Coleman has yet to allow a run this spring and is in contention for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Kansas City's Joakim Soria, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy are also scheduled to appear in relief.
Subway Series South: NYM@NYY, 6:35 p.m., Gameday Audio
New York's big league clubs will meet at George Steinbrenner Field. After their final off-day of Spring Training, the Yankees tab right-hander Luis Severino, who will be making his third spring start and fifth appearance as he tries to solidify his place in the rotation. Steven Matz will go for the Mets. The left-hander has struggled through three appearances this spring, racking up a 7.00 ERA.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.