Kershaw, Encarnacion, Harper among players to see on MLB.TV
By Austin Laymance
Get ready to go all in. Stars galore take the field today as all 30 teams are in action on the first full day of Spring Training games in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.
Better yet, seven of the matchups will be streamed live on MLB.TV.
In Arizona, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is slated to make his first start of the year, Edwin Encarnacion will debut with the Indians and the Cubs return to action following their World Series title. In Florida, Nationals star Bryce Harper, Mets stud Yoenis Cespedes and Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton are all expected to be in the lineup for their Grapefruit League debuts. Fans can catch all of those games as well as much of this spring's exhibition action streaming live on MLB.TV Premium.
MLB.TV Premium is only $112.99 for the entire season. In addition to getting every out-of-market game live or on demand during the regular season, you can watch nearly 300 Spring Training games live and blackout free, plus the World Baseball Classic live (U.S. only). This package has the best value and provides access to more than 400 devices and a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat Premium app (a $19.99 value). It offers the best picture quality ever -- at 60 frames per second -- for supported devices, while other great features include choice of home or away broadcasts, live game DVR, multi-game viewing and more. Monthly signups for MLB.TV Premium are now under way as well for $24.99, and the MLB.TV Single Team package is also available as a $87.49 yearly subscription.
Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times ET):
Kershaw gets the ball: CWS@LAD, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Dodgers open their Cactus League season against the White Sox, with Kershaw expected to pitch one inning as he takes the next step in preparation for his Opening Day start.
Carson Fulmer gets the honor of starting the first Cactus League game for the White Sox. Fulmer, baseball's No. 71 overall prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, is looking forward to pitching opposite Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner.
"As a young player, you look up to people like that," said Fulmer. "It's great. I mean, I'm looking forward to it. Obviously it's an opportunity that I want and we'll see what happens."
Logan Forsythe is set to make his Dodgers debut after receiving a Synvisc injection in his left knee earlier this week. Forsythe was acquired in an offseason trade with the Rays to be the Dodgers' primary second baseman.
Encarnacion debuts with Tribe: CIN@CLE, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Indians will get their first look at their new cleanup hitter when Encarnacion makes his club debut in Cleveland's Cactus League opener. The slugger was brought in as a free agent this offseason to be a difference-maker on a team that went to the World Series a season ago, and Encarnacion seems eager to take the field with his new organization.
"This team, they are together," Encarnacion said. "Everybody is together. They are one team. That's a difference you see in other teams sometimes. Here, everybody is together. The American guys, Latin guys. It's all one. That's a big difference from other teams."
Lefty Ryan Merritt, who took the ball in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series and helped push the Indians into the World Series, draws the start.
World Series champs return to action: OAK@CHC, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Cubs have split-squad action today as they play for the first time since winning the World Series.
Jason Heyward will lead off for the Cubs squad that stays home to play the A's at Sloan Park. Heyward is looking to bounce back from a disappointing offensive showing in 2016, his first season with the Cubs.
"I've been watching him in batting practice and I can see it's a lot freer, and the ball is coming off hotter," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Heyward's work in camp. "It'll be fun to watch. There will be some tweaking to go with it. I like it."
NL East showdown: WSH@NYM, 1:10 p.m., MLB.TV
There should be plenty of star power in this game as the Nationals play their Grapefruit League opener against the division-rival Mets, who opened their spring slate Friday.
Harper will bat cleanup for the Nationals, with Trea Turner in the leadoff spot, Adam Eaton batting second and Daniel Murphy hitting third. Today marks the Nationals debut for Eaton, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the White Sox.
For the Mets, Cespedes, Curtis Granderson and possibly David Wright will make their spring debuts at the newly rebranded First Data Field. Wright is tentatively scheduled to start at designated hitter.
On the mound, Edinson Volquez gets the starting nod in his Marlins debut. Volquez was signed as a free agent this offseason after pitching for the Royals the past two seasons.
The Cardinals will give the ball to Luke Weaver, the No. 68 prospect in baseball, according to MLBPipeline.com. A former first-round pick, Weaver is a darkhorse candidate to crack the starting rotation.
Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh will also get some work in. It will be his lone appearance before departing for the World Baseball Classic, where he will pitch for South Korea.
Pedroia set to play: MIN@BOS, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV Dustin Pedroia is the longest-tenured player for the Red Sox now that David Ortiz has retired, and the second baseman is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut today against the Twins.
Lefty Roenis Elias will start for Boston, while reliever Tyler Thornburg is slated to pitch in his Red Sox debut. Thornburg, acquired in an offseason trade with the Brewers, is expected to be a key addition to the bullpen this year.
Veteran right-hander Phil Hughes will start for the Twins.
The rematch: NYY@PHI, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Yankees and Phillies meet for the second time in as many days with play shifting to Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla., following Friday's game in Tampa.