Cubs, Indians meet in Mesa; Blue Jays face Yanks in Tampa
By Austin Laymance
The first weekend of spring baseball continues today with another full slate of games in both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues, headlined by a rematch of the 2016 World Series.
The Indians will look to exact a bit of revenge on the Cubs in their first meeting since November's historic World Series Game 7, which the Cubs won in extra innings for their first championship in 108 years. Of course, the stakes are not as high this time around, and the location will shift from Cleveland to Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz. Still, it's an intriguing matchup early in Spring Training.
Fans can watch this World Series rematch and seven other Spring Training games today, 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):
Fall Classic rematch: CLE@CHC, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV
It'll be Game 8 today when the Cubs and Indians meet for the first time since their World Series matchup. Danny Salazar will start for the Tribe against Cubs right-hander Jake Buchanan.
Jason Kipnis is set to make his Cactus League debut for the Indians as the designated hitter. It's also the first spring action for Salazar.
It will be interesting to see who Cubs manager Joe Maddon uses in the leadoff spot. The Cubs had split-squad action on Saturday, with Jason Heyward leading off in one game and Kyle Schwarber batting first in the other.
We meet again: MIA@STL, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
For the second time in as many days, the Marlins and Cardinals will play at Roger Dean Stadium, the complex the two clubs share. The Cardinals are the home team this time, with right-hander Mike Mayers drawing the start. Brett Cecil, who signed a four-year deal with the Cards this offseason, is expected to make his club debut in relief. Former closer Jonathan Broxton is also scheduled to pitch.
Archer faces Sox: BOS@TB, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV Chris Archer gets the ball for the Rays in his Grapefruit League debut against the Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park in a matchup of American League East foes.
AL East clash: TOR@NYY, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Yankees host the division-rival Blue Jays, who will send a split squad to George M. Steinbrenner Field. Luis Severino draws the start for New York, looking to begin his rotation candidacy on a positive note.
Left-hander Brett Oberholtzer will start for the Blue Jays. Oberholtzer is trying to earn a job as a non-roster player.
Latos' comeback attempt: PHI@TOR, 1:07 p.m., MLB.TV Mat Latos, once one of baseball's better starting pitchers, takes the next step in his comeback attempt when he toes the mound for his Blue Jays debut against the visiting Phillies. Latos is attempting a comeback after two seasons marred by injuries and ineffectiveness. He's with his sixth organization since being traded by the Reds at the end of '14.
Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound for the Phillies as they make the short trip to Dunedin, Fla., to face a split squad. Hellickson is expected to be the Phillies' Opening Day starter, although manager Pete Mackanin hasn't made it official yet.
Tigers' regulars make trip: DET@NYM, 1:10 p.m., MLB.TV
When the Tigers play their first road game of the season against the Mets, regulars Victor Martinez, Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos are expected to be in the lineup. Matt Boyd will toe the rubber for Detroit.
The Mets will give the ball to Chris Flexen, who has never pitched above Class A Advanced. Fernando Salas is among those scheduled to pitch in relief.
Norris makes Halos debut: LAA@OAK, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV Bud Norris, who signed a Minor League deal with the Angels in January, gets his first chance to make an impression in the fifth-starter competition when he takes the mound against the A's.
For the A's, this AL West matchup represents the spring home opener at Hohokam Stadium. Kendall Graveman, who anchored an injury-riddled rotation last year, will make his first Cactus League start.
Hill set for first start: LAD@MIL, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV Rich Hill will see his first action of the spring when he takes the mound for the Dodgers on the road against the Brewers. Hill is a lock for the rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda. Also scheduled to pitch is Ross Stripling, a rotation candidate.
In the first Cactus League game of the year at Maryvale Baseball Park, Wily Peralta will start for the Brewers and newcomer Jett Bandy will catch. Bandy was acquired in an offseason trade with the Angels.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.