Today offers another full slate of Spring Training games in both the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, featuring a number of debuts, firsts and intriguing matchups.
Brett Lawrie and Edwin Encarnacion will likely be part of the Blue Jays' travel squad for a game against the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET that is expected to be one of several featuring the first use of Major League Baseball's expanded instant-replay review system, which allows managers the right to challenge at least one call. That bit of baseball history can be seen live on MLB.TV.
Toronto outfielder Colby Rasmus is expected to skip the trip because of a sore neck. J.A. Happ will start for the Blue Jays, with Dustin McGowan, Kyle Drabek, Sean Nolin and Mickey Storey also scheduled to pitch. Kevin Correia draws the start for the Twins, and he will be followed Kyle Gibson, Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar.
Derek Jeter is likely to start at shortstop when the Yankees host the Nationals at 1:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV. Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Brian Roberts are also expected to start for the Yankees behind starter Ivan Nova. Ross Detwiler will toe the rubber for the Nationals and pitch at least two innings. Tanner Roark, who is also competing for the fifth spot in Washington's rotation, is expected to pitch in the game.
Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw gets the ball for the Dodgers against the A's in a 12:05 p.m. PT contest that can be seen live on MLB.TV. Kershaw is scheduled to pitch three innings. Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin, who worked 200 innings last season, gets the start in his Cactus League debut. A's outfield prospect Billy Burns, acquired from the Nationals this offseason, will be in the starting lineup, batting leadoff and playing center field.
The MLB.TV slate concludes with a Cactus League matchup between the Angels and D-backs at 3:10 p.m. ET. Garrett Richards, who has a spot in the rotation for the first time in his career, gets the start for the Angels in his first action of the spring. Closer Ernesto Frieri is slated to make his spring debut for the Halos. Right-hander Brandon McCarthy will get the start for Arizona.
Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta returns to Lakeland, Fla., to face his former team, the Tigers, for the first time in a 12:05 p.m. CT game that can be heard on Gameday Audio. Peralta played the last four seasons with Detroit before signing with St. Louis during the offseason. Most of the Tigers' projected Opening Day lineup is scheduled to start, including Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter, Ian Kinsler, Alex Avila, Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos.
Josh Johnson takes the mound for his Padres debut against the Giants at 12:05 p.m. PT in an exclusive audio webcast on MLB.com. Johnson signed a one-year, $8 million contract in the offseason and is expected to begin the season in the middle of the rotation. Tim Lincecum is scheduled to start for the Giants in his Cactus League debut.
Red Sox closer Koji Uehara and setup man Junichi Tazawa will both make their Grapefruit League debuts on the road against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET. Jackie Bradley Jr., A.J. Pierzynski, Daniel Nava and Mike Carp all will be making the trip for Boston. Starling Marte, Russell Martin, Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Travis Snider will start for the Pirates behind starter Francisco Liriano.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less