A look at what will happen this Thursday in the Major Leagues:
Cubs veteran Kyle Hendricks will throw out the first pitch of the season against Corbin Burnes and Milwaukee at Wrigley Field at 2:20 pm ET. It will be the first of seven meetings for this day, in which rains are forecast throughout the country.
Gerrit Cole and the Yankees were due to start the season at home against bitter rival Boston, but New York announced Wednesday that the game will be postponed. The same thing happened with the Twins and their first game, hosting Seattle.
But there is still a lot of activity for the first day. The World Series champion Atlanta Braves intend to put up the commemorative banner before hosting Cincinnati and will do so without fan favorite Freddie Freeman, who signed with the Dodgers last month. Los Angeles is among 12 teams that will kick off the season on Friday.
There’s a lot of firsts in the majors this year, starting with Cleveland’s new name. The Guardians make their regular season debut in Kansas City with ace Shane Bieber on the mound facing Zack Greinke.
Cleveland will get to see Bobby Witt Jr. for the first of many times, the biggest prospect to break into the Royals’ Day 1 lineup. A shortstop in the minors, Witt will play third base in his major league debut.
Carlos Correa will make his Minnesota debut, facing newly acquired Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray, the reigning American League Cy Young winner. Both players switched teams in free agency, with Correa leaving Houston and Ray leaving Toronto.
New to Boston, Trevor Story will get a taste of one of baseball’s great rivalries when the Red Sox take on the New York Yankees. Freeman’s replacement, Matt Olson, will play his first game of the season with his boyhood team after being acquired by Atlanta in a trade with Oakland.
The Cubs say that Japan’s Seiya Suzuki has felt extremely comfortable in his first preseason in the United States. Chicago fans will get to know the 27-year-old outfielder, who hit 38 home runs last season in Japan’s central league.
DESIGNATED HITTER JOB
Shohei Ohtani begins his defense of his AL MVP award by pitching and hitting for the Angels against Houston — and he will be the only pitcher to have both duties.
The National League added the designated hitter this winter and created 15 job opportunities for sluggers who aren’t exactly cut out to defend. Nelson Cruz signed a one-year deal with the Nationals and it looks like he’s ready for another big season at 41-he hit a grand slam in his last appearance at bat.
The new rule also made room for the Cardinals to sign 42-year-old Albert Pujols for a farewell season. San Luis receives the Pirates. Adam Wainwright will pitch as Yadier Molina’s drummer partner for possibly the last time as the two players have also considered retiring after the 2022 campaign.
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