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Young A's ready to turn some heads in '18

Club kicks off season with rare Opening Day game under the sun
MLB.com @JaneMLB

OAKLAND -- A young A's club is readying to open the 2018 regular season against the Angels on Thursday, with right-hander Kendall Graveman set to square off against righty Garrett Richards in Graveman's second consecutive Opening Day assignment.

The 1:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum will mark the franchise's first Opening Day game under the sun since 1994; the A's have routinely hosted Opening Night festivities.

OAKLAND -- A young A's club is readying to open the 2018 regular season against the Angels on Thursday, with right-hander Kendall Graveman set to square off against righty Garrett Richards in Graveman's second consecutive Opening Day assignment.

The 1:05 p.m. PT matchup at the Coliseum will mark the franchise's first Opening Day game under the sun since 1994; the A's have routinely hosted Opening Night festivities.

MLB.com is breaking down the nuts and bolts of each club ahead of the big day:

Projected Opening Day lineup

1. Marcus Semien, SS

2. Matt Joyce, LF

3. Jed Lowrie, 2B

4. Khris Davis, DH

5. Matt Olson, 1B

6. Stephen Piscotty, RF

7. Matt Chapman, 3B

8. Jonathan Lucroy, C

9. Boog Powell, CF

Key roles

• Semien has become a likable leadoff option for the A's. He's increased his on-base percentage each season and also provides a mix of power and speed from the top.

Video: OAK@LAA: Semien plates Smolinski on a double to left

• Right-hander Blake Treinen will be back in the closer role.

• The A's will employ platoons in left field (Joyce and Chad Pinder) and center, with Jake Smolinski expected to pair up with either Powell or Dustin Fowler.

Injury updates

• Right-hander Paul Blackburn (forearm strain) has been shut down from throwing for 10 days, but could work his way back into the rotation by the end of April, barring any setbacks.

Video: SEA@OAK: A's turn strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out DP

• Reliever Ryan Dull will also begin the season on the disabled list after being sidelined the majority of the spring with shoulder soreness.

• The A's will buy time with corner infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez, who is out of options and headed to the DL as he nears the end of rehab from a left hamstring injury.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

Oakland Athletics