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Regional rivalries highlight spring finales

Bucs-Phils, Rangers-Astros, Giants-A's, Dodgers-Angels set to face off on Saturday

The start of the regular season -- in North America at least -- is tantalizingly close. But before the upcoming Opening Day festivities can take place, there's a full slate of Spring Training games Saturday, as regional rivalries and a showdown in Montreal take center stage.

Four intrastate exhibitions highlight the last full day of Spring Training, and all four of those contests -- and six other games -- will be shown free on MLB.TV.

To open the slate, Major League Baseball continues its two-day return to Montreal. After Friday's emotional ceremony honoring the late Gary Carter, the Mets and Blue Jays will play at 1:05 pm. ET at Olympic Stadium -- the former home of the Expos.

"It's kind of like goosebumps, said former Expos outfielder Tim Raines, who now works as an instructor in the Blue Jays' system. "It almost feels like the first time I walked in here as a 19-year-old."

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the ball for the Mets, while Brandon Morrow makes the start for the Blue Jays, looking for his first win of the spring. Morrow has allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings over three outings.

Also at 1:05 p.m., the Pirates and Phillies square off at Citizens Bank Park on MLB.TV. At the same time, Ivan Nova makes his final spring tuneup as the Yankees take on the Marlins.

Joe Saunders has struggled since signing with the Rangers in early March. He'll get a chance to turn things around against the Astros at 2:05 p.m. in San Antonio on MLB.TV. Dallas Keuchel, recently named to the Astros' starting rotation, will get the ball in his final spring tuneup.

California plays host to the final two regional rivalry games of the day. Both the Bay Bridge Series (Giants-A's) and the Freeway Series (Angels-Dodgers) will conclude with the final games of their respective three-game sets.

First, at 4:05 p.m., the Giants send highly touted prospect Edwin Escobar to the hill against Oakland. He takes the place of Ryan Vogelsong, who was scratched because of expected rain. Dan Straily is slated to go for the A's.

Then, in Saturday's nightcap, former Angels right-hander Dan Haren gets the ball against his old club, while youngster Tyler Skaggs goes for the Halos. The contest is slated for 9:05 p.m. on MLB.TV, less than 24 hours before the Dodgers open their North American slate (after playing two regular season games in Sydney last weekend).

The Padres, the Dodgers' opponent on Sunday night, will wrap up their spring at Fowler Park -- home of the USD Toreros -- at 4:10 ET on MLB.TV. Both the Padres and the visiting Indians will send their No. 4 starters to the hill -- youngster Danny Salazar for Cleveland and veteran Eric Stults for San Diego.

The day also features three other spring finales on MLB.TV, as the Nationals host the Tigers in Washington, D.C. at 2:05 p.m.; the D-backs host the Cubs at Chase Field at 4:10 p.m.; and the Mariners face the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Arizona at 3:10 p.m. -- the final Cactus League game of 2014.

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Dan Haren, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Danny Salazar, Tyler Skaggs, Eric Stults