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Yelich to debut as Crew readies for split openers

Suter to start at home vs. Cubs; Wilkerson lines up vs. Giants on road
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

PHOENIX -- Christian Yelich will make his unofficial Brewers debut on Friday against the Cubs at Maryvale Baseball Park, and that's just the first half of Milwaukee's busy Cactus League Opening Day.

While Yelich plays behind Brewers starter Brent Suter against the Cubs at 2:05 p.m. CT on FS Wisconsin and MLB.TV, Aaron Wilkerson will pitch for another Brewers split-squad across town in Scottsdale against the Giants at 2:05 p.m. on Gameday Audio. It's a lot of baseball for Day 1, especially considering the Brewers just had their first full-squad workout on Tuesday.

PHOENIX -- Christian Yelich will make his unofficial Brewers debut on Friday against the Cubs at Maryvale Baseball Park, and that's just the first half of Milwaukee's busy Cactus League Opening Day.

While Yelich plays behind Brewers starter Brent Suter against the Cubs at 2:05 p.m. CT on FS Wisconsin and MLB.TV, Aaron Wilkerson will pitch for another Brewers split-squad across town in Scottsdale against the Giants at 2:05 p.m. on Gameday Audio. It's a lot of baseball for Day 1, especially considering the Brewers just had their first full-squad workout on Tuesday.

"It's coming in fast, but it's always nice to get the games rolling and get things started," Yelich said.

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All around baseball, regulars will ease into the game schedule. Suter and Wilkerson are only expected to work an inning or two apiece, and Yelich and the position players typically call it a day after an at-bat or two. Ryan Braun, who typically doesn't play Spring Training games until at least a week in, won't play Friday as he continues to get reps in workouts at first base.

"The schedule's been a little different this year, and we're starting out with a lot of action, but we're ready to get going," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're putting the finishing touches on what we'd like to do with the position players. You take it slow at first, and then we'll get into it as we go."

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All 30 teams will wear caps Friday from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were shot and killed last week. The school is Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo's alma mater, though it appears he is not scheduled to play against the Brewers. Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ are expected to make the trip, however, and left-hander Michael Roth will start for Chicago.

Parkland is just north of Miami, where Yelich spent his first five Major League seasons before a January trade to the Brewers.

"I think it's important to show the community, the people there, that we're with them," he said. "That tragedy is such a sad story. You also heard a lot of good that came out of it, too, people helping other people, and doing some heroic things. Some of those victims went out doing something to save others' lives. It's nice that Major League Baseball is going to show that community that we're all with them."

Tweet from @AdamMcCalvy: The Brewers and all of MLB will wear these caps Friday from Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS. ���I think it���s important to show the community, the people there, that we���re with them,��� said Christian Yelich, who played the past five years down the road in Miami. pic.twitter.com/GhHo2HXQoG

Said Suter: "I think it's a great thing to do, honor the victims and just be a catalyst for whatever change needs to happen. If baseball can be a part of that, it's a great thing."

Friday's start marks the beginning of Suter's bid for a spot in the Opening Day rotation. Wilkerson is another candidate, along with Junior Guerra, Yovani Gallardo, Brandon Woodruff and Wade Miley.

"It's an exciting day," Suter said. "We had Day 1 [of full-squad workouts] the other day, and now this is the next step. Our rivals are coming in, and that's a great way to start the season."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Christian Yelich