Friendly foes: Fister, Scherzer square off

Astros host Nationals in Grapefruit League action

March 8th, 2016

With a full slate of games in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues -- including seven matchups available on MLB.TV -- today's action features several big name pitchers making their spring debuts, old faces in new places and the return of some key players working their way back from injury.
Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times ET).
Fister faces former club: WSH@HOU, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV and Gameday Audio
The Nationals will see a familiar face on the mound when they go on the road to play the Astros at Osceola County Stadium. Doug Fister, who signed with Houston this winter after spending the last two seasons with Washington, gets the ball for his second Grapefruit League start.
In the best starting pitching matchup of the day, the Nationals will counter with former Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who is slated to work three innings or around 50 pitches.

Boston battery debuts: BOS@BAL, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Red Sox will feature a new battery when they travel to Sarasota, Fla., to play the division-rival Orioles.
Boston catcher Christian Vazquez returns to game action for the first time in more than a year as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. Vazquez is expected to play two or three innings catching left-handed starter Roenis Elias, who will also make his Grapefruit League debut. Elias, acquired from the Mariners in December, is trying to win a roster spot as a starter or reliever.
Outfielders Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., David Murphy and Chris Young are all scheduled to make the trip for the Red Sox. Miguel Gonzalez will start for the Orioles in his second appearance of the spring.
Greene takes next step: TB@DET, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
Tigers right-hander Shane Greene starts for the first time in Grapefruit League play against the visiting Rays at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla. It's an important stepping stone for Greene, who will pitch for just the second time in seven months after a shoulder aneurysm led to blood clots in his fingers last summer.
Erasmo Ramirez will make his second start of the spring for the Rays, with right-handers Matt Andriese, Jacob Faria, Jaime Schultz and Jhan Marinez also scheduled to pitch.
Jobs on the line: PIT@PHI, 1:05 p.m., MLB.TV
The Phillies will get another look at a pair of pitchers fighting for two of the final roster spots when they host the Pirates at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. Left-hander Adam Morgan, competing for the No. 5 job in the rotation, and right-hander Andrew Bailey, competing for a spot in the back end of the bullpen, are scheduled to pitch for the Phils.

Pirates lefty Jon Niese, picked up from the Mets over the offseason for second baseman Neil Walker, will make his second Grapefruit League start.
Richards goes for Halos: LAA@ARI, 6:10 p.m., MLB.TV
Garrett Richards, the likely Opening Day starter for the Angels, is scheduled to make his second Cactus League start when the Halos travel to Salt River Fields to play the D-backs. Richards went two innings in his previous outing, allowing two runs in the second frame.

Arizona, meanwhile, has split-squad action and will send lefty Robbie Ray to face the Angels. Ray is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation.
Uribe debuts with Tribe: SEA@CLE, 3:05 p.m., MLB.TV
Juan Uribe, who signed with the Indians last week, is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut as the designated hitter against the visiting Mariners. Indians regulars Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli will also be in the lineup.
Trevor Bauer will start for the Tribe and is slated to work three innings. He will be followed by pitching prospect Mike Clevinger, who is looking to build on an impressive spring.

The Mariners will hand the ball to Nathan Karns, who was acquired from the Rays in an offseason trade.
The Suarez show: CIN@SF, 9:05 p.m., MLB.TV
Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez will look to continue his hot start in the Cactus League on the road against the Giants in Scottsdale, Ariz. Suarez, the replacement for departed All-Star Todd Frazier, is 5-for-8 with a home run through four spring games. That homer came off Madison Bumgarner, who will start for the Giants in this one.
Reds top prospectJesse Winker and second baseman Brandon Phillips will also be in the lineup. Meanwhile, Giants left fielder Angel Pagan is set to make his spring debut after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.
And the action doesn't stop there, with three starting pitchers set to make their spring debuts in games not airing on MLB.TV.
On Gameday Audio, Matt Harvey will take the mound for the first time since the ninth inning of World Series Game 5 when the Mets travel to Disney World to play the Braves (1:05 p.m.). Also on Gameday Audio, follow along as CC Sabathia starts in his spring debut for the Yankees on the road against the Marlins (1:05 p.m.).
In an exclusive webcast, Michael Wacha is slated for his first Grapefruit League action as the Cardinals travel across Florida to face the Twins in Fort Myers (1:05 p.m.).