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Santana set for spring debut with Braves

Righty faces Mets in NL East matchup, one of nine games today on MLB.TV

Ervin Santana remained on the free agent market for much of the winter before signing with the Braves last week, and the former All-Star is scheduled to make his highly anticipated Grapefruit League debut on Thursday afternoon.

Santana will start against the Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV in a matchup of National League East rivals. Santana, who posted a 3.24 ERA last season with the Royals, should bolster an Atlanta rotation that has been thinned by elbow injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. Braves stars Jason Heyward, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton are all expected to make the trip and be in the lineup. Zack Wheeler will start for the Mets and first baseman Lucas Duda could return from a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, in the Cactus League, Padres third baseman Chase Headley is scheduled to see his first Major League action of the spring against the Giants at 7:05 PT on MLB.TV . Headley, who strained his right calf during an infield drill on Feb. 22, has been getting at-bats in Minor League contests and will play the field on Thursday. Andrew Cashner will start for San Diego, which had an off-day on Wednesday. The Giants are also coming back from a day off and will give the ball to left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who has not allowed a run in 10 innings this spring.

There are seven additional games on MLB.TV , including a 7:05 ET contest between the Red Sox and Yankees in a matchup of American League East rivals. Mark Teixeira, Ichiro Suzuki, Francisco Cervelli and Eduardo Nunez are among the Yankees travel squad and David Phelps will get the start. Clay Buchholz will take the mound for the Red Sox and Grady Sizemore will start in center field.

The Phillies are looking for someone to assume Cole Hamels' spot in their rotation while Hamels recovers from a left shoulder issue, and two candidates will be on the mound during the club's final split-squad action of the spring. David Buchanan gets the start against the visiting Blue Jays, while Jeff Manship faces the Astros on the road. Both games begin at 1:05 ET on MLB.TV .

Marlins Opening Day starter Jose Fernandez gets the ball against the visiting Cardinals in a 1:05 ET game on MLB.TV . Fernandez is expected to make at least 70 pitches. Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis, with closer Trevor Rosenthal and left-handed setup man Kevin Siegrist also scheduled for action.

Jered Weaver is a candidate to start for the Angels on Opening Day, and the right-hander will take the mound on the road against the Royals at 4:05 PT on MLB.TV . Weaver has a 3.86 ERA over 16 1/3 innings in the Cactus League and will have one more exhibition start next week. If Josh Hamilton plays for the Angels, it would be the outfielder's first time playing back-to-back games this spring. Left-hander Bruce Chen will start for the Royals.

With Mariners ace Felix Hernandez scheduled to start a Minor League game, Erasmo Ramirez will get the ball for the Seattle on the road against the Cubs at 1:05 PT on MLB.TV . Ramirez has a 1.42 ERA in four Cactus League appearances and appears to have earned a spot in the rotation. Opening Day starter Jeff Samardzija will be on the mound for the Cubs.

The Brewers will give the ball to Rule 5 Draft pick Wei-Chung Wang against the Rockies in a 3:10 CT game on MLB.TV . Wang is making a strong case to be on the Opening Day roster and has allowed just one unearned run over 8 1/3 innings in the Cactus League. Juan Nicasio gets the start for the Rockies.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for
Read More: Madison Bumgarner, Jose Fernandez, Ervin Santana, Chase Headley, Clay Buchholz