Regular-season games will return today to begin the 2018 season.
With that in mind, and based upon who is expected to be in the lineup, here is a look at the players at each defensive position who have the longest active streaks of Opening Day starts for the same team.
Catcher: Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with STL: 14
The last Cardinals catcher not named Molina to start on Opening Day was the team's current manager, Mike Matheny, in 2004. Molina's current string of 14 consecutive season-opening starts is the longest active streak at any position with one team, and his current contract runs through '20. For now, he is tied with the Yankees' Bill Dickey (1930-43) for the second-longest streak by a catcher, although Dickey's run was interrupted by his military service during World War II.
The only other active backstop with a single-team streak even half as long as Molina's is San Francisco's Buster Posey, who has been behind the dish for the past eight Opening Days. Russell Martin has made 12 consecutive starts, but with four different teams (Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Blue Jays).
Longest all-time streak: 15 -- Ray Schalk, White Sox (1913-27)
First base: Joey Votto (Reds)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with CIN: 10
The rebuilding Reds have had some other long streaks come to an end recently. Last year was the first time since 2006 that Brandon Phillips didn't start for Cincinnati at second base, and the first time since '08 that Jay Bruce didn't start in right field. This year snaps a six-year streak at shortstop for Zack Cozart. Votto, however, is under contract in Cincinnati through at least '23.
Only Adrian Gonzalez owns a longer active streak among first basemen. A start in the 2018 opener would be his 13th in a row, but the Mets are his fourth team during that time, following the Padres, Red Sox and Dodgers.
Longest all-time streak: 17 -- Joe Judge, Washington Senators (1916-32)
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Second base: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with HOU: 7
This is the first year since 2006 that Boston's Dustin Pedroia isn't starting on Opening Day, due to offseason left knee surgery. That's too bad for the Red Sox, as Pedroia carries a .370/.408/.674 line with four home runs in season openers.
That makes Altuve the active leader, fresh off signing an extension that is set to keep him in Houston through 2024. The reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner has gotten the nod in each of his first seven full seasons, going back to '12. Robinson Cano still leads all active second basemen with 13 consecutive Opening Day starts, but those have been split between the Yankees and Mariners.
Longest all-time streak: 17 -- Lou Whitaker, Tigers (1978-94)
Third base: Mike Moustakas (Royals)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with KC: 7
David Wright's 12-year streak with the Mets ended due to injury in 2017, and Evan Longoria's nine-year run with the Rays stopped with his offseason trade to the Giants.
In their stead, Moustakas takes over the top spot. That didn't appear likely when he reached free agency this offseason, but Moustakas re-signed with Kansas City on a one-year deal when his market didn't play out as expected. Behind him lurks the Mariners' Kyle Seager, who is starting at the hot corner for the sixth straight season.
Longest all-time streak: 20 -- Brooks Robinson, Orioles (1957-76)
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Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (Rangers)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with TEX: 10
Andrus took over from Michael Young in 2009, and his streak is showing no signs of ending soon. Still just 29 years old, Andrus is signed with Texas through 2022, with a vesting option for '23. Always a strong defender, he has picked up his offense over the past two years, batting .299/.348/.457 during that span and smacking a career-high 20 homers in '17.
While Alcides Escobar made his first Opening Day start with the Brewers in 2010, he is now making his eighth straight for the Royals, with whom he re-signed this offseason. He is Andrus' closest challenger. Troy Tulowitzki had the longest active overall streak (11 years), split between the Rockies and Blue Jays, but he is beginning '18 on the disabled list.
Longest all-time streak: 14 -- Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles (1983-96); Jimmy Rollins, Phillies (2001-14)
Left field: Alex Gordon (Royals)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with KC: 8*
This gets an asterisk because Gordon actually is starting in center field for the Royals in their 2018 opener, even though the 34-year-old had made just four previous Major League starts in that spot, all of them coming last season. However, he keeps his place on this list, given that no other left fielder is starting for the same team on Opening Day for more than the third straight season (Several players are tied at three).
The Royals enjoyed a remarkably stable core during their recent run, which included a World Series championship in 2015. Every year from 2013-17, Kansas City had catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Moustakas, shortstop Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and Gordon take the field on Opening Day. Hosmer and Cain left via free agency this offseason, unlike Gordon, who re-signed on a four-year deal in January 2016. While Moustakas and Escobar are back in their usual spots, Perez is missing the opener due to injury, and now, in Cain's absence, Gordon is shifting to unfamiliar territory.
Longest all-time streak: 13 -- Lou Brock, Cardinals (1967-79)
Center field: Adam Jones (Orioles)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with BAL: 11
Jones' run began in 2008, but it remains to be seen how much longer it will go. His current contract expires after the '18 season. But for now, with the Pirates having traded Andrew McCutchen and Cain leaving Kansas City, nobody is on Jones' heels. Next up among active players is Mike Trout, making his sixth straight start for the Angels.
Carlos Gomez also had made 10 straight Opening Day starts in center field through 2017 -- for four different clubs -- but he is now with Tampa Bay, where Kevin Kiermaier patrols that spot.
Longest all-time streak: 19 -- Willie Mays, Giants (1954-72)
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Right field: Kole Calhoun (Angels) and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with LAA/LAD: 5
This season brings to an end streaks of eight years (Jose Bautista in Toronto) and seven years (Giancarlo Stanton in Miami). In their place steps a pair of right fielders from Southern California.
It's hard to think of Puig as any kind of elder statesman, and his tenure in Los Angeles certainly has had its ups and downs. But he has been in the Opening Day lineup in right every year since 2014, following his electrifying debut the previous summer.
Longest all-time streak: 15 -- Roberto Clemente, Pirates (1958-72)
Starting pitcher: Felix Hernandez (Mariners)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with SEA: 10
This streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy this year. Hernandez, coming off an injury-marred season in which he posted just a 4.36 ERA, was hit by a line drive in his Cactus League debut. But King Felix recovered in time to get the nod over up-and-coming teammate James Paxton and is now just the seventh pitcher in history to make 10 straight Opening Day starts, regardless of team.
Under contract in Seattle through 2019, with a team option for '20, Hernandez is two Mariners season openers away from tying the all-time record. Hot on his trail is the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, who has taken the mound for L.A. each year since 2011.
Longest all-time streak: 12 -- Robin Roberts, Phillies (1950-61)
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.