Major League Baseball is back in action, and the schedule is filling up quickly.Today, three big league teams will play in Spring Training exhibitions. Some of the most exciting players in the game will be on the field, ready to take the first steps toward what all 30 clubs hope
Major League Baseball is back in action, and the schedule is filling up quickly.
Today, three big league teams will play in Spring Training exhibitions. Some of the most exciting players in the game will be on the field, ready to take the first steps toward what all 30 clubs hope will be a World Series championship.
• Spring Training info
The Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies will all play in their Grapefruit League home parks against college opponents, and some of the best players and prospects in the game will be on the field.
Fans can watch the Phillies game live as it is streamed exclusively at phillies.com. In addition, batting practice for all three games and some action in the Red Sox game will be available for viewing on Facebook Live.
On Wednesday, fans got an appetizing first taste of baseball as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Grand Canyon University Antelopes, 9-1, at Salt River Fields. New D-backs outfielder Oswaldo Arcia logged one of the first highlights of the year, crushing a two-run home run onto the grassy berm in right field on a beautiful day in the desert.
The fun will continue in Florida as the beginning of the official exhibition seasons looms on Friday, with the New York Yankees and Phillies playing the first game between Major League teams, available live on MLB.TV.
Here's what to watch for this afternoon:
Florida Southern at Tigers, Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, Fla., 1:05 p.m. ET
The Tigers won't wait to roll out their heavy-duty lineup in their first spring game. An impressive batting order will take the field right away to get Detroit fans' pulses pumping in anticipation for a run at the American League Central title.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler will lead off against the Mocs, and he will be followed by some serious sluggers in designated hitter Victor Martinez, first baseman Jose Cabrera, right fielder J.D. Martinez and left fielder Justin Upton, plus third baseman Nick Castellanos, catcher James McCann, new center fielder Michael Mahtook and shortstop Jose Iglesias. Minor League right-hander Myles Jaye will get the start for manager Brad Ausmus, who made a point of saying it might be unwise to assume this would be the exact batting order all year.
"I love that people get so enthralled with lineups," Ausmus said. "Unless you really do something [major] with the lineups, the impact isn't really that great over a 162 games. … Unless I hit Miggy ninth, the impact isn't great."
Northeastern University at Red Sox, JetBlue Park, Fort Myers, Fla., 1:05 p.m. ET
He finished second in the AL MVP voting in 2016 and is one of the sport's most exciting young players. And today, right fielder Mookie Betts will be back on the field for the Red Sox for the first time this year.
Betts and star shortstop Xander Bogaerts are in the starting lineup for Boston's game against the Boston-based Northeastern Huskies, as well as new first baseman Mitch Moreland, left fielder Chris Young, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, designated hitter Sam Travis, second baseman Marco Hernandez, center fielder Rusney Castillo and catcher Christian Vazquez.
Former first-round pick Christopher Johnson, who pitched in Triple-A last year, will take the hill for Boston in the team's '17 lid-lifter.
"I'm excited to get the competitive juices flowing," Johnson said. "I guess there's something to being the first one out there to toe the rubber."
University of Tampa at Phillies, Spectrum Field, Clearwater, Fla., 1:05 p.m. ET
The future of Phillies baseball will be on proud display in a game that will be shown on an exclusive video webcast on phillies.com.
The Phillies' top-ranked prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, shortstop J.P. Crawford, will bat second, and he'll be joined in the lineup against the Spartans by left fielder Nick Williams (No. 3-ranked prospect), catcher Jorge Alfaro (No. 4), right fielder Dylan Cozens (No. 6) and second baseman Scott Kingery (No. 13), among others. Mark Leiter Jr., the son of the former big league pitcher, gets the start for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.
"The guys who are most likely to be on the team are the least of my worries," Mackanin said. "I know what they can do. ... But I want to see the new guys, and I want to see the young guys."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.