Spring Training games start today! That's right. Friday will feature four ball games as the training and warmups will conclude and some ball players will be expected to perform if they want to earn a roster spot. Who's playing today and when are they playing? Check out the schedule as Spring Training starts this afternoon.
The Atlanta Braves take on the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 p.m. ET. The defending American League champions will try to repeat their performance in the upcoming season, while the Braves made moves over the offseason that has the MLB world buzzing about their outfield.
For the Tigers, the competition lies in the starting rotation. They appear maxed out as they feature about six arms that are solid enough to earn a spot in the five-man rotation. There's the obvious Just Verlander, who can breeze through Spring Training. Then guys like Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly who can pitch well.
The Braves will be looking at their third basemen following the retirement of Chipper Jones. As for everything else, their starting rotation is down and they feature one of the best, if not the best, bullpens in baseball.
At 3:05 p.m. ET, the rest of the teams take the field.
Cincinnati Reds vs. Cleveland Indians
Shin-Soo Choo will be seeing familiar faces though wearing an unfamiliar jersey to start off Spring Training. He was dealt to the Reds over the offseason as both clubs believe they made improvements that will allow them to remain competitive in 2013.
The Indians are a team many want to watch despite their lack of success in recent years. They were quietly one of the more active teams during the offseason. They added Terry Francona, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, Mike Aviles Michael Bourne and have Drew Stubbs from the Reds in their lineup.
It will be interesting to see what the Indians will do this season. Without a doubt, they should be exciting if they remain healthy.
Kansas City Royals vs. Texas Rangers
Speaking of exciting, the Royals made a move that will remove them from their traditional "Let's wait for the talent to arrive" mentality. They traded for the Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields and added him to their mixture of young guys with talent.
The Rangers, on the other hand, are trying to live life post Josh Hamilton. They look completely different as they will take the field without Michael Young for the first time in over a decade. They will also be without Mike Napoli who was a pivotal run producer in his time in Texas.
As the Rangers collapsed late last season, how will they bounce back in 2013? Get a chance to look at their farm system's talent which is one of the best in baseball.
Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres
Closing out the day's action will be two west coast squads. Both aren't expected to make the playoffs, but at least one tried to make the possible moves to perform at a higher level in 2013.
The Mariners added Michael Morse, Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales to their offense bringing in their experience to mix it up with the younger guys in Seattle.
The Padres, well, they moved in the fields in PETCO Park. That'll be something to look forward to.
Check back to Sports World Report as we will bring you all the action as Spring Training 2013 is officially taking off.