CC's final tuneup highlights today's .TV lineup
Freeway Series opener at Dodger Stadium available as Free Game of Day
A few teams have already packed up and left their Spring Training homes in either Florida or Arizona, and a number of others will join them Thursday following their Grapefruit and Cactus League finales.
Thursday's schedule also includes a pair of final tuneups for Opening Day starters, one being the Yankees' CC Sabathia. Sabathia will square off against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV. The other Opening Day tuneup will be the Rangers' Tanner Scheppers, who is scheduled to pitch one inning against the Mexican League's Tigres at 8:05 p.m. in Arlington.
As for the day's other highlights, two of the key matchups will come outside of the states of Arizona and Florida, as the games start to take on a regular-season feel. In a pair of regional rivalries, the Dodgers and Angels will kick off a preseason Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium in the MLB.TV Free Game of the Day, and the Athletics will take on the Giants to start a three-game Bay Bridge Series.
The Halos will send Hector Santiago to the mound to square off against the Dodgers, as Los Angeles takes the field for the first time since jumping out to a 2-0 regular-season start with the Opening Series in Australia last weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.
The A's and Giants are scheduled to start action just five minutes later up the coast at AT&T Park, where Oakland's Scott Kazmir will take the hill opposite San Francisco's Tim Hudson. This game, too, can be seen live on MLB.TV.
There also will be plenty of games available on MLB.TV earlier in the day, providing fans one more chance to see their teams compete in Grapefruit and Cactus League play. The Nationals and Mets get the MLB.TV action started at 12:10 p.m., when Jordan Zimmermann squares off against Cory Mazzoni as each club plays its final spring game in Florida.
Highlighting the set of 1:05 p.m. games, fans can catch their final spring glimpse of defending Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who made headlines this week when the Tigers announced they've tabled talks on a contract extension. Scherzer and the Tigers will host the Braves, who will travel back to Atlanta following the game. Veteran Aaron Harang is scheduled to make his Braves debut.
The other two early games, both available on MLB.TV, pit the Marlins against the Cardinals and the Blue Jays against the Phillies. Miami expects to have Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup as it sends Brad Hand to the mound, opposite St. Louis' Michael Wacha. In Clearwater, Fla., Phillies newcomer A.J. Burnett will take the mound for his final spring tuneup against Drew Hutchison and the Jays.
In the set of late afternoon games, two more contests will be available on MLB.TV -- the White Sox face the Cubs, and the Reds send a split squad to take on the Brewers. White Sox right-hander Felipe Paulino will square off against Cubs lefty Travis Wood as the South Siders make their lone trip to the Cubs' new spring ballpark.
The other Cincinnati squad will stay in Goodyear, Ariz., to play host to a D-backs split squad. Arizona's other team will host the Indians in Scottsdale, Ariz. Tribe right-hander Corey Kluber is expected to start against the D-backs, while relievers Marc Rzepczynski, Blake Wood and Scott Atchison -- all members of the Opening Day bullpen -- are also listed as probable pitchers.
Two early-evening games, pairing the Twins against the Red Sox and the Rays against the Orioles, will then set up the aforementioned rivalry series.
The early-evening games feature a number of top-end pitchers as well, with the Red Sox calling on John Lackey to face off against Minnesota's Kevin Correia, while the Rays send Alex Cobb to the hill opposite Ubaldo Jimenez. Cobb and Jimenez just went toe-to-toe in a pitchers' duel Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla., with Cobb striking out 12 and Jimenez turning in six solid innings of his own.