3/9/2014 12:00 A.M. ET
Division rivalries headline today's spring slate
Giants-Dodgers, Braves-Mets among many heated matchups on MLB.TV
By Austin Laymance / MLB.com
The second weekend of Spring Training games wraps up with another full slate of action in both the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, including 10 games on MLB.TV that will feature division rivalries, star power and a number of starting pitchers hoping to lock down roster spots.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the third time this spring as Los Angeles hosts San Francisco in a battle of National League West foes at 1:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. Kershaw, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is expected to be the Opening Day starter in Australia, although the club has not made an official announcement. Yasiel Puig is expected to return to the lineup after the Dodgers allowed the outfielder to leave the team Saturday because of a personal matter. Giants regulars Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval are expected to start behind left-hander Edwin Escobar.
In another NL West showdown, the Padres visit the D-backs at 1:10 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. Eric Stults, projected as San Diego's fifth starter, will make his third Cactus League start. D-backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt is scheduled to play the field for the first time since Wednesday after spending time as the designated hitter. Arizona Minor Leaguer Bo Schultz will start, with relievers David Hernandez, Josh Collmenter, Addison Reed and Brad Ziegler also scheduled to pitch.
Meanwhile in the Grapefruit League, the Yankees host the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV in a matchup of American League East opponents. Derek Jeter, who has a hit in each of his last four spring at-bats, will be in the lineup and right-hander David Phelps will get the start for New York. Chris Archer will toe the rubber for the Rays, with Josh Lueke also scheduled to pitch.
The Braves visit the Mets in a clash of NL East rivals, the final division game on Sunday's MLB.TV slate. Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel are both scheduled to pitch for Atlanta. Medlen will look to pitch four innings as he stretches out for his first Opening Day start. Braves stars B.J. Upton, Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons are all expected to start. The Mets will send young right-hander Zack Wheeler to the mound, with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. New York relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde are also scheduled to see action.
Cardinals newcomer Peter Bourjos is expected to return to the starting lineup against the Nationals at 12:05 p.m. CT on MLB.TV and MLB Network. Bourjos was acquired in an offseason trade that sent David Freese to the Angels. Joe Kelly will take the mound for St. Louis, looking to strengthen his bid for the final spot in the rotation. The Nationals will counter with ace Stephen Strasburg, making his second start of the spring.
Former NL Cy Young award winner R.A. Dickey will start for the Blue Jays on the road against the Astros at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Dickey, making his third spring start, worked four innings in his last appearance. Rudy Owens gets the ball for Houston, hoping to bounce back after being roughed up in his first career Major League Spring Training start.
Jeff Manship, a candidate for the fifth spot in the Phillies rotation, will make first Grapefruit League start against the Twins at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. The right-hander has been solid in two appearances this spring, tossing four shutout innings and holding opponents to a .167 batting average, but will need to show he can be effective as a starter. Mike Pelfrey will take the mound for the Twins.
Travis Ishikawa is expected to return from a strained right hamstring and start as the designated hitter when the Pirates host the World Series champion Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Charlie Morton is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh and closer Jason Grilli is also slated to pitch. Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz will make his second Grapefruit League start.
The Angels will get another look at young left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who is scheduled to make his second Cactus League start against the Reds at 1:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. Acquired from the D-backs in a trade that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona, Skaggs is still bidding for a spot in the rotation. The Reds will counter with right-hander Johnny Cueto, their projected Opening Day starter.
The Indians also have a battle for their fifth starter, and right-hander Josh Tomlin will make a push for the final spot when he takes the mound against the visiting Brewers at 4:05 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. Tomlin is scheduled to pitch four innings, with relievers John Axford and Marc Rzepczynski also expected to see action. The Brewers will send a split squad to Goodyear, Ariz., with right-hander Wily Peralta drawing the start.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.