The Detroit Tigers will be hosting the Toronto Blue Jays in Lakeland for their spring home-opener. The game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV and tape-delayed on MLB Network (at midnight). Here are a few interesting items and things to watch for:
- Anibal Sanchez will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers for the first time since his brilliant playoff performance and subsequenty $80 million contract. We won’t learn much from this actual performance — we’ll see him for probably only two innings — but he’s obviously going to be a big cog for the next five years. We just need to see him healthy and ready come April.
- Bruce Rondon will pitch in this game at some point. Dan Dickerson mentioned on Friday’s radio broadcast that Rondon wouldn’t pitch the ninth inning — rather that he’d pitch earlier in the game before Toronto’s major league-type players are removed from the game. I would guess he’d be the first guy out of the pen in relief of Sanchez, just as we saw from Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel on Friday.
- Jim Leyland has said that he’s going to start his regulars “for the fans” for this home opener, so that likely means we’ll see Victor Martinez in the lineup for the second day in a row. That’s not a huge big deal when we’re talking about two or three trips to the plate for a designated hitter, but it is at least a positive sign for his recovery process.
- “Playing the regulars” means that we’ll see Torii Hunter don the “Olde English D” for the first time. Again, we’re talking about a veteran player, so we’re not going to read into anything performance-wise, but it will be fun to see him in the lineup.
- The Toronto Blue Jays were one of baseball’s biggest movers in the off-season. We won’t be seeing R.A. Dickey and perhaps not even Jose Reyes (veterans don’t travel all that much in the spring) in this one, but could this be a preview of the ALCS?