Burnett faces Bucs to highlight today's slate
Several pitchers to open season as first weekend of games draws to close
The first weekend of Spring Training games wraps up this afternoon with a full slate of action in both the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League, including some intriguing pitching matchups, debuts and comebacks.
A.J. Burnett makes his Phillies debut with a start against the Pirates, his club from 2012-13, in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV at 1:05 p.m. ET. Burnett, who last year helped Pittsburgh reach the postseason for the first time since 1992, signed a one-year, $16 million contract with Philadelphia last month. Stolmy Pimentel, a candidate to replace Burnett in the Pirates' rotation, toes the rubber for the Bucs.
Burnett is not the only big-name starter new to the National League East. Doug Fister is scheduled to make his Nationals debut against the Marlins in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV at 1:05 p.m. ET. Fister, who last year won 14 games with Detroit, was acquired in an offseason trade. Nats outfielder Jayson Werth is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut after sitting out the first two games.
A former NL East standout with the Braves, Tim Hudson gets the ball against the D-backs in Scottsdale, Ariz., at 12:05 p.m. PT. in his Giants debut. Hudson signed with San Francisco as a free agent in November following nine seasons in Atlanta.
Another two NL West foes square off when the Dodgers host the Padres in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. PT. Josh Beckett takes the mound for the Dodgers in his first start since having thoracic outlet surgery last July to remove a rib. The veteran right-hander has been throwing hard with no setbacks. Fellow starter Paul Maholm is expected to make his Dodgers debut in relief. Maholm, who spent 2012-13 with the Braves, has been slowed by mild elbow discomfort.
Former Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco is set to make his Twins debut against the Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT. Nolasco signed a four-year, $49 million deal with Minnesota in November.
Another pitching debut is on tap in the NL Central, with Matt Garza getting the ball for the Brewers against the Rockies at 2:10 p.m. CT in a game that can be heard live on Gameday Audio. Garza's four-year, $50 million contract is the richest for a free agent in Brewers history. Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs is expected to make his club debut after missing the first two games because of an esophagus condition that flared up late in the week. Stubbs was acquired in an offseason trade with the Indians. The game can also be heard via a Brewers.com webcast.
Following a breakout performance with the Cardinals in the 2013 postseason, Michael Wacha makes his Grapefruit League debut against the Mets in a game that can be seen live on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. CT. Despite four playoff victories last year, Wacha is competing for a rotation spot this spring. Daisuke Matsuzaka will start for the Mets. Dice-K signed a Minor League deal over the offseason and is bidding for the fifth spot in the Mets' rotation.
Three other games will be available on MLB.TV, with Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury headlining the Yankees' travel squad for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays. The Orioles will visit the Red Sox at the same time. The A's and the Angels round out the day's MLB.TV action at 12:05 p.m. PT in Tempe, Ariz. Angels left-hander Hector Santiago, acquired in the three-team deal that sent Mark Trumbo to the D-backs in December, will face off against A's righty Jesse Chavez.
The Cactus League will have another pitching debut in Randy Wolf, the Mariners' veteran left-hander. It will be his first live action since Tommy John surgery in October 2012. Jason Hammel was supposed to make his debut for the Cubs, but he was pushed back to start a "B" game against the Angels on Monday because of Saturday's rain cancelation. The scheduled starter for Saturday, Edwin Jackson, will instead face the Royals today at 2:05 p.m. CT in a game that can be heard live on Gameday Audio.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.