Friday, March 2, 2012

Cactus League Opens Today; Grapefruit League Starts Saturday

Today's the day!

At long last, there's going to be some live baseball, as the Cactus League opens with the Seattle Mariners playing at the Spring training home of the Oakland A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona. Game time is 3:05 ET (1:05 MT).

Blake Beavan will make Seattle's first Cactus League start, with Hector Noesi working Saturday against Oakland.

For the A's, right-hander Graham Godfrey goes up the bump. First pitch of spring training will be to Chone Figgins, the likely leadoff hitter for the Mariners.

The A's will bat Manny Ramirez in the cleanup slot as the DH. Manny can play all he likes during the Spring, but he'll miss the first 50 games of the regular season, having to sit out due to a suspension doled out last year for violating MLB's drug policy, which prompted the slugger to announce his retirement from baseball.

Ramirez was picked up during the off-season by the A's, who hope the all star outfielder can provide some pop.

Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez will be out of the starting lineup. The Gold Glove center fielder won't resume baseball activity for at least a month after an MRI on February 29 revealed a partial tear of his right pectoral muscle.

Baseball on Deck will provide commentary and the season's first Player of the Day following the opener's conclusion.

Saturday marks the opening of the Grapefruit League in Florida, with five games on the slate. There are four Saturday games on tap in the Cactus League.

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