The Hamilton Spectator

What to watch for on Opening Day


Shohei Ohtani already made his Dodgers debut last week in South Korea, but all eyes will still be on the two-way sensation as L.A. hosts the Cardinals.

The $700-million (U.S.) star is trying to play on after the firing of his longtime interprete­r and friend Ippei Mizuhara, who Ohtani said Monday stole money from him to pay off gambling debts. Mizuhara was fired while the Dodgers were in Seoul last week for a two-game, regular-season opener against San Diego.

October memories

World Series MVP Corey Seager and the defending champion Texas Rangers open at home with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound against Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs.

Coming off their surprising run to the National League pennant, Zac Gallen and the Diamondbac­ks host Colorado.

Arizona made a late splash at the very end of spring training, boosting its rotation by agreeing Tuesday with free-agent pitcher Jordan Montgomery on a $25 million, oneyear contract that includes a vesting option for 2025.

The deal was subject to a successful physical.

Welcome to the show

Two of baseball’s top hitting prospects — the Brewers’ Jackson Chourio and the Rangers’ Wyatt Langford — are set to make their big league debuts. Chourio, 20, signed an $82-million, eight-year deal this off-season, the most money guaranteed to a player with no major league experience.

Langford, meanwhile, will reach the majors less than a year after Texas selected him fourth overall in the 2023 amateur draft from the University of Florida.

Neither Orioles infielder Jackson Holliday nor Nationals outfielder James Wood cracked their opening day rosters despite impressive spring trainings.

Open and close

Several teams are expected to open the season without their injured closers, including the Arizona Diamondbac­ks (Paul Sewald), the Baltimore Orioles (Félix Bautista), the Milwaukee Brewers (Devin Williams), the Minnesota Twins (Jhoan Durán) and the Toronto Blue Jays (Jordan Romano).

Defending AL East champion Baltimore signed veteran reliever Craig Kimbrel, eighth on the career list with 417 saves, to fill in for Bautista, who is expected to miss the entire season following Tommy John surgery and an additional elbow procedure.

Meanwhile, the New York Mets get back all-star closer Edwin Díaz after he missed last season following knee surgery. Sound the trumpets at Citi Field.

Washed out

Openers in New York and Philadelph­ia were postponed a day until Friday because of rainy forecasts in both cities. Pete Alonso and the New York Mets were scheduled to host the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon. But with wet weather expected in Queens, the Mets announced Wednesday the game was pushed back to Friday. Minutes later, the Philadelph­ia Phillies announced their sold-out opener against the NL East rival Atlanta Braves was moved from Thursday to Friday due to anticipate­d rain.

The replacemen­ts

The first pitch of the day is scheduled to be thrown at Citi Field, though rain is forecast in Queens for Milwaukee’s game against the New York Mets.

Pat Murphy takes over as manager of the defending NL Central champion Brewers after Craig Counsell bolted for the rival Chicago Cubs during the off-season.

New York turns to first-timer Carlos Mendoza — the former Yankees bench coach was hired to replace Buck Showalter by new president of baseball operations David Stearns, who used to run the Brewers after growing up a Mets fan in New York City.

After trading Burnes, a three-time all-star and the 2021 NL Cy Young Award winner, Milwaukee gives Freddy Peralta his first career opening-day start.

Jose Quintana goes for the Mets, minus 2023 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Kodai Senga because of a shoulder injury.

 ?? SAM HODDE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? Corey Seager and the Texas Rangers begin defence of their World Series title on Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
SAM HODDE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO Corey Seager and the Texas Rangers begin defence of their World Series title on Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.

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