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Spring training games get earliest start date ever: Feb. 21

Photo: /AP

David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox will play in the year's first exhibition game.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Baseball's spring training schedule opens when the Boston Red Sox host Northeastern University on Feb. 21 at Fort Myers, Fla., in what the commissioner's office says is the earliest start to exhibition games.

After four charity games the following day, all 30 teams are scheduled for Feb. 23.

The commissioner's office said Wednesday the previous earliest start for spring training games was Feb. 24 in 2011.

World Baseball Classic teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela will play exhibition games against major league clubs in Florida on March 5 and 6, and Canada, Italy, Mexico and the U.S. will play in Arizona. The semifinalists advancing from Tokyo will play exhibitions in Arizona on March 14 and 15.

The spring training schedule includes a visit by the Yankees to Army at West Point, N.Y., on March 30.

The major league season opens with Texas at Houston on March 31.

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