LEADING OFF: Zimmermann vs Nats, Miller and Maeda debut
A look at the highlights of what's happening all around spring training in Florida and Arizona today:
KEEPING IN TOUCH
Jordan Zimmermann will make his first appearance with the Tigers, and he'll do it in a familiar place - at Washington's spring training home, Space Coast Stadium. The right-hander won 70 games over seven seasons with the Nationals before signing a $110 million, five-year deal with Detroit this offseason. Zimmermann will share the mound with Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
Pitchers Shelby Miller and Kenta Maeda will get their first action with new teams when the Diamondbacks play at the Dodgers. Miller was traded to Arizona this offseason for a hefty package of young players, and the 25-year-old right-hander is expected to slot behind ace Zack Greinke in the rotation. Maeda is a Japanese pitcher who signed an incentive-laden $25 million, eight-year deal in January that could be worth $106.2 million.
Maikel Franco broke the windshield on teammate Freddy Galvis' car with a batting practice home run earlier this week and hasn't slowed. Franco has two homers and six RBIs over his past two games and is 4 for 11 in four games this spring training. Toronto's Drew Hutchison will try to slow the Phillies young third baseman.
Agent Scott Boras is likely to have a keen eye on the Marlins game against the Cardinals. One of his clients, Wei-Yin Chen, will make his first appearance with Miami after signing an $80 million, five-year deal in January. Another client, Marcell Ozuna, is off to an outstanding start in his quest to re-establish himself as a building block for the young Marlins. In November, Boras criticized the Marlins for their handling of Ozuna last season, which included a demotion during a 1-for-36 slump. The promising 25-year-old is 5 for 5 with a homer and two doubles so far this spring.
Rich Hill gets his first action with the Oakland Athletics after signing a $6 million, one-year deal in the offseason. It was perhaps the most remarkable contract of the winter, considering where Hill was last summer - with an independent minor league team on Long Island. He worked his way from there to Boston's rotation in 2015 and finished the season with four excellent big league starts. He'll pitch against Milwaukee for his first action this spring.