LEADING OFF: Warren goes for Cubs, Tulo and Jays face Astros
A look at what's happening all around spring training in Florida and Arizona today:
GOT THAT SWING
Cubs right-hander Adam Warren starts against Arizona in his spring debut after he was acquired in a December trade that sent Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees. Warren pitched well while working out of the bullpen and in the rotation over the past three seasons with New York, and he could be a valuable swingman for the Cubs.
LET `EM RIP
Troy Tulowitzki leads the Toronto Blue Jays against a Houston Astros split-squad one day after getting his first homer of the spring. Tulowitzki had one of three homers for Toronto on Saturday in a 9-6 win over the Phillies - Michael Saunders had the other two. The Blue Jays led the majors with 232 homers last season, and Houston was second with 230. Right-hander Marcus Stroman will make his second spring appearance for Toronto.
HITTING IT OFF
Brian Dozier and the Twins will try to build off an offensive outburst when they play at the Tampa Bay Rays. Dozier hit his first homer of the spring and Minnesota had 16 hits in a 13-2 win over a Baltimore split-squad on Saturday. Eddie Rosario and Juan Centeno also homered for Minnesota in that one, and the Twins are averaging 6.75 runs through four spring training games.
FRIENDS OLD AND NEW
Hisashi Iwakuma will make his spring debut with the Mariners, and he will be backed by two of the team's top new relievers - Joaquin Benoit and Steve Cishek. Iwakuma nearly left the Mariners for the Dodgers this offseason, but Los Angeles balked following Iwakuma's physical and Seattle jumped in to re-sign him. Benoit was acquired from San Diego in November to be a setup man and has battled back soreness in camp. Cishek signed a $10 million, two-year deal in December and is expected to be Seattle's closer.
HOLD IT DOWN
With the Atlanta Braves rebuilding, there is opportunity for more experienced pitchers to fill rotation slots until the prospects are ready, and Kyle Kendrick is one such hopeful veteran. The former Phillies and Rockies right-hander goes against the Mets in his first chance to show manager Fredi Gonzalez what he has left. Kendrick and others are expected to hold the fort in Atlanta until the youngsters arrive. ''Sometimes that wave is out by the Marshall Islands,'' Gonzalez said. ''But it's coming.''