LEADING OFF: Scherzer ready; Wheeler, Ryu returns to majors
A look at what's happening all around the majors Friday:
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer takes the mound for Washington against the Phillies in their home opener. Scherzer's spring preparation was delayed because he was still in pain from a fractured knuckle on his pitching hand. ''I'm good to throw 100 pitches. ... That's what's so exciting about where I was at, to where I am now,'' Scherzer said, adding that he considers being able to make his first start without missing time in the regular season ''a major accomplishment.''
Mets righty Zack Wheeler is set to start a series opener against Miami, his first big league appearance since Sept. 25, 2014. Wheeler injured his elbow pitching against Miami in a spring training game on March 9, 2015, and had Tommy John surgery 16 days later. He returned last summer and threw 17 pitches over one inning in a rain-shortened start on Aug. 6 for Class A St. Lucie, then complained of elbow discomfort and didn't pitch again. ''Certainly, he'll (be) amped up,'' New York manager Terry Collins said. ''Emotionally, I'm sure he'll be nervous.''
LONG ROAD BACK
Hyun-Jin Ryu returns to the mound for the Dodgers after making just one start over the past two seasons because of left shoulder surgery and other injuries. The South Korean left-hander was excellent for Los Angeles in 2013 and '14, and he looked sharp this spring training, putting up a 2.57 ERA over 14 innings. Lefty Kyle Freeland, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his major league debut for Colorado.
SECOND TIME AROUND
The reigning Rookie of the Year in the AL has another honor to look forward to: Michael Fulmer is set to start the home opener for Detroit. Fulmer takes the mound when the Tigers host the Boston Red Sox in Detroit's first home game of the season. The right-hander went 11-7 with a 3.06 ERA last year, helping Detroit contend for a postseason spot until its final game.
KANSAS CITY SCUFFLE
The winless Royals travel to Houston looking to get their offense off the ground. Kansas City amassed five runs on 16 hits while being swept over three games in Minnesota. The Astros, meanwhile, are coming off a series win against Seattle to begin the season. Jason Vargas starts for the Royals, and Mike Fiers is up for Houston.
HARDCOURT TO HARDBALL
Former St. John's basketball player Amir Garrett will make his major league debut when the Reds face St. Louis. The left-hander played two seasons with the Red Storm even after signing as a 22nd-round pick with Cincinnati in 2011. He eventually gave up hoops to focus on baseball full-time, a move that seems to have paid off. The 24-year-old had a 2.55 ERA last season split between Double-A and Triple-A.