Oakland rookie left-handed starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo will be carrying the A’s banner, virtually, over the next three weeks.
With baseball shut down indefinitely as the nation battles the COVID-19 coronavirus, 30 Major League players, one from each team, have been drafted to take part in an online version of the “MLB The Show” video game.
A’s fans will be able to follow Luzardo’s success – or lack of same – as he manages the A’s in real time as the competitions are livestreamed on Major League Baseball’s social media accounts, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Twitch. The competition begins Friday at 3 p.m. (PT).
Each competitor will play a three-inning game against each of the others in a 29-game round-robin competition, which is based on the 2020 rosters of the squad.
Plans are for the top eight players to advance to a playoff round that would begin April 30, including best-of three Division Series and League Championship Series and a best-of-five World Series.
MLB, the Players Association and San Mateo-based Sony Interactive Entertainment, which created and markets the game, will donate a combined $5,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs on behalf of each player, with the champion earning another $25,000 for the clubs in his community.
The plan is for teams to be grouped in their normal divisions, so Luzardo will be pitted against Ty Buttrey (Angels), Lance McCullers (Astros), Carl Edwards Jr. (Mariners) and Joey Gallo (Rangers) in the American League West.
Hunter Pence, who will represent the Giants, will find himself competing against Jon Duplantier (Diamondbacks), Gavin Lux (Dodgers), Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres) and David Dahl (Rockies) in the National League West.
Participants include 11 All-Stars, including the 36-year-old Pence, five World Series ring owners, also including Pence, and eight players 25 or younger, including the 22-year-old Luzardo.
MLB Network’s Robert Flores and Heidi Watney will provide the transitions between the games, and Flores will provide commentary during games.
Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3