Major League Baseball’s regular season officially begins Thursday with seven games in play after two were postponed early due to weather conditions.
The Chicago Cubs host the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field in the first game of the day at 2:20 p.m. ET with the Houston Astros-Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres-Arizona Diamondbacks clashing the last to start after 9:30 p.m. ET.
In Atlanta, the Braves kick off their World Series defense against the Cincinnati Reds at 8:08 p.m. ET.
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Keep it here all day Thursday for league-wide updates:
Bobby Witt Jr.’s first hit wins it for Royals
Making his league debut on Thursday, Bobby Witt Jr. scored a brace in the eighth inning to lift Kansas City to a 3-1 win over the Cleveland Guardians.
Witt, one of baseball’s top prospects, started at third base for the Royals and had gone hitless on his first three hits until his extra hit against Triston McKenzie.
Scott Barlow walked around trouble in the ninth inning to complete the victory for the Royals.
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Tyler O’Neill home runs for St. Louis
Cardinals left fielder Tyler O’Neill’s first homer of the season was a three-run shot in the second inning of the season opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The circuit gave St. Louis a 4-0 lead one inning after O’Neill opened the scoring with an RBI single
O’Neill finished eighth in NL MVP voting and won his second Gold Glove of 2021, hitting 34 homers with 15 interceptions and a .912 OPS.
Nico Hoerner gives the Cubs the lead
Chicago shortstop Nico Hoerner hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning against defending NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, giving the Cubs a 3-1 lead in their opener of the season. season.
Milwaukee scored the first inning of the 2022 season in the fourth, on an RBI pitch by Lorenzo Cain. Hoerner’s home run came after Patrick Wisdom’s bag fly tied him up.
Albert Pujols receives a standing ovation for the return of the Cardinals
Playing his first game for the Cardinals since 2011, Albert Pujols received a standing ovation from the crowd in St. Louis on opening day. Pujols, 42, was the starting designated hitter, fifth at bat for the Cardinals.
Seiya Suzuki gets his first major league hit
The Cubs signed Japanese star Seiya Suzuki to a five-year, $85 million deal in March and the 27-year-old made his debut Thursday, starting in right field and batting sixth for Chicago.
Suzuki walked to a draw in his first league plate appearance (second inning), then hit a single in the top of the fifth against Corbin Burnes.
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox couldn’t make extension
Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts can opt out of his contract after this season and said Thursday he and the team won’t get an extension until Opening Day.
Bogaerts is entering the third year of a six-year, $120 million deal he signed with the Red Sox in early 2019. If he steps down, the 29-year-old would be one of the best players available on the free agent market.
Ke’Bryan Hayes and Pirates Agree on Big Expansion
The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to issue the biggest contract in franchise history, agreeing to an eight-year, $70 million extension with third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes before the opener. 2022 season.
Jason Kendall’s six-year, $60 million contract signed in 2000 (!) was Pittsburgh’s biggest deal to date.
Hayes burst onto the scene in 2020, batting .376 in 24 games to earn Rookie of the Year votes, but wrist injuries limited him to 96 games last season.
Easy to find opening day tickets; rain delays other games
Of Thursday’s opening seven games, only two — Astros-Angels in Anaheim and Pirates-Cardinals in St. Louis — are sold out. The Atlanta Braves, defending World Series champions, have standing room only available for Thursday’s opener and Friday and Saturday’s games against Cincinnati.
The weather hasn’t cooperated either, with rainy conditions already kicking off the Red Sox-Yankees home opener in the Bronx and the Twins’ game against Seattle through Friday. Luckily for all the teams involved, these games were regularly scheduled home openers and will use the rainy Friday dates to stage the matches – although that still doesn’t guarantee a full house.
– Gabé Lacques
Padres and Twins trade opening day
The Minnesota Twins acquired right-handed pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagán from the San Diego Padres for left-handed All-Star pitcher Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker.
The Twins will also get a player to be named later and the Padres will receive $6.6 million in cash under the terms of the deal announced Thursday.
– Associated Press
After a lousy winter, Rob Manfred is ‘thrilled’ to start 2022
Major League Baseball players openly berated him. Frustrated fans blamed him only. He was a living piñata for the media.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may have been the most hated man in all of sport during the 99-day lockdown.
Here we are, with opening day arriving a week late on Thursday, and a day later still for the final chapter in the New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox rivalry. Their season opener, with Manfred in attendance, was rescheduled for Friday at Yankee Stadium.
“I’ve never anticipated a season as much as this,” Manfred told USA TODAY Sports in a wide-ranging interview. “I think given the last two seasons, the idea of having normal, unrestricted fans in the stadium is a really exciting thing for me.
“I can’t wait for this one to start.”
– Bob Nightengale