CLEARWATER, Fla. — There is baseball today. Almost real major-league baseball. On television.
So celebrate the opening of the Grapefruit League schedule. The Yankees are in town and will throw Ivan Nova. The game starts at 1:05 and is televised on Comcast SportsNet.
Charlie Manuel's lineup features Jim Thome in the cleanup spot and no Chase Utley, Placido Polanco or Carlos Ruiz.
Bask in the glory of the first starting nine of the spring:
1. Jimmy Rollins 6
2. Shane Victorino 8
3. Hunter Pence 9
4. Jim Thome 0
5. Ty Wigginton 5
6. John Mayberry Jr. 3
7. Domonic Brown 7
8. Erik Kratz 2
9. Michael Martinez 4
Cole Hamels 1
Also scheduled to pitch for the Phillies: Dave Bush, Jonathan Papelbon, Dontrelle Willis, Raul Valdes, Chad Qualls and Mike Stutes.
Hamels will go two innings, most likely, depending on his pitch count. Bush will probably do two innings, as well.
Mayberry starts at first base, but that doesn't mean much. The Phillies want to see Brown in left field as much as they can this spring. They view Mayberry as the likely starter in left when the season begins, but it won't hurt for him to see extensive time at first base this spring to improve his defense there.
A familiar face will bat fourth for the Yankees. Raul Ibanez is New York's designated hitter in their first spring game. The Yankees did not bring stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texeira or Robinson Cano to Clearwater. Their lineup:
1. Brett Gardner 7
2. Curtis Granderson 8
3. Nick Swisher 9
4. Raul Ibanez 0
5. Eric Chavez 3
6. Russell Martin 2
7. Eduardo Nunez 6
8. Bill Hall 4
9. Jayson Nix 5
Interesting to note Hall's presence in the lineup. If you'll recall, Hall and Hamels had a run-in last spring when Hall was in camp with Houston. So watch for that.
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