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Welcome to MLB Opening Day 2023!

After one of the most exciting preludes to a regular season in recent memory — from offseason chaos to players (and fans) learning baseball’s new rules and enjoying faster-paced games to an epic World Baseball Classic — it’s time to play ball.

What are we looking for as the season gets started? Our reporters give their pregame takes from the ballpark, plus we’ll post lineups as they are announced and live updates throughout the day, including takeaways from each game as it concludes.

Season preview: How all 30 teams rank as baseball returns | Predictions
New rules: What you need to know | Passan: Welcome to a new era

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Live updates | Takeaways from completed games | Lineups and what to watch


Live updates: Opening Day sights, sounds and moments


Takeaways from every completed Opening Day game

Recap | Box score | Highlights

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The last time we saw the Houston relievers, they were carving through opposing hitters in the postseason with cruel efficiency. On a night when the Astros celebrated their World Series championship at Minute Maid Park, the bullpen did not pick up where it left off. Yasmani Grandal homered off Rafael Montero to tie the game in the eighth and then Andrew Vaughn doubled in two runs off Ryan Pressly in the ninth. Indeed, with the rotation minus Justin Verlander, Dusty Baker needs another dominant year from his pen. He didn’t get it in the opener. Dylan Cease, meanwhile, did pick up where he left off after finishing second in last year’s Cy Young voting, striking out 10 and retiring 18 in a row at one point before ultimately getting a no-decision. — David Schoenfield


Recap | Box score | Highlights

We have our game of the day. Nineteen runs, 34 hits, multiple late-inning lead changes, Tyler O’Neill homering for the fourth consecutive Opening Day and a five-hit game from George Springer, including the game-tying blooper in the top of the ninth. More of this, thank you very much — even if it lasts 3 hours and 36 minutes. Not a great debut for the Cardinals bullpen as late-game relievers Andre Pallante, Jordan Hicks and Ryan Helsley all surrendered runs. Hicks even knocked catcher Willson Contreras out of the game when Contreras whiffed on catching one of Hicks’ 103 mph(!) fastballs, and the ball hit him in the knee. Contreras will remember his first official game in a Cardinals uniform for all the wrong reasons. — David Schoenfield


Recap | Box score | Highlights

Oneil Cruz and Hunter Greene will be competing as division rivals for the next six years, so while the Pirates and Reds aren’t exactly favored to make the playoffs, these two young stars are worth keeping an eye on because the spectacular may happen at any time. Round one in 2023 goes to Cruz, as he launched a 425-foot home run off a Greene 101-mph heater. Greene racked up the K’s — eight in 3.1 innings — but the command he showed down the stretch in 2022 wasn’t present, and it led to an early exit. He did, however, throw 44 pitches at 100-plus mph … which, well, velocity isn’t everything. — David Schoenfield

Recap | Box score | Highlights

The Rangers are a popular pick to make a leap in the American League and while Jacob deGrom gathered plenty of headlines leading into Opening Day, new manager Bruce Bochy has to like what he saw from his offense. A solid approach produced 10 hits and six walks as a nine run fourth inning changed the dynamic of the game.

Perhaps it made fans forget deGrom’s forgettable performance. He simply couldn’t put guys away after the first inning as the Phillies pummeled him with opposite-field extra base hits — five of them in total — chasing him from the game after just 3.2 innings. He gave up five runs in his Rangers debut. Thankfully his offense picked him up. Texas is an intriguing team with a veteran, know-how-to do it manager. — Jesse Rogers


Recap | Box score | Highlights

Max Scherzer versus Sandy Alcantara was the must-see pitching matchup of the day, and while that didn’t end up materializing, this game had a little bit of everything. Mets owner Steve Cohen hung out in right field with the Mets fan club 7 Line Army. Jeff McNeil was given a strike because Pete Alonso took too long to get back to first base. The Mets blew a 3-0 lead but rallied as Brandon Nimmo hit a go-ahead two-run double. In the absence of Edwin Diaz, David Robertson got the save. The biggest Mets news of the day, however, came before the game when Justin Verlander went on the IL — joining Diaz and Jose Quintana. Mets fans will enjoy the win and then start sweating Verlander’s injury on Friday. — David Schoenfield


Recap | Box score | Highlights

We get our fourth shutout of the day as the Twins shut down the Royals on two hits, tying their team record for fewest hits allowed on Opening Day. New starter Pablo Lopez drew the start and tossed 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts, but the key takeaway is the Twins have a chance to have a really good bullpen. Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran combined for the final 3⅔ hitless innings with Duran and his 100 mph fastball finishing it off, so Duran does get ninth-inning duties over Lopez (who was an All-Star in that role for the Orioles last season). Also: Byron Buxton legs out a triple. Stay healthy, BB. — David Schoenfield


Recap | Box score | Highlights

One sequence from Shane McClanahan, facing Jonathan Schoop in the fifth inning: Changeup on the outside corner, swing and a miss; curveball low and in, taken for a ball, looked like a strike; another changeup that starts on the outside and darts left at the last moment like a Wiffleball, swing a miss; 97 mph four-seamer at the top of the zone, swing and a miss. Good night and good luck. Look, the Tigers aren’t exactly the ’98 Yankees, but McClanahan is one nasty lefty. He looked like the pitcher who dominated the first half last season and started the All-Star Game, throwing six scoreless innings and registering 16 swings and misses. He’s an ace. — David Schoenfield


Recap | Box score | Highlights

Boston threw gasoline on the overreaction fears of fans with their performance on Thursday. Opening Day starter Corey Kluber looked like a mess, struggling to throw strikes and working deep into counts, going 3⅓ innings while walking four and allowing five runs on six hits. The Red Sox bullpen struggled to throw strikes too, as Zack Kelly walked two batters followed with Ryan Brasier allowing three runs on two walks in an inning.

While the Red Sox offense struggled in the first half of the game, they slowly chipped away at Baltimore’s lead. After scoring a run to bring Boston within two, Masataka Yoshida came to the plate as the go-ahead run. Yoshida promptly grounded into what looked like a sure double play to end the game, but Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo made a throwing error, bouncing a ball to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle that allowed Boston to come within one run. Baltimore held on, though, with Felix Bautista striking out Adam Duvall to end the game.

Boston ultimately could not keep up with the Orioles offensive output, which was led by star catcher Adley Rutschman, who had five hits and four RBIs with a homer, looking every bit the part of the player he became upon his callup last season.

Fans left Fenway Park by the top of the sixth inning, leaving large splotches of seats empty, an unusual Opening Day sight at Fenway Park since John Henry brought the team ahead of the 2002 season. — Joon Lee


Recap | Box score | Highlights

It was a brisk game at Wrigley Field in more than one sense of the word. It was a chilly 42 degrees at first pitch, and for fans worried about lingering in the cold, their first pitch-clock game zipped by in 2 hours, 21 minutes. Warning to scorecard keepers: Stay alert and forget bathroom breaks. There’s no time. The Cubs took advantage of a rare erratic outing from Corbin Burnes, who walked three and struck just three. Highlighting the Cubs piecemeal offense was a three-hit game for Dansby Swanson in his Cubs debut, backing a sharp Marcus Stroman. Stroman would certainly prefer this day be remembered for his six shutout innings. Alas, he will go down in the history books as the first pitcher to be issued a pitch clock violation in a regular season game. It was a familiar day at Wrigley Field even as the game on the field felt, well, not exactly new. Let’s say it felt tuned up. — Bradford Doolittle


Recap | Box score | Highlights

On the second pitch he saw as Yankees captain, Aaron Judge homered into Monument Park, 422 feet away. Rookie Anthony Volpe manned shortstop — at 21 the youngest Yankee to start on Opening Day since Derek Jeter — and, while he didn’t get a hit, he kissed the “NY” on his jersey during the Bleacher Creatures roll call, then walked in his first plate appearance and stole his first base. Gerrit Cole set a Yankees Opening Day record with 11 strikeouts. The Bombers’ bullpen threw three scoreless innings to preserve a shutout against the San Francisco Giants. It was chilly day in the Bronx, but pretty much a perfect afternoon for the home team. And the whole thing took a grand total of 2 hours and 33 minutes. — Matt Marrone


Recap | Box score | Highlights

No surprise here. A team that won 101 games last season beat a team that started a pitcher who led the majors in losses each of the past two seasons. The Braves knocked out Patrick Corbin in the top of the fourth inning after hitting him around for seven hits, three walks and four runs. It wasn’t all happy news for the Braves, however, as Max Fried left the game in the fourth inning with left hamstring discomfort. The Braves are already starting the season with rookies Jared Shuster and Dylan Dodd in the rotation, so their starting pitching depth will be tested early on here if Fried misses any time. Bryce Elder probably gets the first call if Fried has to go on the IL, with Ian Anderson another option. — David Schoenfield


What to watch and lineups for remaining Opening Day games

The pitching matchup: Shohei Ohtani vs. Kyle Muller

The big storyline: As it was, as it is, as it shall be: Shohei Ohtani. He’s not only the One Big Opening Day storyline, he’s bound to be one big season-long storyline. This could be the beginning of the end to Ohtani’s career as an Angel, and it starts on the mound — and in the batter’s box — in the barren expanse of the Oakland Coliseum, nearly five years to the day after he made his first big league start on the same exact spot.

One obscure thing to impress your friends: Center fielder Cristian Pache, considered the best prospect in the trade that sent Matt Olson to the Braves, couldn’t crack Oakland’s Opening Day roster despite being out of options. He was traded Wednesday for Billy Sullivan, a Phillies reliever who had a 4.59 ERA in Double-A. “It was really hard to run out of time with a player that you feel is young and still has a huge future in this game,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. The A’s, a franchise eternally waiting for something — a new home, a contending team, the next trade of a known quantity for a group of unknowns — finally found something that wasn’t worth the wait. — Tim Keown

Angels lineup:

1. Taylor Ward (R) LF
2. Mike Trout (R) CF
3. Shohei Ohtani (L) P
4. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
5. Hunter Renfroe (R) RF
6. Luis Rengifo (S) 2B
7. Brandon Drury (R) 1B
8. Gio Urshela (R) SS
9. Logan O’Hoppe (R) C

A’s lineup:

1. Tony Kemp (L) 2B
2. Conner Capel (L) DH
3. Aledmys Diaz (R) SS
4. Seth Brown (L) LF
5. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
6. Ramon Laureano (R) RF
7. Jace Peterson (L) 3B
8. Shea Langeliers (R) C
9. Esteury Ruiz (R) CF


The pitching matchup: Zac Gallen vs. Julio Urias

The big storyline: Teams doled out free agent dollars in record fashion this offseason, but the Dodgers, among the most aggressive spenders these past few years, opted to mostly stand pat in order to create a path for their homegrown players. We’ve already seen that backfire in one respect, with Gavin Lux, primed to be the everyday shortstop, suffering a season-ending knee injury in spring training. Do they have enough to contend the way they have over the past decade? And can the D-backs — an underrated team that plays really good defense, runs the bases well, received solid contributions from key members of its rotation last season and has several young players ready to make an impact — give them a run?

One obscure thing to impress your friends: Keep your eyes on Miguel Vargas, the 23-year-old who will get his first opportunity to play every day in the major leagues. His hitting has never really been in question — the concern has been his defense. But the Dodgers believe he’ll be a lot better defensively at second base than many outsiders expect, pointing to the work he put in during the offseason. They see him as a potential breakout star, somebody who will compete for the Rookie of the Year award. Just as important: He plays with high energy, runs the bases aggressively and should be lots of fun to watch. — Gonzalez

Diamondbacks lineup:

1. Kyle Lewis (R) DH
2. Ketel Marte (S) 2B
3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R) LF
4. Christian Walker (R) 1B
5. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
6. Nick Ahmed (R) SS
7. Corbin Carroll (L) CF
8. Gabriel Moreno (R) C
9. Jake McCarthy (L) RF

Dodgers lineup:

1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
2. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
3. Will Smith (R) C
4. Max Muncy (L) 3B
5. J.D. Martinez (R) DH
6. David Peralta (L) LF
7. Miguel Vargas (R) 2B
8. James Outman (L) CF
9. Miguel Rojas (R) SS


The pitching matchup: Shane Bieber vs. Luis Castillo

The big storyline: One of just two Opening Day games where both teams made the playoffs last year (Blue Jays-Cardinals is the other), this one showcases a terrific pitching matchup between Bieber and Castillo. That’s fun, but all eyes will be on Julio Rodriguez, who enters the season as one of the must-watch players in the game after his stellar Rookie of the Year campaign. He ranked seventh on ESPN.com’s list of the top 100 players in the game, an aggressive ranking, but symbolic of what the 22-year-old might achieve after hitting .284 with 28 home runs and 25 steals — with the charisma to match.

One obscure thing to impress your friends: The Mariners made the playoffs last year for the first time since 2001, but going back to 2007, they have the best Opening Day record in the majors at 13-3 (the Mets and Dodgers are 12-4). Much of that is thanks to Felix Hernandez, who started 11 Opening Day games and posted a 1.53 ERA. — Schoenfield

Guardians lineup:

1. Steven Kwan (L) LF
2. Amed Rosario (R) SS
3. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
4. Josh Bell (S) DH
5. Josh Naylor (L) 1B
6. Andres Gimenez (L) 2B
7. Will Brennan (L) RF
8. Mike Zunino (R) C
9. Myles Straw (R) CF

Mariners lineup:

1. Julio Rodriguez (R) CF
2. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
3. Ty France (R) 1B
4. Teoscar Hernandez (R) RF
5. Cal Raleigh (S) C
6. Eugenio Suarez (R) 3B
7. Jarred Kelenic (L) LF
8. Tommy La Stella (L) DH
9. J.P. Crawford (L) SS

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

The Colorado Rockies placed left-hander Kyle Freeland on the 15-day injured list Friday with a left elbow strain.

The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

Freeland appeared to injure his right shoulder while attempting to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Bud Black, however, said Freeland was “fine” after the game.

Freeland, 30, has limped to a 0-3 record with a 13.21 ERA in four games (all starts) this season. He is 55-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 188 career games (183 starts) with the Rockies.

Also on Friday, Colorado recalled right-hander Noah Davis from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Davis, 26, owns a 0-2 record with a 6.62 ERA in four games (all starts) with the Isotopes. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in nine career games (six starts) with the Rockies.

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider began to feel discomfort in his right elbow in spring training but didn’t realize the severity of the injury until learning he needed season-ending surgery.

Strider said he had a bone fragment develop following Tommy John surgery in 2019 that caused the ulnar collateral ligament to become unstable. Strider also said he did not have a tear that required a second Tommy John surgery and he instead had an internal brace procedure, perhaps giving him a better opportunity to recover for the start of the 2025 season.

Strider finally complained about the issue after pitching four innings in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on April 5.

“You’re not going to feel good when you’re playing baseball every day,” Strider said Friday while standing in front of his locker in his first news conference since the surgery. “So I’m not searching for that. You know, like I said, I’m going to pitch through anything if I feel like I can help the team and I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore, so I thought it’s time to say something.”

An MRI the next day revealed damage to his UCL. Texas Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure on April 13.

“They’re theorizing that I tore some connective tissue … and that’s what destabilized the ligament,” Strider said. “And maybe I blew through the last of that on that game and things deteriorated pretty quickly throughout the outing.”

Strider was Atlanta’s No. 1 starting pitcher after going 20-5 with 281 strikeouts in last year, when he led the major leagues in wins and strikeouts.

With his right arm immobilized in a sling, Strider said he will look for ways to support his teammates.

“These guys don’t don’t need me to to win a World Series,” he said. “So you know they’re going to pursue that journey. I’ll be here here to cheer them on.”

Replacing Strider will be a challenge.

Right-hander Allan Winans allowed seven runs — six earned — over five innings in a 16-15 loss to the New York Mets on April 11 and was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game.

Right-hander Darius Vines had more success, allowing one run and four hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-1 win at Houston on Monday. Vines is scheduled to make his second start of the season on Sunday night against Texas.

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D-backs’ Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

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D-backs' Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

The Arizona Diamondbacks placed right-hander Ryne Nelson on the 15-day injured list Friday because of an elbow contusion suffered the previous night.

Nelson was hit on the right arm by a line drive off the bat of the San Francisco GiantsMike Yastrzemski during the second inning of his start Thursday night.

The team recalled outfielder Pavin Smith from Triple-A Reno in the corresponding roster move.

Smith, a first-round pick (seventh overall) of the Diamondbacks in 2017, hit .188 (36-for-191) in 69 games with Arizona last season, dropping his average to .240 in his four big-league seasons. He has 28 home runs and 116 RBIs in 391 games.

The Diamondbacks also designated infielder Jace Peterson for assignment. Peterson had only one hit in 22 at-bats for Arizona this season and hit .183 (17-for-93) through 41 games with the Diamondbacks in 2023.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.

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