Professional baseball is finally back. The Atlanta Braves will host the Detroit Tigers today at 1:05 p.m. at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in the Grapefruit League opener, and it's not a moment too soon.
"After a certain amount of time, you want to see somebody with a different-colored uniform," Fredi Gonzalez told braves.com. "These guys are ready to go and play some games. We'll still get our work in. But we'll be able to play some games."
Tim Hudson will take the hill opposite Rick Porcello and is expected to pitch two innings. Cory Gearrin and Craig Kimbrel are among the relievers scheduled to throw one inning.
Gonzalez has setup his lineup to look like the anticipated Opening Day one. Andrelton Simmons will lead off, followed by Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. Freddie Freeman will hit clean-up, B.J. Upton will hit fifth, and Dan Uggla, Juan Francisco and Gerald Laird round out the bottom of the lineup.
Atlanta will use the designated hitter in the first couple weeks of spring training action. Blake DeWitt will start Friday, and Evan Gattis will replace him after a couple of plate appearances.
Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, B.J. Upton, Detroit Tigers, Justin Upton, MLB, Tim Hudson