LEADING OFF: MLB celebrates Robinson 75 years after debut
A look at what’s happening around baseball Friday:
JACKIE ROBINSON DAY
Players across the majors will don Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 — and all of them in Dodger blue this year — for the 75th anniversary of Robinson’s big league debut.
The Dodgers, of course, will be at home in Los Angeles, facing the Cincinnati Reds. They’ll be joined by Robinson’s 99-year-old widow, Rachel, and her son David.
Earlier in the day, David Robinson will read the book “I Am Jackie Robinson” at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasadena, California, where Robinson grew up. He’ll be joined by Robinson’s granddaughter, Ayo, pitcher David Price and Players Alliance founders Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.
Outfielder Mookie Betts will join the Robinson family at nearby John Muir High for the unveiling of a mural of Robinson. He starred in football, basketball, baseball and track at the Pasadena school in the 1930s.
Meanwhile in New York, Commissioner Rob Manfred will host an event for youth baseball players from the city in Times Square with special guests Ken Griffey Jr., Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Joe Torre, Willie Randolph and Butch Huskey.
The Guardians are set to reintroduce themselves to the city of Cleveland with their home opener against the San Francisco Giants. It’s a new beginning for the ballclub, which dropped its old name after more than 100 years amid criticism over its insensitivity to Native American communities.
Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who cut his acting teeth in Cleveland in the 1970s, will toss a ceremonial first pitch to Larry Doby Jr., whose father broke the American League’s color barrier with Cleveland 75 years ago.
Guardians right-hander Zach Plesac (0-0, 0.00) will then face Giants lefty Carlos Rodón (0-0, 1.80).
TERRIFIC FOR TOM
The Mets will unveil a statue outside Citi Field for Hall of Fame ace Tom Seaver prior to their home opener against Arizona.
Seaver’s widow, Nancy, and their two daughters will be on hand for the unveiling, as will catcher Mike Piazza and owner Steve Cohen. Seaver’s grandsons, Thomas and Tobin, will throw ceremonial first pitches. Seaver, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, died at age 75 in 2020.
It will also mark a homecoming for Buck Showalter, a former Yankees manager who has taken over the Mets to much fanfare this season. Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.00), another newcomer, is set to face the Diamondbacks’ Zach Davies (0-0, 3.60).
WELCOME TO THE SHOW
Left-hander MacKenzie Gore, the Padres’ top pitching prospect, is scheduled to make his big league debut with a start against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
The 23-year-old Gore, the third pick overall in the 2017 draft, will take the rotation spot of left-hander Blake Snell, who is heading to the injured list with a tight left adductor.
Gore’s arrival in the bigs was delayed by command problems in the minors. He had an outstanding spring, with 16 strikeouts and just three walks in 12 innings.
The Blue Jays have placed outfielder Teoscar Hernández on the 10-day injured list with a left oblique strain after he was pulled from a game Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. An MRI revealed the strain Thursday, a day before Toronto opens a three-game home series against Oakland.
“You never know with obliques, but I don’t think it’s as bad as we thought it would be,” manager Charlie Montoyo said.
The 29-year-old was a first-time All-Star in 2021, when he hit .296 with 32 homers, 116 RBIs and an .870 OPS. He’s finished in the top 20 of AL MVP voting each of the past two seasons.
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