“It is very strange,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
On both coasts, there was a very familiar look — Red Sox-Yankees and Giants-Dodgers.
Mariano Rivera was set for his final opening day when the banged-up Yankees hosted Boston. The New York closer is among several big names who missed most or even all of last year — Troy Tulowitzki, Victor Martinez and John Lackey are in that group.
Injured stars Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira won’t be in pinstripes for the first pitch.
“It’s still the Yankees, it’s still going to be a good lineup,” Boston starter Jon Lester said Sunday. “They’re missing a few of their big guys but anybody that fills in for them, it’s like what I said, they’re going to put professional at-bats together and still — it’s not going to be a walk in the park.”
No easy decisions, either, for Boston manager John Farrell, one of six new skippers in the majors this year.
At Dodger Stadium, Matt Cain starts for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants when they play Los Angeles in the century-old rivalry.
It will mark the 64th season at the microphone for Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. Heck, Tigers manager Jim Leyland seems like a mere pup by comparison, now starting his 50th year in pro ball.
All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is sidelined for the Dodgers. Around the majors, third basemen Chase Headley of San Diego, David Freese of St. Louis and Brett Lawrie of Toronto will begin the season on the disabled list.
Mets third baseman David Wright plans to be in the lineup at Citi Field to take on San Diego. He hurt his ribcage at the World Baseball Classic.
“I feel good physically,” Wright said. “It would have been nice to have maybe a few more at-bats toward the end, but I didn’t have that luxury.”