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MLB Opening Day Agate

4/3/2006 - MLB

April 3, 2006\n
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Arizona at Colorado (4:05 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
Arizona – Brandon Webb (31-37, 1st career Opening Day start)\n
Colorado – Jason Jennings (49-43, 2nd career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside The Numbers: The Diamondbacks will start only three players --- Craig Counsell, Luis Gonzales and Shawn Green --- from last year's Opening Day lineup. ... Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was named Colorado's spring training MVP. ... D-Backs second-year first baseman Conor Jackson tore it up with a .420 batting average, six doubles and 12 RBI in Cactus League action. … The Rockies started 2005 with a dismal 15-35 through their first two months. … Turning in the biggest improvement in the magors, the D-Backs were 26 games better in 2005 than in 2004.\n
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Outside The Lines: Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook returned from a life-threatening blood clot condition and went 7-2 during Aug. and Sept. of 2005. ... The Diamondbacks, five years removed from winning their first ever World Series are chronicled in the book The Last Nine Innings, recently released by author Charles Euchner in early March. ...First-year D-Backs general manager Josh Byrnes was an assistant to Theo Epstein in Boston.\n
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Detroit at Kansas City (4:10 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
Detroit - Kenny Rogers (190-131, 2nd career Opening Day start)\n
Kansas City – Scott Elarton (50-47, 4th career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside The Numbers: Rogers makes his Detroit debut. … At 41-years-old, Rogers is the oldest Opening Day starter in Detroit Tigers history. ... Kansas City a major league-worst 56-106 in 2005. … Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson had a hot spring with 26 hits, 13 RBI, seven stolen bases and six homeruns. … Defensive-minded Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz had a torrid spring at the plate, knocking in 16 runs and hitting .431.\n
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Outside the Lines: Kansas City baseball legend Buck O'Neil will serve as the Royals' first-ever Honorary Manager. ... KC native and Academy Award winner Chris Cooper will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. ...Country-music artist Sara Evans will sing the National Anthem \n
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Atlanta at Los Angeles Dodgers (4:10 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
Atlanta – Tim Hudson (106-48, 4th career Opening Day start)\n
Los Angeles – Derek Lowe (84-74, 2nd career Opening Day start)\n

Inside The Numbers: Braves center fielder Andruw Jones went deep an MLB-best 51 times in 2005. ... Edgar Renteria is making his debut with Atlanta, his third team in three years. … Braves' second-year studs Jeff Francouer, Ryan Langerhans and Brian McCann are hoping to continue the Braves' run of 14 consecutive NL East titles. … Rafael Furcal will play his first game as a Dodger against his former team. … Five-time All-Star shortstop Nomar Garciaparra will start the season as the Dodgers' first baseman.\n
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Outside The Lines: Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda will throw out the first pitch. ... The Dodgers' Opening Day festivities will begin with a 30-minute concert by Hootie and the Blowfish. ... Jeff Kent will accept his award for the 2005 Silver Slugger award.\n

LA Angels at Seattle (5:05 p.m. PT)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Los Angeles Angels at Seattle (5:05 p.m. ET)\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
Los Angeles – Bartolo Colon (139-82, 6th career Opening Day start)\n
Seattle – Jamie Moyer (205-152, 4th career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside the Numbers: Despite nagging injuries, Anaheim veterans Darin Erstad and Garrett Anderson will be in the Angels' Opening Day lineup. ... Erstad, a three-time Gold Glove winner, will return to center field after spending the last two seasons at first base. ... With 206 hits last year, Ichiro Suzuki became the first player in MLB history to collect 200 hits in each of his first five seasons. … A year removed from major knee and shoulder surgeries, 37-year-old Tim Salmon hit .346 and had four spring long balls in an attempt to make the ball club. ... Vladimir Guerrero and his 15 Opening-Day RBI are tied for the lead among active players with Ken Griffey Jr.\n
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Outside the Lines: Three of the nine MLB players suspended in 2005 for viloating Major League Baseball's drug policy were Seattle Mariners --- Jamal Strong, Ryan Franklin and Mike Morse. ... The city of Anaheim has spent over $3.5 million already in its failed legal bid to get the Angels to change call Anaheim their home town again. ... Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselback and teammates will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.\n
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Florida at Houston (7:05 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
Florida – Dontrelle Willis (46-27, 1st career Opening Day start)\n
Houston – Roy Oswalt (83-39, 4th career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside the Numbers: The Marlins posted a Grapefruit League-best 19-8 record. ... Long-time Astro Jeff Bagwell will start the season on the disbled list and admitted that he may never play again. … Only Miguel Cabrera remains from the Marlins' 2005 Opening Day lineup. … Craig Biggio is one of two players to collect five hits on Opening Day since 1970. Biggio did it in 2001, Jeff Kent in 1998. ...Roger Clemens, who led both leagues last year with a 1.87 ERA and pitched for the U.S.A. in the World Baseball Classic, has yet to re-sign with the Astros but hasn't ruled out a return.\n
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Outside the Lines: Former and current Astros Nolan Ryan, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker, Craig Biggio, Shane Reynolds, Lance Berkman, Brad Ausmus, Jeff Bagwell, and Andy Pettitte will be featured in a celebration of the unveiling of Houston's 2005 National League championship pennant. ... 'God Bless America' will be sung by 'American Idol' finalist Will Makar. ... Country music star Chris Cagle will sing the National Anthem prior to the start of the game.\n

San Francisco at San Diego (7:05 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
San Francisco – Jason Schmidt (116-81, 3rd career Opening Day start)\n
San Diego – Jake Peavey (46-31, 2nd career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside the Numbers: Barry Bonds will start the season six homers shy of second place on the all-time homerun list (Babe Ruth, 714) and 47 behind Hank Aaron's 755.. … Rookie Josh Barfield will begin his first season as the Padres' second baseman. … A sore left shoulder hampering San Diego first baseman Ryan Klesko could land him on the DL, according to the team. ... Mike Piazza is three homeruns shy of joining the 400 club. … Schmidt led the Cactus League with four wins and was third with a 1.50 ERA.\n
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Outside the Lines: Kicking off pre-game festivities, the Padres will raise a banner commemorating their 2005 NL West title, joining the franchise's three other division banners (1984, 1996, 1998). ... 2005 Heisman Award winner and San Diego native Reggie Bush will throw out the first pitch. ... Grammy award-winning jazz artist Chris Botti will play the National Anthem.

New York Yankees at Oakland (10:05 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup:\n
New York – Randy Johnson (263-136, 14th career Opening Day start)\n
Oakland – Barry Zito (86-53, 2nd career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside the Numbers: Randy Johnson leads all active pitchers with 104 strikeouts on Opening Day, 40 more than Pedro Martinez, who's No. 2 on the list. … The Big Unit had the fourth highest K's during spring training, fanning 24 batters. ... Johnny Damon will be playing his first game as a Yankee after singing a four-year $52 million contract in the offseason. … Frank Thomas played only four games with the A's in spring training, but hit a homer in his first at-bat in a comeback from a broken left foot. … Perhaps previewing a breakout season, Nick Swisher collected 23 hits, five doubles and 11 RBI during the spring.\n
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Outside the Lines: Huston Street will be awarded his AL Rookie of the Year trophy prior to the start of the game. ... The Athletics will honor the life of legendary broadcaster Bill King, who passed away in Oct. after serving as the voice of the A's for 25 seasons. ... Eric Chavez will be presented with his fifth straight Gold Glove award before the game.\n

April 4, 2006\n
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Minnesota at Toronto (7:15 p.m. ET)\n
==Game Notes==\n
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Starting Matchup: \n
Minnesota - Johan Santana (59-25, 1st career Opening Day start)\n
Toronto - Roy Halladay (79-43 , 4th career Opening Day start)\n
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Inside the Numbers: Santana will make his first Opening Day start, taking the reigns from Brad Radke, who had started the last nine season openers for Minnesota. ... The Twins pitching staff will feature three rookies in Francisco Liriano, Willie Eyre and Scott Baker. ... Roy Halladay was sharp in his final start of the spring Wednesday, allowing just two runs in six innings of work. ... First-year Blue Jays closer B.J.Ryan converted 36-of-41 save opportunities last season. ... Twins center fielder Torii Hunter will return after missing the last two months of the season last year with a broken ankle.\n
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Outside the Lines: The Blue Jays will honor the lives of Hall of Famer and Minnesota Twins great Kirby Puckett and former Toronto broadcaster Tom Cheek, who passes away last October. ... Shirley Cheek will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... The Blue Man Group will perform the Canadian National Anthem.\n