MLB Playing Dominican Republic Series this Weekend

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Announced last July, Major League Baseball’s two spring training games in the Dominican Republic are finally here. On Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will play two exhibition games.

MLB has played games here in the spring of 1999, 2000, and 2020. But this is their first return to the island since COVID-19 suspended spring training five days after the Tigers and Twins played in front of 15,000 fans. The average attendance for the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues in 2023 was 7,246.

Red Sox and Dominican Hall of Famers Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday, while Dominican recording artist El Alfa will do the honors on Sunday.

Dominican players for both teams include Rafael Devers and Brayan Bello for the Red Sox, and Yandy Diaz, Jose Siri, and Randy Arozarena for the Rays. This is an extra-special week for Bello, who returns to the D.R. this weekend having just agreed to a six-year, $55 million contract extension, with a team option for a seventh year at $21 million. The right-handed starting pitcher doesn’t turn 25 until May.

Massachusetts online sportsbooks have Boston’s regular season win line at 77.5, the lowest in the American League East. The Rays are at 84.5.

Kyle Harrison Dazzles Against the Dodgers

Things were not as they were supposed to be on Thursday in Scottsdale, Arizona. It rained, wiping out the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers spring training game in the third inning, and the Dodgers bats were quiet.

Kyle Harrison is a 22-year-old left-handed rookie that is expected to break camp as the Giants No. 2 starter. On Thursday, he looked like an ace, striking out six of the 12 Dodgers he faced before the rain ended his day. Harrison actually struck out six of the first 10 batters he faced, but walked the next two batters as the mound began to get soft from the rain and he struggled with his footing.

Harrison has made three starts this spring, striking out 12 batters in seven innings. He made his MLB debut last August, and finished the season with 35 strikeouts in 34.2 innings. Harrison is still a rookie in 2024, and baseball online sportsbooks have him at +1400 to win National League Rookie of the Year. 

‘MLB: The Show’ Features Women Players

The closest thing we have to an actual woman in Major League Baseball is Kelsie Whitmore, the first woman to play in an MLB-partnered league. She is a pitcher and outfielder for the Staten Island FerryHawks in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Whitmore first started playing professional baseball in 2016, and she has become the inspiration for the newest addition to baseball’s flagship video game, MLB: The Show. Now, for the first time, when you play the Road to the Show in player creation mode, you can make your player female.

“To me, this project is a great opportunity for the world to be informed of women who play baseball, and that taking their skills to the next level is possible,” said Whitmore.

MLB: The Show 24 will be released on March 19.

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