A look at the highlights of what’s happening all around spring training in Florida and Arizona on Thursday:
Comedian Will Ferrell plans to play ball in spring training — and play ball and play ball and play ball. The “Anchorman” star is going to play every position while making appearances at five Arizona spring training games. Ferrell will travel to the Phoenix suburbs of Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale and Peoria via helicopter and play for all 10 teams. The event will be filmed for an upcoming HBO special Ferrell is dedicating to fighting cancer.
BACK ON THE MOUND
Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka will make his first spring start when the New York Yankees host the Atlanta Braves at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Tanaka missed 2 1/2 months last season while rehabilitating a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. He returned for two late September starts. CC Sabathia, who had season-ending knee surgery in July, is set to pitch in a simulated game.
Outfielder Nate McLouth will make his first start of the spring — as the designated hitter — against the Mets at Port St. Lucie, Florida. McLouth, who went 1 for 2 Wednesday in his spring debut, is still on a throwing program as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. If all goes well, he should return to the field sometime next week.
Miami’s Christian Yelich has five singles in his last five at-bats, going 3 for 3 on Tuesday against Washington and adding two more hits on Wednesday against the Mets. The Marlins play at Minnesota in at Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday.
INTO THE FUTURE
Right-hander Jordan Pries, the Seattle Mariners’ minor league co-starting pitcher of the year in 2014 after going 10-8 with a 3.86 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A, starts against Oakland at Mesa.
Jamie Garcia, limited to seven games last season because of injuries, is set to start for St. Louis against Baltimore in Jupiter, Florida. The left-hander worked 1 1-3 innings in his spring debut Saturday, giving up a run while allowing three hits and a walk against Washington.
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