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Spring Training Opener Gamethread! Padres at White Sox

For better or for worse, the South Siders are back

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox Workouts
Lance Lynn, becoming one with his glove — and hoping for a big 2023 is ahead of him.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Ready or not, here they come. Spring Training gets started this afternoon, as the White Sox host the Padres.

Pedro Grifol will make his managing debut for the ballclub, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 p.m. CST at Camelback Ranch. Does this game having a lot riding on it? In the grand scheme of things, no. In the eyes of fans who are anxious to see new leadership, probably yes.

Lance Lynn will get the start for the White Sox. Lynn and fans alike are looking for him to make a bounce-back after a subpar 2022 season. The Big Bastard is coming off of an 8-7 season where he posted a 3.99 ERA. The righthander is scheduled to go three innings. If you’re curious as to why Lynn is the first starter this season, he will be participating in the World Baseball Classic, and this will be one of his only White Sox starts before joining Team USA.

As such other WBC participants, Kendall Graveman and José Ruiz, are also scheduled to pitch this afternoon.

San Diego is sending Jacob Lugo to the mound for the start. Lugo signed with the Padres this offseason after spending the last seven seasons with the Mets. In 2022, he pitched out of the bullpen, going 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA.

Grifol is already getting questions about his lineup, given who is in right field to start the afternoon. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s review the rest of the lineup.

After missing the last half of 2022 due to a groin issue, and then a finger injury that required surgery, Tim Anderson is back at shortstop and in his leadoff spot. Luis Robert Jr. and his updated name is in the 2-spot playing center field. Latino music star and third baseman, Yoán Moncada, is batting third. Eloy Jiménez is in right field — yes, you read that right — and batting cleanup. Andrew Vaughn starts his hopeful tenure at first base, batting fifth. Best-shape-of-his-life Yasmani Grandal gets the start behind the plate and will bat sixth. Please start praying for the longevity of his legs now. Gavin Sheets, supposed outfielder, is batting seventh and will DH for the ballclub this afternoon. Non-roster spring training invitee, Victor Reyes, is batting eighth and getting the start in left field, a mild indication that the fourth outfielder spot is his to lose. Last, but certainly not least, 2021 ALDS Game 3 hero Leury García, will play second base and bat ninth.

Notably missing from today’s lineup are the only major offseason acquisitions, Andrew Benintendi and Elvis Andrus. Ease ’em in, Pedro.

The San Diego Padres are coming off of a season that saw them beating the Dodgers in the NLDS and an offseason of signing many players White Sox fans wish we could have had.

Bob Melvin sends Trent Grisham to center field in the leadoff spot. Brandon Dixon in left field, Jake Cronenworth at second base, and Matt Carpenter in the DH spot bat in the 2-, 3-, and 4-spots. Batting fifth is David Dahl in right field, and catcher Pedro Severino bats sixth. The lineup rounds out with Alfonso Rivas batting seventh and playing first base, Matthew Batten batting eighth and playing third base, and Jackson Merrill playing shortstop and batting ninth.

First pitch today is at 2:05 p.m. CST. The game can be watched on NBC Sports Chicago and heard on ESPN 1000.