Cole-Scherzer matchup to highlight MLB opening day: reports
Aces to take mound for Yankees, Nationals in rematch of 2019 World Series opener
The defending World Series champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees on opening day, multiple outlets reported Saturday.
Major League Baseball has not released the official schedule for the upcoming 60-game regular season, which reportedly will run from July 23 through Sept. 27.
The New York Post and ESPN both reported that the Nationals and Yankees will open the season at Nationals Park. The Post said the opener would be played in prime time on July 23.
According to the deal reached by MLB and the players' association earlier this week, teams will play each of their four divisional opponents 10 times. The other 20 games will be interleague contests against teams from the same geographical region.
A Yankees-Nationals opener would provide a blockbuster pitching duel, with right-hander Gerrit Cole likely making his debut for New York against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Cole signed a record nine-year, $324-million US deal this winter after a 20-win season with the Houston Astros in 2019.
He started the previous game played at Nationals Park, pitching the Astros past the Nationals 7-1 last October for a 3-2 edge in the World Series.
Training camp opens Wednesday
Howie Kendrick, Anthony Rendon and the Nationals won the last two games to earn their first championship.Scherzer started Game 7 and fellow ace Stephen Strasburg was the World Series MVP, and either of them could start on opening day.
The Yankees and Nationals met twice this year, including New York's 6-3 win on March 12 on the final day before MLB stopped spring training because of the virus outbreak.
Players will begin reporting to summer training camp on Wednesday — Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and their New York teammates will work out at Yankee Stadium while Trea Turner, Patrick Corbin and Washington will train at Nationals Park.
The Yankees are hopeful that slugger Aaron Judge has fully recovered from a rib injury that bothered him during spring training in Florida.
Longtime Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman wrote this week in a diary entry for The Associated Press that he's weighing his options with the virus looming.
"I'm still deciding whether to play," he said. "When it comes down to it, it's a decision not just for me, but for my family as well."
"I have a three-week-old baby. My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over," he said.
With files from The Associated Press