Around baseball: Season begins amid rivalries, cold weather

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Opening day across baseball will feature star pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander trying to get off to great starts, old rivalries at Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium, and the beginning of a quirky interleague schedule.

A dozen games are set for today. No snow is in the forecast for any ballpark on April Fools’ Day, but freezing temperatures are expected at Target Field in Minnesota.

Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels visit Cincinnati in the first interleague matchup this season. World Series champion San Francisco plays the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston takes on the New York Yankees.

Detroit opens the season in frosty Minneapolis, where forecasts call for temperatures in the low 30s at game time at outdoor Target Field. The wind chill is expected to be around 20 degrees, so the Tigers will need all the heat they can get from Verlander’s 100-mph fastballs.

“It’s going to be cold but I’ve pitched in that kind of weather before,” Verlander said. “I don’t think about it. It’s always cold in Detroit on opening day.”

In sunny Los Angeles, it won’t take long for the Dodgers to find out how their $215 million payroll stacks up against baseball’s elite.

They’ll test it out against the Giants, as former Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw makes his third straight opening-day start, against Matt Cain.

“They are definitely the team to beat,” Kershaw said. “We can talk about it until we’re blue in the face, but until we start winning some games and be in first place for the majority of the season, there’s really not much we can say about it.”

Roster moves

• Despite recent struggles and injuries, veteran outfielder Jason Bay made Seattle’s opening-day roster as a fifth outfielder.

“It was kind of the first time I’ve really had to make the team,” Bay said. “I actually kind of liked it.”

• Dynamic rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made Boston’s opening-day roster and will start against the Yankees. Bradley, 23, was taken with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He batted .419, with a .507 on-base percentage, in spring training. Jonny Gomes will move from the outfield to designated hitter while David Ortiz is out because of a right Achilles tendon injury.

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