March 31, 2014
Major League Baseball's Opening Day features seven former Commodores this year.
Leading the way is a pair of pitchers from the Mid-State area in Tampa Bay's David Price and Oakland's Sonny Gray. Both hurlers will get the Opening Day nod as the starting pitcher for their respective teams with Gray getting his first-ever Opening Day start after starring for the Commodores just three years ago. Price's Rays open at home against Toronto while Gray's A's begin the 2014 campaign at home against Cleveland.
Pedro Alvarez anchors the Pirates' lineup in Pittsburgh after being an All-Star in 2013 and leading the Pirates back to the playoffs for the first time in over 20 years. The Pirates open the season against division rival Chicago at home. Ryan Flaherty begins his third season in the big leagues with Baltimore looking to nail down a spot in the Orioles' lineup. Baltimore opens the season at home inside Camden Yards against defending World Series champion Boston. Mike Baxter opened his season with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week in Australia before returning to the United States to play last night at San Diego.
Nick Christiani is on the Opening Day roster for the Cincinnati Reds for the first time in his career. The right-hander joins the Reds' bullpen as they open up at home against defending National League champ St. Louis. Mike Minor opens the season on the disabled list for Atlanta but is expected to join the Braves' rotation in the near future.
Vanderbilt's seven players in the big leagues are the most ever to open the season at the highest level and are currently the second-most amongst Southeastern Conference teams behind Florida's eight.
Later this week 26 more former Commodores will begin their seasons as Minor League Baseball opens the 2014 season.