The Athletics and Mariners reportedly christened the 2012 regular season with two games at the Tokyo Dome last week, but since the games were slated to start at 6:10 a.m. EDT, no independent confirmation has yet been obtained. Stateside, big-league play that counts begins tonight in a gaudynewballpark in Miami when the Marlins host the defending-champion Cardinals.
Of course, the two-time defending AL winners did not stand pat. The Rangers won the bidding rights to Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher Yu Darvish, ultimately signing the ace ($60 million over five years plus the $52 million posting fee). His first Cactus League start impressed the experts and expectations are high.
Days after Victor Martinez went down with a season-ending injury, the Tigers snatched up the other monster bat at first base, showering $214 million and nine years on Prince Fielder. The resulting logjam means that the defensively challenged Miguel Cabrera is returning to play third base, at least until either hilarity or tragedy ensues.