5 Must-Watch Matchups in Spring Training's Opening Weekend

Mark MillerCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2013

5 Must-Watch Matchups in Spring Training's Opening Weekend

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    Teams from all over the league are finally getting into the swing of spring training, as pitchers and catchers have been around for a couple of weeks now in advance of this weekend's spring games.

    Spring training provides young players and seasoned veterans alike with the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a spot on an Opening Day roster, and while cuts are a ways off, the pressure is always palpable.

    With the first Cactus and Grapefruit League games in our rear view, here are some games worth tuning into this weekend.

New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves

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    With two big-name additions in their outfield heading into spring training the Atlanta Braves have all the reason in the world to believe they'll be able to hang with the best of them—maybe even win the NL East.

    The Upton brothers each went 0-for-2 in their debut on Friday against the Detroit Tigers, but they will turn back around on Saturday and square off against the New York Yankees.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. Detroit Tigers

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    After opening up spring training with a 2-1 win over the Braves on Friday, the Detroit Tigers will face off against one of the most revamped rosters in all of baseball when the Blue Jays head to Lakeland, Fla.

    Stars like Miguel Cabrera and Jose Reyes will be working not only to prepare for the regular season but also for the upcoming World Baseball Classic where both will represent their respective nations.

    Saturday will also mark starter Anibal Sanchez's first start of the spring, and he'll have plenty to prove after signing a lucrative five-year deal this offseason.

Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles

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    The Minnesota Twins had the worst pitching staff in all of baseball in 2012, so it's no surprise that only one starting pitcher from last year is slated to return in 2013.

    Kevin Correia is among the team's offseason signings, and he will lead things off for the Twins as they open up their Grapefruit League schedule against the Baltimore Orioles.

    Baltimore remained relatively quiet this offseason, but as the team looks to build off its impressive run last summer, the Orioles should have all the motivation needed to get right down to business this spring.

Los Angeles Angels vs. San Francisco Giants

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    The Los Angeles Angels may be able to talk up their young and star-studded roster that now has another weapon in Josh Hamilton, but as we stand today, San Francisco is the one holding the World Series trophy.

    Mike Trout is the best young player in baseball and will hopefully be able to avoid a sophomore slump, and the absence of Torii Hunter may not even be felt with Hamilton in the mix. 

    In San Francisco's camp, the Giants have brought back their key figures from last fall's run, including Marco Scutaro and Angel Pagan, and the team has to be thrilled that catcher Buster Posey is passing up on this year's World Baseball Classic to focus on defending the team's title.

Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees

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    2012 brought some new faces atop the AL East as the Baltimore Orioles returned from the depths of the division and competed with the New York Yankees into October.

    This season, the division promises to bring about some new changes once again, with Toronto quickly emerging as a force to be reckoned with after bringing Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera north of the border. 

    Free agent-to-be Robinson Cano and the Yankees will meet up with Toronto for the first of four spring training matchups in a split-squad game on Sunday.