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Elephant Rumblings: A’s first 2023 Cactus League game tomorrow

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Spring Training-Oakland Athletics Workouts Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

It is happening. At long last, our winter of discontent ends tomorrow as the A’s will play their 2023 Cactus League opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Arizona. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05pm.

You can watch the game via the NBC Sports app, or listen via A’s cast or Bloomberg 960 AM. Or if you really want to go for the gusto, you can buy tickets here and attend the game in-person.

This year’s Spring Training should be particularly interesting to follow, since there are so many new faces on the A’s and a lot of questions surrounding who will emerge as everyday players for the young, rebuilding team.

Among the most intriguing questions: will Cristian Pache hit well enough to make Opening Day with the big league club? He’s out of options and would be exposed to waivers if the A’s want to stash him in the minors for further development.

It will also be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out. The only well-established starters on the team are Paul Blackburn and James Kaprielian, and the latter is questionable to be healthy at the beginning of the regular season.

This leaves a host of hopefuls with a chance to earn a spot, including Shintaro Fujinami, J.P. Sears, Ken Waldichuk, Kyle Muller, and Drew Rucinski. Fujinami and Rucinski are veterans from the Japan and Korea leagues with strong recent track records, which should give them an edge. Still, assuming those two get spots, that leaves one or two question marks depending on Kap’s readiness to start the season.

Whatever happens, the drama will begin to unfold this weekend. Hope yours is a good one, AN.

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Thao remains “very optimistic.”

Sign me up.

Fujinami on the other side.

It’s happening!