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Elephant Rumblings: IT’S THE A’s OPENING DAY!

MLB news roundup

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MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Opening Day, Athletics Nation!

The A’s begin the regular season tonight, kicking off the year against superstar Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels, right here at home at the Coliseum. There are going to be some fresh new faces that A’s fans are going to be getting their first look at tonight.

For instance, the starting pitcher. Lefty Kyle Muller is getting the ball for his first career start with the A’s, and the hope and expectations for him are high. Considered the main piece of the Sean Murphy trade, Muller made an impression on the team in camp, so much so that he’s the only rookie starting pitcher slated for an Opening Day gig this year. He’s been compared to Bay Area rival Giants’ started Madison Bumgarner and the A’s would gladly take that from a Muller career. On another note, he’s been reunited with his battery mate/friend Langeliers, who made his way to Oakland just one year before Muller arrived. BFFs back together again.

On the position player side of things, center fielder Estuery Ruiz will be making his own A’s debut. Like Muller, he’s had a quick cup of coffee in the big leagues but nothing like the chance he’s about to get with the A’s here in 2023. With Cristian Pache out of the picture, Ruiz could theoretically be the primary starter in center for the entire season, and the A’s would love it if he could seize hold of that role after the disaster that was Pache. We just saw with Pache that defense will only buy you so much grace with the club, but Ruiz is so much more dynamic than Pache. He should be a really fun ball player to watch.

And then there’s Ryan Noda. The Rule 5 draft pick out of the Dodgers’ organization, the left-handed Noda could start tonight against Ohtani and make his MLB debut on his birthday! Wouldn’t that be a treat for the youngin’?

And it’s not just rookies making their introductions to A’s fans. Off-season signees Jace Peterson and Aledmys Diaz are expected to be in tonight’s starting lineup, giving A’s fans their first look at their new third baseman and (for now) part-time shortstop. And let’s not forget Jesus Aguilar, the expected primary DH for the A’s this year. Oakland had issues at that position last year and it would go a long way if Aguilar got back to his former slugging ways.

And though he’s not technically a rookie anymore, it’s Shea Langeliers’ time to shine behind the plate for the A’s now that Murphy is gone. This will be the first of at least several for the young gun and hopefully the first in a long line of Opening Day starts for the Oakland A’s. And he just so happens to get to catch his buddy Muller, who he became close with in the Atlanta organization. Fingers crossed that these two are a mainstay battery for the A’s for a long time.

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