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The Marlins are upset about the Red Sox’s travel roster

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According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel, the Marlins will be contacting the league office after the Red Sox declined to bring any of their established regulars to Palm Beach for Thursday’s spring training game.

While teams are supposed to bring at least four “regulars” to road spring games, the rule has always been flouted and seemingly more so than ever these last couple of years. That’s especially true during the first couple of weeks of spring games, when many regulars play just every other day anyway.

The Red Sox on Thursday started just one projected regular: rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. In fact, he was the only guy in the lineup who figures to make the team at all. 2013 backups Ryan Lavarnway and Brandon Snyder were present, but they’re unlikely to be on this year’s Opening Day roster. The starting pitcher was Allen Webster, who is probably the team’s eighth starter in reality.

It’s hard to see how the Marlins have much of a leg to stand on here, though, if they do contact the league office. They’ve thus far played four road games, but the first of those was in their home park (they share Roger Dean Stadium with the Cardinals). In their three actual road games, they’ve brought along four starters just once:

March 1: Christian Yelich, Casey McGehee
March 2: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marcell Ozuna
March 5: Rafael Furcal, Marcell Ozuna, Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee

Their one draw, Giancarlo Stanton, has played in all four home games this month, but he hasn’t made any trips.

The truth is that many teams are going this route more and more frequently, and it’s not a bad thing if the Marlins and some other clubs do raise a stink about it and maybe force MLB to take some action. Spring games might be a whole lot cheaper than the regular-season contests, but they’re still expensive enough that fans should have some expectation of seeing players they’ve heard of. If the league started fining teams that didn’t bring a few regulars for its trip, the practice would likely end in a hurry.

UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that the Red Sox could face a possible fine for not bringing enough regulars to the game.  However, such a punishment would not be announced.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.