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Mariners, Athletics name starters for Tokyo series

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The Mariners and Athletics will kick off the regular season a week before the other 28 teams with a two-game series in Tokyo, Japan March 20 and 21. The clubs have announced their starters for both series.

For the Mariners, Marco Gonzales will start the first game, followed by Yusei Kikuchi. For the A’s, Mike Fiers will start the first game, followed by Brett Anderson.

Here’s a quick rundown of the players’ stats from last season:

  • Gonzales: 166 2/3 IP, 13-9, 4.00 ERA, 145 K, 32 BB
  • Kikuchi (Japan): 163 2/3 IP, 14-4, 3.08 ERA, 153 K, 45 BB
  • Fiers: 172 IP, 12-8, 3.56 ERA, 139 K, 37 BB
  • Anderson: 80 1/3 IP, 4-5, 4.48 ERA, 47 K, 13 BB

The regular season will kick off domestically on March 28. The first games, with 1:05 PM ET starts, will feature the Mets versus the Nationals and the Orioles versus the Yankees.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.