Already delayed, Yankees opener pushed back another day
By Benjamin Hoffman
Baseball’s extra-long offseason will last at least one more day for some teams, with rain postponing opening day in the Bronx and Minnesota and threatening to delay it elsewhere.
Rain was already falling in New York City on Wednesday, and more inclement weather was in the forecast, prompting the New York Yankees to preemptively postpone Thursday’s opener against the Boston Red Sox. The game between the rival teams will now be played Friday, which had previously been scheduled as a day off.
The new opener is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Friday and comes with the added benefit of giving the team one extra day to negotiate a contract extension with outfielder Aaron Judge. Judge, who can be a free agent after this season, has said he will not negotiate with the team once games begin.
Elsewhere, the Minnesota Twins called off Thursday’s opener against the Seattle Mariners because of rain, also pushing that game to Friday. That postponement will delay the much-anticipated debut of Mariners prospect Julio Rodríguez, whom Seattle had previously announced would be on the team’s opening day roster.
Opening day had originally been scheduled for March 31 but was pushed back when Major League Baseball and the players’ union failed to finish a new collective bargaining agreement before one of MLB’s self-imposed deadlines. Commissioner Rob Manfred initially announced that the first week of play was entirely canceled, but after an agreement was reached between the two sides March 10, opening day was set as April 7 for most teams, with a full 162-game season to be accomplished by having fewer off-days and scheduling some doubleheaders.
While no other games had been moved as of noon Thursday, the inclement weather on the East Coast delayed the New York Mets’ opener, a road game against the Washington Nationals, from 4:05 p.m. to 7:05 p.m. Eastern time.
In a surprise for a team with four 2021 All-Stars projected to be in its starting rotation, the Mets will have right-hander Tylor Megill on the mound as the team’s opening day starter facing the Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin.
Megill, who was solid as a rookie last season, ended up with the job after Jacob deGrom was shut down indefinitely with a shoulder injury and Max Scherzer was delayed by a tight hamstring. Manager Buck Showalter did not want to move Chris Bassitt out of the No. 3 spot in the rotation, so Megill was to take the hill for the opener while Scherzer is expected to start Friday.
While the Yankees and the Twins were quick to postpone their games, moving Thursday’s Mets-Nationals game would be more complicated as the teams are playing a four-game series and do not have Friday as a scheduled day off. A Thursday postponement would require another doubleheader to be added to the already compacted schedule.