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Counsell's return to Milwaukee among dates to remember for upcoming MLB season

Craig Counsell
Posted at 11:11 AM, Mar 14, 2024

CHICAGO (AP) — Beginning with its ninth international opener, Major League Baseball is traveling all over the world in 2024.

Here are some dates to remember for the upcoming season:

SEOUL SERIES - WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: Shohei Ohtani makes his Dodgers debut in Seoul, South Korea, against Manny Machado and the Padres. Ohtani signed a record $700 million, 10-year deal with LA in free agency. The two-way star is focusing on DH duties this season while he recovers from a right elbow injury. San Diego traded Juan Soto to the New York Yankees in December, but the Padres still have Machado and Xander Bogaerts in their dangerous lineup.

OPENING DAY - THURSDAY, MARCH 28

Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers: The Rangers get another opportunity to celebrate the franchise's first World Series championship before they begin their title defense against Cody Bellinger and the Chicago Cubs on opening day. Corey Seager is back for Texas after playing a starring role in October, winning the World Series MVP award for the second time. The Cubs should be in the mix for the NL Central title after they brought back the sweet-swinging Bellinger on an $80 million, three-year contract.

MEXICO CITY SERIES - SATURDAY, APRIL 27

Houston Astros at Colorado Rockies: Big league baseball returns to Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú in Mexico City after the Padres swept a two-game set against the Giants in the Mexican capital last year. This time, it's Jose Altuve and the Astros taking on Kris Bryant and the Rockies. Houston is looking for another October run after signing closer Josh Hader to a $95 million, five-year contract in free agency. A healthy season for Bryant, who appeared in just 122 games over the previous two years, could provide a big lift for Colorado.

CRAIG COUNSELL'S RETURN - MONDAY, MAY 27

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers: Craig Counsell manages his first game in Milwaukee since he was hired by Chicago in November in a surprise move. The 53-year-old Counsell grew up in Milwaukee and finished his playing career with the Brewers before becoming the team's winningest manager, going 707-625 in nine seasons. Counsell's new job adds another element to the rivalry between the NL Central teams, separated by about 90 miles.

WORLD SERIES REMATCH - TUESDAY, MAY 28

Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers: It's a rematch of the 2023 World Series, won by Texas in five games. Arizona won't be sneaking up on anyone this time around, not after Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte and company went on a memorable October run. The Diamondbacks strengthened their rotation in December, finalizing an $80 million, four-year deal with Eduardo Rodriguez. The Rangers should have a strong lineup once again, and pitchers Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom are expected back at some point this summer.

LONDON SERIES - SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets: Bryce Harper and the Phillies face Pete Alonso and the Mets in the opener of a two-game series at London Stadium in the British capital. Harper is taking over as Philadelphia's full-time first baseman after beginning his big league career as an outfielder. The two-time NL MVP hit .293 with 21 homers last year in his fifth season with the Phillies. Alonso, who blasted 46 homers in 2023, is eligible for free agency after this season.

NEGRO LEAGUES TRIBUTE GAME - THURSDAY, JUNE 20

San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals: The Giants play the Cardinals in a Negro Leagues tribute game at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The 10,800-seat stadium, opened in 1910, is the oldest professional ballpark in the U.S. and a National Historic Site. The stadium was home to the Birmingham Black Barons from 1924-60. The game will honor Hall of Famer Willie Mays, an Alabama native.

ALL-STAR GAME - TUESDAY, JULY 16

Globe Life Field — the majors' newest ballpark and the home of the Rangers — hosts the 94th edition of the All-Star Game. Texas also hosted the Midsummer Classic when the National League posted a 3-2 victory in 1995 at The Ballpark in Arlington. Globe Life Field opened in 2020, hosting a neutral-site World Series that same year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NL EAST SHOWDOWN - TUESDAY, AUG. 20

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuña Jr. and Atlanta open a six-game homestand with the first of three games against Kyle Schwarber and Philadelphia. Acuña is the reigning NL MVP after powering the Braves to their sixth consecutive NL East title, a full 14 games ahead of the second-place Phillies. But Philadelphia eliminated Atlanta in four games in their NL Division Series. The offseason acquisition of left-hander Chris Sale could help the Braves return to the World Series for the first time since they won it all in 2021.

FREEWAY SERIES - WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 4

Los Angeles Dodgers at Los Angeles Angels: Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw is just 56 strikeouts shy of 3,000 for his career. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is expected to return this summer after he had shoulder surgery in November, so his pursuit of the milestone could come down to the final days of the season. Mike Trout and the Angels are moving on after Ohtani departed in free agency.

AL EAST ON THE LINE? - THURSDAY, SEPT. 26

Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees: Adley Rutschman and Baltimore play the finale of their 13-game season series against Aaron Judge and New York. The Orioles went 7-6 against the Yankees last year on their way to the AL East title. They bolstered their chance for a repeat performance when they acquired right-hander Corbin Burnes in a trade with Milwaukee on Feb. 1. Judge and the Yankees are looking to rebound after they went 82-80 last season.