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Updated: March 28, 2018
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Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2018 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

Major League Spring Training ends; Season opens on Thursday

CLEARWATER, Florida / WASHINGTON, DC / LOS ANGELES, California / ATLANTA, Georgia (USA) - On Tuesday (March 27), five Dutch players played in the final games of this years Major League Spring Training. All teams will have the day off on Wednesday for traveling, then the regular season opens on Thursday. For the first time since 1968, all teams will play their first game on the same day.

Six teams had no games scheduled on Tuesday, as they already concluded their Spring Training on Monday. They have returned to their home-city or traveled to the city where they will open the season. On Tuesday, 13 games were scheduled, but one was canceled due to rain and thunderstorms. One of the biggest scores this Spring Training was realized today by Miami Marlins in its final game. Playing at Marlins Park in Miami, the team faced the University of Miami and won 22-2 in a game, that ended after 6½ inning.

In one of the final decions to finalize its 25-man roster, Washington Nationals named Miguel Montero as its back-up catcher. Last Saturday, the team optioned three players to its Triple-A team, re-assigned seven players and released two. Amongst the players who were re-assigned was catcher Spencer Kieboom, but he did play for the Nationals in Sunday's game. He played again in the team's final Spring Training-game on Tuesday, as did his brother Carter Kieboom.

Like Montero, Spencer Kieboom was a non-roster player. Kieboom had a fine Spring Training, playing in 26 games. He batted .324 (12-for-37), but had no extra-basehits. He scored three runs and batted in five. As Kieboom remained in Major League Spring Training Camp through the end, he must have been considered a candidate for the back-up position as well. The 34-year old Montero is a veteran player, who plays in the Major League since 2006. Last year, he played for Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays. Despite his experience, Montero learned on Saturday that he had made the 25-roster.

The other players who played were Ozzie Albies, Andrelton Simmons and Jiandido Tromp. During this years Spring Training, a record-total of 23 players with a Dutch passport were in a Major League Camp. 21 of them played in a Spring Training-game.

(March 27)

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At Clearwater, Philadelphia Phillies played at home against Pittsburgh Pirates to conclude their Spring Training. The game ended in a 5-5 tie. Pittsburgh rallied for four runs in the top of the first, but Philadelphia came alongside by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Philadelphia then took a 5-4 lead in the eighth, but this time, it was Pittsburgh that tied the score in the ninth.

Minor League-player Jiandido Tromp again was with the main-squad of Philadelphia today. He entered the game in the top of the seventh as the new rightfielder, taking over from Nick Williams.

In the bottom of the seventh, with one out and a runner on second base, Tromp flied out. He then led off the ninth inning and struckout.

The Phillies now will travel to Atlanta, where they will open the season on Thursday against Atlanta Braves. Pittsburgh will fly to Detroit for its first series of interleague-games against Detroit Tigers.

At Washington, Washington Nationals closed its Spring Training at home against Minnesota Twins and lost 3-1. Trailing 1-0, Minnesota came alongside in the seventh, then added two runs in the ninth inning at Nationals Park, the home of the Nationals in the American capital.

In the top of the eighth inning, both Spencer Kieboom and Carter Kieboom entered the game for Washington. Spencer took over from Miguel Montero behind the plate, while Carter replaced short stop Trea Turner.

In the bottom of the ninth, with a runner on second base and two outs, Carter got his lone at bat. He struckout, ending the game. Spencer didn't get an at bat in this game.

Washington now will travel to Cincinnati, where it will open the new season on Thursday against Cincinnati Reds. Minnesota will travel to nearby Baltimore to meet the Baltimore Orioles in its opener.

At Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels closed Spring Training with its third consecutive game against each other. After played in Anaheim on Sunday, the teams played in Los Angeles on Monday and today. However, today's game ended with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning after an underground pipe burst and water flooded the warning track at the third-base side towards the grass in foul territory. A delay followed to sweep away the water and the mud, but that didn't help. After waiting one hour and 47 minutes, it was decided to end the game. As the Dodgers were leading in its half of the fifth inning, the game was official. The Dodgers won 4-3. Both teams collected nine basehits.

Andrelton Simmons was the starting short stop for the Angels and was 1-for-2 with a run scored.

The Dodgers opened the score in the first inning when Yasiel Puig homered. In the top of the second inning, trailing 1-0 with one out, Simmons singled. He advanced to third base on a single by Kole Calhoun, then scored the tying run on a single by Jefry Marte. Hereafter, a force play-grounder by Luis Valbuena gave the Angels a 2-1 lead.

A 2-run double by Chris Taylor in the bottom of the second made it a 3-2 score in favor of the Dodgers.

After the Angels made it a 3-3 score in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols, the inning ended when Simmons popped out.

In the bottom of the fourth, Simmons was replaced and David Fletcher became the new short stop. Matt Kemp then led of for the Dodgers with a homerun to make it a 4-3 score.

At Atlanta, Atlanta Braves closed its Spring Training-season with a 5-4 win at home against the Braves Future Stars. Atlanta trailed 4-3 in the sixth inning, but then scored twice to win against a team that was compiled of prospects within the organization.

Ozzie Albies started as second baseman for Atlanta and was 1-for-2. Ray-Patrick Didder was the starting short stop for the Futures and was 1-for-3 with a run batted in.

In the botom of the first inning, Ender Inciarte and Albies both singled for Atlanta. Albies was then forced out, but that brought Inciarte to third base and he would scored on a wild pitch.

Albies grounded out to end the second inning and was replaced in the top of the fourth inning by new second baseman Luis Valenzuela.

Didder led of the third inning, but then struckout. He flied out with two runners on base in the fourth at bat.

After five innings, the score was 3-3. All three runs of the Futures were scored on two homeruns by Cristian Pache. The 19-year old talented Single-A outfielder hit a 2-run homerun in the third inning, then added a solo-homerun in the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, Travis Demeritte walked with two outs for the Futures, then scored the go-ahead run when Didder followed with a triple. The lead was shortlived, as a sacrifice fly by José Bermudez and a single by Sean Kazmar made it 5-4 in favor of Atlanta in the bottom of the sixth.

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