Major League Baseball is back in Florida as spring training kicks off Friday in West Palm Beach, Jupiter and Port St. Lucie.
After the winter break, teams will square off across the Sunshine State as the teams dust off the rust in preparation for the 2018 season.
The newly-named FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will host a 1:05 p.m. matchup between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals in West Palm Beach.
Friday's Area Baseball Games:
- Nationals vs. Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach at 1:05 p.m.
- Braves vs. Mets at First Data Field in Port St. Lucie at 1:10 p.m.
- Marlines vs. Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter at 1:05 p.m.
MLB Players To Wear Hats Honoring Florida Shooting Victims
Earlier this week, it was announced that Major League Baseball players will honor victims of last week's shooting in Broward County by wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats at spring training games this week.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday all 30 teams will wear the school hats during pregame warmups for their exhibition openers. Players, managers, coaches and umpires will have the option of wearing the caps during those first games. The hats might later be signed and auctioned to support those affected by the tragedy at the high school.
Manfred said MLB received a "really strong sentiment of the clubs it was the appropriate thing to do immediately."
Caps will be autographed and auctioned off following the game. Proceeds will benefit a fund that goes directly to victims and families impacted by the tragedy.
Stoneman Douglas High School student Angelique Meneses will perform Friday's national anthem in West Palm Beach.
Angelique is the Secretary of the Florida Association of Student Councils and a Senator of the Senior Class Board.
The Astros will also welcome Stoneman Douglas baseball head coach Todd Fitz-Gerald and his son, Eagles third baseman Hunter, who will accompany Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, as he presents the World Series trophy on the field.
The FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is bringing back its "Big and Bright Friday Nights" that will include fireworks after the games on March 2, 9 and 23. The Astros will also have a 12-foot replica of the World Series trophy for families to take pictures with.
Portions of this article courtesy of the Associated Press