Spring training is over. The KC Royals played their last Cactus League game of the year Tuesday and are headed to Kansas City to open the regular season.
It all begins Thursday when the Royals kick off the 2022 campaign against Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium.
And although the infamous 99-day lockout delayed spring training and the originally scheduled March 31 season opener, Kansas City is ready to go.
What do fans need to know about Opening Day?
When and where will the KC Royals kick off the 2022 major league season?
Kansas City opens Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Game time is set for 3:10 p.m. against Cleveland. The contest will be the first regular season game the visitors will play as the Guardians after their offseason name change.
Who’s pitching for and against the KC Royals in Thursday’s season opener?
Righthander Zack Greinke, the 18-year major league veteran who’s returning to the club after last pitching for it in 2010, gets the start for Kansas City. Sixty of his probable Hall of Fame-worthy 219 wins have come as a Royal; his last KC victory came Sept. 30, 2010, when he surrendered just two runs in seven innings to beat Tampa Bay.
The Guardians, who at 80-82 finished second behind the White Sox in the American League Central last year, recently announced their 28-man roster (clubs can carry two extra players through May 1), and it includes some familiar names, among them scheduled Opening Day starter and staff ace Shane Bieber, who went 7-4 last year and is 4-0 with a 3.65 in 10 career starts against the Royals.
A top prospect will debut for the KC Royals and a key Guardian will return.
A player and a manager are among the top storylines for Thursday’s game.
Confirming what almost everyone anticipated, the Royals announced Tuesday their No. 1 MLB Pipeline prospect made the Opening Day roster. Bobby Witt Jr. will play his first big league game against Cleveland.
The Guardians will welcome back manager Terry Francona, who missed much of last season with medical issues. This will mark Francona’s 10th season with Cleveland, who he’s skippered to three AL Central titles and a pennant. Francona is 1,782-1,516 in 21 years as a manager and won two World Series with Boston.
What other KC Royals will join Bobby Witt Jr. and Zack Greinke in the lineup?
Manager Mike Matheny hadn’t announced his Opening Day lineup as of late Tuesday night, but we recently made our own projection. How close to Matheny’s batting order it comes remains to be seen, but here’s who’ll likely appear at each Kansas City position with starter Greinke:
Catcher: Salvador Perez
First base: Carlos Santana
Second base: Nicky Lopez
Shortstop: Adalberto Mondesi
Third base: Bobby Witt Jr.
Left field: Andrew Benintendi
Center field: Michael A. Taylor
Right field: Whit Merrifield
Designated hitter: Hunter Dozier
How can KC Royals fans catch the first and other games of the 2022 season?
According to the club’s official website, Opening Day tickets remained available Tuesday night. But if you can’t make it to The K for the game, it’s available on television and radio.
TV coverage will be primarily on Bally Sports Kansas City, which is televising all but one of the Royals’ 162 games; the other, a single game with the Yankees April 29, is scheduled for Apple+ national viewing.
Every game can be heard on Kansas City’s 610 Sports Radio-KCSP and also over 50 stations on the Royals Radio Network.
After Thursday’s game, when do the KC Royals and Cleveland play again?
Kansas City and the Guardians are playing a four-game series. After the off day that usually follows Opening Day, the clubs play a 3:10 p.m. contest Saturday and 1:10 p.m. games Sunday and Monday.
The Royals then take their first road trip of the season, traveling across Missouri for a short interleague two-gamer against the Cardinals, then return home for a seven-game homestand including four with Detroit and three with the Twins.
The 2022 season is finally here.