A look at the highlights of what’s happening all around spring training in Florida and Arizona on Thursday: — STARTER SPOTLIGHT Cliff Lee, who made his final start of 2014 on July 31 because of a strained left elbow, starts for Philadelphia against Houston in Kissimmee, Florida. Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, was sidelined from May 18 until July 21 because of a left flexor pronator strain, and cut short his third start back in the third inning. … Texas’ Yu Darvish makes his spring debut after last season ended prematurely for him due to elbow inflammation. WELCOME BACK Left-hander Barry Zito takes the mound against professional hitters for the first time since 2013 when the A’s play the Cubs in Mesa, Arizona.

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Actual baseball is back, with major-league teams playing against major-league teams. Tuesday was the first day of games in the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues, and while the outcomes ultimately mean very little, it’s still nice to see the homers and great defensive plays again. So come with us, fair reader, as we show you the five plays you need to see from the first day of spring training games. 1. YOENIS CESPEDES GOES GRAND SALAMI New Detroit Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes showed that swing that’s won the last two Home Run Derbys, connecting for a grand slam in the Tigers’ 15-2 win over the Orioles. Ubaldo Jimenez was in midseason form, allowing six runs in 1.1 innings. 2. KANG SHOWS OFF HIS POWER Jung-ho Kang signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in January , coming over from Korea, where he was the MVP last season hitting 40 homers. There was debate about whether that power would translate to MLB. In his first game, at least, the answer was yes. Check out his opposite-field homer as the Pirates beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-7 . Note the leg kick. 3. RUSSELL MARTIN SHOWS OFF HIS DEFENSE Russell Martin delivered the first “must-see” defensive play of the young baseball season in the Blue Jays’ loss to the Tigers. Watch him track down this bouncer and make an off-balance throw for the out at first. Nice first impression , Russell. 4. AARON JUDGE’S THREE-RUN HOMER GIVES THE YANKEES A TIE Well, it’s not quite a walk-off homer, but Aaron Judge’s three-run, ninth inning homer made sure the New York Yankees didn’t lose. He tied their game against Philadelphia Phillies 5-5 with a two-out homer in the ninth. And since this is spring, the game just ended in a tie. It was a game-not-losing homer. (Can that be a thing?) Judge, by the way, is the No. 1 Yankees prospect, per Baseball Prospectus . 5. DESTIN HOOD CRASHES INTO THE WALL, MAKES THE CATCH Destin Hood, who the Cleveland Indians signed to a minor-league contract, made a nice first impression with this great catch in an otherwise forgettable 10-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

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A look at the highlights of what’s happening all around spring training in Florida and Arizona on Wednesday: — HE’S BACK Alex Rodriguez is set to be the designated hitter for two or three at-bats when the Yankees host the Phillies in Tampa, Florida. ”I have some challenges ahead.” IN THE SWING Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt faces another major league team for the first time since his left hand was broken by a pitch last August. UP FIRST New Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins is going to lead off in the spring opener against the White Sox. ON YOUR MARK Indians leadoff man Michael Bourn makes his spring debut vs. the Reds after spending the winter honing his running skills.

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What to watch for today at spring training:

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is firing back at cyberbullies who posted offensive comments about his daughter on Twitter.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Relief pitcher Mike Adams and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

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Phillies starter Paul Clemens pitched two perfect innings, but Philadelphia lost to the University of Tampa 6-2 Sunday in the first spring training game for a major league team this year. Russ Canzler, Aaron Altherr and Tommy Joseph strung together three straight one-out hits to put the Phillies ahead 2-0 in the second inning. After that, Philadelphia hitters did little against the No. 1-ranked team in NCAA Division II. The Phillies are projected to have a tough time all season long. ”It kind of shows where we’re at as far as seeing players and workouts and seeing the work that needs to be done,” said Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg, kept the majority of his big league starters out of action.

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What to watch for today at spring training:

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Alex Rodriguez might be in the New York Yankees’ lineup for Tuesday’s spring training opener against the Philadelphia Phillies. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said a decision will come Monday. ”See where he’s at physically.” Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, was suspended for the entire 2014 season because for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. With the re-signing of Chase Headley to start at third base, Rodriguez is competing for at-bats as the designated hitter.

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Veteran outfielder Juan Pierre has officially announced his retirement after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, confirming a report from Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Thanks for all the tweets keep them coming it’s true today I’m officially retiring today.Blessed and grateful to have played the game I love — Juan Pierre (@JPBeastMode) February 27, 2015 The announcement comes as a mere formality, rather than a major surprise. The writing was on the wall for Pierre following a difficult year in 2013, which saw him hit just .247/.284/.305 across the board in 330 plate appearances. In fact, he seemed to be resigned to his fate in baseball following that season, understanding there wasn’t much demand for aging outfielders with limited offensive upside. “They can come and take away my jersey right now, and I’ll be fine. I’ll be OK with it either way.” Without a major league offer in hand, Pierre ended up sitting out the entire 2014 season. He didn’t appear on anybody’s radar this past winter either, so at 37 he’s officially ending his journey after appearing in 1,994 MLB games and winning one World Series championship with the then Florida Marlins in 2003. [ Baseball is back! Check out Yahoo For Spring Training for great spring training pics. ] Though Cooperstown won’t be calling in five years, there’s still a lot to appreciate about Pierre’s career. In addition to his longevity, Pierre was remarkably durable and productive during the prime years of his career, which mostly came during his first stint in Miami (2003-2005). During that time, Pierre never missed a game and established single-season franchise records for hits (221), singles (184), triples (13), and at-bats (678).

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