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Porcello to start Tigers' Grapefruit League opener

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers' rotation for the opening weekend of Grapefruit League play is set, and it reflects the plan to watch the innings early on with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

Rick Porcello will start his bid to hold onto the rotation spot he has owned for four years when he takes the mound in the Grapefruit League opener against the Braves on Friday afternoon. It'll also be the spring opener for the Braves and potentially the first game for B.J. and Justin Upton as teammates.

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The starting assignment for the Tigers' spring home opener Saturday against the Blue Jays will go to Anibal Sanchez, making his Tigers spring debut. Verlander will start Sunday against the Phillies in another home game at Joker Marchant Stadium.

All of those games are 1:05 p.m. ET starts and will be broadcast in Detroit on 97.1 FM and online via MLB.com Gameday Audio.

Still to be slotted are Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Drew Smyly. The Tigers are looking at six starters for five spots and trying to stretch out Casey Crosby's innings for a likely assignment in the rotation at Triple-A Toledo, so they'll have some juggling to do. They have only one set of split-squad games, which comes up on March 2.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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