Japanese players to square off in first inning of Royals’ spring opener

The Royals are the home team in Thursday’s Catcus League opener against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium, and the bottom of the first inning will be of huge interest in Japan. The Rangers starter Yu Darvish will throw to Royals’ leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki.

The Japanese players faced off for the first time in the major leagues three years ago during spring training when Aoki played for the Brewers.

The Royals are scheduled to throw Bruce Chen, Danny Duffy, Donnie Joseph, Cory Wade, Guillermo Mota, Scott Alexander and Kelvin Herrera.

First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Central time. The game will be broadcast on radio station KCSP (610 AM).

Related stories from Kansas City Star