For Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Hendrickson, Saturday was unforgettable. And it had nothing to do with the rain in Florida that wiped out four games.
The Baltimore Orioles chose Guthrie to start on opening day, giving the prestigious assignment to a pitcher with just 26 major-league starts and seven wins.
The Florida Marlins decided to go with Hendrickson, who has a 5.01 career earned-run average and was signed in January to provide depth for an injury-ravaged rotation.
Guthrie, a rookie in 2007, moved to the front of the rotation when the Orioles traded ace Erik Bedard to Seattle.
"The guy certainly showed us what he can do last season. He's had a tremendous spring," manager Dave Trembley said before the Orioles and Marlins were rained out in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "I think it's the right thing to do. I think it sets up the rest of the rotation the best possible way."
Guthrie will start at home against Tampa Bay on March 31.
A year ago, Guthrie fought his way onto the Orioles' staff after being claimed on waivers from Cleveland during the offseason. A first-round pick by the Indians in 2002, Guthrie moved into the Baltimore rotation by May, finishing the year at 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 32 appearances, including 26 starts.
"It's a great honor ... to have the confidence of (Trembley), and I felt the same from my team, from my teammates - that they feel if I'm out there, we have a chance to win," Guthrie said.
The 28-year-old, who struck out 123 in 1751â3 innings in 2007, was 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA as a starter, and allowed two or more runs in only three of his first 17 starts last year.
Right-hander Daniel Cabrera, left-hander Adam Loewen and right-hander Steve Trachsel, signed to a minor league contract with a spring training invitation, should be part of the starting five. The fifth starter's job is still up for grabs between right-hander Matt Albers and left-hander Brian Burres, or the Orioles could round out the rotation through a trade or waiver claim.
In the other clubhouse, manager Fredi Gonzalez announced that Hendrickson would start the Marlins' season opener March 31 against the New York Mets at Dolphin Stadium.
"He pitched terrific in spring training and he's our veteran guy," Gonzalez said. "The way he's pitched in spring training, he deserves it."
The 33-year-old has a 1.69 ERA through four starts this spring. In his last outing, March 18 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the 6-foot-9 lefty gave up three hits in six scoreless innings.
"It's a nice honor. It's not something that many pitchers can say they got an opportunity to do. For me, I'm just going to approach it like any other start," Hendrickson said.
In other news, three-time All-Star Javy Lopez retired after being reassigned to the Atlanta Braves' minor-league camp, ending his bid to return to the majors as a backup catcher.
In other spring training games:
Rockies 12, Diamondbacks 11
At Tucson, Ariz., Todd Helton went 3-for-4, leading five Colorado hitters with at least two hits.
Angels 4, Dodgers 2
At Phoenix, Los Angeles starter Derek Lowe was sharp in a six-inning stint, retiring the first 10 men he faced and allowing only one unearned run. But closer Takashi Saito gave up three runs in the seventh, including a two-run homer to Mike Napoli.
Giants 8, Brewers 1
At Scottsdale, Ariz., Matt Cain allowed five hits in six scoreless innings and Eugenio Velez was 3-for-5 with four RBIs and his 13th steal of the spring for San Francisco.
Astros 6, Reds 5
At Kissimmee, Fla., Houston's Brandon Backe gave up two runs and six hits in five innings, his longest outing of the spring as he tries to come back after Tommy John elbow surgery.
White Sox 8, Cubs 8, 10 innings
At Mesa, Ariz., Kerry Wood pitched a dominant seventh inning for the Cubs and Juan Uribe hit a two-out homer in the ninth for the White Sox.
Cardinals 6, Twins 3
At Jupiter, Fla., St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse pitched five innings, allowing two runs. Brendan Harris went 3-for-4 for Minnesota.
Indians 5, Mets 2, 7 innings, rain
At Winter Haven, Fla., Cliff Lee pitched five scoreless innings in his quest to win the No. 5 spot in Cleveland's rotation over Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers.
Rangers 8, Mariners 5
At Peoria, Ariz., Ian Kinsler and Michael Young each went 3-for-3, and Kevin Mench, Hank Blalock and Jason Botts collected two hits apiece for Texas.
Nationals 4, Braves 1
At Viera, Fla., John Lannan allowed a run and three hits in six efficient innings for Washington.