After Seattle and Oakland began the 2012 season with a split of a two-game series in Japan last week, Major League Baseball is ready for all of its teams to begin play this week. Opening Day for the 2012 season is Wednesday, when the world champion St. Louis Cardinals face the new look and newly-named Miami Marlins in the inaugural game at Marlins Park in Miami. Here’s this week’s MLB report:

Marlins Park Opens Wednesday

With a gaudy fountain in the outfield stands and an aquarium built into the wall behind home plate, Marlins Park is everything that the Marlins’ former home, Sun Life Stadium, was not. The Marlins, who will wear a new uniform style and ditch the Florida moniker in favor of Miami, get an eyeful of the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in the only regular-season game of the day.

Johan Santana Gets Opening Day Start

After missing all of 2011 and some of 2010 with a shoulder injury, Mets’ pitcher Johan Santana will start against Atlanta on Thursday in New York’s season opener at Citi Field. A two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Twins, Santana has a career record of 133-69 and an ERA of 3.10.

Play of the Week: Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves

After a lukewarm 2011, Braves’ outfielder Jason Heyward is looking to start fresh in 2012. His defense is on display here as he takes a home run away from the Yankees’ Raul Ibanez in a spring training game on Wednesday. Click the play button at top left to watch the video.

Series of the Week: Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds

Having filled their roster with free agent acquisitions like Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell and trading for Carlos Zambrano, the Miami Marlins wanted to establish themselves as contenders. The Cincinnati Reds did the same by trading for pitchers Mat Latos and Sean Marshall and signing Ryan Madson. Madson’s lost for the season with an elbow injury, but the rest of the big names will be at the Great American Ballpark for this three-game series that may set the tone in 2012 for one of these teams.

Fantasy Pick-Up of the Week: Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland A’s

With questions looming about how he’d handle major league pitching, plenty of owners may have passed on Cuban pro outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who made his MLB debut with the A’s in Japan last week. You shouldn’t be concerned. Cespedes’ power was on display as he hit a two-run homer that helped Oakland beat Seattle, 4-1, in Japan on Thursday. Cespedes was 2-for-6 in two games.

Fantasy Drop of the Week: Michael Pineda, New York Yankees

Pitcher Michael Pineda was the New York Yankees’ key acquisition in the offseason. After a solid rookie campaign with the Mariners in 2011, Pineda was supposed to come to the Bronx and help anchor the staff behind C.C. Sabathia. That one-two punch will have to wait, as Pineda was placed on the disabled list this weekend with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Until he proves he’s healthy, cut him loose.

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