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First game of Spring Training 2011 announced — in Winston-Salem

We have our first announcement of a game to be played in Spring Training 2011, as the Chicago White Sox will play an exhibition game against the Winston-Salem Dash on March 30.

This game marks the first time that the White Sox have played in Winston-Salem. The two organizations will be entering their 15th year of affiliation in 2011. The current White Sox roster has two recent members of the Dash: RHP Sergio Santos and LHP Chris Sale played for Winston-Salem in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The White Sox traditionally play a game or two against a minor-league affiliate; last year the White Sox played in Charlotte.

We suspect the timing of the game — March 30 — means that MLB will indeed be going ahead with a plan to lop the last weekend off the spring-training schedule in order to start the regular-season earlier; there’s been talk that the final weekend (usually made up of home exhibition games for many teams) would be converted to the start of the regular season. Therefore, we’re going to go out on a limb and predict that players will report around Feb. 15 (the normal time), with games starting March 2 or so and lasting through the 30th.

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