Link-O-Rama: Maddon says Ed Hardy was so 2008

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* Earlier this week I made a joke about Joe Maddon dying his hair black to go with his trademark hipster glasses, noting that “earrings, Ed Hardy t-shirts, and a tribal tattoo could be next for the 55-year-old Rays manager.” Turns out, he already went through the Ed Hardy t-shirt phase last year!
* Shockingly, a retired former major leaguer thinks that things were better when he played. In related news, elderly people don’t like children playing on their lawns and most people who’re older than you had to walk five miles in the snow to school every morning when they were kids.
* After being designated for assignment by the Mets yesterday Livan Hernandez has now played for five teams in four seasons while posting ERAs of 4.83, 4.93, 6.05, and 5.47. He also turns 35 years old soon. Odds that he’ll sign with another team and end up in their rotation? Probably not as bad as you’d think, at least judging from the last half-dozen years of Sidney Ponson’s career.
* It’s been quite a fall for Chris Duncan, who was released yesterday by the Red Sox just a month after they acquired him in the Julio Lugo trade. Duncan had a .952 OPS as a 25-year-old rookie in 2006, but since then his yearly OPS totals are .834, .711, and .687. And that doesn’t even count his horrible .549 mark at Triple-A following the trade.
* Stephen Strasburg met his public this afternoon. They liked him.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.