Marcum gets Opening Day nod after sitting out '09

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Cito Gaston announced that Shaun Marcum will be the Blue Jays’ Opening Day starter, which is noteworthy given that he missed all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery.
Roy Halladay started each of the past seven Opening Days for the Blue Jays, but he’ll be taking the mound for the Phillies in Game 1 this season and with 64 career starts Marcum actually has the most experience in Toronto’s post-Halladay rotation.
He’ll face the Rangers on April 5, and as Ed Price of Fanhouse points out Marcum may not be the only Opening Day starter who didn’t throw a pitch in 2009 if Ben Sheets of the A’s or Jake Westbrook of the Indians get the nod as well.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com notes that as of now Carl Pavano for the Yankees in 2007 and Scott Erickson for the Orioles in 2002 are the only pitchers since 2000 to start on Opening Day after missing all of the previous season. Pavano and Erickson combined to win just six games in those two seasons, so hopefully things go a little better for Marcum.
In those 64 career starts he’s 23-15 with a 3.85 ERA and 277/121 K/BB ratio in 362.2 innings.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.