So much for the committee: Gardenhire picks Jon Rauch as closer

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Earlier this week Ron Gardenhire announced that the Twins would use a closer-by-committee approach to replace Joe Nathan initially, but the manager has apparently already changed his mind.
Gardenhire said this afternoon that Jon Rauch will begin the season at closer, which is actually what I was expecting all along until the closer-by-committee curveball. Rauch is certainly not an ideal closer, but neither is anyone else on the Twins’ roster and in the short term at least he’s the most sensible option.
Rauch has some previous experience in the role, has generally been a solid, durable seventh- and eighth-inning option, and allows Matt Guerrier to remain in his familiar setup role. At some point this season perhaps Jose Mijares or Pat Neshek will emerge as ninth-inning options, but for now giving Rauch a shot to be a league-average closer and convert 80-85 percent of his save opportunities makes sense.

Jhoulys Chacin will start Opening Day for the Padres

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Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.

Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.

Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.

Matt Boyd earns No. 5 spot in Tigers’ starting rotation

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Matt Boyd has earned the No. 5 spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation, which means veteran Anibal Sanchez will pitch out of the bullpen, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reported on Wednesday.

Boyd, 26, pitched well this spring, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 21/0 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings. The lefty’s numbers in the majors last year weren’t nearly as good.

Sanchez, 33, is coming off of the worst season of his career and overall didn’t have a great spring, putting up a 5.03 ERA with a 20/4 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings. He came on strong at the end, however, tossing 14 consecutive scoreless innings. Manager Brad Ausmus didn’t rule out the possibility of Sanchez returning to the rotation at some point.