As expected, Strasburg lined up for June 4 debut

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There’s still no official timetable for Stephen Strasburg’s arrival in Washington, but the Nationals announced today that his next (and presumed final) Triple-A start will come Saturday against the Yankees’ affiliate.
That lines up Strasburg to make his major-league debut June 4 against the Reds in Washington, which has been the assumption for a while now. Strasburg finally gave up a Triple-A run yesterday and was pulled after throwing just 52 pitches in five innings, leaving him with a 0.99 ERA and 54/10 K/BB ratio in nine minor-league starts.
Ivan Rodriguez won’t be eligible to return from the disabled list until after June 4, so Strasburg will likely be throwing to Wil Nieves in his debut. Assuming the Nationals don’t hire Steve Phillips in the meantime, of course.

Yadier Molina responds to Willson Contreras on Instagram

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On Monday, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras showed he was very confident heading into the 2018 season, saying, “I know that I’m going to be better than [Yadier Molina and Buster Posey].” Contreras explained that his goal is to become “the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”

Apparently, Contreras ruffled Molina’s feathers as the Cardinals’ veteran backstop took to Instagram to respond. Posting a picture of himself with Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, Molina wrote, “Respeten los rangos NOVATOS!! aqui con los q si han probao que son los duros!!” That loosely translates to “respect the ranks,” referring to Contreras as a novice.

Molina is no stranger to using Instagram to air his grievances. He apparently used the social media app to take a swipe or two at manager Mike Matheny last year.

Of course, Molina seems to be misreading the intent of Contreras. Contreras seems to think highly of Molina, having referred to him as being one of the best catchers in the game — even if it was in the past tense. Molina should know, being someone who also competes at the highest level, that having confidence is an important part of the recipe for success. Perhaps this will make for some interesting games during the season, breathing new life into the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.