The San Francisco Giants announced on their official Twitter feed this afternoon that 33-year-old veteran outfielder Pat Burrell has been signed to a minor league contract.
Burrell will join up with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate from Fresno, California at some point this weekend and will try to work his way back to the majors from there. He doesn’t exactly fit in with the Giants’ makeup right now, given that he’s more of a DH than an outfielder these days, but perhaps he’ll make a nice late-innings pinch-hitter at some point down the road.
Burrell was batting just .202/.292/.333 with two homers and 13 RBI over 84 at-bats when the Rays cut ties with him in the middle of May. He is a .253/.362/.473 career hitter over 10-plus seasons.
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.
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.