White Sox, Mariners, and Rangers reportedly interested in Mike Lowell

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Now that David Ortiz is hitting again the Red Sox have found almost zero playing time for Mike Lowell, giving him a grand total of three starts and 17 plate appearances in the past three weeks.
Lowell has made it clear that he’d welcome a trade, noting last month that third baseman Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youkilis rarely need time off and “I refuse to wish injuries to good players.”
Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com reports that “it does appear the Red Sox are listening to Lowell’s request to try to move him.” According to McDonald, the White Sox, Rangers, and Mariners have expressed interest in Lowell, but a source “ruled out any possibility of” the Angels getting involved in the wake of Kendry Morales’ broken ankle.
Chicago would use Lowell at third base in place of Mark Teahen, who was put on the disabled list yesterday with a broken finger. Seattle would presumably use him at first base, perhaps in a quasi-platoon with Casey Kotchman. Texas could also use him at first base, although that would likely mean sending top prospect Justin Smoak back to the minors after just a few dozen games.

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.