UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez iffy on Home Run Derby

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9:02 PM:  Now Clark Spencer reports that Hanley may opt out of the Derby and will wait until Saturday to make his decision official.  Wait, this really is like the LeBron junk.

 “I want to do it, but I don’t know,” Ramirez said. “I’ve never
done that and I don’t know how I would feel after. I’m just worried
about how my bat is going to feel after. I’m just thinking about the
team. I’ve got to be there in the second half.”

Ramirez said peer pressure from his teammates made him initially accept the invitation.

8:40 PM:  Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez announced Thursday that he has agreed to participate in next week’s Home Run Derby, according to the Associated Press.

Take that, LeBron … or something.

Brewers outfielder Corey Hart and Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday have also agreed to represent the National League, while Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells will participate for of the American League.  An additional player from each league is still needed.

Hanley has tallied only 13 home runs in 311 at-bats this season, but he finished with 24 last year and a career-high 33 in 2009.  He is currently batting .296/.376/.489.

The Home Run Derby will take place Monday night at Angels Stadium.

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.