UPDATE: Niemann and Davis placed on DL with shoulder strains

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UPDATE: After Monday’s game, Wade Davis joined Niemann on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, according to the Tampa Tribune. Jeremy Hellickson was recalled and will start Tuesday’s game.
6:50 PM Niemann was officially placed on the DL prior to Monday’s game, with reliever Mike Eckstrom being called up to take his spot.
6:30 PM: Rays starters Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis were both diagnosed with strains after having their shoulders examined, manager Joe Maddon said after arriving at the ballpark Monday.
Maddon said the team was encouraged by the MRI results of both, and that while DL stints are a possbility, it’s doubtful either would be sidelined for a lengthy period.
Fortunately, the Rays’ impressive starting pitching depth, while unneeded in the first half, should be able to help keep the team in the race. The Rays had Andy Sonnanstine fill in for Niemann on Sunday, and Jeremy Hellickson is expected to be recalled to pitch in place of Davis on Tuesday.
Hellickson, one of the game’s best pitching prospects, beat the Twins in his major league debut by allowing two runs over seven innings last Monday.
The Rays enter Monday night’s game two games back of the Yankees in the AL East. They’re four games up on the Red Sox for the wild card.

Check out Minute Maid Park without Tal’s Hill

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During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.

We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:

And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:

The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.

Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.

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.