UPDATE: According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hawksworth suffered severe lacerations to his mouth and upper lip. Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that he was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
2:57 PM: According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Blake Hawksworth was forced to leave this afternoon’s game against the Cubs after being hit in the face by a comebacker off the bat of Sam Fuld in the fifth inning.
Hawksworth was struck in the mouth by the ball and immediately fell to the mound. There was quite a bit of blood, but the good news is that Hawksworth didn’t lose consciousness and was able to walk off the field under his own power.
It looks like he managed to avoid any serious injury, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he is shut down for the rest of the season. We’ll pass along an update when we get it.
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.